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Old 03-27-2007, 05:09 PM   #1
Reidman
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Default Pre-chiller alternatives

I just bought some copper tubing to make a wort chiller but unfortunately I am using all of it to make the chiller which doesn't leave me any left over to make a pre-chiller as I had planned.

My water stays fairly cool even during the summer months but it could always be a little cooler and especially since I want to bring my wort temps down quickly I have been tossing around ideas to pre-chill before it hits the wort chiller.

Anyway, I was thinking of coiling up excess garden hose and tossing that into a bin full of ice. Maybe this is crazy thinking and I know it wont have the conductivity of the copper but do any of you think this would be a viable means of pre-chilling or a waste of time and energy..?

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Old 03-27-2007, 05:18 PM   #2
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I don't think a garden hose in an ice bath will buy you much. You're better off just buying some more copper. Hell, get the cheap stuff if you're short on $$. It doesn't have to be as efficient as your chiller. I think mine is 20-25' of 1/4" copper and it works good enough to chill this hot TX water for my CFC.

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Old 03-27-2007, 05:30 PM   #3
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At least one people is using the heater core out of a car. Leaks aren't a problem. since it's in a tub anyway.

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Old 03-27-2007, 09:30 PM   #4
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You don't need a pre-chiller. I really don't understand why people complicate things, just put your copper chiller in a bucket/sink of ice water and run the wort throught the chiller. That's much more efficient than putting it in your wort and running cold water through it, and also more efficient than a CFC.

Just keep adding some water as you run to keep the ice water mixed well. All you need is 25ft of 3/8" copper, $25, two compression fittings, $3, two barbed fitting, $2. And for $30 you make something better than anything outside of the plate chillers.

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Old 03-28-2007, 12:41 AM   #5
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I don't know about "more efficient than a CFC". I can get 6 gals from kettle to carboy below 70' in less than 10 mins using my CFC with cold ground water or a pre-chiller. How fast does the coil in ice work? I would also think you go through a lot more ice in the process, don't you?

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Old 03-28-2007, 12:57 AM   #6
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Yeah, it depends on what you mean by efficient. If you mean using the least amount of water, OK, sure but ice isn't free. I don't have the hard data, but it's probaby cheaper to run 10 gallons of tap than it is to buy 2 bags of ice.

Actually, while the wort is between 100 to 200F, immersion chillers are really efficient. It's when it falls below 100 that you need some extra cooling to get it all the way to 70 when your tap is warm.

Also, you have to take into consideration the difficulty in sanitizing inside a copper coil. It's not as trivial as an IC.

Finally, siphoning through a coil is pretty slow unless you can get some serious height differential between the kettle and carboy and this can be precarious with 40 pounds of boiling liquid. I mean, these are the same concerns anyone would have with a CFC as well (with no pump that is).

I like the idea of pumping ice water at the tail end of the immersion chiller use over a prechiller because pond pumps are currently cheaper than 25' of copper.

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Old 03-28-2007, 01:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joejoe1881
You don't need a pre-chiller. I really don't understand why people complicate things, just put your copper chiller in a bucket/sink of ice water and run the wort throught the chiller. That's much more efficient than putting it in your wort and running cold water through it, and also more efficient than a CFC.
But that defeats some of the benefits of using an immersion chiller:

Easy sanitation and cold break left in the brew kettle.

That said, I use a CFC, but I'm considering an immersion chiller using the same technique: My tap water gets downright HOT in the summer (water lines in the attic). So, I recirculate my cooling water from an ice bath, through the chiller, and back (using a beverage pump). It takes roughly 30 lbs of ice to chill one 15 gallon batch that way.
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:39 AM   #8
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I actually stand near my kettle and gently "swirl" my IC as its going. The idea being that I'm keeping wort moving over the coils chilling all of the wort. If I did not agitate it I would only be chilling the portions of the wort in direct conctact with my coils. I chill much faster this way than I ever did just immersing the chiller and walking away for a while. Its kind of based on the idea of the whirlpool chiller www.mrmalty.com, but way more ghetto, because then its consistent with the rest of my brew process.

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Old 03-30-2007, 12:34 AM   #9
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I knew these would be the responses. When I talk about efficiency I mean how well the heat exchanger moves heat. If A moves heat better than B you need less cooling, whether it be water or ice. A CFC is much more effective than an IC. The amount of mis-information on brew sites is absurd when it comes to that fact.

First, Yuri stop recirculating. The water coming out of your CFC is going to be nearly as hot as the wort going in. Which means you're using ice to cool anything from 160F to 180F water when you recirculate. How hot is your tap water?, 100F?

I'm not going to teach a course in heat transfer, but what it comes down to is there are three factors in any heat exchanger. Overall heat transfer coefficient, U, Area and temperature gradient, here's how the three systems rank best to worst,

U - CFC, my idea, IC
A - Equal
Delta T - My idea, CFC, IC.

Will my idea use more ice than a pre-chiller? It totally depends on the temperature of the tap water. What I do know is the numbers are going to be close. I ran a test today and cooled 5 gallons of boiling water to 55F in 11 minutes using just tap water, no ice. I couldn't do that with a CFC, and it would take hours with an IC.

The great things is if I move up to 10 gallon batches all I need is a pump, because my chiller is efficient enough to handle the extra 5 gallons, and it's 25ft long.

And to make some counter points, how hard is it to sanitize tubing you use to move beer from carboy to carboy? Or carboy to bottle? Because that's how hard it is to sanitize the inside of the copper. And how expensive is water? Because even if my tap water is 80F all I need is 2 soda bottles of ice, which can easily be put in the freezer.

Like I said, for some reason people just love to complicate things.

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Old 03-30-2007, 12:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joejoe1881
You don't need a pre-chiller. I really don't understand why people complicate things, just put your copper chiller in a bucket/sink of ice water and run the wort throught the chiller. That's much more efficient than putting it in your wort and running cold water through it, and also more efficient than a CFC.

Just keep adding some water as you run to keep the ice water mixed well. All you need is 25ft of 3/8" copper, $25, two compression fittings, $3, two barbed fitting, $2. And for $30 you make something better than anything outside of the plate chillers.
Even with a plate chiller, in some places a pre-chiller is still an absolute requirement. You are only limited to what your ground water temperature is. No matter how hard you try, you'll never be able to chill your wort below your ground water temp.

Here in Virginia, ground water gets into the high 90's. That is too far above pitching temperature to not use a pre-chiller.
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