Quantcast

Combination sparge bucket/ counterflow chiller idea

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

senorfartman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
96
Reaction score
0
I did my first AG brew the other day which went exceedingly well. However, I still rely on an ice bath to cool the wort as I really can't justify the exhorbant cost of a 50 ft immersion chiller.

My HLT and MLT setup looks like this:



I used whole hops for the first time and realized I had no effective way of straining them out of the brew kettle without taking hours so I cleaned the MLT out and ran the cooled wort through that which worked great.

I showed the picture to a buddy of mine who thought the bottom cooler was filled with ice water and what I used to chill the wort until I explained what I had.

Then it hit me. During the boil, I need to clean the MLT out anyway so I have something to strain the wort through. If I rotated the coolers around so the HLT was on the bottom and the MLT was now feeding it, I could use take like 20 - 25 ft of copper tubing, roll it up like a normal chiller and place it in the HLT. Attach one end to the MLT output and the other end to the HLT valve. Fill that up with ice water and voila, counter flow chiller.

The fittings wouldn't be difficult at all to make as my setup allows for interchangeable parts and would be much cheaper than an 50ft immersion chiller.

Any thoughts? I'll try to diagram this out.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,827
Reaction score
3,502
Location
Whitehouse Station
That would actually be a hybrid chiller, not so much a CFC. That is, there's no counterflow exactly. It will work but you were trying to avoid buying copper and now you're buying copper? Anyway, make sure you stir the icewater pretty aggressively while the wort is flowing through. Don't forget to sanitize the coil ahead of time.
 
OP
S

senorfartman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
96
Reaction score
0
Well the idea was to avoid the retail cost of an immersion chiller ($120 for 50ft at LHBS) Granted there's many places online that I could get one for much cheaper but I like to see things I buy in person before doing so.

Plus I just like building stuff :)
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,827
Reaction score
3,502
Location
Whitehouse Station
There's also that online copper tubing place that has 50' of 3/8" for like 40something shipped. Don't forget there's the 10% off sale at Austin tommorrow too.
 

Dr_Deathweed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Messages
2,376
Reaction score
49
Location
Bryan
I have an extra CFC, PM me if interested, I will negotiate on price
 

Craig5_12

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
290
Reaction score
0
Location
Valley Springs, CA
I think what everyone is trying to say is that; yes, your idea would definitely work! However, if you're going to be buying copper tubing, then you might as well build a regular immersion chiller or even a CFC. You said you like to build stuff so either way you went should be fun/challenging.
I built my CFC and it was a cake walk. Had to teach myself how to solder just so I could build it.
 

rabidgerbil

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
1,005
Reaction score
40
Location
Seattle
Craig5_12 said:
I think what everyone is trying to say is that; yes, your idea would definitely work! However, if you're going to be buying copper tubing, then you might as well build a regular immersion chiller or even a CFC. You said you like to build stuff so either way you went should be fun/challenging.
I built my CFC and it was a cake walk. Had to teach myself how to solder just so I could build it.
+1 on everything he said, including having to learn how to solder to make it.
 
OP
S

senorfartman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
96
Reaction score
0
Soldering isn't really an issue as I work in an office with a dedicated machine shop staff who double as gear heads.

The reason I'm considering this way is

1. I'm still brewing indoors so the chance that a hose blows off and spews water everywhere is eliminated granted that would majorly suck if one of these coolers tipped over :)

2. Ability to use less copper tubing and still maintain good efficiency #'s in terms of cooling

3. I guess just to say I did something off the beaten path


I'd prefer not to go with the immersion style because with each purchase I make, I try to think long term and what I can use presently and down the road. When I move to big batches, I would prefer a system like this where I can use off the shelf components and keep costs at a minimum.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that 50 ft of rolled copper tubing or 25 ft of tubing wrapped inside of a hose don't exactly have many other functions in terms of my needs so as my needs change, I can easily and economically change my setup as well.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,827
Reaction score
3,502
Location
Whitehouse Station
There's nothing wrong with your idea. The challenges you'll have are:
1. Making the coil easily removable for when you need it to be an HLT (you could actually leave it installed if you create a new pass thru bulkhead for the coil instead of making it the drain.
2. Making sure you have enough ice. It's going to melt pretty quickly and you might be taking some warm water out to make room for more ice. This will actually be a lot messier to do inside a house than an other chiller. At least you can direct waste water down the drain with CFC and ICs.
3. Keeping the icewater moving around the coil while you run wort through.
4. Sanitizing the interior of the coil (same problem you'd have with a CFC).

The one major benefit to the hybrid chiller is NOT needing to pump icewater into it like you sometimes must do with a CFC and IC. I'd still want to keep the HLT drain functional as I mentioned so you can empty hot water out completely and replenish with new ice and cold water.
 

rabidgerbil

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
1,005
Reaction score
40
Location
Seattle
My thoughts are along the lines of Bobby's... your idea will work, but I am not sure that the benefit of being able to save a few bucks by using the copper for something else later out weighs the challenges that you will have.

If you have good cold tap water, a 20 foot CFC will do the job just fine. A 25 foot garden hose, 20 feet of tubing, a few fittings, and you are done. If you do it with pipe thread fittings, as others on here have done, then you can still take the thing apart at some later time, take the tubing out of the hose, and all you have lost is a 25 foot garden hose, and those are cheap to come by.

As far as your thoughts about a hose blowing off, assuming that you put the thing together properly, there is far less likelihood of that happening than there is of you making a huge mess with that tub sitting on a upturned garbage can. I am no machinist or engineer, I barely get by as a home owner, but I was able to build mine on my own, from a crummy picture that I found on some guys website, years before I found this site and all of its awesome information. I have not had a single problem with mine so far, no leaking, no blow-outs, nothing.

It just seems like you are trying to re-invent the wheel for no other sake than to say that you did, and your wheel might turn, but it seems like it is going to be a little bit out of round.

Just my thoughts, for what little they are worth...
 
Top