Get your HBT Growlers, Shirts and Membership before the Rush!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Chillers and Stir Plates > Electric HERMS Custom Immersion Chiller Build
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 08-24-2014, 12:01 AM   #1
CrowbarKarl
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
CrowbarKarl's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Jupiter, FL
Posts: 53
Likes Given: 1

Default Electric HERMS Custom Immersion Chiller Build

I'm going to preface this post by saying that I own a Blichmann Therminator counterflow chiller for a few years, and I've been happy with it. I recently built a new HERMS system with the goal of ditching propane (cost of gas and tired of storing multiple tanks) and getting rid of many threaded fittings as possible, which lead me to use Stout Tanks for my kettles.

Now onto my reasons to switching to immersion chiller.

1. First and foremost, cleaning the plate chiller is a bit of a hassle and more time consuming than an immersion chiller. The backflushing with PBW and then with equal temp. clean water adds more time and water usage. Also, I toss it in the oven to "dry" and bake any remaining crud. I still don't know if I'm getting all coldbreak and debris out.
2. I use a SS hop basket to keep hops out of the plate chiller and that just adds to another piece of cleaning. I also feel it kills my utilization a bit, all-be-it a small amount. I don't want late addition or whirlpool hops to sit in near boiling water while waiting to be put through the counterflow chiller.
3. My stout tank has a tangential port that is to be used to whirlpool and collect break, hops, etc. in the middle of the domed/concave bottom. There is no dip tube so a gallon or two of break hops etc. are left behind.
4. I do 10 gallon batches and store in two separate 6.5 gallon carboys. I live in Florida that has hot ground water. So my HLT becomes my cold liquor tank by adding ice and roughly 15 gallons of water (refilled once) and is pumped the opposite direction of the counterflow chiller. It becomes a balancing act with discharge valves on the pump, between balancing flow of wort and flow of cold ice water. If I don't watch the temp, one carboy could be warmer than the other which results in different fermentation temps, at least early on during fermentation. With an immersion chiller, all wort will be the same temp.
5. Ok. I could probably go on but just read Jamil's article.
http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

So, in short.

Pros
-No need to use the hop basket (hop utilization and another piece to clean)
-No need to clean or back-flow the counter flow chiller (time)
-No need to clean the inside of the immersion chiller, rinse and put away.
-No need to clean the hop basket (time)
-All wort is the same temperature
-Can leave cold break behind and aid in a reduction of DMS (read the article above)
-In reading, it should help retain hop oils and aroma of late hop additions since you are chilling everything at once vs. near boiling wort waiting to be chilled by the CFC.

Cons
-Damn more money.
-Not sure how well my idea will work (ground water temp is the X factor)
-Just another piece of equipment
-It will more than likely take a few more minutes to chill than it normally would.
-There is time involved in waiting for hops and cold break to settle in the middle

Onto the chiller. I loved the concept behind Jaded Hydra chiller. I love the fact that they used three shorter runs of copper fed simultaneously from one cold water source to chill wort vs. one long coil. Visit jadedbrewing.com that shows their chiller comparisons. FYI - They have great customer service, replying to my emails and saying the would make a stand to sit it off the bottom.

However, my dilemma was that I didn't like the chiller resting on my heating element, which roughly sits about 5 inches off the deepest part of the domed bottom. This would make the bottom of the immersion chiller roughly 5.5 inches off the bottom. This makes a lot of underutilized space in the few cases where I do a high OG beer that requires a large grain bill and 5 gallon batch size. With the chiller sitting at this height, there will be some coils not sitting in the wort or not utilized.

So I went ahead and designed my own custom immersion chiller. It uses 3/8 x 50' tubing "rib-cage" design that you can find on the forums here. It then uses two - 3/8 x 20' custom made triangles that each point roughly touches the same elevation on the domed bottom to make it level and not want to fall down the slope to the middle. I also made a custom coupling by taking a 1/2 x 3/4 copper coupling and hammering the 3/4 side around 3/8 diameter rod that was used to solder all 3 inlet and 3 outlet 3/8s tubes together. You could just make a little header with copper tees or what not, which will be quicker and less frustrating. However, I like all 3 tubes fed with water at the same time and it looks cleaner. Doing the custom coupling like I made requires patience to shape and requires a lot of flux and solder to keep it from leaking (I did pressure test it). I also soldered it upside down, with the coils up in the air and the 1/2 hard pipe (type m) touching the ground. When soldering the 3/4 side of the coupling, I didn't want solder flowing into my 3/8 tubes. I would say the total coils add up to about 85' after chopping a few small bits of 3/8 tube off.

You will also see below my rig to weave 14 gauge bare copper wire to help separate each coil. It took a few seconds to make the rig, but I think it works better and looks nicer than trying to weave, twist, bend, etc. copper wire between each tube to separate. I tried doing that and didn't like the separation, took too long to weave, and I felt like it could hide hop debris the more twists I had in it.

