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Old 11-09-2012, 01:52 PM   #1
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Default Concept for a Wort Chiller. Help me think about this.

I had an idea for a wort chiller semi inspired by a Jockey box setup. My Idea is to coil 50 ft of high temp tubing in a bottling bucket and pour ice around the tube. After boiling is compeleted, hook up one end of the tube to the top and have the other end come out of the spigot into your carboy. I know you have to use ice water with jockey boxes because beer stays in the lines but i was thinking with this setup ice would be ok since the wort would be free flowing the whole time. this is a gravity feed concept so you would need your brew pot on a counter or bench, chiller bucket on a chair or stool, then the fermenter on the floor.

Any thoughts on this?

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:05 PM   #2
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To increase contact area of ice to the tubing, I would add water. To chill the ice water further you could add rock salt to the slurry - like in home made ice cream. Either way so long as wort is draining from the bottom of the chiller I think you'd be ok.

What type of tubing will you use? I think copper would be perfect for this.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:10 PM   #3
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The problem is that it's going to require about 40 pounds of ice for a 5 gallon batch and unless you work somewhere with an industrial icemaker, it's not going to be cheap. You'll want to be stirring the icewater the whole time you are draining.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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You definately need copper tubing as any plastic wont get you the heat exchange you would need.

You also will need alot of ice to keep adding to the water... Its doable but after buying a roll of copper an extra cooler and all that ice you might as well buy/make an immersion chiller

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:13 PM   #5
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Sounds a lot like distilling

It might take some trial and error giving or taking a few feet of hose but it could work.

Be careful that the beer doesn't start to freeze in the lines tho

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:20 PM   #6
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I have an immresion chiller already, and I was going to try some plastic tubing to see if it works because its not a huge investment. +1 on the water and rock salt for contact, i didnt think of that. i think if i can space out the hose enough throughout the bucket and can control the flow into the fermenter with a spigot or hose clamp, this could work well. the cost of the ice is secondary to the convienence of this method if it works. I am thinking about time value here.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:22 PM   #7
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I will try this in a couple of weeks and post my resutls. I have a few kinks to work out in the process but i will share what I find.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:28 PM   #8
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It's not going to work with plastic hose. The fastest way to make this work is to put a pond pump in a bin of icewater and pump it through your immersion chiller.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
It's not going to work with plastic hose. The fastest way to make this work is to put a pond pump in a bin of icewater and pump it through your immersion chiller.
I had thought about this too. I think I might table my ice bucket idea until I do a little more primary research. I really want this to work with plastic tubing though for cost savings. Maybe im delusional
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
The problem is that it's going to require about 40 pounds of ice for a 5 gallon batch and unless you work somewhere with an industrial icemaker, it's not going to be cheap. You'll want to be stirring the icewater the whole time you are draining.

Bobby_M is correct, and since ice usually isnt free, how do you figure how much ice you need? The easy way is, figure 8 lbs if ice per gallon of wort to get from 212f to 70f or less, this is very close. Another way is, ice takes 144 btus of heat input to melt, then 1 btu per pound to raise the temp each 1 degree F. One gallon of water weights 8.33 lbs, so to cool 5 gallons of wort it (roughly) takes: 5 gallons x 8.33 x1.040 (the average sg of your wort) x (T1-T2) (the current temp minus the desired temp) x sh (specific heat, 1 for water) of heat output from the wort, to get it cooled to yeast pitching temp. The specific heat of sugar water is probly gonna be different than water, which is 1, but the basic equation works the same. Still have to get the sg in, because btus needed is in pounds, gotta convert gallons of wort to lbs. Anyway, figure your wort at 212, you want it to 70 to pitch yeast, this is 142 temp difference. Say, 5x8.33x1.040x1x142=6150.9 Btu to get rid of. In theory, once all the ice was melted, you would have 32 water in your chiller, and 70 wort. This means you could get away with a bit less than 40 lbs ice. Ice at 32 has 144 btu per pound, plus another 38 btu that will be used when the water raises temp from 32 to 70. The amount of ice to get a lb of wort from 212 to 70 would be 6150.9/(142+38), about 34 lbs. Factor in inefficiencies, ice melting from heat absorbed from atmosphere or vessel walls, faster cooling when the coolant and wort temps are further apart, or if you want your pitching temp less than 70, and about 8 lbs ice per gallon works pretty well. Also, ice comes in 8 lb bags around here usually.
Copper vs plastic: with copper it would be alot faster than with plastic because copper has alot better thermal conductivity. Plastic would eventually work, but with its lower ability to transfer heat, it would take alot longer, if lengths were the same. You could use way longer tubing, but it could become a hassle. Copper also has a lower specific heat than plastic, about .09, so it takes less heat from the wort to raise the temp of the copper, to transfer to the ice, than it does from plastic, with a sh from .2 to .6 ish, depending on what the plastic is. Also, the thickness of the coil tubing is a factor as well. Copper being thinner is another plus. If you want it fast and are willing to spend money on 40lbs of ice, I would suggest also spending money on a copper coil.
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