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Old 02-24-2012, 09:42 PM   #1
Feb 2012
Wilmington, NC, North Carolina
Posts: 208
Liked 13 Times on 11 Posts

I made a wort chiller a few years ago and it works well but takes quite a while to cool down my 5 gallon batches and I hate the idea of wasting all of that water.

I had the idea of making another one to attach to the same "line" as the other. The water would go from my outdoor hose spigot to wort chiller #1 which is sitting in an ice bath, then flow to wort chiller #2 which would be in my hot wort. Do you all think this would be worth the cost and effort? Would this system cool down the wort much quicker?

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Old 02-24-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
I use secondaries. :p
Walker's Avatar
Sep 2005
Cary, NC
Posts: 10,987
Liked 101 Times on 89 Posts

this is a common practice. It's called a "pre-chiller".
Ground Fault Brewing Co.

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Old 02-25-2012, 12:01 AM   #3
Jan 2010
Western MA
Posts: 392
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Yes, it will help to chill faster - particularly if your ground water is pretty warm. In NC, you will likely see a big reduction in cooling time. Get a nice pre-chiller set up in a five gallon bucket, and you can fill it with ice water during the boil and have it ready to go when you hook up the main chiller.
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson, in letter to William S. Smith, 1787

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Old 02-25-2012, 02:00 AM   #4
Nov 2009
Concord, CA
Posts: 1,666
Liked 44 Times on 36 Posts

What a novel idea...

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Old 02-25-2012, 06:45 AM   #5
Jan 2011
Honolulu, HI
Posts: 5

Is this better than pumping ice cold water through your wort chiller? I use a small fountian pump in a cooler filled with ice and water after running tap water through for the first 5 minutes. I chill 5 gallons in about 20-25 minutes. My tap water is 80 too.

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Old 02-25-2012, 08:02 AM   #6
DeafSmith's Avatar
Jan 2009
Richardson, TX
Posts: 1,448
Liked 34 Times on 32 Posts

Pumping ice water through your chiller is more effective than using a pre-chiller, in my experience. I run tap water through my chiller to knock the temperature down to about 100 F, then switch to pumping ice water. I have a submersible 1/6 hp pump I got from Harbor Freight for about $50. I put this into a 20 gallon plastic tub with about 10-12 gallons of ice water and recirculate the water through my chiller to get down to pitching temperature. While I waste a few gallons cooling with tap water, it doesn't take very long to get to about 100 and the few gallons I use to recirculate is quite a bit less than what I would use trying to get from 100 to pitching temp. with tap water, or even with pre-chilled tap water.

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