This is actually the first chiller in my arsenal. After about 2 years of brewing 5gal batches using just an icebath to cool, I have just upgraded to a 15gallon kettle and lifting that into a tub of ice was no longer going to work.
After a whole lot of research here on HBT I settled on the ease of a CFC. While plenty of people here use 3/8" Copper with 15gallon batches, I have some plans/dreams to go up to 30-40gallon batches & the flowrate a 3/8" tubing provides probably wasnt to cut it. Im sure this seems overkill to some of you, but I am happy with the results, and it should serve the purpose of chilling beer
Special thanks to Zach @ StainlessBrewing for helping me with my parts list!
I tried to do everything with the few tools I had, so there is no welding, no grinding, no pipe cutting. If you have these tools, you could probably get away with making something similar for cheaper, but here goes:
Costs so far:
Managed to find a piping distributor for most of the parts, I believe the website may be going online here in near future.
25' of 1/2" 304SS Tubing: $27.50
(2) 1/2" SS Bore Through Compression Fitting: $26.24
(2) 1/2" SS Regular Compression Fitting: $29.00
(2) 3/4" SS Tee: $7.60
(1) 3/4" x 3" SS Nipple - - Cut in Half: $3.44
(2) 3/4" x 1/2" SS Hex Bushing: $3.50
(2) 3/4" Brass MPT to 3/4" Garden Hose $3.75
(1) 1/2" SS Tee: $2.40
Shipping on all this: $16.70
(2) 1.25" Hose Clamps $1.25
25' of 1" I.D. Heater core hose from Advanced Auto: $39.11
Parts I still need to add (what is missing):
1 Type A Camlock 3.70
1 Type F Camlock 3.99
1 Female Garden Hose Adapter $6.00
8 1/2" ID Silicone O rings (to use instead of SS ferrules) $1.60
1 1/2NPT Thermometer with 2.5" Stem $24
Project Total ~$200.
The picture below has all the hardware laid out.
Usually people here on HBT struggle with bending their SS Tubing, I was "lucky" enough to find a manufacturer that would bend the tube down for me. I say lucky because once stainless is already bent, it makes threading the hose around the stainless a slow & painful process. Using oxyclean water & vasoline, I slid about 4 inches of hose onto the tubing at a time. Once I got a couple rings on, the hose had to be "spooled" or slack had to be built up on the first three coils in order to then un-spool or pull out the slack to continue dragging the tubing down the pipe.
Notice the smaller or tighter 4th ring and the slack in the upper 3 rings here:
If you cant tell from the pictures, the outer hose is then attached to a 3/4" Pipe nipple which has been cut in half. It looks like one of these, only 3/4"
I used this method rather than an actual barbed fitting as a 3/4" barbed fitting actually has an inner diameter closer to 1/2". I didn't want to bottle neck my outer flowrate here, so I went with the nipple. The tee with nipple attached is then slid through the SS tubing and hose clamped to the rubber hosing at each end.
Now that I am past the bottle neck I can reduce down to 1/2" threads and a 1/2" Bored Through Compression fitting is then slid on the tubing that attaches to the tee. It has to be a bored through fitting as a regular compression fitting is made to only slide onto tubing so far before stopping.
I use this Bore Through Compression fitting to effectively seal the cooling water from coming out the wrong part of the tee.
*WARNING* the slightest bends down the length of the tubing will make sliding compression fittings down them tough.
Notice the bends:
I had to use alot of force & a plumbers wrench to push/twist the compression fitting down to where the tee sits. My tubing ended up looking a little rough by the end:
A second regular compression fitting is then added to the end to attach a camlock, or in my case (on one end) a 1/2" Tee which will allow me to attach a thermometer to measure the temp of the wort going into the fermentor. Currently the 1/2" tee is hanging out there a little further than I'd like, but until i find someone to cut a few inches off the end, it will remain like this.
This is the WORT IN (water out) Side with a nice/small spacing between compression fittings:
You may ask why I didnt just buy a chillzilla or chillus convolutus at this price. Well, for one I didnt realize it was going to cost quite so much. But secondly there actually is no CFC I know of that is Stainless Steel, unless you consider a plate chiller, but thats a whole different animal.
Keep in mind, the camlocks, & thermometer add on would also need to be added to a chillzilla Also my chiller is 25' as compared to ~12. The disadvantage of full flow through 1/2" tubing is the amount of contact time with the chiller, Im assuming by doubling the length I have doubled the contact time.
Overall In hindsight, I would have gone with the chillzilla considering the following:
1) Dont slide so well on bent tubing = wrestling with SS on your day off
2) $$Expensive = would have been vastly cheaper to use copper tubing & regular sweat fittings, BobbyM did a great job on the wiki, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/How_to_make_a_Counter_Flow_Chiller
Im sure this could be easily adapted for 1/2" Tubing & 3/4" Fittings/Tees
Heater Core Hose:
1) Black rubber seems to rubs off on your hands = kinda worried about the life of this stuff.
2) not rigid = sides of SS may be in contact with parts of tubing not allowing ideal cross section
3) Its not food grade = using the water going through the outer jacket should not be used for cleaning, or brewing a second batch.
Thanks for all the DIY Chiller threads here on HBT. It helped me decide the type, size & material for this whole build!
[Finished Photo to come]
Hope this was educational. I will post the results when I get to brewing with the beast. I am hoping for a full 1/2" flowrate of wort into the fermenter. Although I still have a few modifications to make to my 1/2" silicone transfer hoses in order to make the whole flow 1/2" bore