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Old 10-04-2011, 02:15 AM   #1
NateSpringfield
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Default Water cooler Wort chiller/jockey box

This summer I started kegging and converted to whole grain. My original mlt was a converted water cooler, but only 5 gallons. I upgraded quickly to a chest cooler b/c there just wasn't enough room to brew some recipes in 5 gallons. I also have used a counterflow wort chiller, but I bought it second hand from a guy that made it, and it isn't as efficient as I'd like. So when considering a new wort chiller I thought about my 5 gallon water cooler that is doing nothing.

My idea is to install a tap, instead of a ball joint, on the cooler. Connect it to a coil of copper on the inside. Cut a hole in the lid of the water cooler and run the copper out of the top. I am then hoping to be able to fill this w/ ice and water and run my wort through to chill and/or use it as a jockey box when needed. I am fairly new here so I don't know if this is a new idea or not - probably not, but a quick search didn't turn up a hit - but if it is what are the problems I'm going to run into, or haven't thought of?

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Old 10-04-2011, 11:55 AM   #2
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You do not want to use copper tubing to dispense beer. Jocky Boxes use stainless tubing as beer can react with the copper to create a toxic brew.

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Old 10-04-2011, 12:32 PM   #3
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So using copper for a counterflow chiller is bad? Can you point me in the right direction for some reading info?

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Old 10-04-2011, 01:01 PM   #4
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Copper before fermentation is good. Copper after fermentation is bad.

My research though has pointed out that short term use in a jocky box can be OK, as long as the beer does not stay in contact with the copper very long. You will want to clean it as soon as you are done dispensing the beer. See these articles.

http://www.byo.com/stories/projects-...y-box-projects

http://www.byo.com/stories/projects-...or-homebrewers

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Old 10-04-2011, 04:57 PM   #5
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Thank you very much for pointing me in the right direction.

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:39 PM   #6
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I am very curious on how you are going to use the water cooler as a chiller. Could you post a diagram or pictures of what you are planning or when you build it? I have an old water cooler that I was thinking about a similar project.

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:48 PM   #7
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What Edwort is saying is chiller yes jockey box no. What your talking about is the same as dropping your cfc in a bucket of ice water your just doing it in a tighter easier to use package. You could probally even gravity feed it through the top straight into your fermentor. Go for it and show some pics. Cheers

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Old 10-20-2011, 05:09 PM   #8
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Interesting. If you build it as a jockey box, with a stainless coil, and a normal faucet, I know they make a fitting that can go on in place of the faucet that they normally use to pump line cleaner backwards through a draft system. You could make the initial pass through your counter flow chiller to get it down some, then backwards through the coil in the jockey box and out to your fermentor.

Here is a link to the fitting, shop around this might not be the best price. http://www.kegworks.com/beer-line-cl...ent-395-p18378

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Old 10-21-2011, 04:29 PM   #9
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Since time and money were an issue in acquiring a coil of stainless, I went ahead and just bought copper and a waterpump to make an immersion chiller right now. I have a wash tub that I have used for ice baths in the past when i brewed mini-mash recipes, so this was the easiest, most cost effective way to get a chiller quickly for me.

I will still be looking into the initial jockey box/chiller next spring probably.

@Almighty - To use the water cooler as a wort chiller I would simply have a 3 tier system - boil kettle on top, cooler middle and primary fermenter on the bottom. Fill the cooler w/ ice/water. Run the Wort from my brew kettle through the coil in the cooler into the primary. If it didn't cool enough on the initial pass I would just run it through a second time.

I wasn't planning on attaching the coil "permanently" to the faucet, instead I would just install the faucet/shank that I already have and run tubing from the coil to the shank, similar to how you run a line from the keg to the shank, just inserting the coil between. I think this would make cleaning the coil easier and I could always fill the cooler with other beverages if needed w/out issue.

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Old 11-02-2012, 04:53 AM   #10
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Hi, I was browsing and saw this post and had to show some pics of mine. I made one pretty much exactly like he was describing. I am doing a new batch on Saturday (2 days from now) so maybe I'll video my cooling system. But here is a pic for now.
I fill it with one bag of ice and water usually and when the ice melts I add more but the water stays pretty cold. I also stir it occasionally to get the cold water circulated. The wort runs down the copper tube and into my fermenter. I can cool it anywhere from about 65 to 80 degrees. It takes about 25 minutes to cool to 65 and about 15 to get an 80 degree wort depending how fast I run it through. Warning do NOT touch the non-immersed copper tubing.



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