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Old 04-23-2010, 06:04 AM   #1
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Default Permanently Installed Immersion Chiller?

In my quest for more automation, I'm looking at how I chill. A CFC or plate chiller is probably more suitable for what I'm trying but since I have an immersion chiller, it got me thinking.

What would the downsides be to leaving the immersion chiller in for the entire boil?

Obviously it would get hot from sitting there 90 minutes but I'm not sure that would matter much.

Basically I'm thinking about setting it in the kettle (a converted keg) and then plumbing the water in/out through the keg above the lid cutout. It wouldn't really be permanent as I'd remove it during cleaning.


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Old 04-23-2010, 06:11 AM   #2
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Read this and decide or use it for further investigation into the subject. (assuming you are using copper)

When I used a Copper IC, I put it into the wort with a few minutes left in the boil.

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Old 04-23-2010, 06:22 AM   #3
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If you are concerned about copper being leeched into your beer wort I would give a listen to the brew network podcast on metals in beer. John Palmer is a metalurgist or some such metal scientist, so the info is reputable. I am going from memory but I remember the end result was don't worry about it. Copper has been used in brewing vessels for centuries. I also remember one of the guests on the podcast who has a brewery in CA telling the story about how CA sent inspectors out to all the breweries with copper brewing equipment to test the beer. CA was basically anticipating finding dangerous levels of copper and forcing them to switch. Turns out they could barely find detectable levels of copper. I'm pretty sure the yeast take it up as a nutrient.
The brewer went on to explain the benefits of copper in brewing and said if it was up to him, for homebrewing he'd drop a length of copper pipe in the boil kettle with every batch.

You may want to give it a listen yourself, but I'm sure I correctly remember that there is nothing to worry about. The biggest issue with leaving your chiller in the pot the whole boil is the ability to clean it, and as you said it would be removeable, seems you've got that coverred.
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:55 AM   #4
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+1, i'm pretty sure the copper is good for the yeast,i was doing the same thing as you are describing but it seemed to create 2 zones because of the location of the heating element, a centre boiling zone,and a zone around the outside of the the chiller that wasn't boiling,i'm sure there was enough convection within the kettle to make sure everything boiled and now i've changed my element for a bigger one i'll probably continue doing it (last one was underpowered and i didn't want anything taking away from my meagre boil!)
i also like to keep it in the hlt until i need it so it doesn't suck heat from the boil, it probably doesn't make much of a difference but it makes me feel better!
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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There are a number of people who use permanent fixture ICs. I have been using one for almost two years and love it.
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Old 04-23-2010, 09:59 PM   #6
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I am thinking about doing the same thing. I originally had planned on a CFC, however upon further consideration I decided to build a 50" 1/2" IC leave it in for the entire boil. That way my hop sack can sit in the middle of the keggle and drop down into the center without disruption. I will then be using my March pump to circulate/whirlpool the wort at the very end to create a nice heat exchange. I fugure I can drop the temp using ground water (until it gets too hot here in Texas) and then switch over to circulating ice water sitting in my HLT and another pump. I basically love the idea of the simplicity of the cooling process using Jamil's whirlpool IC idea.

The only consideration I am making is to ensure that I have the water hookups below the top of the keggle in the unlikely event that my hose leaks. Don't want that back into the cooled wort. Basically going up, ovre the top, and back down the sides 1/3 of the way down the keggle.

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