Anyone use a water chiller before a wort chiller? - Home Brew Forums

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:01 PM   #1
Aug 2011
Roanoke, VA
Posts: 52

What I mean is do any of you use a chiller in an ice batch in between your spigot and your wort chiller to really cool down the ground water? As the summer heat starts to beat down, cooling the wort is getting harder and harder.

I spent 20 mins on my last batch just getting the wort below 80F and had to wait another several hours in my fermentation chamber to get it to pitching temp.

I'm considering building a very small chiller to go in an ice bath to rapidly cool the ground water temp down in route to the wort chiller in hopes that I can speed the process up and not waste so much damn h20 and time!

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:08 PM   #2
Jan 2012
Kansas City, Missouri
Posts: 174

I'm interested as well. I tried a submersible pump in a cooler with frozen gallon jugs of water (to create an "ice bath"). It didn't work well at all. The hot water being returned to the cooler over powered the frozen jugs ability to keep the water cool. Within ten minutes the water was hot to the touch.

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:09 PM   #3
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Jun 2011
Spanish Fort, AL
Posts: 2,162
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I do. My water is at least 80* in the summer, higher if the hose is running across the lawn in the hot sun.

I fill a cooler with ice and set a 25' 3/8" chiller in the cooler and run a short hose to my 50' 3/8" IC in my wort. To cool quickly I have to keep both chillers moving in their respective liquids, but I get down to 65 in about 12 minutes and use less than 20 gallons of water.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:10 PM   #4
Apr 2012
Lincoln County, TN
Posts: 191
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I use a Hayden 457 oil cooler as my pre-chiller for my Alabama (so-called) cooling water. It wasn't really necessary when the tap water was in the 60's, now it's in the mid-70's and forget trying to get the wort cooled using unchilled tap water.

But it's still not enough so I need to go from pre-chilling tap water to a recirculating the chill water itself using a cheapo HF pond pump. I'll get that before my next brew in the next week or so.


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Old 06-02-2012, 03:10 PM   #5
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Jun 2011
Fresno, CA
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Yep, every time. Spigot to 25' chiller submersed in ice/water to 50' chiller in wort. Chills 12 gals to about 65F in about 45 mins... I also use Jamil's recirculation setup.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:11 PM   #6
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Nov 2008
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With summer coming you may have to. I don't understand how people can cool to 70F with 76F water, but you'll find people on the boards who achieve the impossibility, and do it within 30 minutes to complete their 3 hours, AG brew day.

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
Dec 2010
garland, tx
Posts: 790
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I need a pre-chiller. With our tap water, I can get the wort to about 80 degrees, but I have to put it in my kegerator to get it down to pitching temps.

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:22 PM   #8
Mar 2012
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Posts: 163
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i feed my wort chiller from my bottling bucket, which I fill with ice

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:30 PM   #9
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Jun 2006
Taunton, MA
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I use an IC and submersible pump/ice water recirc. My summertime city water temps average around 76˚F. It takes about 10 minutes to get my wort down from boiling to ~100˚F with this water directly into the IC due to the large temperature differential between boiling wort and even relatively high temp tap water. At that point the temperature differential is not great enough for chilling any further in a reasonable amount of time.

Now the objective is to create another large temperature differential. Disconnect the city water from the IC and go into ice water recirc mode with the submersible pump in a 5 gallon bucket filled with tap water and store bought crushed ice. The pump discharges the ice water into the IC and the return water goes back into the ice water bucket. This an efficient use of the ice, as the return water temp is no so high as to obliterate the ice as it recirculates. I use about two 5lb bags of ice, topped off with city water. I'm able to go the rest of the way from ~100˚F to lager pitching temps (~55˚F) if I want in about another 5-7 minutes with this method.

If you're cooling an ale, it's very easy to over cool using this method, so watch your temps closely.

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Old 06-02-2012, 03:37 PM   #10
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Aug 2011
Tiverton, Rhode Island
Posts: 11,092
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I could only find 20' or 50' copper tubing and the 50' cost more that what the 10' extra would be so I made two 20' coil immersion chillers. One is smaller so it would fit inside the first, or as I usually do one goes in a bucket of ice water and the other into the wort. It still usually takes close to 1/2 hour.

I haven't figured out how people get their wort cooled in 10 minutes with an immersion chiller???

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