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Old 02-17-2012, 10:20 PM   #1
cmduchaine
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Default Is 20' of tubing enough for an Immersion Wort Chiller?

I want to build an Immersion Wort Chiller out of copper tubing for as little cash as possible. The cheapest place to buy copper tubing (Home Depot) only sells it in coils of 20' or 50'. I'd prefer not to spring for the 50', and all the Chillers I have seen are made from 25' or more. I'm wondering if 20' will cut it. I brew 3 gallon batches and add them to another 2 gals of water in the fermenter.

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Old 02-17-2012, 10:27 PM   #2
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20' in 3 gallons of wort should be fine. I started with 20' in 5 gallon batches (wort) but graduated to 40' (added another 20') when I started making 10 gallon batches.

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Old 02-17-2012, 11:11 PM   #3
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Save the money until you can afford 50' coil. keep an eye on ebay- i saved about 15$ even after shipping by ebaying the copper. make sure you look for cleaned and capped copper tubing.

the 20' will work, yes, but a 50' will work MUCH better and will allow you room to grow. technically, you can extend your 20' section through the use of compression fittings, but there will be SIGNIFICANT hassle in doing that. You'll be much happier if you wait until you can afford the 50' coil and don't have to swap out later.

you'll get a colder chill now as well and as a result will precipitate out more break material.

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Old 02-18-2012, 04:18 AM   #4
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The op is boiling a mere three gallons. I suspect it would be pretty difficult coming up with an IC design using 50' of tubing that would even fit in such a small vessel.

20' will work for three gallons if the water supply is cold enough. If the op graduates to bigger batches he can spring for another 20' and grow his coil to fit the bigger vessel. Going straight to 50' would be massive overkill even if he could fit all that copper in his kettle...

Cheers!

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Old 02-18-2012, 04:24 AM   #5
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20 feet is enough, but 25 or 50 is better. The difference you will see with the various lengths is the amount of time it takes to go from boiling to pitching temp. The faster you can cool your wort to pitching temp the better. The cold break will be more pronounced and your beer will be less cloudy. You also expose your wort for less time to possible infections from stuff just floating around in the air like pollen. So a 20 footer will do, but 25 and 50 are much faster and if you ever decide to do a 10 or more gallon batch your time will suffer considerably. Have fun!!!
Bob

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Old 02-18-2012, 04:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day_trippr View Post
The op is boiling a mere three gallons. I suspect it would be pretty difficult coming up with an IC design using 50' of tubing that would even fit in such a small vessel.

20' will work for three gallons if the water supply is cold enough. If the op graduates to bigger batches he can spring for another 20' and grow his coil to fit the bigger vessel. Going straight to 50' would be massive overkill even if he could fit all that copper in his kettle...

Cheers!
He probably uses a 20qt pot - it's what most LHBS will sell to starting brewers; it's what I use myself. I boil 3 gallons wort and actually end up having to top off with 3 gallons to the fermenter. My 50' coil fits fine.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:04 AM   #7
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I vote wait for 50. I just upgraded from 25 to 50 for 5 gallon batches and notice a huge difference.

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Old 02-18-2012, 06:03 AM   #8
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I normally do five gallon batches and use a 20 foot IC. Works very well. But I do agree that if it fits into to pot 50 feet would be better. Especially if there is a chance that you will be doing 10 gal or more in the future. Always look towards the future and you only have to buy it once.

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Old 02-18-2012, 06:27 AM   #9
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I have a 50ft stainless immersion chiller (which i love cause it doesnt get nasty like copper), but if i was still brewing 3g and topping off at the fermenter (which i used to), I would recommend a turkey fryer first... for some reason I think brewing the whole volume is more important than cooling it super fast... you may lose clarity, but the taste might be better... you can get a 7.5g turkey fryer on sale cheap at several stores... it will take over an hour to cool for sure without immersion chiller... so this will add waiting time :-(

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Old 02-18-2012, 08:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjsnau View Post
I vote wait for 50. I just upgraded from 25 to 50 for 5 gallon batches and notice a huge difference.
Do you have a time figure in difference or estimate? i'm looking to save water as 20 minutes of running water adds up to both a waste and a mess
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