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Old 06-24-2009, 12:10 AM   #1
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Default Crazy prechiller idea

O.k., so what do you guys think about this:

I would like to use an old 25' x 1/4" immersion chiller and a 1 gallon cooler to chill my hose water prior to entering the CFC.




Now could I put this coil in the cooler with disconnects, fill the cooler with cheap vodka, seal it off with epoxy, put it in the freezer, and pull it out to use it on brew days? The (cheap) vodka would not expand since it is not freezing. I could hook up a hose to the input and output and there's my prechiller...Right?

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Old 06-24-2009, 12:44 AM   #2
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It would probably be more effective as a post chiller.

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Old 06-24-2009, 04:21 AM   #3
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The cooler is much too small and so is the tiny 1/4" tubing. The cooler won't hold enough ice water and the flow rate through the tubing will be too slow.

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Old 06-24-2009, 10:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
The cooler is much too small and so is the tiny 1/4" tubing. The cooler won't hold enough ice water and the flow rate through the tubing will be too slow.
But this would run the water in which I wouldn't need that high of a flow rate.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:54 PM   #5
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Agreed, one gallon of coolant, be it ice, vodka or whatever just does not have enough thermal mass to make a large difference in cooling capacity. If you are so inclined, go for it, but just IMHO a one gallon prechiller is not worth the effort. Perhaps if you were to keep a fresh supply of ice and water, perhaps w/ rock salt added, and run at a low flow rate it could be of some benefit. I would prefer using the prechiller in a 5 gallon bucket filled w/ ice and water, 1/4 tubing is small and will have limited flow.

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Old 06-24-2009, 01:29 PM   #6
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I use a 50', 3/8" copper IC chiller... Standard fare... Works great over the winter, spring, and fall, but in the summer I need a little extra oomph.

In the summer months, I hook up the chiller with hose water, and that's usually good enough to get it down to ~100F. I get 12 gallons of hot runoff water to sanitize my carboy and clean my kettle.

To get it from 100F to 65-70F, I have a keg tub on standby, filled with ~24 lbs of ice and water. I disconnect my hose from my IC, and hook up the IC to a cheap ($20 @ Home Depot) pond pump. The pond pump sucks the ice water through my IC (still in the wort) and recirculates it back into the ice bath.

I think this is an EdWort idea... Works great though!

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Old 06-24-2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
Agreed, one gallon of coolant, be it ice, vodka or whatever just does not have enough thermal mass to make a large difference in cooling capacity. If you are so inclined, go for it, but just IMHO a one gallon prechiller is not worth the effort. Perhaps if you were to keep a fresh supply of ice and water, perhaps w/ rock salt added, and run at a low flow rate it could be of some benefit. I would prefer using the prechiller in a 5 gallon bucket filled w/ ice and water, 1/4 tubing is small and will have limited flow.
Well, the cooler and the tubing is laying around. Gotta determine if it is worth spending a few bucks for a couple compression and hose fittings as that is all I would need for now. I would also just put ice water in the cooler with the lid off to see the difference. I can seal the lid and make the thing permanent later if it is worth it.

The effort is of no concern though. Projects are enjoyable.
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:05 PM   #8
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I don't think the cooler offers much over any old plastic bucket so I wouldn't recommend it. Besides, you'll fit more ice into a bucket. Also, you don't need to run a bulkhead, just pull the bottom of the coil up and over like an IC. Set up your hoses with quick disconnects so that you can run straight tap through the IC until the wort hits 100F, then include the prechiller loop for the rest. Run it slow so that the icewater has time to pull a lot of heat. The volume of cheap cold vodka you're proposing really doesn't have enough thermal capacity to make a big enough difference (it will warm quickly). Ice has a LOT more and will get the water to 10F if you add some rock salt.

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Old 06-24-2009, 11:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
I don't think the cooler offers much over any old plastic bucket so I wouldn't recommend it. Besides, you'll fit more ice into a bucket. Also, you don't need to run a bulkhead, just pull the bottom of the coil up and over like an IC. Set up your hoses with quick disconnects so that you can run straight tap through the IC until the wort hits 100F, then include the prechiller loop for the rest. Run it slow so that the icewater has time to pull a lot of heat. The volume of cheap cold vodka you're proposing really doesn't have enough thermal capacity to make a big enough difference (it will warm quickly). Ice has a LOT more and will get the water to 10F if you add some rock salt.
I wanted to use the cooler so I could seal it and put it in the freezer. After brewing I could pull it out hook up the in and out of a water hose and that's it.
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