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Old 02-13-2012, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default DIY Stainless Immersion or Counterflow chiller?

I'm still very new to brewing but ready to move from extract to all grain. I'm currently starting on the basic things I want to do first and that's the chilling method. I'm sick of the ice bath method and want to make a chiller of my own.

I've read multiple threads on the copper being a better heat exchanger but stainless lasting longer. I've seen the chillzilla and the installed chillers in the boil keg (not sure the term for this tun?). I'm trying to decide which one would work best and is it better to just buy a $100 plate chiller? Do plate chillers clog easier? Should I just do the garden hose method?

By zjosey at 2012-02-13

By zjosey at 2012-02-13

By zjosey at 2012-02-13

I was thinking 5/8" tube to go over the 3/8" tubing coiled up. I would be able to coil it up in a 6-8" diameter 10-20ft long. Maybe even combine the immersion with a counterflow when exiting the keggle. What are your thoughts?

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:34 PM   #2
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If you can build it cheaper than copper than I say go for it! Try it out and see how it does. The debate on copper verses stainless has been beaten to death but I think stainless is the way to go. Stainless tubing usually has a thinner wall than copper and makes up for some of the difference in conductivity. Price and availability is usually the driving factor when choosing copper. I use a ½” stainless coil in my HLT and pump through it all the time and it has NEVER clogged or even slowed down. I use it during mash recirculation and to cool. The only thing I could see clogging it would be whole hops and I use pellets. That would be an issue in any chiller. Post your progress I'm sure you will get some interest.

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Old 02-13-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MaxOut View Post
If you can build it cheaper than copper than I say go for it! Try it out and see how it does. The debate on copper verses stainless has been beaten to death but I think stainless is the way to go. Stainless tubing usually has a thinner wall than copper and makes up for some of the difference in conductivity. Price and availability is usually the driving factor when choosing copper. I use a ½” stainless coil in my HLT and pump through it all the time and it has NEVER clogged or even slowed down. I use it during mash recirculation and to cool. The only thing I could see clogging it would be whole hops and I use pellets. That would be an issue in any chiller. Post your progress I'm sure you will get some interest.
Well I think I might make a counterflow just for the hell of it then. What do you have to chill?
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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Oh I got it. Do you have 50ft running throught it?

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Old 02-13-2012, 07:35 PM   #5
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I have totally been contemplating a Stainless CFC as well!

Due to potential clogging issues and future upgradability, I would really like to make one with a 1/2" ID for the wort line. Sadly I have seen NO builds so far do this. Also I lack pretty much any tools to bend stainless so placing 1/2" into a 3/4" tube is out of the question, but for me a Rubber garden hose of the same size may work.

My only other drawback is 3/4" or 1" stainless fittings get way pricier than the 1/2" us brewers usually use.

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Old 02-13-2012, 07:50 PM   #6
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If you've got the tools and the materials there is no reason you shouldn't make a stainless CFC. If you were to make an all SS CFC I'd certainly be in at the prices you mentioned. Update the thread with your progress, I'm interested to see how you make out with this!

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Old 02-13-2012, 08:42 PM   #7
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I have totally been contemplating a Stainless CFC as well!

Due to potential clogging issues and future upgradability, I would really like to make one with a 1/2" ID for the wort line. Sadly I have seen NO builds so far do this. Also I lack pretty much any tools to bend stainless so placing 1/2" into a 3/4" tube is out of the question, but for me a Rubber garden hose of the same size may work.

My only other drawback is 3/4" or 1" stainless fittings get way pricier than the 1/2" us brewers usually use.
I know exactly what you mean on the larger fittings especially when you introduce a 90 or tee that requires more machining when manufactured $$$. I was thinking about staying with a 3/8" OD on the wort line and a 5/8" OD on the water line for kinking issues. Another reason why I'm trying not to go to big is because when I bend the tube that has a smaller tube in it while bending (confused yet?)


If I can tack weld or connect the tube and then roll a heavy piece of pipe just to make it easier to roll, it just my work.?
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:29 PM   #8
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I actually have a vendor that sells the coiled stuff that is a lot softer that I might try. It would be a 8-10"OD but wouldn't be as tall which I think would be fine. The Chillzilla measures 6"OD and 10" tall. Why do you think they made it so tall and skinny instead of wide and flat?

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Old 02-14-2012, 12:07 AM   #9
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So it fits in a bucket? Makes it easy to transport.

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:27 AM   #10
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I actually stumbled on a HBT user's post the other day that linked me to his build site. It is a copper CFC, but the first build instructions I've seen with copper in copper. He does a decent job of laying out the method.

HBT username is P-J
Here is his site: http://www.pjmuth.org/beerstuff/coun...ow_chiller.htm
Looks like he has built quite a few.

Also while doing my CFC research a great 8page thread/breakdown on the fittings etc.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/coun...ld-use-182236/

I agree when using stainless the 3/8" inside 1/2" will be much less of an undertaking than something larger, however I have seen a couple brewers on here mention they would like to upgrade to 1/2" for the wort.

I would actually love a chillzilla as it has 1/2" inner tubing as well. But the $200 price tag makes me think I could probably do something DIY with stainless for cheaper (maybe more with fittings).

Perhaps with such hefty equipment you could look at making your own chillzillas with copper. 1/2" wort transfer benefit & I'll bet you would fall far below the $200.

And yes, if you end up making this, I would totally be interested in buying one

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