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CF Chiller vs. IC Chiller

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kerklein2

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My current chilling set up is horrible, I have lined a laundry basket with trash bags and put in pot in there to chill because my sink is too small for my pot. I want to build a chiller but I wanted to see a discussion of which type is better for me. Obviously a CF is going to be a bit more expensive, but what other pros/cons can you guys provide?
 

Couevas

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IC
There are a couple different ways you can set up a IC. The first is pretty standard in that you just put the coil in your wort and run tap water through it from a hose. This works pretty well but can be less efficient in the warmer months. The second way is to run two coils. The second coil will be the same as before, but the first will be placed in a bucket full of ice water. This is called pre-chilling and works wonders for cooling times. However, you have to have two coils and still waste quite a bit of water, if that is a problem to you.

CFC
A CFC runs beer through an inner-coil, and fluid (tap water, chilled water, or refrigerant) through the outer coil. The advantage of this is you can cool in one pass, but you have to run your wort through the coil. This usually means you need a pump, unless you can gravity feed it.

It all depends on your individual needs and how far you are willing to go. All of the aforementioned setups work well for many people.

Does this help?
 
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kerklein2

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I understand the difference between the two and their operation, I am just looking for people to convince me one way or the other what I need.
 

MacBruver

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Hard to say without a bit more information.

Are you doing all grain?

does your brew kettle have a spigot on it?

where are you doing your brewing? (kitchen, garage, etc)

what is your budget?

is water a scarce resource where you live?
 

Couevas

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I personally have never used a CFC. First I used a simple IC, then I added a second to pre-chill (I lived in Vegas....great for the below freezing winters, horrible for the summers at 120)

However, it always bothered me that I was wasting so much water. A CFC would help this a little, or you could go the way I recently just setup....a coil in ice water and the beer recirculated through the coil. Only a waste of 10 gallons or so.

So, if you are looking for a vote, I say CFC or IC the way I do to not waste water :)
 

Couevas

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Sorry, but a little :off: hijacking........


Hopaholic -- Where in OC are you from?
I grew up in Mission Viejo :mug:
 
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kerklein2

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Hard to say without a bit more information.

Are you doing all grain?

does your brew kettle have a spigot on it?

where are you doing your brewing? (kitchen, garage, etc)

what is your budget?

is water a scarce resource where you live?
Not yet. Will move there in the future.

No, just a pot right now.

In the kitchen for now, in the next few batches I'm going to score a turkey fryer.

Budget is tight, but not terrible.

Water is NOT scarce.
 

Couevas

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Well,

Since you do not have a spigot.....I would go IC.

CFC is not impossible without a spigot, but it would take some interesting work........
 

Bernie Brewer

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Immersion chillers are less efficient, but are a cinch to sanitize. You just drop them in the kettle during the last few minutes of the boil.

CFCs are a bit more difficult to sanitze and clean- you have to run sanitizer through them before you chill, and some kind of rinse afterward, but they are more efficient. They can chill five gallons a lot faster.

That's about it as far as I'm concerned, now it's up to you.
 

leboeuf

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If you're concerned with sanitization then the IC is the way to go.... I've only witnessed the pita the CFC is, never owned one. If you get enough tubing into the kettle you'll start to encroach on the CFC's efficiency #'s lol.
 

MacBruver

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Sorry, but a little :off: hijacking........


Hopaholic -- Where in OC are you from?
I grew up in Mission Viejo :mug:
Right on- I'm in Costa Mesa, not too far from the beach. Personally I think it's the only tolerable area of OC, and only barely. :)


Not yet. Will move there in the future.

No, just a pot right now.

In the kitchen for now, in the next few batches I'm going to score a turkey fryer.

Budget is tight, but not terrible.

Water is NOT scarce.
Given all of that- immersion all the way. I built mine for pretty cheap, but if time hadn't been tight I would have just bought one- I only saved about $10 compared to buying one, and mine does not look nearly as nice as one of the premade ones.
 

conpewter

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CFC is simple to sanitize if you have a pump, I run boiling wort through it the last 10 minutes of the boil.

Given that... it is easy to make an IC so you may want to go that way for simplicity sake.

Have you thought about No-Chill? The Pol is doing some experimentation with this, also it is well accepted in Australia.
 

Yambor44

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I started with an IC and now use a CFC. I love my homemade CFC! One pass thru it with ice water and the tmep in the carboy is 58 degrees. I live in Florida. I worried about the sanitizing and cleaning as well, but the time I save with it more than makes up for the "hassle" of sanitizing.

