Anyone go back to an immersion chiller?

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The_Bishop

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So, I'm considering simplifying my brewing equipment a bit, and going back to an immersion chiller.

I've never had an issue with my shirron plate chiller, but the cleaning after brewing is getting a little old.

I'm considering building a two-loop ribcage chiller (two 20' loops of 3/8" copper, fed by 1/2 copper with a T fitting) and integrating a whirlpool arm into it, so I can use my pump to whirlpool the wort while chilling. In theory I can also do away with my stainless hop basket.

Anyone do this, or am I getting set for disappointment?
 

ndinh

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So, I'm considering simplifying my brewing equipment a bit, and going back to an immersion chiller.

I've never had an issue with my shirron plate chiller, but the cleaning after brewing is getting a little old.

I'm considering building a two-loop ribcage chiller (two 20' loops of 3/8" copper, fed by 1/2 copper with a T fitting) and integrating a whirlpool arm into it, so I can use my pump to whirlpool the wort while chilling. In theory I can also do away with my stainless hop basket.

Anyone do this, or am I getting set for disappointment?
I was tired of cleaning my plate chiller so I did the same thing after reading jamils article. I took my old 50ft IC and wrapped it around 2 kegs and squeezed them together making a ribcage type chiller. I also wanted my chiller to sit lower and wider into the wort. Used it with a whirlpool arm and it still took over 1/2 hr and 30+ gallons of water to get to pitching temp for 5 gallons. I finally just broke down and bought a CFC. Now I use my IC+whirlpool for initial cooling to 160F and then pump it through my CFC. Last brew took 5 minutes (after 160F) and less then 10 gallons of water to get to pitching temp. My $0.02....use the IC for the initial cooling and use something else for the rest.
 

hunter_le five

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I bought my plate chiller about a year and a half ago. I got so tired of cleaning it that I haven't even used it yet. Or taken it out of the box it came in.

It turns out those things are a lot of work....
 
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The_Bishop

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Well, the idea is to simplify equipment, so I'm not looking to add a second chiller to the mix. I'm on well water, so it's pretty damn cold; in the 50's all year round.

Guess I'll just have to build it and see.
 

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I love my immersion chiller. I do whirlpool chill as Jamil recommends, but not with fancy fittings or custom attachments like he suggests.

I just lay the outgoing hose from my pump in the kettle when I add the immersion chiller. I position it so that it circulates the wort around the chiller. After I'm down to temp I remove the immersion chiller and continue with the whirlpool for a few minutes before running off to remove as much hop matter as possible. Works great.
 

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I'm in the minority, I guess. Had an issue with my plate chiller (whole hops + stainless steel scrubby getting knocked off in the dip tube during the boil = major clog), so bought a Hydra IC. Used it several times, but in the end didn't really find it that much simpler, so now I'm back to the plate chiller (after an extensive cleaning regimen and going back to using the hop spider every brew).
 

k1ngl1ves

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I prefer IC's for their simplicity. I've used plate chillers and counter-flows, but I keep going back to the IC. I don't whirlpool either. I stir by hand just to keep things moving, then dump everything in the fermenter.

No pumps either. Simple as possible. No wasted money on unnecessary equipment.
 

dmcman73

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I moved away from an immersion chiller to a CFC, so happy I did. Now I can chill my wort (I recirculate back into my BK) and do other things like prep my fermentor, clean, etc while the wort is chilling, cuts down on my brew day.
 

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I had to stir the wort around the immersion coil to cool faster. I could have made a whirlpool tube but as it was, the immersion chiller never sat right in my brew kettle because if the heating element in it. It would tip and come out of the liquid and I had to hold it up. So instead of coming up with some way to keep it from tipping and fabricating a whirlpool tube amongst other things I had to do, I decided to go with a cfc and hard plumb the cooling water in and water out.
 

