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Old 06-20-2007, 12:39 PM   #1
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Default Wort Chillers

Hey All,

I'm finally up to dropping some $$ and getting myself a wort chiller. Although there are so many to choose from! For $45, i can get a 20' copper immersion chiller vs. the $75 30' model. They also have 20' and 28' counterflow chillers for $69 and $89 respectively.

The counterflow models are more expensive, do they work more efficiently? Also, between the 20' and 30' models, how much more efficiently will the larger work?

I'm thinking of moving into 10 gallon boils and all-grain soon, so i'm getting ready for the full boils. I found a 60qt pot at a local restaurant wholesaler for $80, so that should make things easier.

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Old 06-20-2007, 01:36 PM   #2
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if your moving to 10 gallon boils I wouldnt buy one of those small little 40 dollar chillers, it still may take a while with one of those but not sure. I would buy the best you can afford if your moving to 10 gallon

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Old 06-20-2007, 02:13 PM   #3
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im new to homebrew, but counterflow heat exchangers (from a thermodynamic perspective) are very, very efficient, and more than likely more than an immersion chiller.

but i don't talk from experience, just sciense

though I can imagine, from a home brewing perspective, counterflow is more difficult to clean.

have you thought about making your own out of copper pipe and fittings from Lowe's?

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Old 06-20-2007, 02:38 PM   #4
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Just an off question, when chilling you can just chill the wort first then add it to the rest of the primary cold water right? I only ask because right now the way I do it is have a huge garbage can with water in my fridge then put my entire primary fermenter in it and let it slowly cool the entire thing. Problem is that I'm always worried about bacteria so I usually leave the top of the primary only barely cracked, this causes it to take about 2 or more housr to cool the entire primary down to around 70 degrees. Can I just put my wort pot in the cold water then add it when it cools to the rest of the primary water? This would allow me to cool the wort much quicker since the wort pot is metal.

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Old 06-20-2007, 02:45 PM   #5
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Yeah, put the brewpot right into an ice bath and leave the lid on. Once it's cool pour it into your primary and top off with water.

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Old 06-20-2007, 03:26 PM   #6
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Maybe a stupid question, but couldn't putting a very hot (i.e. just been boiling for a long time) brewpot directly into an ice bath cause problems for the metal of the brewpot? I'm thinking warping, or something.

Maybe I'm just remembering a long time ago or something, but I could *swear* that you weren't supposed to do that with hot metal pans and such (though, you know, I could be totally off-base). I suppose you could soak the brewpot in warm water until it's not at "Oh my God, this is hot!" levels and than soak it in an ice bath though.

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Old 06-20-2007, 03:40 PM   #7
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No, no problem at all. The thermal mass of a full pot is very high. You're not putting a hot pot into cold water, you're putting 3 gallons of hot wort into cold water and the metal of the pot will always be somewhere between the inside/outside temps.

If you're thinking of cooling 10 gallon batches with an IC, you should be going for a 3/8" x 50 foot or 1/2" x 30+ foot version. If you're patient, you can find great deals for soft copper tubing on Ebay.

On whether an IC or counterflow would be better, it really depends on how often you think you'll do 10 gallons vs. 5. I'd almost always recommend an IC for 5 gallons, but would tend to tip towards CFC for 10+ gallons but CFCs are a bit more work overall.

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Old 06-20-2007, 06:11 PM   #8
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Also, the heat of boiled wort is not at all hot for a metal pot (not even an anneal for Al, not to mention SS). You don't get problems with warping until well above the temperatures you're looking at.

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Old 06-20-2007, 07:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gman
Maybe a stupid question, but couldn't putting a very hot (i.e. just been boiling for a long time) brewpot directly into an ice bath cause problems for the metal of the brewpot? I'm thinking warping, or something.

Maybe I'm just remembering a long time ago or something, but I could *swear* that you weren't supposed to do that with hot metal pans and such (though, you know, I could be totally off-base). I suppose you could soak the brewpot in warm water until it's not at "Oh my God, this is hot!" levels and than soak it in an ice bath though.
IIRC you can damage a cast iron skillet if you put it into cold water when it's hot.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:14 PM   #10
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I think that's what I was thinking of then. Cast iron, though, you can get to ridiculous temperatures on a stove.

Thanks for the advice, and I didn't really mean to threadjack.

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