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Old 06-05-2013, 09:55 PM   #1
bulbous_blues
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Default Cool wort in hot a hot climate

Until recently I just did very small batches and used the ice bath method to cool my wort. I now plan on doing 5 gallon batches so figured it was time to invest in a better method to cool my wort.

One of my problems is I live in Texas and during the summer the ground water stays pretty warm.

I know variations of this question has been asked, but I wondered if someone has direct experience of both situations

I could buy a immersion chiller and hope that this is enough with the ground water as it is, any experience of this in hot weather? (this would be the cheapest) Also does the size of the chiller help at all?

I could use the immersion chiller with a pump and recycle the water and ice.
But i figure by the time I've bought a pump and more hose I've spent as much as a plate chiller (plus it just looks a pain in the ass)

If I got a plate chiller and dumped it in a cooler with some iced water would this seem the best way to keep things easy, relatively inexpensive and use the least amount of water.

Opinions and experiences welcomed


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Old 06-06-2013, 02:13 AM   #2
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I do the second method often and yes it definitely will cost more with the pump. However, consider the additional advantage that you can quickly get down to lager pitching temps. I don't own a plate chiller, but I would think dunking it in an ice bath would not add that much more advantage since the majority of the heat exchange surface is buried inside the chiller.


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Old 06-06-2013, 02:20 AM   #3
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I started with a 2-stage IC. A 25' section that sat in a cooler full of ice water, connected to another 25' section that went into the wort.

Now that I have a plate chiller and a pump, the 2-stage IC is basically my "pre-chiller" for the plate chiller. I put both sections in the cooler with ice water, then the output of that becomes the input into the plate chiller. I can chill my wort down into the mid 40's, regardless of the outdoor or faucet temperature.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:22 AM   #4
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Florida has warm temps. I make ales and lagers, no problem. No ice.

Get a small cheap chest freezer. Cool the wort with water from your hose (or pool, that's what I do). In the summer I can only get it down to 85-90. Then I put the carboys into my chest freezer. It only takes a few hours to get it the rest of the way to ale temps, and a few more hours to lager temps. Then I pitch yeast.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:39 AM   #5
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Hello, I live in Arizona, my tap water is 90 deg right now, I use a 3/8" 50 ft wort chiller to get my 10 gal batches down to 95 deg then into the fermenters it go's, then I put the fermenters into 2 rope handle tubs ($6 ea at walmart) with ice and water, in about an hr Im pitching yeast,
Im thinking about making another wort chiller of 3/8" 25 ft to use as a pre chiller, with a cheap water pump from harbor freight to recirculate the water with ice from one of the rope handle tubs.

The 50 ft chiller works great btw, but Im doing 10 gal batches too.

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Old 06-06-2013, 02:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
Florida has warm temps. I make ales and lagers, no problem. No ice.

Get a small cheap chest freezer. Cool the wort with water from your hose (or pool, that's what I do). In the summer I can only get it down to 85-90. Then I put the carboys into my chest freezer. It only takes a few hours to get it the rest of the way to ale temps, and a few more hours to lager temps. Then I pitch yeast.
+1 to this. in texas like the op, and this is easiest
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:01 AM   #7
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One more Texas brewer here. I run hose water through the chiller until I hit about 85*F. I then switch my water-in line to a Northern Tool submersible pump sitting inside a 5-gallon Igloo cooler about 1/3 full of water and set up the water-out line (which had been dumping onto the lawn) to recirculate back into the Igloo.

This time of year, by adding ice to the water in the Igloo, I can get down to 62*F with a 10lb bag and down close to about 50*F with a 20lb bag. I did this with my copper IC and still use the same technique with the 30-plate chiller on my E-BIAB rig (while recirculating the wort back into the kettle and monitoring the temp via the PID controller).
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:51 PM   #8
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wow A lot of useful replies, going from everyone has said. I will start off with an IC and experiment with that as best as I can. When I have some more cash consider the pump and/or pre-chiller. I'm glad you guys mentioned the mini chest freezer, I was expecting that that would be an essential eventually, at least in hot climates.

Is there an advantage of a chest freezer over a minifridge?

Also do you think taking an hour to get the wort from say 90 to pitching temp has any detrimental effects? I think I read that as long as you manage to get the temp down to 80 asap then after that is not so bad.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:25 PM   #9
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I do use an IC to get the wort down to about 120, pour it into the bucket, put in the fridge then add the O2 and yeast the next day. Makes my brew day go faster too.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:53 PM   #10
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There's more than 1 way to skin a cat.

It doesn't really matter what method you use, the end result will be that your wort will never get below the water temperature (simple physics). That said, the SPEED at which it happens can vary dramatically based on the efficiency of the tools used.

I use a plate chiller and I use well water that comes in at about 66-68F, and the wort comes out around 72-74F in the middle of the summer. I pitch the yeast at this temperature (for ales, not so for lagers) and then I put the fermenters in the fermentation fridge. So far that's worked well for me.

To get below 72F, I'd probably need to use a secondary reverse-immersion chiller (the beer is inside the copper) with an ice bath. I'm a bit concerned that this might get too cold because of the travel time of the wort inside the copper.

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