BBBF

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Last weekend, I had a couple whole hops get away from the hop spider, which partially clogged my bottom drain kettle and CFC. It was a total fail for all my upgrades. Normally, I have no problems and I love my system, but that day I longed for the simpler days of the IC and no pumps.
 

dmcman73

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Last weekend, I had a couple whole hops get away from the hop spider, which partially clogged my bottom drain kettle and CFC. It was a total fail for all my upgrades. Normally, I have no problems and I love my system, but that day I longed for the simpler days of the IC and no pumps.
Even with an immersion chiller, wouldn't it had clogged your valve when you went to drain it?
 

jbaysurfer

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Yes, I have gone plate chiller and back to coil again. You don't need a whirlpool arm if you just weave the return line of your pump into the coil in the opposite direction of flow.
-
I have never gotten such a good whirlpool and cone that I could forego the hop baskets/bags though. YMMV, but a clogged pump is a pain in the A to deal with while you're chilling...so I'd recommend caution.
 

Natdavis777

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I had my patience tested with my plate chiller, but I can't imagine going back to an IC now. I pump through the plate chiller back through my whirlpool arm and get a great trub cone. For 10 gal, I can get to pitching temps in 25min. That gives me time to get everything else cleaned up that I haven't yet. Once I have transferred to carboys, i fill the BK back up with water and PBW and recirc through the same process and softly scrub the BK. At the end, I swap input lines multiple times (QDs) on the plate chiller to break up any matter that may have gotten stuck in the chiller. This has worked really well for me the past 4 or so batches. I've learned using loose hops sucks though, so my wife is getting me a stainless spider for Christmas


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 
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The_Bishop

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Today I was wandering through lowes and they had 60' of 1/4 ID copper tubing on sale for $36.

So I built the chill you see below. It's a ribcage style, with two 30' 1/4" coils. Water is plumbed down to the bottom via 1/2 copper, tees into the two separate coils, then re-connects on the top with another tee, then out.

I figure with two separate coils it should be pretty gangbusters at cooling. Need to make a recirculation arm for it, and soak the whole works in PBW to clean it off.

Further results pending...

chiller.jpg
 
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The_Bishop

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I have a stainless hop basket, so hops aren't an issue, I'm trying to simplify the clean up process after brewing. I already do the forward/back flush with hot pbw and water after every brew, and oven bake it to dry it out.
 

Rivenin

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i went back from a CFC to a IC.
i have a whirlpool arm setup, i turn off my elements and turn on the whirlpool and the chiller.
Only downfall is once you get to like 100* it takes forever and wastes water, so i just turn the water down to like half flow... the water coming out of the outputis cold anyways, so it's not doing much, may as well slow the flow!
 
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The_Bishop

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Today was the first test of the IC with the whirlpool arm. It was awesome. 6 minutes from boil to 66 degrees! Guestimate is about 30 gallons of water based on how long it took to fill my cleanup water bucket, but I don't count that 6 gallons as wasted; it was nice to have 6 gallons of hot water ready to clean with!

It was also nice (if strange feeling) to toss the hops into the kettle sans hop spider, and even nicer to have a few things less to clean.
 
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The_Bishop

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As a late followup, I have since moved my whirlpool arm from the chiller to the kettle:


It works as well, or better than before. I especially like that I can pull the chiller out while still whirlpooling the trub into the center.
 

corkybstewart

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I was tired of cleaning my plate chiller so I did the same thing after reading jamils article. I took my old 50ft IC and wrapped it around 2 kegs and squeezed them together making a ribcage type chiller. I also wanted my chiller to sit lower and wider into the wort. Used it with a whirlpool arm and it still took over 1/2 hr and 30+ gallons of water to get to pitching temp for 5 gallons. I finally just broke down and bought a CFC. Now I use my IC+whirlpool for initial cooling to 160F and then pump it through my CFC. Last brew took 5 minutes (after 160F) and less then 10 gallons of water to get to pitching temp. My $0.02....use the IC for the initial cooling and use something else for the rest.
I use my IC to get down around 100F. I had a roll of 1/2" copper left over from a construction project so I turned it into a 30 foot coil that I pump my wort through. It sits in an ice bath in an ice chest, I can get my 10 gallons of wort down to lager temps in under 30 minutes this way. To clean it I take it out of the ice and pump a couple of gallons of boiling water through it immediately. After I've cleaned my kettles I boil 3 or 4 more gallons of water, add PBW and circulate through my whole system for a half hour, then rinse well with hot water. Before I start to chill the next batch I pump about a gallon of StarSan solution through the whole system.
Whatever water I use (usually non-potable well water) is used to water trees.
 

