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Old 08-28-2007, 12:47 PM   #1
dcunitedfan
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Default wort chiller and warm tap water

I got my new 7.5 gal brew kettle and wort chiller last week, and tried them out on Sunday (just with water, to practice). Found as you would expect that Newton's law of cooling is still in effect, and what with tap water being somewhat warm during the summer, cooling slows down considerably as it approaches 90-100F, let alone 80F.

I don't want to jump into the expense of Jamil Z.'s solution of getting a pump and building a recirculating whirlpool thingy at this point. I debated in effect building a second device, in essence a 'tap water chiller' to sink into a tub of ice water so that the tap would get a chance to be chilled on it's way to the primary wort chiller. Decided against that mostly because of cost (would likely be at least $25+ in materials plus $8 for those pipe bender things) plus this is likely only going to be needed during the summer. Also debated trying to use my utility pump to force chilled water through the chiller - it has no flow regulation and somehow I doubt that putting a valve in front of the pump would be good for it's health...

So instead, I spent $12 for a 18 gal steel tub. Turns out not only is it more than wide enough to accomodate my kettle, the kettle rises slightly above the tub rim when placed inside. So I can shove more ice into the water bath and not have to worry much about the bath water getting into the wort.

My plan is to use just the wort chiller for the first 10 min or so until the wort temp gets down to around 120F (to avoid a really bad burn in the event of a spill) and then carefully place the kettle in the ice water bath for a extra thermal boost to get down to 80F.

I still might someday decide to build a second wort chiller, but this should help for now. If I go that route, I will probably try to tailor the new chiller to my brew kettle's measurements and use the original as the pre-chiller. My current chiller looks a bit small inside the kettle.

Has anyone else been bothered enough by the summer tap temp problem to take extra measures and if so what did you do?


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Old 08-28-2007, 12:48 PM   #2
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I use a pre chiller covered in ice water after th wort is done to 100 degrees.


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Old 08-28-2007, 01:01 PM   #3
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I'm thoroughly convinced that gravity feeding or pumping icewater into whatever chiller you use is the fastest way to do it (after the intitial chill down to 100F that is). Prechilling is second best but it requires more copper and is not as fast. The laws of thermodynamics prove that water in direct contact with ice will cool faster than water separated from the ice by a layer of copper and more water.
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdWort
I use a pre chiller covered in ice water after th wort is done to 100 degrees.
that's my plan too. get it close to 100F, then pump a bathtub full of cold water and about a dozen 20oz water bottles that are frozen solid, to knock off the last 25 degrees.

luckily I already have the pump left over from my aquarium days.
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:41 PM   #5
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I use a sump pump and run ice water through the chiller for the last 20-30 degrees. The prechiller I have was not as effective as the pump.
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Old 08-28-2007, 04:43 PM   #6
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Here in AZ it's real tough to get tap water cold in the summer so I have the same problem with my immersion chiller so my method changed a bit. Ice bath while immersion chilling. It works great for the first 100 degrees, it's those last 40 that are tough to make.
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blender
I use a sump pump and run ice water through the chiller for the last 20-30 degrees. The prechiller I have was not as effective as the pump.

This idea here with the sump pump connected to the chiller seems to be really easy solution.

Fill your tub/cooler full of ice water and submerge the sump pump, connect hoses, plug the thing in and let it do its thing.

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Old 08-28-2007, 06:22 PM   #8
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Damn...I never thought to do such a thing before! Cool! I've got a nice sump pump that has a hose attachment that will run right into my IC. Freakin' sweet...it's been taking way too long in these summer months to get down to 70f.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:59 PM   #9
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I use my old IC as a pre-chiller now. I put it in a 5 gallon pot and dump all of the ice in my freezer in with some salt after the wort hits 100. Constant stirring of the ice water and the wort can get my wort down to around 66 degrees in the time it takes for the ice in the pot to melt fully. My tap water right now is around 80 degrees.
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:53 PM   #10
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I thought of using my utility pump to pump ice water through my wort chiller, but the pump itself has no flow control or adjustable power, and I'm nervous about the idea of putting a valve between it and the chiller - would put back pressure on the pump and I'm not sure that's good for it (or maybe I'm worrying about it too much - those things are designed to pump the water down what might turn out to be a very long hose, and that's just another form of flow resistance). Anyone have any thoughts about the durability of utility/sump pumps in this application?

Hmm...the 18gal tub I just bought might just end up turning into a large ice water reservoir


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