DIY Stainless Immersion or Counterflow chiller?

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StainlessBrewing

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I'm still very new to brewing but ready to move from extract to all grain. I'm currently starting on the basic things I want to do first and that's the chilling method. I'm sick of the ice bath method and want to make a chiller of my own.

I've read multiple threads on the copper being a better heat exchanger but stainless lasting longer. I've seen the chillzilla and the installed chillers in the boil keg (not sure the term for this tun?). I'm trying to decide which one would work best and is it better to just buy a $100 plate chiller? Do plate chillers clog easier? Should I just do the garden hose method?

By zjosey at 2012-02-13

By zjosey at 2012-02-13

By zjosey at 2012-02-13

I was thinking 5/8" tube to go over the 3/8" tubing coiled up. I would be able to coil it up in a 6-8" diameter 10-20ft long. Maybe even combine the immersion with a counterflow when exiting the keggle. What are your thoughts?
 

MaxOut

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If you can build it cheaper than copper than I say go for it! Try it out and see how it does. The debate on copper verses stainless has been beaten to death but I think stainless is the way to go. Stainless tubing usually has a thinner wall than copper and makes up for some of the difference in conductivity. Price and availability is usually the driving factor when choosing copper. I use a ½” stainless coil in my HLT and pump through it all the time and it has NEVER clogged or even slowed down. I use it during mash recirculation and to cool. The only thing I could see clogging it would be whole hops and I use pellets. That would be an issue in any chiller. Post your progress I'm sure you will get some interest.
 
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StainlessBrewing

StainlessBrewing

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If you can build it cheaper than copper than I say go for it! Try it out and see how it does. The debate on copper verses stainless has been beaten to death but I think stainless is the way to go. Stainless tubing usually has a thinner wall than copper and makes up for some of the difference in conductivity. Price and availability is usually the driving factor when choosing copper. I use a ½” stainless coil in my HLT and pump through it all the time and it has NEVER clogged or even slowed down. I use it during mash recirculation and to cool. The only thing I could see clogging it would be whole hops and I use pellets. That would be an issue in any chiller. Post your progress I'm sure you will get some interest.
Well I think I might make a counterflow just for the hell of it then. What do you have to chill?
 

tsb22

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I have totally been contemplating a Stainless CFC as well!

Due to potential clogging issues and future upgradability, I would really like to make one with a 1/2" ID for the wort line. Sadly I have seen NO builds so far do this. Also I lack pretty much any tools to bend stainless so placing 1/2" into a 3/4" tube is out of the question, but for me a Rubber garden hose of the same size may work.

My only other drawback is 3/4" or 1" stainless fittings get way pricier than the 1/2" us brewers usually use.
 

wyzazz

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If you've got the tools and the materials there is no reason you shouldn't make a stainless CFC. If you were to make an all SS CFC I'd certainly be in at the prices you mentioned. Update the thread with your progress, I'm interested to see how you make out with this!
 
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StainlessBrewing

StainlessBrewing

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I have totally been contemplating a Stainless CFC as well!

Due to potential clogging issues and future upgradability, I would really like to make one with a 1/2" ID for the wort line. Sadly I have seen NO builds so far do this. Also I lack pretty much any tools to bend stainless so placing 1/2" into a 3/4" tube is out of the question, but for me a Rubber garden hose of the same size may work.

My only other drawback is 3/4" or 1" stainless fittings get way pricier than the 1/2" us brewers usually use.
I know exactly what you mean on the larger fittings especially when you introduce a 90 or tee that requires more machining when manufactured $$$. I was thinking about staying with a 3/8" OD on the wort line and a 5/8" OD on the water line for kinking issues. Another reason why I'm trying not to go to big is because when I bend the tube that has a smaller tube in it while bending (confused yet?)


If I can tack weld or connect the tube and then roll a heavy piece of pipe just to make it easier to roll, it just my work.?:confused:
 
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StainlessBrewing

StainlessBrewing

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I actually have a vendor that sells the coiled stuff that is a lot softer that I might try. It would be a 8-10"OD but wouldn't be as tall which I think would be fine. The Chillzilla measures 6"OD and 10" tall. Why do you think they made it so tall and skinny instead of wide and flat?
 

tsb22

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I actually stumbled on a HBT user's post the other day that linked me to his build site. It is a copper CFC, but the first build instructions I've seen with copper in copper. He does a decent job of laying out the method.

HBT username is P-J
Here is his site: http://www.pjmuth.org/beerstuff/counter_flow_chiller.htm
Looks like he has built quite a few.

Also while doing my CFC research a great 8page thread/breakdown on the fittings etc.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/counterflow-wort-chiller-build-use-182236/

I agree when using stainless the 3/8" inside 1/2" will be much less of an undertaking than something larger, however I have seen a couple brewers on here mention they would like to upgrade to 1/2" for the wort.

I would actually love a chillzilla as it has 1/2" inner tubing as well. But the $200 price tag makes me think I could probably do something DIY with stainless for cheaper (maybe more with fittings).

Perhaps with such hefty equipment you could look at making your own chillzillas with copper. 1/2" wort transfer benefit & I'll bet you would fall far below the $200.

And yes, if you end up making this, I would totally be interested in buying one :rockin:
 
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StainlessBrewing

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Well I tried... no luck as I got greedy. I was however to bend the 3/4" with 1/2" inside into a 12"OD with no kinks but the 3/4" started to collapse. I think 3/8" inside 5/8" in a 10-12"od would work though but it seems everyone wants 1/2" for the wort to flow through. I posted pictures on this https://www.homebrewtalk.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=3786177 thread because they were talking about bending tube. I should have just kept it in one thread.
 

wyzazz

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Nice, either way a SS CFC is a pretty awesome piece of equipment! 1/2" or 3/8" doesn't matter all that much IMHO.
 

