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Dwain 05-25-2009 04:08 AM

High Volume Rapid Chiller
Did you start a dedicated thread on this: I've read a gazillion posts in the search section, even the original where you talk about building it and showing photos, but can't find a follow up to the original. Thanks - Dwain

Catt22 05-25-2009 04:49 AM


No, I haven't started a dedicated thread for it yet. I could do it if you would like. There is one other member that has built one, but I don't think he has used his in an actual brew session yet.

I've used it twice so far with excellent results. It has far surpassed my expectations. The most recent test was at a group brew on Big Brew Day. Unfortunately, the water pressure at the site was very low. I would guess maybe only 1/3rd the flow rate I get at home. It still worked very well, but I know it would have been much better with more water flowing through it. It cooled 12 gallons from near boiling to 140 F in two minutes and forty seconds. This was using the whirlpool method circulating the wort through the chiller and back into the kettle. One thing I forgot to do was to cool the keggle and it's skirt by spraying water on it as I usually do. I was pre-occupied with the timing and forgot to do that step and I'm sure that would have made a significant difference. I would guess that I might be able to get it down to under two minutes for that +/- 70 deg F drop. I will also have to test it with very cold winter water someday. That would improve it even more I am sure.

PM me if you need clarification on how to built one. It's actually fairly simple to construct and relatively cheap too. I'd really like to hear someone else evaluate it independently.

Dwain 05-25-2009 02:45 PM

Maybe this can be the dedicated thread. My plan was to gravity from my boil pot, through the chiller, and then put a pump on the outlet of the chiller and pump it back into the boil pot. Recirc. it until it was the same temp as my ground water. My ground water is a little less than 70F. This would put me at pitching temps for my ales, right? I know this would be less efficient than using another chiller to get it from ~140F to pitching temps but I'm using well water and have several ways to use the "spent" water. I really don't want to use a different cooling medium than water or add ice. I'm also interested in using the least amount of equipment to get my wort into the fermentation chamber, kind of a KISS mentality as well as less stuff to bring contamination to the table. Do you think there is any value in increasing the cooling jacket to say, 6". Very interested in any and all thoughts/comments. Thanks - Dwain

LooyvilleLarry 05-25-2009 02:55 PM

Dwain -
This is basically what I do with my CFC. I start the process about 10-15 min before end of boil to sanitize the CFC, then the CFC output causes a whirlpool in the kettle.

Once I get the whirlpool going strong, I usually let that sit for 10-20 minutes to let the cold break settle into the kettle, then into the fermenter. Sometimes I skip the wait and go into the fermenter right away.

I don't know what my chilling times are, but it's quick. Maybe I'll remember to time on my next brew.

Catt22 05-25-2009 03:39 PM


The only obvious thing wrong with your plan is that the pump should be placed before the chiller. These pumps perform much better when pushing liquids rather than pulling.

I would not increase the PVC jacket to a 6" diameter for a couple of reasons. First, it's hard to buy less than a 10 ft length of 6" pipe. Secondly, the end caps will be pricey, maybe as much as $10 each or possibly more than that. A more economical upgrade would be to simply build a longer 4" version. There are eight longitudianal tubes, so lengthening by only 6" gives you a 20% increase. The next time I build one of these, I plan to do just that. I also plan to fit two more tubes down the center. The result will be on the order of 30+ feet of tubing. I'm sure the law of diminishing returns will set in and make further increases not worth the additional effort and expense. You might also consider sending the "spent" water back to the well if you can figure out a way to do it. IMO, the two things that makes this chiller work well are the large I.D. of the hard copper piping and the high volume capacity of the water jacket.

The initial large temp drop happens very quickly. The subsequent drop from 140 F to 75 F or so takes much longer as the differential is much smaller. This will occur with any chiller unless a pre-chiller is used.

You may be able to direct the "spent" water back to your well somehow. Sounds like you already have a plan for that though.

You might check into using ABS plastic pipe instead of the PVC. Might be a cheaper way to go. The ABS is designed for use as non pressurized waste line. The pipe wall is thinner. It should be both cheaper and lighter.

samc 05-25-2009 04:10 PM


Ordered all my ingredients for the next brew - Pliny Clone 10 gallons- but still stuck waiting on my QD's, then it will be Catt Chiller test one.

Catt22 05-25-2009 05:04 PM


I think you're gonna like it! Good choice on the Pliny. It's one of my favorites. The chiller should improve the hop flavor and aroma retention considerably.

Do you remember what you paid for the ABS pipe & end caps?

samc 05-25-2009 06:07 PM


Originally Posted by Catt22 (Post 1343974)

Do you remember what you paid for the ABS pipe & end caps?

Pipe $12.10 for 10 feet (had the guy hack it up so it fit in my car)
Cap $6.28

Just happened to have receipt lying on my sloppy desk.

Dwain 05-26-2009 07:27 PM


[IThe only obvious thing wrong with your plan is that the pump should be placed before the chiller. These pumps perform much better when pushing liquids rather than pulling.
I'm actually thinking about trying to use my Harbor Freight pump for this. If I put it downstream of the cooler, it will see lower temps. I'm off to the hardware to price materials and decide which way to go. - Dwain

Dwain 05-30-2009 11:48 PM

Chiller Photos
5 Attachment(s)
I built this cooler based on your photos:
Attachment 11379

Attachment 11380

Attachment 11381

Attachment 11382

Attachment 11383

The rest are in the next post - Dwain

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