DIY glycol Chiller

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

kproudfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
188
Reaction score
15
I’ve been looking at building a Glycol chilller. I’ve seen some videos but haven’t found any real good tutorials. Does anyone have any suggestions/links they could share?

Also does AC unit size matter? I found a 6500 BTU one for $20. I’m sure part of the issue is how big the unit is compared to the cooler but any other concerns?

Thanks
 

day_trippr

Get the shot ffs! Sheesh!
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
37,326
Reaction score
20,141
Location
Stow, MA
What are you going to chill? For keeping fermentations comfortable 6700 btus ought to handle at least a couple of 5 gallon batches.
Otoh - iirc - there's roughly 6700 btus between 5.5 gallons of water at 212°F and the same volume (discounting shrinkage) at 65°F, and someone recently started a thread about using glycol as a coolant source for circulating through a CFC. That window AC unit rating is per hour, however. If one wants that chill cycle to go three times faster one would likely need a chiller three times larger btu rating.

As for tutorials, bang this into Google and you'll find a bunch of home-brewed rigs here on HBT...

Cheers!
 
OP
K

kproudfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
188
Reaction score
15
What are you going to chill? For keeping fermentations comfortable 6700 btus ought to handle at least a couple of 5 gallon batches.
Otoh - iirc - there's roughly 6700 btus between 5.5 gallons of water at 212°F and the same volume (discounting shrinkage) at 65°F, and someone recently started a thread about using glycol as a coolant source for circulating through a CFC. That window AC unit rating is per hour, however. If one wants that chill cycle to go three times faster one would likely need a chiller three times larger btu rating.

As for tutorials, bang this into Google and you'll find a bunch of home-brewed rigs here on HBT...

Cheers!
Want to use it in conjunction with my spike conical and the cooling system (when I buy it). Just looking at options and honestly I don’t know a lot about it.
 
OP
K

kproudfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
188
Reaction score
15
So my goal is to use this to control my fermentation temps in my 10 gallon spike fermentor. I generally ferment in my basement and have never had issues with temps without any kind of temp control. I am looking to buy a new house and want to brew ferment all in my garage. Western pa can get some cold winters and warmer in the summer so I need to figure out my options. I plan on buying spike’s heating and cooling kit. I’m am assuming the heater will keep temps up in the winter. Summer is more my concern. I figure I have 3 options for water source. Glycol, a cooler with ice or a fridge with water inside. The cooler with ice seems like I’d be changing the ice a lot. The fridge idea could work but I like the idea of building the glycol cooler.

I also want to be able to lager and cold crash.
 

philly224

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
359
Reaction score
66
Location
Philadelphia
So my goal is to use this to control my fermentation temps in my 10 gallon spike fermentor. I generally ferment in my basement and have never had issues with temps without any kind of temp control. I am looking to buy a new house and want to brew ferment all in my garage. Western pa can get some cold winters and warmer in the summer so I need to figure out my options. I plan on buying spike’s heating and cooling kit. I’m am assuming the heater will keep temps up in the winter. Summer is more my concern. I figure I have 3 options for water source. Glycol, a cooler with ice or a fridge with water inside. The cooler with ice seems like I’d be changing the ice a lot. The fridge idea could work but I like the idea of building the glycol cooler.

I also want to be able to lager and cold crash.
I highly recommend building the glycol chiller. I am not much of a DIYer but this was super easy and saves a lot of money.
 
OP
K

kproudfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
188
Reaction score
15
I highly recommend building the glycol chiller. I am not much of a DIYer but this was super easy and saves a lot of money.
Will a 5000 btu unit be enough to cold crash? And maintain temp when air temps get warmer in the summer?
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Messages
1,701
Reaction score
1,928
Location
New Brighton
I just recently purchased a conical. (SSBrewtech 7g Unitank) I am going with a glycol reservoir in the chest freezer that used to be my fermentation chamber for now. I have done some tests with water so far and it does a great job with maintaining temps. It is a little weak when it comes to crashing. I have a 5 gallon aluminum pot ($25 Craigslist) in the freezer with about 3 gallons in it. The heat transfer from the freezer to the reservoir is the weak point of the system. Once the reservoir temp is raised it takes a long time for the air in the freezer to bring the water temp back down. It will work for me for now. ...I hope! I should be able to get my first brew day using the conical done this week sometime.

Being able to build a dedicated unit for $260 is pretty tempting. Something tells me that is going to be on my DIY list sooner rather than later.
 

RiverCityBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2009
Messages
1,236
Reaction score
212
Location
Cincinnati
Will a 5000 btu unit be enough to cold crash? And maintain temp when air temps get warmer in the summer?
5000 btu is definitely enough, and I have it in a 6 gallon cooler. I could freeze the beer if I wanted to. I usually chill my wort to about 100F then flip over to the glycol to get me down the rest of the way in a hurry.
 

philly224

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
359
Reaction score
66
Location
Philadelphia
Will a 5000 btu unit be enough to cold crash? And maintain temp when air temps get warmer in the summer?
Yeah mine is 5000 and it can cold crash to 36 easily. If I added more insulation to my conical it could probably go lower but I don't see a need.
 

