Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > How fast do you run water through your immersion chiller???
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:40 AM   #1
bgough
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Default How fast do you run water through your immersion chiller???

It seems to me that it would be beneficial to run it slower because it seems like that would chill it faster but what do you guys do?


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Old 05-02-2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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Depends on how fast the heat is being transferred to the water.... if it's coming out boiling hot, slowing it down will worsen your chilling.


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Old 05-02-2009, 11:58 AM   #3
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I just try to keep the water coming out "hot".. so faster in the beginning and slow down to a small trickle after that.
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:38 PM   #4
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It's too early in the day to think hard about this question, and also too early to start drinking homebrew to make it easier....what to do? I'll give it a try anyway. Take the material in your chiller (copper, stainless, aluminum, yadda-yadda) as a constant. The rate of heat transfer is dependent upon the temperature differential (this is the temperature of your wort vs. the temperature of your cooling liquid), transfer being greatest the greater the differential. This is why cooling goes more quickly at first, from boiling to, say, 150F, than it does from 150 - 80F. I could plot this on a graph, but my head hurts too much already.
It therefore makes more sense to view the cooling process as a question of efficiency. A greater flow of water at the beginning therefore makes sense to me, as "Kuglehaus" suggests, reducing the water flow as the wort cools, since the cooling water can "accept" more heat the hotter the wort. Since heat transfer slows the further you go, it makes sense to cut the flow of coolant down to save on water.
Whoa. Too much thinking, too early. Gotta wait for the sun to clear the yardarm now....
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:52 PM   #5
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I've found that a half gallon a minute with my immersion chiller seems to work best for me. I connect the chiller discharge to the outlet of my mash tun. This lets me adjust the flow by watching how fast the tun fills and rinses my tun.

As an aside, the water from the tun gets diverted to my roses or my hostas. The tun rinsing and plant watering isn't in an attempt to be green, but I suppose it works out that way somewhat.
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Old 05-02-2009, 01:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgough View Post
It seems to me that it would be beneficial to run it slower because it seems like that would chill it faster but what do you guys do?
Running it slower will never be beneficial to cooling. The faster the water is moving the more heat will be pulled from the wort. If you're worried about water consumption, then slow it down as the wort gets cooler like other people said. It will chill slower, but as the temperature difference between the water and the wort gets smaller, the water will heat more slowly, so running it slower will only make a small decrease in cooling.
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Old 05-02-2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuglehaus View Post
I just try to keep the water coming out "hot".. so faster in the beginning and slow down to a small trickle after that.
Same here... I run the water into a party tub. Don't know how many gallons it holds but it's a lot. I use that water to clean & rinse the IC, brewpot. etc...
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Old 05-02-2009, 01:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
Same here... I run the water into a party tub. Don't know how many gallons it holds but it's a lot. I use that water to clean & rinse the IC, brewpot. etc...
Yeah someone made that suggestion the other day... sending the hot chiller water to a bucket with oxiclean for cleanup later... Can't believe I hadn't thought of that.
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:05 PM   #9
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I always run it at maximum speed. You want the water coming out to be as cold as possible, because that means the water still in the chiller is colder. That maximizes the temperature differential with the wort and speeds up cooling. If the water coming out is hot, then yes the water picked up more heat PER VOLUME from the wort, but it's a smaller volume of water picking up the heat. The larger volume of water picking up less heat per volume actually works better.

Of course, if you want to conserve water, then it makes sense to slow down the flow, but if you have infinite free water, you should be going full blast always.
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:11 PM   #10
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Crank it up.

I use the initial output to rinse off my hop sack and hose down any dirty utensils before they go into the shop sink to soak.

Our water is cheap. Right now the tap water is at 59 degrees. Still cold enough to get quick chill and good cold break.

Pretty soon though, I'll have to break out the pre-chiller and start buying bags of ice.


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