Home Brew Forums

Home Brew Forums (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum.php)
-   DIY Projects (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/)
-   -   My Beer line chiller build (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-beer-line-chiller-build-162665/)

SweetSounds 02-12-2010 01:31 PM

My Beer line chiller build
I'm starting a new thread in DIY because I have progress and pictures now... Original discussion thread is here.

Just a quick overview of my bar and towers...
My keezer is a Kenmore 8.8cf with a 2x4 collar. It lives under the bar, about 3' left of where my tap towers are going. I have to be able to slide the keezer out from under the bar for loading because I don't want to hinge the bar top. Because of that, the trunk line must be flexible, and about 11' long. 7' of that line are going to be outside of the keezer, so I needed a way to chill the lines!
I'll state now that it's not complete yet, and I don't know how well it will work, but I like to build stuff! And that alone was worth the effort and $$ so far (About $60).

Here we go. I could buy beer trunk line at MicroMatic, but that would be too easy. I'm building mine out of 4 11' chunks of 3/16 beer line, and 2 7/16 cooling lines. These will be wrapped in stretch wrap, and enclosed in foam rubber insulation. I am concerned that the thick wall 3/16 beer line won't transfer heat as well as the poly lines in trunk line, but I got what I got and I'm gonna give it a try!

The chiller will have a reservoir, heat exchanger, circulation pump, and a fan. I wanted to keep the volume of coolant small, and make the heat exchange in the keezer fast. I think this will work better than a big pool of coolant being passively cooled in a bucket because more surface area is exposed to the cold at any given time. (We'll see if this works!)

I wanted to force cold air through the heat exchanger, so I built a shroud with a place for a fan. This also gives me room to mount the reservoir, pump, and tubing.
The heat exchanger is just an aftermarket transmission cooler. It's fastened to the box with romex staples. (This actually worked out really well! I was wondering how I was going to mount it when this started)
Next is the reservoir. It's built from 3" PVC pipe. The bottom is reduced to pipe thread, with a hose barb attached to feed the pump. The top is a simple cap for filling coolant.

SweetSounds 02-12-2010 01:31 PM

I attached the reservoir to the box with 3" PVC hangers, trimmed to fit.
The return line feeds back to the reservoir through a compression to MPT elbow, just screwed into the side. I used a step drill to make the hole. (After testing, it's quite water tight)
Here it is with the rest of the copper...
And a closeup of the exchanger mounting and plumbing...
Pump detail - It's a Maxi-Jet 1200 aquarium power head. It's the only one I could find that actually said it doesn't have to be submerged to keep from burning up. Add to that that it lives in the cooler, and I think it'll be fine. Oh! And it's $20! It's rated at 295GPH, but that's with 0' head and no plumbing. The total volume of my system, with the lines filled is just under 1/2 gallon (.489 by my calculations). If I do spring a leak, I won't have a huge mess. Just 1/2 gallon, hopefully in the bottom of the keezer!
So here it is, with the gratuitous beer photo
The output of the pump will connect to the right most tube in this photo. The "U" is simply to make the input and the output of this contraption face the same direction, in the same place. The left tube is the output to the trunk. The middle one is the return. From the pump, the coolant goes through the "U", out the trunk to the taps, back through the trunk, and up the middle tube to the tranny cooler. The tranny cooler then empties back into the reservoir, feeding the pump. This takes about 15 seconds.
I tested it with water, and I have a couple leaks to take care of. I expected that. Just for grins, I filled it up with hot water to see what it would do. Well, it got hot! So I filled it with cold water, and the lines got cold! Obviously, since the chiller is sitting at the same temperature as the beer, and it's not 100% efficient, the lines will never be exactly serving temp. Buy hopefully they will be close.

SweetSounds 02-12-2010 01:32 PM

I haven't built out the trunk line to the tappers yet. That comes next weekend I think.
I built this to fit on the step in my keezer, and still leave room for the CO2 tank. Success!
The fan is set up to draw air across the freezer wall, and through the radiator. (IOW, suck)
I may have to deflect the fan air out into the keezer a little.. I don't want it recirculating the same air. I'll have to see when it's up and running.

The lines will exit the keezer through he PVC elbows on the right, make a "U" shape for slack to slide the keezer out, and then go across the underside of the bar to the tower.

More to come...

SweetSounds 02-12-2010 01:32 PM


jbirch 02-17-2010 07:08 PM

Any update on this line chiller project? I am looking at building somthing very simliar and hoping you can confirm success with you design. Thanks.

Cpt_Kirks 02-17-2010 08:03 PM


I love this hobby!


SweetSounds 02-17-2010 08:04 PM

Not yet. I'm hoping to get the trunk line built in the bar this weekend. I have to weld up some custom flanges to mount the shanks to the intake and exhaust ports of the engine cylinders. Until those are done, I won't be able to actually push beer through the lines and see if it stays cold.
So the next update will be the trunk line construction. At that point I can see if it properly chills the empty trunk, but not beer. Actual beer to the taps will probably be a while. I think I'm getting shipped to Denmark for a while :drunk:

jbirch 02-17-2010 08:32 PM

Wow! At least you are going some place where you should access to quality beverages.

mordantly 02-17-2010 08:32 PM

that's an awesome setup, but what does that german twin-cylinder have to do with it?

kmack747 02-17-2010 08:58 PM

Nice build.

Whats with the Lycoming engine half?

All times are GMT. The time now is 10:38 AM.

Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.