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Old 06-30-2008, 01:27 PM   #1
Bobby_M
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Default IDEA: Ice water chilling with no pump.

We've talked about pumping icewater into our chillers (either IC, CFC, or plate regardless) with a pond pump and we mostly all agree is more efficient than a prechiller due to one less heat transfer. Many times people revert to the prechiller because they already have an old IC laying around or at least get the copper at a discount. I suppose this because pond pumps are just about the same price as 25' of copper these days.

Ok, but what if you didn't need either. The prechiller sounds nice because it leverages city water pressure to drive through the coolant coil. We typically can't do this with an icewater bin but it's only because it won't hold pressure. I was looking at my grain storage bin with a screw on gasketed lid and thought "why not put hose thread bulkheads in, fill with ice and run the hose pressure through it"?I've drained icewater out of a bottling bucket sitting high above my brewstand before, but it was less than ideal.

The tap water (presumably warmer than you'd like) enters from the bottom, rises up through the ice and out a bulkhead in the top and into your chiller. I wouldn't recommend running this with any outlet restriction because it probably wouldn't handle full city pressure but I don't think it would have a problem with a chiller's backpressure.

Pros, Cons, dealbreakers? The advantage would only be realized if you can find a vessel like this very cheap because it has to cost less than a pump.


Edit.... duh... CORNY KEGS! Wide enough mouth for ice, holds pressure.



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Old 06-30-2008, 02:28 PM   #2
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That does sound like it would work.

You might find the flow from the cornie to be a bit restricted, but I bet you're already planning some evil-genius switching to a larger outflow, like putting a fitting with a QD through the lid of the cornie so you have a special "chiller lid" you can put on any available cornie when you need it.



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Old 06-30-2008, 02:53 PM   #3
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I was actually thinking about just clamping the hose right on the post threads. I have a corny that leaks a tiny bit, but not enough to ruin it for this use. It won't flow like a wide open garden hose but with sub 40F water flowing out, you don't need much in a counterflow. I guess it's worth a shot.

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Old 06-30-2008, 02:55 PM   #4
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So you come into the liquid side with city water and out the gas side going to the imersion chiller. Filling the thing up with ice before you start.

Interesting idea. flow through a Corny may not be very much. But it might be worth looking into.

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Old 06-30-2008, 02:55 PM   #5
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That is a good idea. I have been avoiding buy a pump to recirculate through my IC but have not really run into a situation where I was really needing it and there is other stuff I would rather buy.

In the past I have chilled my wort to about 90-100F and then attach my IC to my cooler MLT and filled my MLT with ice then the hose in the top (like you described). I have to suck on the other end IC to start the flow and it is slow, but the temperature of the water coming out of the IC is still cool so I don't see the need to increase the flow rate.

My only concern is that you might have to stop the process and refill with ice and water if you are flowing too fast which is no big deal but could be a pain.

What about packing an old bottling bucket with ice, attaching the hose from the IC to the spigot, and then rig up a fitting on the lid. Seal the lid then turn on the hose, if you balance the flow from the hose there should be enough time to run through the ice and then through the IC like you said. Kind of like a hop back but with ice.

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Old 06-30-2008, 02:58 PM   #6
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^ I don;t think a botteling bucket would hold the pressure from a city water supply.

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Old 06-30-2008, 03:05 PM   #7
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Thats an awesome idea Bobby.....but this guys only like $30 from Harbor Freight



http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=45014

Plus, for me there is one of these right next to my house



http://www.caller.com/news/2006/apr/04/machine-sells-soft-clean-ice/

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Old 06-30-2008, 03:06 PM   #8
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Yeah, but you're not getting the full city pressure when the outflow is plumbed to a chiller. I don't know what the backpressure of the chiller would be but it's probably not enough to pop the lid on a bottling bucket if you carefully regulate the input flow. Putting something heavy on the lid like a cinderblock would help. Also, getting the bucket up at about the same height as the chiller would reduce head pressure.

I don't mind running out half the batch into the fermenter warm and then swapping over to the icewater for the second half. They'll combine to become 65F (ish) which is really what I'm shooting for. Man, I miss winter brewing.

Alamo, I wish I had such cheap ice access. I think they get like $3 for a 15lb bag over here.

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Old 06-30-2008, 05:05 PM   #9
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what about running the city water in through the gas-in and taking from the dip tube for the outflow. Ice floats, so it shouldn't clog as easily, and heat rises, so the warmer incoming water will chill on it's way down through the ice.

If you could get those valves to flow at full capacity and hook a garden hose to the one (just make a hose with a garden fitting on one end and a cornie gas fitting on the other), it should push pretty well.... and heck, if you use some cheap hose to test it, that will be your only cost, since you can reuse the gas and beer ends on something else.

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Old 06-30-2008, 05:24 PM   #10
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This makes entirely too much sense. I may have to try it!



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