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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Building an IC, any issues with coil height above wort?
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Old 12-04-2013, 02:01 AM   #1
Fresh95
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Default Building an IC, any issues with coil height above wort?

Hey guys, I just picked up 60' of copper from the Home Depot sale and was going to use it to construct an IC with Whirlpool arm. I have a 13.5" inner diameter pot with ~ 1/2" welded nub sticking in giving me about a 13" diameter of effective space. I'm planning on constructing an IC with the coil outer diameter being 12 3/4", essentially the largest I can construct while still sitting at the bottom of the kettle.

I did the math for how high I want the in/out ports, how long the whirl pool arm should be, how far past the rim the ports should go, etc. and calculated how high my coils will go with the remaining copper. It appears the coils will be up to a couple inches higher than the boil volume of my wort depending on the particular batch, but still submerged roughly 10/11 of the way.

I'm wondering if there are any problems that might arise from this such that it would be recommended I cut out a wrap or two from the coil to shrink the total height. I've tried googling around but haven't found anything discussing why ICs shouldn't be taller than the wort other than efficiency, and generally in those threads the ICs have been significantly higher.

Do I need to worry about the parts above not being properly sanitized? If I put it in pre-boil the top most part won't be submerged in boiling wort but when I turn on the whirlpool I assume the wort will raise in height a bit. If I turn it on before starting the cooling would that effectively sanitize?

My build not going too far above the wort relies on the IC being build such that it nearly touches the sides of the kettle. I haven't been able to find any info on ideal widths other than not too narrow and must fit in the kettle. Is there any issue with the IC practically touching the kettle?

I'm looking forward to this as my next DIY project and would appreciate any input before I start cutting into my copper. Thanks.


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Old 12-04-2013, 03:44 AM   #2
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My IC is 50" 1/2 inch and - depending on which kettle I use and my batch size, frequently is a few turns above the top of the wort. I rinse the chiller well with water and spray it with Starsan before I put it in the boiling wort ~15 minutes from the end of boil. I figure between the Stansan and the steam it is pretty bug free.

My chiller is also pretty wide. I have HEARD that the ideal placement for the coil is closer to the outside of the pot then the center, but I can't give a solid citation for that so it could be bogus. Mine is wide and it works well.


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Old 12-04-2013, 03:52 AM   #3
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Funny, this came up yesterday too. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/larg...atches-445770/
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I'll stick with wider as I only found one thread suggesting the chiller shouldn't be too close to the outside of the pot but no real backup. I hadn't seen the thread yesterday, that's pretty helpful. Like I said, I've seen a number of threads where the user's IC was significantly higher than their wort, but yesterday's thread is the first I've seen where people actually responded saying it's fine. Generally the responses I've seen have been "why bother spending more on something you won't get the full use out of?" or "build it smaller and wider so it's more efficient".
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:54 PM   #5
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There are mixed reviews as to having all the coils touch each other. Some say the area touching each another is a loss of efficiency, due to the fact the wort doesn't move as quickly around the coils as it could could. Others say "it's not an issue". I opted for the "rib cage" design, I don't know if will be better, worse or the same to reduce wort temperature as quickly as possible.
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:31 PM   #6
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I have a single coil chiller that fits right near the outside of the pot and a ribcage chiller. Both 50ft of 3/8 copper. The ribcage chiller won out handily on speed until I started using a pump to whirlpool. The single coil chiller actually works much better with the whirlpool method since the ribcage chiller actually breaks up the flow so much that I can't create a whirlpool. So I would say the ribcage chiller is your best bet unless you use a pump to whirlpool or use a hop spider. Until I got a pump my single coil chiller sat on the shelf as the ribcage design was so much better.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:29 AM   #7
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So, I guess you can have it both ways... Thank you for your post Setesh I now have both sides of the story. I don't know if you have seen my Frankenchiller photos or not, but there is 43 ft of 5/8" in my ribcage coil. I used a 1 gallon glass jug for the outside coil, and a 8" cardboard concrete form for the inside coil. I hit kind of a roadblock, I haven't yet decided what style of hose connectors I will use, so I haven't wired the loops together at the contact points. I must be in denial. No I'm not. Yes you are. No I'm not. Well, you get the point...
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:18 AM   #8
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maybe off topic but heres my 2 cents...i have a 60 ft 3/8" chiller and a 30 ft 1/2"ID chiller..the 1/2"ID chilller cools much quicker. the key is to have more surface area, not so much the height or lack there of. the larger diameter coil = more cooling surface area.


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