While my wort is boiling I pump sanitizer thru the CFC. Then when its time for the wort to be pumped thru, I pump the first part into a 1/2 gallon measuring cup until I get the sanitizer thru, then crimp the line with one of those crimpers to stop the flow for a second, then transfer it to the carboy and let her rip.
 

illin8

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I use an IC with hoses that have garden hose fittings. I just so happen to have a small simer pump that I got from Home Depot that doesn't get used. So...I take a cooler, buy a large bag of ice from wally world...I run water from the garden hose thru the IC to cool the wort initially and capture the water in the cooler w/ ice...when she starts getting to the top of the cooler I stop the garden hose, top off w/ more ice, prime the pump, and submerge both ends of the hose (one from the IC, the other to the pump) in the ice water. Fire up the pump and let the ice water recirculate while I move the IC around in the kettle. I get GREAT results with this method, and I have plenty of ice left over (for $3 you can't go wrong) and don't waste much water, I use whatever is left over for clean-up later.
 
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kerklein2

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I've been thinking, and it seems to me you could build a combination jockey box/chiller. That way the money is well spent. Anybody seen anything like that done?
 

EisBerg

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I would add that with a CFC your cold break ends up in the primary where with the IC it stays behind.
 

SumnerH

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IC with recirculated ice water seems like the best option to me, though it needs a pump. All of the other advantages of ICs, plus more efficiency, much better cooling, and you can double it as a jockey box if you need to.
 

illin8

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This is the pump that I have...available at HD or Lowes. A quick search (similar not same) has them at Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, as well as Ebay...although not as cheap as I had thought.
 

DeafSmith

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I use an IC (50 feet of 3/8 tubing) with a pre-chiller (18 or 19 feet of 3/8) in a bucket of ice water. I start with the prechiller just sitting in room temp water, then add ice after about 5 minutes of cooling. Works great!. I took some measurements with 4 gallons of water in my 5 gallon S.S. pot (tap water temp was in mid 60's IIRC):

First col. is minutes after start of cooling, second col. is temp in degrees F

0 - 212
1 - 175
2 - 153
3 - 128
4 - 113
5 - 102
added ice to prechiller here
6 - 93
7 - 84
8 - 78
9 - 74
10 - 70
11 - 68
Aside from the simplicity of the IC, I like the fact that you start cooling the entire mass of the wort immediately - I was concerned that with a CF chiller much of the wort would be sitting there at near boiling temp for a few minutes while my aroma hops turned into flavor hops - I guess that's not really a problem since so many people use CF chillers?
 

Yambor44

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I use an IC (50 feet of 3/8 tubing) with a pre-chiller (18 or 19 feet of 3/8) in a bucket of ice water. I start with the prechiller just sitting in room temp water, then add ice after about 5 minutes of cooling. Works great!. I took some measurements with 4 gallons of water in my 5 gallon S.S. pot (tap water temp was in mid 60's IIRC):

First col. is minutes after start of cooling, second col. is temp in degrees F

0 - 212
1 - 175
2 - 153
3 - 128
4 - 113
5 - 102
added ice to prechiller here
6 - 93
7 - 84
8 - 78
9 - 74
10 - 70
11 - 68


Aside from the simplicity of the IC, I like the fact that you start cooling the entire mass of the wort immediately - I was concerned that with a CF chiller much of the wort would be sitting there at near boiling temp for a few minutes while my aroma hops turned into flavor hops - I guess that's not really a problem since so many people use CF chillers?

Good point. I never thought of that. Will do some reasearch. Anyone else have an opinion on this?
 

Bobby_M

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The interesting thing about these conversations is that they are quite circular. One person will post a drawback to one chiller design and the next post will solve for that one drawback but bring up another. In other words, I don't think there is one perfect design. All chillers have the limitation of not being able to chill below the temp of the coolant. External chillers are usually more water efficient but they do put the coldbreak into the fermenter (I don't mind that). ICs use more water if purely run on tap (no icewater pumped). If your tap water is too warm, you'll need the icewater anyway.

What I'm saying is, either will work fine. If your tap water is warmer than 65F, you're going to need the help of ice in some configuration whether it's via prechiller coils or directly pumped icewater. Both ICs and external exchangers can take advantage of that.

I pump my wort through a plate chiller and 10 gallons makes it through in less than 10 minutes so I don't worry about DMS accumilation. If I didn't have a pump, I'd use an IC.
 

ClaudiusB

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For me it was easy to decide which version to use.
My brewery design prevents me from using an IC, I am a CFC user, dual coils.

