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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Better investment - Immersion chiller or Counterflow?
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:02 PM   #1
St. Jon's Wort
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Default Better investment - Immersion chiller or Counterflow?

My LHBS has 25' copper coil immersion chillers for $65 but they have 25' counterflow systems for $99. I know I am going to buy one or the other, I just don't know whether it is worth the extra $34 to go ahead and get the counterflow or is an immersion chiller enough? I will start off AG brewing 5 gallon batches but I hope to move up to 10+ gallon batches as my skills and knowledge improve, so would the better investment be to just spend the extra $34 + tax now and have a chiller that will suit my needs now and in the future or will the immersion chiller be enough for the larger batches?


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Old 08-15-2009, 06:13 PM   #2
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I have yet to make my chiller, but I will be goinig with the IC for ease of cleaning, which to me seems to be one of the drawbacks with the CFC, as well as draining, a pump I think is better suited for CFC's, but I know gravity will work with them. I will probably upgrade to a CFC at a later time, and use my IC as a pre-chiller.

I know the CFC is more efficient, but the cleaning and sanitation of it concerns me, especially completely draining it without a pump, but like I said I don't have one so maybe my input isn't hte best.


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Old 08-15-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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I had a CFC, but gave it away and went to an IM for just the reasons mentioned above.
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:43 PM   #4
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I have the Midwest entry level 25' copper chiller, which cost $50 two years ago. I recently upgraded it by swapping the leaky hose-clamp fittings with compression / hose fittings, $20. With our 55F well water, it takes the full 5-gallon boil down to 70F in about 21-22 minutes. This is fully acceptable to me. Then, all I do is hose off the chiller and throw it back in the basement until the next brewday.

I have thought about other chiller types, a CFC being the only logical alternative choice for me, but I have rejected it as not only being more expensive, but taking more cleaning. It may take less time to chill, but how much will it actually reduce it when cleaning time is added back in? We visited O'Dells' Brewery in Ft. Collins CO last weekend, and of course they've got an industrial plate chiller sitting there.......but it's also doing the chilling for a 15 bbl. boil pot! Part of this is having one's equipment proportioned to the size of the operation.

To me, it violates the K.I.S.S. principle, which I like to follow in my brewing. I do maybe 25 x 5 gal. batches a year, and it's strictly plastic buckets to ferment, Better Bottles for secondary, 30 qt. cheap SS boil pot, commercial throwaway bottles, and Grandpa's old bench capper. I'll spend money where it matters (my thermometer, a Thermapen, cost twice as much as my boil pot), but my rig works well and produces great beer. As a matter of fact, I fail to see a substantial benefit in RIMS, HERMS, March pumps, and all the rest of it to produce ≤ 200 gallons of beer a year.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rico567 View Post
I have the Midwest entry level 25' copper chiller, which cost $50 two years ago. I recently upgraded it by swapping the leaky hose-clamp fittings with compression / hose fittings, $20. With our 55F well water, it takes the full 5-gallon boil down to 70F in about 21-22 minutes. This is fully acceptable to me. Then, all I do is hose off the chiller and throw it back in the basement until the next brewday.

I have thought about other chiller types, a CFC being the only logical alternative choice for me, but I have rejected it as not only being more expensive, but taking more cleaning. It may take less time to chill, but how much will it actually reduce it when cleaning time is added back in? We visited O'Dells' Brewery in Ft. Collins CO last weekend, and of course they've got an industrial plate chiller sitting there.......but it's also doing the chilling for a 15 bbl. boil pot! Part of this is having one's equipment proportioned to the size of the operation.

To me, it violates the K.I.S.S. principle, which I like to follow in my brewing. I do maybe 25 x 5 gal. batches a year, and it's strictly plastic buckets to ferment, Better Bottles for secondary, 30 qt. cheap SS boil pot, commercial throwaway bottles, and Grandpa's old bench capper. I'll spend money where it matters (my thermometer, a Thermapen, cost twice as much as my boil pot), but my rig works well and produces great beer. As a matter of fact, I fail to see a substantial benefit in RIMS, HERMS, March pumps, and all the rest of it to produce ≤ 200 gallons of beer a year.
You sold me. I went out and bought the 25' immersion chiller a little bit ago. I spent the extra $34 on an auto-siphon and some other goodies.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rico567 View Post
As a matter of fact, I fail to see a substantial benefit in RIMS, HERMS, March pumps, and all the rest of it to produce ≤ 200 gallons of beer a year.
Ah, you're just looking for a fight now...



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Old 08-15-2009, 09:12 PM   #7
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I've used both....go with the Immersion chiller.
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:18 PM   #8
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What about the potential in the future to use a hop back. It seems like some of the good recipe clones out there require a Hop back. And as far as I can tell, you have to use a CFC for a hop back to work?

Is this correct?
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:38 PM   #9
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Yes or you could just do a flameout addition. Very close to the same concept.
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:56 PM   #10
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With an IC you could eventually get a march pump and make a whirlpool chiller such as this http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

I suppose you could even use a hopback with this method.


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