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Counterflow Wort chiller ---- DIY vs. Just buying

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Bean

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I am in the market for a counterflow wart chiller and have been looking at the pros and cons of going to the store and buying a Chillzilla or just making my version of a chiller.

My main question is about efficiency, I have been looking at the posts in the DIY section and everyone is using 25 foot runs of .5 copper tubing. But, the Chillizilla stands 10 inches from top coil to bottom coil, and 6 inches in diameter also made of .5 copper (internal.) I don't know how many feet 10 x 6 is but I am pretty sure that it way less then 25 feet

Whats the deal?!? Is convoluted copper tubing really the secret? Does one design need a pump? This is just mind boggling to me. :confused:
 

Dr_Deathweed

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If you want to settle that mind of yours, I have an extra CFC for sale. I would love to clean one more extra item out of my shed ;) Besides, once you have one and you see it works, you will not have to think about it any more :D
 

AKchill

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I agree. Try one, or find someone who has one, and check out how efficient it is. As a homebrewer, I am lucky enough to also work in a hosehouse, and can make a CFC for $60 in Alaska. My LHBS is gracious enough to let me trade that to them for $100 in supplies. However, mine uses 5/16 nominal (ID) copper, and 5/8 hose outside of it. My tap runs at about 55*, and a 22' CFC puts the wort out at about 59*. I'm hoping to figure out how short it can be to make it come out at 65* at the new BREW SCIENCE FORUM! If you can make it yourself for about the same price as buying one, you should DIY just so you can appreciate what work goes into it. Oh yeah, check out Bobby_M's thread in the DIY forum. It helped me build mine.
 

ClutchDude

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For the price of one chillzilla, you could build almost 4 DIY-Chillazillas, though getting the larger diameter tubing straight enough may drive you crazy. Then bending it without insanity....yeah. Not appealing.

Anyways, there are 9 coils with ~10" diameter, so that's a ~18.84" length of copper. That's ~14' 1.5" of copper @ 1/2", so I'll let someone else figure out the surface area of a cylinder that big.

Typically, 3/8" is used for CFC's, since the 1/2" wouldn't fit in the garden hose.

A CFC is cheap + easy to make. From the internet, you can build two for chump change and make a brew friend by giving or selling one. But Deathweed's is also a good deal if you just want something.
 

JVD_X

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Well - there is also the fact that if you build it - you can repair and modify it as well because you probably have extra parts laying around. Besides, building equipment is a good way to keep busy between batches.
 

bull8042

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The Chillus Convolutus is a fair bit cheaper than the Chillzilla. The construction is nearly identical with the exception that the inlet and outlet point in the same direction on the Chillus. Keep that in mind if you decide to buy one.
 
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Thanks for all the advice. I think that I will make my own because I do like to have the options of customizing it.

So, 3/8 and not 1/2 inch ?
 
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Bean

Bean

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built a CFC today. But, I forgot to get the gear to hook it up to my blichmann so I couldn't test it tonight. Back to the hardware store in the morning. I'll let you know how it all goes.
 

illnastyimpreza

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3/8'' seems rather small...even though its counter flow... I just got 1/2'' for mine, and I thought it still didn't really have much surface area....but I'm making a standard Imersion chiller...


is a counter flow really that much more efficient ?? how much faster does it work ?

like do you rack your wert straight though the counter flow into your primary, and by the time it gets there its ready to pitch yeast ??? How long does this take ??
 

JVD_X

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I just brewed today with my CFC. I ran it by recirculating back into the wort using a pump, this dropped the temp from boiling to 70 temperature in 10 minutes, then I just changed over the hose and directed the wort into my fermenter. By the time it hit my fermenter I was at 60 degrees.

I have a therminator but I just don't trust it, the CFC is very easy to clean and I have much more trust that I got it clean.

However, if you have the elevation you can get it damn close to pitching temp just by using gravity to drain the wort into the fermenter directly.
 

