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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Immersion chiller effective with only "cool" tap water?
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:19 AM   #1
justabeergeek
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Default Immersion chiller effective with only "cool" tap water?

Hey all,

I'm thinking about getting an immersion chiller, but my tap water hovers at around 58°F on cold. Will it be effective? (I'm doing 2.5-3 gal boils and adding 1gal of ice cold spring water to speed up the cooling a bit.)

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Old 02-16-2012, 05:27 AM   #2
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You should have no problem. An immersion chiller should get you down to within 5 degrees or so of your water's temp. Keep in mind the time it takes to get from boiling to 100 will be less than the time from 100 to 65. The bigger the temperature differential the more effective the heat transfer. That's not really not a problem because your biggest concern is getting down past the "warm" temps where possible infections are most likely. Cooler than 100, or even a bit higher, (I don't remember the critical temp) you are pretty much OK.

And 58F is pretty cool. Summer in the southern states I hear ground water temps in the high 70s are not uncommon!

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Old 02-16-2012, 05:31 AM   #3
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I appreciate it. The reason I ask is that I don't like our current method. We filled the bathtub with cold water and ice packs and crack the lid a tiny bit. (our sink is old and is too small for the kettle.)

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Old 02-16-2012, 03:00 PM   #4
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Agreed with mvcorliss...58 is a pretty standard tap temp and will get you down to ~100 very quickly, especially with only 2-3 gallons boiled.

Collected the runoff from the chiller & use for cleaning (no need to waste clean, warm water!)

Also, you can make one fairly easily, and usually cheaper. Check out some of the DIY threads if you feel like it.

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Old 02-16-2012, 03:05 PM   #5
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I made my own IC as well. I live in the warm desert southwest, and even in the winter my ground water can be about 70F. I still get down to about 70F with my IC in about 10 to 15 mins... When summer arrives I'll be using a pond pump in a huge tub filled with water and a bunch of frozen water bottles..

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Old 02-16-2012, 04:03 PM   #6
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A wort chiller is a great investment in your brewing. I wish I had bought/built one long before I finally did. It is a huge time and hassle saver.

You shouldn’t have any trouble with 58 degree water, but you can always speed things up by adding a prechiller later. My prechiller is just a 15 foot coil that sits in a bucket of ice water that helps to cool the tap water a few degrees before it goes into the wort chiller. It definitely helps getting the wort temp down those last few degrees.

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Old 02-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #7
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+1 on the prechiller technique. I bought 20' of refrigerator copper tubing and put it in the sink with ice before the immersion chiller and it helps get temps down quicker. Also, don't forget to get the wort moving around because that makes the biggest difference. An oven mitt to hold the top of the chiller and use it as a giant spoon to swirl the wort is the best technique, imo, if you don't have a pump or motor to automate things.

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