The first one is used as a pre-chiller with tap water, the second one is cooled
with chilled water.
No waste water, all pre-chiller water is stored in a stainless steel tank.

Cleaning has never been a problem.
My set up requires a pump and is mounted on a cart with the O2 injection sytem.



Cheers,
ClaudiusB
 

Homercidal

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While I have never used a IC, I built a CFC and love it. It is NOT HARD to sanitize. Just use an autosiphon (which you REALLY ought to have anyway) to pump a bit of StarSan (or sanitizer of choice) through the inner coil while the wort is boiling. Let it sit a couple of minutes, then drain out.

Then hook up the tube to the wort and let 'er rip. Run the first bit out into the sink, then when the wort hits the end, start pouring into your fermenter, straining any hops and stuff as it comes out.

This Sat I cooled boiling wort down to chilly as fast as I can drain the wort (can't say what the temp really was, because my thermometer crapped out on me, but I normally have to close the faucet a bit to keep it from being TOO cold!)

When the wort is boiled, just run some water from the tap through the CFC to rinse the wort out, and then pump some more starsan though it.

As easy as sanitizing an IC, no, but still not hard and the chilling amount and time makes it worth it little bit more effort.

If you are handy and don't mind paying a few dollars more to build it yourself, then I'd highly recommend a CFC. An IC can chill pretty fast too, but when you add a prechiller and ice bath and all that, I'm not sure it's a cheaper way to go after all is done and said.
 

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The interesting thing about these conversations is that they are quite circular. One person will post a drawback to one chiller design and the next post will solve for that one drawback but bring up another. In other words, I don't think there is one perfect design. All chillers have the limitation of not being able to chill below the temp of the coolant. External chillers are usually more water efficient but they do put the coldbreak into the fermenter (I don't mind that). ICs use more water if purely run on tap (no icewater pumped). If your tap water is too warm, you'll need the icewater anyway.
I still haven't really heard a real disadvantage to an IC pumping recirculated icewater. It cools quickly, is water-efficient, and has all the IC advantages (self sanitizing, starts cooling the whole wort immediately, less moving of the wort to risk contamination/aeration, etc). About the only disadvantage over a regular IC is the cost of the submersible pump (this one's $13: - Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices ).
 

SumnerH

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An IC can chill pretty fast too, but when you add a prechiller and ice bath and all that, I'm not sure it's a cheaper way to go after all is done and said.
No prechiller needed. Fill a cooler with ice and water, pump the icewater through the IC and back into the cooler--water goes out one end of the cooler and returns in the other, giving plenty of time to cool off via the ice before it's re-pumped.
 

Homercidal

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No prechiller needed. Fill a cooler with ice and water, pump the icewater through the IC and back into the cooler--water goes out one end of the cooler and returns in the other, giving plenty of time to cool off via the ice before it's re-pumped.
Some people do need a prechiller, or prefer to use one over buying a pump. But still, when you factor in the pump, you are still paying about the same as the parts needed to build a CFC.

I'm not saying that an IC is a poor design, I just like the fact that my CFC can chill to about 60 as fast as the wort can flow from the kettle. And, it's not hard to sanitize, contrary to a lot of people's belief.

It no more aerates the wort than swirling the IC in the kettle, or stirring the wort. The wort is locked inside the copper tubing and cannot contact O2 from the air until the wort is cooled at the far end.

I don't consider a CFC a waste of water anyway. You can collect the runoff and use in your garden or whatever if you choose. You can hook up a pump and use ice water too, if you choose, same as an IC. I don't brew often enough to worry about it.
 

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I still haven't really heard a real disadvantage to an IC pumping recirculated icewater. It cools quickly, is water-efficient, and has all the IC advantages (self sanitizing, starts cooling the whole wort immediately, less moving of the wort to risk contamination/aeration, etc). About the only disadvantage over a regular IC is the cost of the submersible pump (this one's $13: - Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices ).
The only disadvantage that I'm struggling with in regards to my IC is that cold break + pellets hops can make draining through a valve in a kettle difficult. Products such as the hop stopper require using a CFC, but I like the cooling method of my IC better, in the way that it uniformly cools the wort, rather than a good portion staying near boiling temps for some time. I've read that brew cooled with an IC gets more efficient use of aroma/late addition hops. I'm considering returning to siphoning wort from my kettle instead of using the drain.

