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Old 07-01-2008, 12:32 PM   #1
HomerT
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Default Franken-Chiller

I have used a home made copper immersion chiller for the last year and a half. Its not the prettiest, but it does the job. A while back, my Father-In-Law (who used to do refridgeration) called me out to the pole barn and dusted off an old box. It was an unopened refridgeration "study-kit". Inside were a small radiator and a coil of what appeared to be aluminum tubing. He said maybe I could find a use for it while I am brewing.

Last week I took it out and started looking at it. Turns out the radiator is copper with aluminum fins painted black. The aluminum tubing was actually copper with a spun aluminum outer coating (not sure why). I figured a trip tot he hardware store could turn this into a nice pre-chiller. I was right.

Although it isn't pretty....it works. I intorduce....Franken-Chiller!!!


It worked beautifully....sort of. I made an Amber Lager last night and it cooled my wort to 70 in about 25min. It should have been much quicker, but I didn't have enough Ice. I thought we had a 25lb bag in the deep freeze, but forgot it was just used for a party. I used everything form the freezer, but it was melted within ten minutes. Doh! Next time though, my little metal monster will be packed with the right amount of ice.

-Todd


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Old 07-01-2008, 12:49 PM   #2
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Good score!! Looks mean!!


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Old 07-01-2008, 01:16 PM   #3
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Sort of a spin off topic... since I'm no HVAC expert, why can't we make some kind of mini air-conditioner immersion chiller where refrigerant is pushed through the coil in a closed system? I would think this would cool things down pretty quickly! There's got to be a reason why this wouldn't work, or someone would have tried it by now.
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Sort of a spin off topic... since I'm no HVAC expert, why can't we make some kind of mini air-conditioner immersion chiller where refrigerant is pushed through the coil in a closed system? I would think this would cool things down pretty quickly! There's got to be a reason why this wouldn't work, or someone would have tried it by now.
I think it would work great but for the cost you could just use a plate chiller/CF and get better results.

The reason I like CF chillers better than IC's is that with an IC not a single drop of that wort gets cooled fast, it allll takes 25 mins to cool. With a CF, a drop of wort is either still boiling or chilled within seconds.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:05 PM   #5
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There are downsides to external exchangers as well. For one thing, you have the whole mass of wort sitting in the pot at near boiling, but not quite boiling, for a while. This is where DMS is formed but not driven off. If you use icewater for the coolant, you can get the wort from 210 down to near 100 in less than 5 minutes.

I use a CFC but I'm not going to be happy with it until I can run the wort through it as fast as my pump can push it. This only works from November through May for me (without ice).
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:24 PM   #6
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Next time if you do not have ice again, you could always set a fan up next to the radiator to help cool it. Or maybe use the radiator as a pre chiller cooler. To take some of the heat away before you go to the chiller in the ice. That way the ice would last longer.



It sounded like you were using a pump before because you said how quickly your iced melted.......but looking back at your pic. It looks like you aren't. So, nvm........well I guess you could still use it in this manner.

Reason: on the 2nd look..
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:12 PM   #7
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No pump. My ice melted quickly because it was maybe a pound of ice and five gallons of water. Bad planning. Next time....
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:47 PM   #8
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you have the whole mass of wort sitting in the pot at near boiling, but not quite boiling, for a while. This is where DMS is formed but not driven off.
Yes, that would be a bad thing, which is why I plan to keep the wort boiling when I use my CF. (haven't brewed since I made it) Is there a reason that this is not common practice?
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:53 PM   #9
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Yes, that would be a bad thing, which is why I plan to keep the wort boiling when I use my CF. (haven't brewed since I made it) Is there a reason that this is not common practice?
I expect it due to the potential for scorching but, I suspect this is only an issue for the latter half to quarter of the wort. Another issue may be a higher rate of melanoidin production as the volume decreases.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
Sort of a spin off topic... since I'm no HVAC expert, why can't we make some kind of mini air-conditioner immersion chiller where refrigerant is pushed through the coil in a closed system? I would think this would cool things down pretty quickly! There's got to be a reason why this wouldn't work, or someone would have tried it by now.

This is essentially how the cooling jackets work, IIUC. Food Grade Glycol, but the cooling happens from the outside of the vessel rather than through the wort..

I suspect the reasoning behind not wanting to circulate R-134a through hot wort would be obvious, even if it is contained within copper tubing/piping, leaks happen.


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