My plan is to test this in the next few weeks. I have an old immersion chiller that will be sitting in cold ice water that will be used as a pre-chiller due to my ground water temp. I'm hoping it will work well and that the ribcage design with copper spread-out throughout the vessel. I plan on using my pumps in series, pump from the vessel to the second pump, and back into the tangential port. The faster I can get wort moving around the copper coils, the quicker it will cool. It is roughly 12.5 inches to the top of the coils. If I feel that is too tall, I can compress the coil gaps slightly.

Anywho, I went on for too long. See pics below.
Cheers!
Karl

img_4364.jpg   img_4370.jpg   img_4374.jpg   img_4385.jpg   img_4387.jpg  

img_4388.jpg   img_4421.jpg   img_4426.jpg   img_4430.jpg   img_4431.jpg  

__________________
CrowbarKarl is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2014, 11:40 PM   #2
Stealthcruiser
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Atlanta, (Hampton)., Georgia
Posts: 1,748
Liked 159 Times on 142 Posts
Likes Given: 2421

Default

That's one hell of a "ribcage" there, Brother!

__________________

Corned Beef............The other pink meat.

Stealthcruiser is offline
CrowbarKarl Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-27-2014, 02:46 AM   #3
CrowbarKarl
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
CrowbarKarl's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Jupiter, FL
Posts: 53
Likes Given: 1

Default

Ha! Thanks. Let's just hope it works and chills like I think it should. The triple feed tubing I hope pays off. I'm hoping to test it soon.



Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew

__________________
CrowbarKarl is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-27-2014, 10:38 PM   #4
FuriousE
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 175
Liked 14 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 11

Default

Very nice!! Where did you source the hose connectors? I made one very similar in principal to this one (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/jade...-build-478756/) and it will chill from boil to under 70 in less than 5 minutes for a 5 gallon batch. However, I'm just using tubing that I hose clamped to the end, and sometimes when I put my chiller in the boil, one end will come loose. I'd like to solder on some garden hose fittings, but I am not sure where to get them.

__________________
FuriousE is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-27-2014, 11:11 PM   #5
CrowbarKarl
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
CrowbarKarl's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Jupiter, FL
Posts: 53
Likes Given: 1

Default

I soldered a fitting that is 1/2 (soldered)x 3/4 male pipe thread. Then I bought a 3/4 female pipe thread x hose brass fitting. Note one brass fitting is female hose and the other is male. You can get all this at your big box stores. I got mine at Home Depot in the plumbing section.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew

__________________
CrowbarKarl is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2014, 03:05 AM   #6
FuriousE
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 175
Liked 14 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 11

Default

Cool - I will check it out. Thanks for the info!!

__________________
FuriousE is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-30-2014, 04:50 PM   #7
CrowbarKarl
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
CrowbarKarl's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Jupiter, FL
Posts: 53
Likes Given: 1

Default

Well, I ran my first test with the immersion chiller, and I call the results a "mix bag". Ultimately, I think Florida is just too hot to use an immersion chiller without wasting a ton of water.

Anyway, I used a 50' 5/8 garden hose connected directly to my immersion chiller. I put a valve on the hose right before the immersion chiller so I could shut it off and switch it to the pre-chiller (1/2 x 25' immersion chiller) that was in a bucket with a little bit of water and 2 bags of ice. I ran my pumps in series and back to the BK to help create a whirlpool and get as much water moving as possible.

*13.5 gallons of water and started chilling
*Ground water 83 degrees
*Water out of pre-chiller was only 81 degrees unless you agitate it. I'm not sure what the temp was when i agitated the ice bath, but it was colder

TIME TEMP (temp when started chilling was 197)
1 175
2 149
5 118
7 107 (switched to pre-chiller and took about 3 minutes)
13 96
17 89
20 82
21 81 (ice in pre-chiller was completely melted, stopped)

I used about 70 - 75 gallons of water (a bit of a waste in my opinion)

My take away:
-Wort needs to be moving a lot or agitated with wort chiller and will chill much faster
-Pre-chiller in ice bath doesn't really do much unless you agitate it as well
-I might use it till it gets down to about 100 degrees and throw them in the carboys and chill down to pitching temps.

I might try this again but use ice water directly into the immersion chiller when it gets down to about 100 degrees using regular city water. If you live in an area where the ground water gets down to about 60, I think this would work great!

__________________
CrowbarKarl is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pennsylvania Custom made 50' immersion wort chiller ziggy13 For Sale 24 02-11-2014 07:32 AM
converting immersion chiller to herms mike11b82 All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 0 06-27-2013 12:37 PM
For Sale - WTB: Immersion Chiller / HERMS Coil forcabrew For Sale 16 02-16-2012 08:40 PM
For Sale - Custom Whirlpool Immersion Chiller cscade For Sale 7 01-29-2012 12:43 PM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS