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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Submersible pump and wort chiller
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
ScottG58
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Default Submersible pump and wort chiller

The latest issue of BYO suggests setting a submersible pump in ice water and cycling it through your chiller. In light of Jamil's suggestion to chill wort to six degrees below fermentation temperature before pitching and my want to keep experimenting with lagers, this sounds interesting. (It also sounds like a potential new brew toy). Does anyone do this? If so, what size pump, what length of hoses? Can you describe your procedure? Did anyone try it and find that they were unhappy with the results?

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Old 01-31-2013, 08:35 PM   #2
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I use this technique when I brew lagers. I have a real old fermenting bucket (so old it didn't have a wire handle originally), and an old pond pump I had laying around. My wort chiller has garden hose attachments on it, so I use old washing machine hoses to connect the pump to the chiller and from the chiller back to the bucket to recirculate. To save money on ice, I chill the beer down with my normal method at first. Once the wort has reached the mid 70s I switch over to the bucket/pump. Works great. The return hose is shoved into a frozen gallon milk jug in the picture.

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:05 PM   #3
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I have a new water saving system that uses a submersible pump. I have a 55 gal barrel with a submersible Little Giant pump. It pumps water from the barrel through a pre-chiller and then through an immersion chiller before getting pumped back into the barrel. I cooled 2 six gallon batches in succession from boiling to 50 degrees and the water temp went from 48 to 82 degrees. It only took a couple of quart sized blocks of ice in the pre-chiller bucket. It took close to an hour, because the pump is undersized and could barely put out 1 gpm. I'm going to upgrade the pump and I think it will work great. In colorado the hottest month is July with an average temp of 70, so I think the system should work year round. I put a water trough de-icer in the keep it from freezing in the winter.

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:22 PM   #4
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Ok my summer setup is below before I moved it to an old cooler. I say Summer since I have high ground water temps. Theses high temps were what led me to use this convoluted setup below before moving to a submersible fountain/pond pump from Harbor Freight.

It consisted of my old 1/4" extract days immersion chiller feed by my garden hose prior to entering my Chillhog Super 20 Plate Chiller and the output from the chiller went into a bucket with PBW to clean up the brew gear. The wort entered the plate chiller from the pump and then went through the short coil (3/8") setup as a post chiller before going into the carboy. All of this was submerged in ice water in that tub. It was a real pain and I could only get temps into the upper 60's into the carboy during the summer even with the output of the wort throttled way down.



After messing with this crap for a few brews I got the submersible pump and recirculate ice water through the plate chiller only. I gave the old immersion chiller to a friend and keep the small post chiller coil on a shelf in case of some issue with the plate chiller. I go through 10+lbs of ice on a brew day but I can easily get output temps in the 50's straight out of the kettle at flameout. Now I can have my Plate chiller mounted to the brew stand and just sit the cooler of ice with the pump in it on the ground next to it. Could not be easier.

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Old 02-01-2013, 03:37 AM   #5
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Thanks to those who responded. It'll be a couple of weeks before I can brew. I will try to set something up then. Was going to do a dunkel. I had a schwartzbier at Confluence Brewing tonight. My next beer may be a schwartzbier. Absolutely delicious.

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