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-   -   Stainless Steel or Copper HERMS Coil (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/stainless-steel-copper-herms-coil-138139/)

dozer4412 09-23-2009 04:28 PM

Stainless Steel or Copper HERMS Coil
I want to make a HERMS coil and am looking for some advice. The idea being Id create an Immersion Chiller and rather than pull it in and out each time I need it Id attach it inside a Keggle with an input and output bored through the Keg wall and some kind of quick disconnects on the input and output. To start with Id just use this Keggle as my Brew Kettle and pump cold water to cool, but at some point in the future Id make this my HLT and use it both to control the mash temp and as a giant ice bath to cool the wort. Im a long way from the second phase, but why not plan ahead a little.

Should I go with stainless steel or copper for the coil?

The Big Daddy Immersion Chiller thread spells out how Id go about creating a copper one.

If I went stainless steel Id use McMaster #8989k98 as suggested by Boerderij.

With stainless how would I go about attaching fittings to the tubing? Copper seems straight forward as I can solder, but Im no wielder and would like to avoid wielding if possible.

If I use copper should I be worried about the outside of the pipes oxidizing?

It seems like the easy choice is copper, but theres just something sexy about stainless. Im still keeping an open mind about what way to go.

Lil' Sparky 09-23-2009 04:31 PM

Copper is cheaper and has better heat transfer properties. I wouldn't worry about the copper oxidizing any more than you would with an immersion chiller, which is usually none at all for most people.

Boerderij_Kabouter 09-23-2009 04:41 PM

I am sure you know my point of view:D

The conductivity of copper vs. stainless is almost completely negligible in our situation. SS will add maybe a minute to your cooling time and zero in my anecdotal experience.



Built in Stainless Coil $128.27
1 -> Type 304 Stainless Steel Welded Tubing 1/2" OD, 50' Coil $70.33 McMaster-Carr 8989K98 http://www.mcmaster.com/
2 -> 1/2" tube -1/2" FPT Compression fitting (90 deg elbow) SS-810-8-8 $40.00 McMaster-Carr 5943K216 http://www.mcmaster.com/
2 -> 1/2" close nipple $3.44 Buy Fittings Online 27-4P1-1/8 http://www.buyfittingsonline.com/Fittings/item6592.htm
2 -> 1/2" Stainless Steel Washer $5.00 Bargain Fittings - http://www.greatbargain.net/order/shop2.html
2 -> 1/2" Stainless Steel Locknut $9.00 Bargain Fittings - http://www.greatbargain.net/order/shop2.html
2 -> 1/2" Silicon O-ring size 211 $0.50 Bargain Fittings - http://www.greatbargain.net/order/shop2.html


Find the swagelok fittings on eBay by searching for "SS-810-8-8" or by searching "swagelok" and sifting through the listings.

This will give you a 1/2" NPT male nipple exposed outside the keg, from there you can connect it to your system however you see fit.

Boerderij_Kabouter 09-23-2009 04:43 PM

I think stainless is the best for a built in because it cleans up very easily. I do a PBW wash after brewday and it sparkles.

Where in 'sconi are you?

Bobby_M 09-23-2009 05:24 PM

The reason why I'd go SS on a HERMS coil is that you really don't want to remove the thing for cleaning. Copper is going to sit through many cycles of being wet/dry and it will get tarnished. For a wort chiller, the act of using it in acidic wort keeps it clean. I also would suggest having the lower end of the coil penatrate the HLT wall at the bottom instead of running it like an IC because it will allow complete draining.

You can get threads on the tubing with a compression fitting. I wouldn't pay Mcmaster prices though. Watch Ebay for a pair of them.

jrm16311 09-23-2009 09:51 PM

Check on ebay. There is a guy that sells a SS coil there all the time. I got mine for around $60-80 or so, 50' 3/8" coil.


I just a did a quick search for wort chiller and found this: http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Super-Effici...d=p4999.c0.m14

I don't know if this is the same guy, but a great price none the less.

Boerderij_Kabouter 09-23-2009 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by jrm16311 (Post 1566366)
Check on ebay. There is a guy that sells a SS coil there all the time. I got mine for around $60-80 or so, 50' 3/8" coil.

If you buy on eBay you should wait for a better deal IMO. I bought my 1/2" 50' coil on eBay for $30 shipped. I have not seen such a deal since though. $71 new from McMaster for 50' of 1/2" is impossible to beat consistently as far as I have been able to find.

:EDIT: That is a great deal for an immersion chiller! I would still be happier with 1/2" for a HERMS coil.

jrm16311 09-23-2009 09:58 PM

On that point, I went with the thinner 3/8" instead of the 1/2" because with a thinner tube you'd get better warming essentially more of the liquid is touching or near the surface (or that was my thinking). I never did the thermodynamic/heat transfer calculations on it though. LOL

Additionally, I wanted to make my pump push less liquid so as to not stress it (I wasn't sure how good it would work).

Boerderij_Kabouter 09-23-2009 10:01 PM

In your case, 3/8" may be more efficient but will have less cooling potential. Surface area is directly related to heat transfer, and 3/8" to 1/2" makes a pretty significant difference.

dozer4412 09-23-2009 10:10 PM

Thanks for the info everyone. Boerderij that was above and beyond what I was looking for, but I cant thank you enough for the detailed info.

As Im new to a lot of this stuff I thought Id also post the following about Swagelok fittings as Ive been trying to figure out for the past few days how Id attach a fitting to the end of my stainless steel tubing. After the video all this talk about Swagelok fittings I keep reading about all made sense.

Im from the Madison area of Wisconsin.

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