Homercidal

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So, I'm considering simplifying my brewing equipment a bit, and going back to an immersion chiller.

I've never had an issue with my shirron plate chiller, but the cleaning after brewing is getting a little old.

I'm considering building a two-loop ribcage chiller (two 20' loops of 3/8" copper, fed by 1/2 copper with a T fitting) and integrating a whirlpool arm into it, so I can use my pump to whirlpool the wort while chilling. In theory I can also do away with my stainless hop basket.

Anyone do this, or am I getting set for disappointment?
I have always used a homemade CFC and it's worked well, but I dislike the 3/8" tube size. I dislike not being able to see if it's clean (I've brushed it out a few time snow and again and was not a fan of the gunk that rinsed out!)

A fellow homebrewer built a nice 1/2" IC with recirculation arm and I was impressed. Pretty much did what I wanted mine to do.

I'd do what you did, though and have a dual pipe chiller for more efficient chilling. Looks nice. If I get my electric system pretty much built this summer I'll consider upgrading to an IC as well.
 

eric19312

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I went back from my counterflow to my old 25' 3/8 IC. I have whirlpool return in my boil kettle still takes quite a while to chill 11-12 gallons.

I did it because I love IPAs and was not happy with what I was getting out of flameout and whirlpool hop additions using the homebuilt CFC.

In my brew last sunday I had 18 oz kettle hops (pellets) in a 10 gallon batch. My whirlpool was reasonably successful and built up quite a cone. (got 10.5 gallons to fermenter after leaving 2 gallons of hops and trub in the bk.

I think if I did styles with smaller hop additions I'd probably have been happy with the CFC and be thinking to upgrade to a better CFC or a plate. That said I am looking at the Hydra for the coming summer.
 

Rivenin

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I have always used a homemade CFC and it's worked well, but I dislike the 3/8" tube size. I dislike not being able to see if it's clean (I've brushed it out a few time snow and again and was not a fan of the gunk that rinsed out!)

A fellow homebrewer built a nice 1/2" IC with recirculation arm and I was impressed. Pretty much did what I wanted mine to do.

I'd do what you did, though and have a dual pipe chiller for more efficient chilling. Looks nice. If I get my electric system pretty much built this summer I'll consider upgrading to an IC as well.
i have an electric system and used an IC for awhile...but it sitting on the element and banging around din't keep me happy.
ended up getting the jaded CFC - counterflow chiller and completely cleanable (had the same delemia you did with the cleanability )




works super well... gets to about 85 or so on full bore, if i choke it down half flow on the pump, it gets to about 72ish out the chiller
 

Homercidal

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i have an electric system and used an IC for awhile...but it sitting on the element and banging around din't keep me happy.
ended up getting the jaded CFC - counterflow chiller and completely cleanable (had the same delemia you did with the cleanability )




works super well... gets to about 85 or so on full bore, if i choke it down half flow on the pump, it gets to about 72ish out the chiller
I checked those out and considered making one like that, but I'm still debating.

I don't think I would mind the element problem. I think I can somehow get it to sit nice in the kettle without too much work.
 

Rivenin

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it wouldn't be a problem if i brewed bigger batches or had the element down lower, my 25' IC wouldn't sit down far enough either - but thats why i went to the CFC instead. plus like any homebrewer, i love the toys lol
 

Homercidal

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it wouldn't be a problem if i brewed bigger batches or had the element down lower, my 25' IC wouldn't sit down far enough either - but thats why i went to the CFC instead. plus like any homebrewer, i love the toys lol
Well, I'm not building an IC just because I love to build stuff...



Or am I?...


;)
 

herc1354

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I built an immersion chiller, injust couldn't see spending money on a CFC. In the summer months I run the chilling water through an exchanger to pre chill the cooing water. Way easier to clean and gets my wort temps down quick for late steeping hops. I also recirculate the wort around the chiller.

I can get the wort to pitching temps within 10-15 min.

The pre chiller is a coil of 3/8 copper inside a cooler, I then fill the cooler with ice.
 
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