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Old 04-23-2008, 07:49 PM   #1
Apr 2008
Posts: 67

I have an noob question regarding wort chillers. When I was in college, we used to keep a keg tapped and pressurized, but warm. When used what was basically a cooler with a tap mounted on it to chill the beer. Inside was a long length of plastic tubing coiled up many times that beer would flow from the keg to the tap. When we wanted cold beer, we simply filled the cooler with ice and water, and as the beer flowed through it - ice cold w/o having to use a keggerator,etc. So naturally, I'm thinking "looks like i could chill wort this way also". Same basic concept as a counterflow chiller. I'm guessing that there is a good reason why this would not work, or it would already a be a well documented option . Wort wont get cool enough with 1 pass through the cooler? Plastic tubing leeches chemicals into wort?, etc?

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Old 04-23-2008, 08:02 PM   #2
Dr_Deathweed's Avatar
Jul 2007
Bryan, Texas
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You are talking about a jockey box. It would work, but I see it using A LOT of ice. I think it might be better to cool your wort partway first (like with an imersion chiller), then run it through something like what you mention.

I use somthing simalar with my CFC since my tap water is usually 80+. I just have about 10' of extra copper tubing after my CFC that sits in a bucket of ice to cool the already cooled wort down those last few degrees to pitching temp.
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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Aug 2006
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What you were using was called a jockey box and it's more usually filled with copper or stainless coils for better heat transfer.

In terms of wort cooling, it would be called a hybrid chiller or sometimes called a reverse immersion. In any case, it has the same challenges as a CFC or plate chiller in that they have to be internally sanitized but the other problem is that you'll use a LOT of ice to chill a liquid from boiling temps.
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:04 PM   #4
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Jan 2008
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You are referring to a jockey box.

The beer you are cooling is already room temp and needs at most (for lagers) a 24 degree change. Wort, on the other hand, needs double to triple that. The ice will go away very quickly using this method but a few do just that. Instead, they use buckets of ice.

IMO, plate chillers are king for the money and efficiency.

edit: Wow! 3 responses, simultaneously saying the same thing.

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Old 04-23-2008, 08:04 PM   #5
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Feb 2008
Amherst, Western New York
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it probably wont get cool enough I tried this when I was doing partial boils with PM. I ran 10ft of hose from the kettle, started a syphon and ran that hose through my sink full of 33deg F water and into the fermenter. It got close to temp was was still in the 90s when it came out. but with topping off it brought it down to temp.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:02 PM   #6
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May 2007
Nashua, NH
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In theory, yes it will work. However, I think it'd be pretty impractical. You'd have to stir the ice water constantly to keep cold water in contact with the tubing. Plastic tubing would offer poor conductivity so you'd need a lot of it. Because of the large amount of heat you'd be removing, you'd need a LOT of ice water, and you would have to run the wort through it very slowly, which leaves more time for DMS issues in the wort that's still waiting in the hot kettle. Plus, the hot wort entering the inlet would probably damage the tubing for the first several feet until it cooled down enough later on.

I doubt you'd find it worth the hassle. Immersion chillers are kind of expensive due to copper costs, but will work a lot better and be less annoying to use.

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Old 04-24-2008, 02:10 PM   #7
Apr 2008
Posts: 67

Makes sense. thanks all!

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