So I've been doing a bit of homework lately. Been reading up on Immersion chillers and counter flow chillers. Trying to decide which method i want to employ.
When using an immersion chiller, you can use either gravity or a pump.
Now there are two ways to use an immersion chiller:
1) Submerse the chiller in the hot wort and run cold water through it. (I'll call this method 1)
2) Submerse the chiller in ice water and run the hot wort through it. (I'll call this method 2)
Gravity fed is a pretty easy concept. But let's talk pumps.
When using method 1, you can just use a simple pond pump for the coolant.
But method 2 the pump will be in direct contact with the wort, so It would need to be a food grade pump, correct? Or could the same pump be used as in method 1?
Now when using a Counter Flow Chiller.....a couple questions:
How efficient is a gravity fed CFC over a pump fed one?
Can you use two pumps, one for the coolant and one for the wort?
Just one pump, for the wort or
I have another question (and perhaps it has already been asked before and is already in use
Could you pump your coolant through the CFC and into an immersion chiller and back through the CFC again, like in a closed loop? If so, what would you do with the wort? Cycle it through as well?
Now my gears are really turning....Could you use a pump just on the coolant line, and let the wort flow with just gravity? Keep recirculation the coolant as many times as needed for the wort to go through once? It would take a little bit of arithmetic but you could probably figure out the right speed of flow, diameter of tubing, length of tubing, etc to get optimum performance. heck, with a little trial and error you could probably almost get it dialed in to the point that when the wort came out into the fermenter it would be at perfect pitching temps.
What do you guys think?
Has all of this been covered before? I read quite a few posts concerning immersion chillers, plate chillers, CFC's pumps, etc. I'm just trying to put it all together now.