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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Chillers and Stir Plates > Prechiller / counter-flow idea....
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:00 AM   #1
Duckfoot
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Default Prechiller / counter-flow idea....

After a 12.5 hour drive from Pittsburgh to Atlanta Saturday, and all day Sunday brewng up some Thunderstruck Pumpkin Ale, cleaning out my new Sankes, plugging up my soon-to-be kegerator (pics to follow) and rearranging the garage to fit SWMBO's Bimmer in it's rightful place, I re-discovered that I am the proud owner of approximately 30+ feet of 3/4" and 20 feet of 1/2" copper tubing... Thank you previous homeowner... (I won't mention the 10' diameter sinkhole in my backyard where they buried the trees they cut down 10 years ago... F**KERS!!!)

Since I have no future plumbing projects (<-- knocks on wood) I was thinking of a pre-chiller / counterflow-ish type of setup... Take a used (and useless at this point) 30 - 40 quart cooler, use some 90* elbows and the aforementioned copper tubing and make a 'coil' to place in said cooler full of ice / water to cool wort from the keggle to my fermentors...

Currently using a 25' IC, with a recirculating ice water / pump system which I have to transfer wort from keggle to a 20q pot to use ... Kind of a PITA since I can only cool about 4 gallons at a time without overflowing the pot...

Granted a 5+ gallon pot would be 'easier', but since I have almost all of the materials (minus the 90's) I figure WTF...

Any questions / comments?
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Old 09-24-2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great plan to me. If I weren't so paranoid about cleaning the inside of those things I'd probably do something similar. Not meant as a deterrent, clearly many homebrewers pump their wort through copper with no issues. I'm just paranoid about it.
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Old 09-24-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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Anytime you flow wort through a coil, or a plate chiller for that matter, you want to be able to circulate the boiling wort through it and back to the kettle for at least 5 minutes to sanitize. Sure, you can gravity drain it and then return it by pouring but pumping is ideal.

You're talking about what I'd call a reverse immersion chiller. It's only "reverse" in the sense that most immersed coils carry the coolant inside. Some people call it a "post" chiller because it is typically the second chilling stage after a run through a CFC that inadequately chilled due to warm ground water.

The only detriment to your design is the speed at which the ice would be consumed. In other words, it doesn't allow for a prechill using inexpensive tap water.

An alternative would be to run some 3/8" OD tubing inside the core of your 3/4" tubing creating an all-copper counterflow. You'd drop that into your ice water vessel. You'll still use tap through the outside jacket to provide primary heat sink but the icebath would make it all that more effective.
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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Or you could just run tap water through the cooler for a couple minutes as you recirculate (since you'll be recirculating anyway). Not a pressurized system like the one you just built, more like the barrel they used to run the worm through in the old-timey moonshine stills. As long as inflow/outflow matches it might slake off enough heat for the first stage. Then you could dump your ice in and throw the valve from recirculation to pass-through. Maybe. You'd have to experiment with that first phase I think.

So then it becomes more of a 3-stage process:

1. Recirculate boiling wort to sterilize
2. Turn off heat, turn on cooling water, continue to recirculate for a few minutes to knock it down to 100-150 (or whatever seems feasible)
3. Add ice, switch from recirculation to pass-through.
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckfoot View Post
Currently using a 25' IC, with a recirculating ice water / pump system which I have to transfer wort from keggle to a 20q pot to use ... Kind of a PITA since I can only cool about 4 gallons at a time without overflowing the pot...
I use a 25' IC in my keggle with no significant problems... What prevents you from doing so?
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:16 PM   #6
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The IC I have looks like it was made for a smaller stockpot... The inlet / outlet ports are inside the rim of the keggle with the hoses being in there as well... Not exactly a easy fit either...
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