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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Immersion Pre-Chiller - Waste of Money?
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
Nagorg
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Default Immersion Pre-Chiller - Waste of Money?

I recently bought an immersion pre-chiller while on sale. Today was my first time to use it and I have to say that I wasn't impressed.

Before I got the pre-chiller, I had purchased a submersible pump that I simply stuck in a bucket of ice water and attached to my immersion chiller. The outflow simply returns to the same bucket so I am not wasting water.

After trying both, I am inclined to believe that the submersible pump is the better solution. It actually does a better job of cooling the wort while the pre-chiller just melts ice and wastes water. The pump was actually cheaper than the pre-chiller, even at the sale price.

So if anyone out there is pondering an immersion pre-chiller, you have my two cents. Mine may be up for sale soon!


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Old 07-22-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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I do the pump in ice water as well. Now that I have a freezer that makes ice i use it for all my brews. Before I would only use it for lagers


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Old 07-23-2012, 10:25 AM   #3
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I see other folks on this forum have the same opinion on pre-chiller -vs- pump. Sure wish I had searched for this topic in here before I got all excited over a sale price! Oh well... I guess I could always use it to cool smaller batches.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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you could turn the pre-chiller into a herms system
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:57 PM   #5
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Almost bought one myself....(groundwater temps are in the mid 80*s in the summer)

My wort chilling experience last night, from flame out to pitch............

Flame cut at 10:11,
Temp @ 10:12 = 212*
Using my 50ft ss 3/8" wort chiller, temp @ 10:20 was 100*, 8 minutes elapsed
By 10:24, I was at 90*, 12 minutes elapsed
At 10:25, I dunked my 7.5 gallon brewpot into an ice bath with 3 X 10lbs of ice & water
By 10:37 I was at 65*, my personal ideal pitching temp

Could've pitched a tad earlier, but it was covered, sterile, and I was distracted by something else for a minute or two...

Point is, with groundwater temps about 20* higher than my pitch temp, I'm pretty pleased with getting it pitched 26-27 minutes after I cut the fire off. I don't have a fancy boil kettle, no valves or spigots. I do it 'old school' by stirring and swirling with a ss spoon and the actual chiller to keep the wort moving, continually getting hot and cold mixing.

Still kinda want a pre-chiller though.....
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
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Rebel brewer has a $29 pre chiller. I'm going to buy one or even make one as they get good reviews. Definitely can't hurt!
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:09 AM   #7
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Running chilled water into your immersion chiller is a requirement for me here in Texas this time of year. I think a lot of folks in other states are having this problem too these days. I just didn't find that the pre-chiller did a very good job of pre-chilling..

If I were you, I'd save a couple of dollars and get a submersible pump from your local hardware store. (just my two cents...) I found mine at Lowes in the pond/fountain section for ~$25.00. I did need a few feet of tubing and a garden hose end as well as a hose clamp too. But, I can tell you that this setup does a much better job of cooling the wort when placed in a bucket of ice water and attached to your immersion chiller. No need to pre-chill since your running ice water straight into the immersion chiller.

Works like a champ!
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:34 AM   #8
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I definitely give my vote for using a pump to run ice water through the IC rather than use a pre-chilling IC. For close to the same money you get much more effectiveness this way, IME.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:37 PM   #9
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The nice thing about a prechiller is that you can hook it up when the wort is still pretty hot. I fired mine up last night when the wort hit 145. I didn't time each step of the process, but it went from a full boil to 70 degrees and in the carboy in forty minutes. My tap water runs mid 80s so I'm happy with that.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:51 PM   #10
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I've used both a pre-chiller and a submersible pump, and the pump performs much better. The best way to use either of these is to use your main chiller to get the wort chilled down close to your input water temperature. Once you get there, say 90F, hook up your pre-chiller or submersible pump setup. This will avoid wasting the ice because you won't be running near boiling wort through it. The key is to get a large difference in temp between the chilled water and the wort, rather than a cold water temp from the start.


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