The batch I did last weekend went pretty well through the drain, I moved the dip tube about half way from the center to the wall, whirlpooled the sh*t out of, then let it set for 30 min before draining. No SS braid on the tube, and it came out quite clear. It was only 2oz of pellet hops though, and I'm still worried for when I do a big hop bill with pellets.
 

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I still haven't really heard a real disadvantage to an IC pumping recirculated icewater. It cools quickly, is water-efficient, and has all the IC advantages (self sanitizing, starts cooling the whole wort immediately, less moving of the wort to risk contamination/aeration, etc). About the only disadvantage over a regular IC is the cost of the submersible pump (this one's $13: - Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices ).
Again, the need to pump icewater is completely separate from the chiller design. This would be equally necessary in a CFC or Plate chiller if the tap water is warmer than 65F. Certainly you can do it as the standard but it would be extremely wasteful to pump icewater when your tap water is 50F.
 

SumnerH

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Again, the need to pump icewater is completely separate from the chiller design. This would be equally necessary in a CFC or Plate chiller if the tap water is warmer than 65F. Certainly you can do it as the standard but it would be extremely wasteful to pump icewater when your tap water is 50F.
Ice (or another cooling source) is essential to a recirculating IC in a way that it isn't to non-recirculating chiller designs.

Even if your water is 50F coming out of the tap, it's going to be a lot warmer than that after going through the near-boiling wort once or twice.
 

Bobby_M

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The point is that you wouldn't pump recirculate if your tap was 50F, you'd just run the tap through and dispose of the hot water in some eco friendly manor. The only real advantage of the system comes in when your tap water is above 65F and wouldn't work well.

Even if you're pumping icewater for added chill speed, it's completely ridiculous to put the wastewater back into the your basin if you haven't "precooled" the wort with plain tap water. The output of the coolant at minute zero should be somewhere near 180F and it would make a lot of sense to collect the first 5 gallons or so for cleanup while replenishing the spent icewater with tap.
 

Yambor44

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........

Even if you're pumping icewater for added chill speed, it's completely ridiculous to put the wastewater back into the your basin if you haven't "precooled" the wort with plain tap water. The output of the coolant at minute zero should be somewhere near 180F and it would make a lot of sense to collect the first 5 gallons or so for cleanup while replenishing the spent icewater with tap.
Only with an IC. When I use my CFC I pump from the cooler full of ice water thru the CFC and straight back to the cooler. It only takes one pass thru the CFC (the wort) and it's straight into the fermenter and 58 degrees.

I'm not sure after thinking about it that the theory of the entire body of wort sitting at near boiling temps concerns me. For the 10 minutes it takes to pump your wort thru the CFC, its not going to matter. If you boil for 60 minutes it would be like a "70 minute boil". If you brew for 90 and are concerned, shave it back to 80 and adjust your hop additions.

I'm staying with my CFC. Not worried about cold break either.
 

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With a CFC, it's even less logical to divert the heated coolant back into the ice basin. That water is like 160F and it is just going to melt the ice faster.
 

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Only with an IC. When I use my CFC I pump from the cooler full of ice water thru the CFC and straight back to the cooler. It only takes one pass thru the CFC (the wort) and it's straight into the fermenter and 58 degrees.

I'm not sure after thinking about it that the theory of the entire body of wort sitting at near boiling temps concerns me. For the 10 minutes it takes to pump your wort thru the CFC, its not going to matter. If you boil for 60 minutes it would be like a "70 minute boil". If you brew for 90 and are concerned, shave it back to 80 and adjust your hop additions.

I'm staying with my CFC. Not worried about cold break either.
While I agree with you on most points, I think that it is not like additional boil. When the wort it hot but not boiling, it can oxidize and so whatever it does to cause off-flavors.

I suppose one could drain their wort while it is still boiling, but might have to watch for scorching once the volume gets low.

Still, the cooling happens so fast on my CFC that I don't think it's a problem. I wonder how much more oxidation happens while stirring with an IC.
 

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Since I have a CFC and a pump when I plan on doing really hoppy brews that rely on late additions I'll recirc into the kettle to drop it down to 180* and let the late addition hops steep at that temp before cooling into the carboy. I have not tried this yet but I've seen it several places on the board as a great way to get a lot of hop flavor.
 

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While I agree with you on most points, I think that it is not like additional boil. When the wort it hot but not boiling, it can oxidize and so whatever it does to cause off-flavors. .
Good point.


Still, the cooling happens so fast on my CFC that I don't think it's a problem. I wonder how much more oxidation happens while stirring with an IC.
Thats what I think.

Lots of interesting points though about both. Good thread.
 
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