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Old 08-20-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
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Default One big IC or one med. IC + one pre-chiller?

So I'm planning on building an IC, probably this weekend. I just called a bunch of plumbing supply stores around here and the best price I could get was $33 for a 50-ft roll of 3/8" tubing. Woot!

Anyway, my question is this: since I'll have 50 ft. of tubing, would it be better to make one big-ass IC, or to make one medium-sized IC and use the rest of the tubing to make a pre-chiller? I was thinking something like 35' for the IC and 15' for the pre-chiller. If I made a 50' IC, I'm imagining that I'd also probably have to buy a pump and pump ice water through it, since my tap water usually doesn't get much colder than 65* or so.

Oh, I brew on the stovetop right now, and that's probably not going to change for a while, so I don't really need to make anything that will prepare me for 10 gallon batches, a keggle, etc., in the near future. Pretty much 5 gallon batches in my 32 quart pot.

What do people think?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 08-20-2009, 10:28 PM   #2
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I think the IC + pre chiller idea sounds good. 50' of 3/8" might not be completely submerged by the time your are done boiling. At any rate, you can coil it all up and check the height before you need to decide. Adding pre chilled water to the IC makes a BIG difference after the initial cooling with tap water.

If you are feeling really crazy, move up a size on the diameter and get some more surface area. I made one from 5/8 OD that chills 5.5 gallons in about 8 minutes with a couple of stirs. Time is money.

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Old 08-20-2009, 10:33 PM   #3
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5/8od is going to cost about 2-3x as much.

a 50foot coil of 3/8 wrapped arround a corny keg is going to be arround 14-16 inches tall.

If your boil volume isn't that tall, you can concider a prechiller. the other popular thing to do is get a pond pump, and fill a bucket with ice water. once your IC gets you below 100, attach the IC to the pond pump and pump freezing water through it. a big bag of ice + a bucket of water works great, and you can add more water when it gets loa (assuming all the ice has not melted.

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Old 08-21-2009, 11:56 AM   #4
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Simple is good (fast is better). If you don't want to build a keg/carboy washer, the pump will be another single purpose piece of gear...unless you also have a pond. My goal with chilling is cool as quickly as possible without complicating the process = big chiller with no pump or pre chiller. You have to have reasonably cool ground water for this to work. For me, 66F water = 68 pitch. No muss, no fuss.

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Old 08-21-2009, 04:22 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'm kind of trying to avoid having to also buy a march/pond pump if I don't have to, since I generally like to keep things simple and efficient too. But 50 ft. of chiller might be overkill, too, if it ends up sticking out of the wort. And 5/8 tubing seems like it'd be a PITA to bend, no (as well as being way more expensive)?

My newest thought is to try to make a modified rib-cage style chiller. I really like the idea that more surface area of the tubing will be in contact with the wort, but I'm thinking that I might make the coils a little narrower so there's still room to stir. Maybe I can just coil up the 50ft, see how much sticks out of 5 gallons of H2O, then cut off what's above that and use it as a pre-chiller?

Or, if I want to really revive some old brain cells, I can try to whip up some calculations to see just how much tubing I could fit in to 5 gallons of wort before it sticks out. Hmmmm...

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Old 08-21-2009, 06:07 PM   #6
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I was ready to do the ribcage design, but at the last minute I changed my mind and returned to the standard coil design. I went with 35' of 3/8" tubing, added 15' as a pre-chiller, and just used a galvanized bucket (think bobbing for apples, more a tub than a bucket) with several iced apple juice bottles opened to the cold water. If you're staying near the kettle, a few stirs in the middle of the coil works wonders, something you can't easily do with the ribcage design. I used my kids' Lincoln Logs tub to wind around; wifey gave me some crazy looks.

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Old 08-21-2009, 07:42 PM   #7
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Yeah, I might chicken out too. The beauty of the rib-cage design is that there's more surface contact between tubing and wort than there is on a chiller whose coils are pressed on top of one another. But I guess one could achieve the same thing with a standard design by adding a little bit of space between each layer of coil. And you're right, it does give you much more room to stir, which should help tremendously.

torque2K, are you happy with having split it up 35'/15'? Anything you'd do differently? How long does it take you to get to pitching temps?

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Old 08-21-2009, 07:53 PM   #8
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I just finished my 50' 1/2" IC build last night complete with sweat fittings! I used my 5 gallon pot as the form, it is about 12" in diameterand about 12" tall. It is for a 60qt pot from morebeer. It is setup for 5 gal batches, but I can easily shorten up the out riser and stretch the coils when I attempt my first 10 gallon batch.

I live in AZ and I know that I will have to recirculate ice-water in the warmer months (all 12 ), I would say make 1 coil, and then upgrade to the pre-chiller if it is necessary. 65 degree water is pretty good.

My water is easily upwards of 100 in the summer (no sh!tting). I plan to use my IC for a while, and if I decide to go CFC or plate chiller in the future, I can use it as a pre-chiller.

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Old 08-21-2009, 09:03 PM   #9
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I'm glad I went with an IC and a pre. My groundwater here in MD is topping out near 80* at the moment. What is your water temp like during the warm season (if SF even has one)...

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Old 08-21-2009, 09:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palefire View Post
torque2K, are you happy with having split it up 35'/15'? Anything you'd do differently? How long does it take you to get to pitching temps?
It took me about 25 minutes, but that was before I CHILLED the water in the tub with the pre-chiller. Once I figured out that I would be best off babying the cooling, I just opened the caps on the ice-filled containers and swished water into and out of them, and the temps really came down fast after that. I'd say I could get it down to 70 in under 20 minutes, now that I know to do that.

BTW, I'm doing full boils for 6 gallons in a 40qt. aluminum stockpot from Johnson-Rose (I believe it's 4mm thick), in case that helps.
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