Gadjobrinus

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 24, 2017
Messages
6,058
Reaction score
6,208
Location
Madison
I followed this guide and used the same 5000 btu AC. It works great and was very easy. I didn't build the wooden box around mine.

https://backdeckbrewing.wordpress.com
This is an awesome build post. I'm not gifted with DIY stuff, to say the least. How easy would it be to make the outlet and return be a s/s IC, as an internal attemperator in an open fermentor?
 

augiedoggy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
10,284
Reaction score
2,280
Location
North Tonawanda NY
I just recently purchased a conical. (SSBrewtech 7g Unitank) I am going with a glycol reservoir in the chest freezer that used to be my fermentation chamber for now. I have done some tests with water so far and it does a great job with maintaining temps. It is a little weak when it comes to crashing. I have a 5 gallon aluminum pot ($25 Craigslist) in the freezer with about 3 gallons in it. The heat transfer from the freezer to the reservoir is the weak point of the system. Once the reservoir temp is raised it takes a long time for the air in the freezer to bring the water temp back down. It will work for me for now. ...I hope! I should be able to get my first brew day using the conical done this week sometime.

Being able to build a dedicated unit for $260 is pretty tempting. Something tells me that is going to be on my DIY list sooner rather than later.
I am pretty sure it would pay for itself in electric bill savings...

I use a chiller to control 4 fermentors (0ne 14 , two 12.5g and one 7.3 gallon) and its really doesnt run much. insulating the conical help a lot. I used 4 $3 24v dc solenoid valves with the one main pump in the chiller. all you need are (4) 2 pole relays. connect one pole to turn on the pump and the other to open whatever valve needs to be opened at the same time.
 

psh

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
48 quarts I think it was. I have six gallons of water and 2 gallons of glycol in there
I bought a 60 quart cooler but seems like overkill. I'll downsize to a smaller one.

What temperature controller are you using? Thinking of getting the Inkbird 308.
 

philly224

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
359
Reaction score
66
Location
Philadelphia
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: psh

psh

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
I am using the inkbird 308! Works great!

I also got this little pump to circulate the glycol while the AC is running (I just got an outlet splitter and plugged the AC and the pump into it so they both kick on at once).

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077955YC2/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
Perfect, ordered the 308.

The pump is a great idea. Did you just mount it on the side of the cooler and have it pump directly into the glycol or did you use a hose to recirculate the glycol?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

philly224

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
359
Reaction score
66
Location
Philadelphia
Perfect, ordered the 308.

The pump is a great idea. Did you just mount it on the side of the cooler and have it pump directly into the glycol or did you use a hose to recirculate the glycol?
I have a short hose connected to it
 
  • Like
Reactions: psh

psh

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
How's it working out for you so far??
Had some issues with cold crashing. I set the chiller to 28 degrees but the glycol would drop to 20 degrees after the inkbird shut off the chiller. Guessing the recirculation pump you recommended will fix that.

Also had an issue with the glycol pump where it needed to be smacked for it to turn back on causing the beer to jump 20 degrees overnight. Thankfully the beer came out ok.

How's it working for you? Are you chilling multiple fermenters?
 

philly224

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
359
Reaction score
66
Location
Philadelphia
Had some issues with cold crashing. I set the chiller to 28 degrees but the glycol would drop to 20 degrees after the inkbird shut off the chiller. Guessing the recirculation pump you recommended will fix that.

Also had an issue with the glycol pump where it needed to be smacked for it to turn back on causing the beer to jump 20 degrees overnight. Thankfully the beer came out ok.

How's it working for you? Are you chilling multiple fermenters?
Its working out well! I can cold crash to 36 easily and hold the temp there. If I added more insulation I could probably get lower but 36 is fine. I have cold crashed and carbed 3 batches now with no issues.

Currently I am only chilling one but I plan on adding another eventually. I think it should be able to handle 2-3 with no issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: psh
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Messages
1,701
Reaction score
1,928
Location
New Brighton
I just recently purchased a conical. (SSBrewtech 7g Unitank) I am going with a glycol reservoir in the chest freezer that used to be my fermentation chamber for now. I have done some tests with water so far and it does a great job with maintaining temps. It is a little weak when it comes to crashing. I have a 5 gallon aluminum pot ($25 Craigslist) in the freezer with about 3 gallons in it. The heat transfer from the freezer to the reservoir is the weak point of the system. Once the reservoir temp is raised it takes a long time for the air in the freezer to bring the water temp back down. It will work for me for now. ...I hope! I should be able to get my first brew day using the conical done this week sometime.

Being able to build a dedicated unit for $260 is pretty tempting. Something tells me that is going to be on my DIY list sooner rather than later.
I kegged my first beer using this setup. The conical was great vs a carboy for the whole process. The chilling/heating situation works perfect for fermentation. During cold crashing it was lacking. Despite a few days of trying to coax the temp down, I just could not get it to go below 41f. And that is in my basement which is in low 60's this time of year. As I said, this will have to do for now. It's probably not my forever setup.
 
OP
K

kproudfoot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
188
Reaction score
15
IMG_4727.jpg
so my conical sits right next to my kegerator. Any reason I couldn’t use one of the 2 bins and fill with glycol and drill holes for he tubing to circulate? The fridge is used 99.9% of the time for nothing but beer.
 

psh

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
View attachment 570435so my conical sits right next to my kegerator. Any reason I couldn’t use one of the 2 bins and fill with glycol and drill holes for he tubing to circulate? The fridge is used 99.9% of the time for nothing but beer.
My coworker does this but with water instead of glycol. He's able to ferment within a degree but cold crashing isn't possible.
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
6,387
Reaction score
2,768
Location
Taft
@philly224 how is the gylcol chiller holding up? Thinking of making this one . Looks pretty simple to make . Couple hundred bucks seems way better then 1200
 
Top