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Old 03-02-2013, 01:02 AM   #1
plumber8302
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Default Wort Chiller Question

Hey everyone! First, thanks for all the responses to all my questions up to this point! I am brewing my first batch tomorrow and have one more question. (At least for now!)

I am working right now on making my immersion wort chiller. I have a 50' piece of 3/8" copper and I formed it to make sure it fits inside my 5 gallon brew pot. My question is, How long does it really need to be? I coiled the entire 50' and it seems to hang out of the pot quite a bit. Can I cut it down and it still be effective? I dont want to risk having my wort touch the copper that is not being sanitized in the boiling brew pot.

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Old 03-02-2013, 01:37 AM   #2
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Are we talkin about just a coil or two sticking up out of the wort or a whole bunch?

For just a couple coils, I would think that, if you have the rest of it in the wort for the last 15 minutes of the boil, the copper will conduct heat well enough to kill any creepy crawlies living on it.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:40 AM   #3
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With a 5 gal brew pot you really only need about 25' of copper tubing. I would cut down the tubing to where you need it and you should be fine.

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Old 03-02-2013, 01:54 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. It is actually quite a bit of coils sticking out. So, if I take 20' or so off, it will still cool the wort efficiently?

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Old 03-02-2013, 01:58 AM   #5
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Yes, but I always sanitize my whole chiller, just to be safe.

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Old 03-02-2013, 02:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for the reply! How do you sanitize yours? Will just spraying it with Star San be enough or do I need to immerse it in the Star San?

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Old 03-02-2013, 04:08 AM   #7
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I keep a 5 gallon bucket of sanitizer around. Anything that needs sanitizing, into the bucket it goes. I would immerse it and not spray it.

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Old 03-02-2013, 04:12 AM   #8
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The more copper you can get below the wort level the better. Look into recirculating the wort while chilling. This can be through a pump or just by stirring. That will drop the temp much faster.

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Old 03-02-2013, 04:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plumber8302 View Post
Hey everyone! First, thanks for all the responses to all my questions up to this point! I am brewing my first batch tomorrow and have one more question. (At least for now!)

I am working right now on making my immersion wort chiller. I have a 50' piece of 3/8" copper and I formed it to make sure it fits inside my 5 gallon brew pot. My question is, How long does it really need to be? I coiled the entire 50' and it seems to hang out of the pot quite a bit. Can I cut it down and it still be effective? I dont want to risk having my wort touch the copper that is not being sanitized in the boiling brew pot.
Wow, you must be excited! I can barely wait to even order equipment, lol.

Honestly, I think that if you put the chiller in early enough, the copper that is well above the wort level will be sanitized from how hot it will be. But I guess you can sanitize the whole darn thing, that would do it.

If you already have way too much copper, I think by removing excess you actually would increase your efficiency, if barely. Well the real reason I'm posting is that if you do have a lot of extra, then make a second chiller with it! Run that inline into a tub of ice water before it runs through more hose into your brew kettle. This may be overkill right now, but on a hot summer day, this might knock down your water usage and wait time in a very big way. The water getting to the final chiller will be so much colder.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_Five View Post

If you already have way too much copper, I think by removing excess you actually would increase your efficiency, if barely. Well the real reason I'm posting is that if you do have a lot of extra, then make a second chiller with it! Run that inline into a tub of ice water before it runs through more hose into your brew kettle. This may be overkill right now, but on a hot summer day, this might knock down your water usage and wait time in a very big way. The water getting to the final chiller will be so much colder.
That's a fine idea. Use that excess 20' of copper to make a pre-chiller.

As far as sanitizing the chiller, I dare say that immersed 15 minutes in a pot of boiling wort will do the job quite nicely.

Swirling while cooling makes a big difference. I swirl opposite the flow of the chiller with a sanitized (in Star-San) plastic spoon every minute or two. I have a Brewmometer on the kettle, so I can see the temp drops that occur with each swirl.

I took a different approach on the chiller tubing and used 22' of 1/2" ID copper tubing with 90* and 45* slip joints attached to copper hard pipe for the straight bits and garden hose connections. That size tubing is a little harder to shape. Instead of trying to wrap it around a keg, I shaped by working it down alongside the walls of a 5-gallon plastic bucket. That worked well.



My mechanical engineer son advised me that, in an open thermal transfer system, flow rate is an important factor. Well, this one flows quite a lot more hose water than the 3/8" chillers that use vinyl tubing.
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