G-E-R-M-A-N

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The Chillus Convolutus is a fair bit cheaper than the Chillzilla. The construction is nearly identical with the exception that the inlet and outlet point in the same direction on the Chillus. Keep that in mind if you decide to buy one.
X2 that I what I have. I have found that having the input/output in same direction, makes things better. I have submersed mine in ice water in a cooler before. (this works well being that it is all copper)
 

usurpers26

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My 20 foot - 3/8" CFC can cool the boiling wort down to 2* above tap water temp.

Yes, wort flows from 3/8" barb from kettle into CFC out to fermentation bucket. Did 6 gallons yesterday and it took boiling wort to 65* in under 10 minutes (gravity drained, no pumps). Plenty efficient and fast, for me.

3/8'' seems rather small...even though its counter flow... I just got 1/2'' for mine, and I thought it still didn't really have much surface area....but I'm making a standard Imersion chiller...


is a counter flow really that much more efficient ?? how much faster does it work ?

like do you rack your wert straight though the counter flow into your primary, and by the time it gets there its ready to pitch yeast ??? How long does this take ??
 
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Bean

Bean

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So, I did a brew with the chiller I made yesterday. Cooled the wort from 215 °F to 58.3 °F in one pass.

Best 40 bucks I spent....
 

Bobby_M

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does a CFC cool the wort faster than a standard IC would ?
It's not that easy. There are so many variables.

I would bet that given similar coolant temps a whirlpool IC and a pumped CFC would yield about the same results on a 10 gallon batch.

IIRC, I was able to push 11 gallons at full bore into the fermenters and it took 8 minutes through my 3/8" CFC. However, an IC that would chill that fast would also require twice as much tubing at 1/2" but copper isn't all that expensive anymore. It's a toss up.

In any case, in order for an IC to come close, the wort must be whirlpooling the whole time. You either stir manually or pump the wort.
 

Dr_Deathweed

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...In any case, in order for an IC to come close, the wort must be whirlpooling the whole time. You either stir manually or pump the wort.

IMHO, if you are pumping the wort anyways, might as well be through a CFC and right into your carboy :D
 

TommyBoy

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IMHO, if you are pumping the wort anyways, might as well be through a CFC and right into your carboy :D
+1

CFC is way more convenient IMO. Open a valve or two, turn on H2O and the pump, and that's about it. Running a CFC is slick too.
 

Bobby_M

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In all fairness, it does take a little babysitting to make sure the CFC is chilling to a temp you're looking for. When the tap is running 45F and you're not pitching a lager, you have to watch the output temp. In IC chilling, you just stop when you hit your desired temp.
 

Dr_Deathweed

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true, but here where tap temp rarely gets below 70, less babysitting is needed.
 

G-E-R-M-A-N

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IMHO, if you are pumping the wort anyways, might as well be through a CFC and right into your carboy :D
I am still new to brewing somewhat. Does this work better than recirculating back into boil pot until arriving at final temp?

I have been worried that my tap is not cold enough for 1 run straight into the fermenter, when pumping it.


Also does everybody pump it at full open through a pump?
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I am still new to brewing somewhat. Does this work better than recirculating back into boil pot until arriving at final temp?

I have been worried that my tap is not cold enough for 1 run straight into the fermenter, when pumping it.


Also does everybody pump it at full open through a pump?
My water temperature is usually 55-60F in the winter and 75-78F in the summer. In the winter I pump the wort full bore, and turn on the hose about halfway. This results in wort temp of around 70F. For the summer, I turn the hose on all the way, and still run the wort full bore and end up with wort the same temperature as my tap water. Obviously, you won't be able to get your wort temp below the tap water temp, but a 25' CFC will bring it to within a degree F of tap water temp.
 

zachatola

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I think bobby has a youtube video of him building a IC for a buddy of his.

He also has a CFC instructions that are AWESOME,i used it to build mine, with a few mods, which i think i may have posted a "how to" as well....
 
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