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In a chilling operation, you really don't need 1/2" for the inner tube. You'd never be able to run the wort full bore anyway unless your chilling water is 40F. The issue I see with coiling tube in tube is that the inner tube will flatten against the outside edge of the outer tubing pretty much for the entire coil. In other words, it doesn't sit concentrically at all. It just means you'll lose surface area.

When it really comes down to it, there's not much benefit of using stainless (or copper) for the outer jacket unless you're adamant about heat sanitizing in the oven at 400F.
 

wyzazz

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When it really comes down to it, there's not much benefit of using stainless (or copper) for the outer jacket unless you're adamant about heat sanitizing in the oven at 400F.
It's shinier. :rockin: While it may not have any real operational benefit, it does look nice. I'm sure you can appreciate that since you do have some pretty nicely polished keggles. ;)
 

tsb22

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In a chilling operation, you really don't need 1/2" for the inner tube. You'd never be able to run the wort full bore anyway unless your chilling water is 40F. The issue I see with coiling tube in tube is that the inner tube will flatten against the outside edge of the outer tubing pretty much for the entire coil. In other words, it doesn't sit concentrically at all. It just means you'll lose surface area.

When it really comes down to it, there's not much benefit of using stainless (or copper) for the outer jacket unless you're adamant about heat sanitizing in the oven at 400F.
In the blind follower sense: Chillzilla & Chillus Convolutus do it...so there has to be something advantageous about it...right...???

Making the chiller 20-25' vs chillzillas 12' would double the contact time, wouldn't that make for higher acceptable chilling water temps with full flow?

My other thought on the 1/2" was that when I step up to larger (30-60gal) batches 1/2" ID would be extremely advantageous...I know this is out of the realm of the standard homebrewer, but those of us looking to expand without dropping +$3k on a Mueller plate chiller might be able to get by with one of these.

As far as the outer jacket is concerned I totally agree...I could actually care less what the material is, so long as its durable and can handle the temps.

1badcfh...what about feeding 1/2" Stainless into 3/4" Heater Core Hose then bending it. 50' for $35, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000KKNBXS/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 you could make two! & it should solve the issue of the inner tube flattening along the outer tube wall.

Going one step further, nothing that deals with the outer jacket needs to be stainless. Going with a brass tee & brass compression fittings, you could completely seal the chilling water loop, and although the compression fitting ferrules on the stainless tube might not clamp right because the brass is weaker, couldnt you swap them out for 2-orings as suggested in other places here on HBT.

So begins my googling for 3/4" brass tees, barbs and 3/4" to 1/2" reducer compression fittings...
 
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StainlessBrewing

StainlessBrewing

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Couldn't figure out how to use the multiquote feature.


At Wzyazz- Thanks for the support. Stainless is painless and I'm still learning benifits from these chillers compared to compact plate chillers...it it really worth it? What are the pros and cons.

At BoobyM- I was thinking the same thing for the inner tube. I think I would have better luck with the 5/8" and 3/8" on a 12" diameter enough for it to stay round and contact all around the 3/8". The 3/4" would work in a bigger diameter but who wants that? The main reason for using stainless on the outside is that it will last a LONG time or forever. No pin holes or cracks from getting hot and cold all of the time from cooking and weather.

At tsb22-The inside tube isn't flattening, it's the outer. This will only allow 2 sides of the tube to come in contact with the water. As far as the rubber hose, my comment to Bobby will answer that. I can get most stainless fittings "stupid" cheaper than brass.
 

Bobby_M

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Any time you bend tubing without the direct support of a mandrel, you'll get flattening to some degree. I just meant that there is no way to keep an inner tube concentric to the outside when you coil it.

The advantage to a tube in tube exchanger is that it is not sensitive to particulate clogging over time.

There are plenty of vendors here, myself included, that sell stainless parts for much cheaper than Mcmaster and Grainger. Example, Mcmaster (Money Collection Master) has 1/2" SS304 tees for $8.46 and my price is $4.

I could certainly drop my profit to the point where I go out of business to compete with people who want to do the charitable, yet short term thing. It's really a volume thing more than anything else. To process an order for a half a dozen stainless fittings for an apparent 200% markup is actually close to break even after merchant payment fees and order processing/packing labor.
 
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StainlessBrewing

StainlessBrewing

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I didn't recognize the avatar. I've seen a lot of your Youtube videos which are great by the way. When did you start your own business and how (if ever possible) do you go about becoming a vendor?
 

tsb22

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"The inside tube isn't flattening, it's the outer. This will only allow 2 sides of the tube to come in contact with the water. As far as the rubber hose, my comment to Bobby will answer that. I can get most stainless fittings "stupid" cheaper than brass."
Ok, the flattening of the outer tube makes a lot more sense. As for the hosing, I've gotta believe some metal braided hosing or something similar would hold up for years with decent care.

As for cheaper fittings/parts, Bobby's site Brew Hardware is great Wayne @ Bargain Fittings also carries tons of homebrew fittings stainless or otherwise. Havent found anyone cheaper than these guys for the majority of my parts.

Unfortunately when it comes to larger or "non-standard hombrewing" sizes...they dont carry them, not that I blame them, why stock something no one really buys.

And what is that about 20ft for $30...stainless?!? Bargain fittings will sell you 1/2" stainless by the inch... a 20' piece will run you $180 though...haha.

Dunno where to source cheap "larger" stainless, but looking around on google, brass would run me about $45 (w/out shipping) for: (2) 3/4" Tees, (4) 3/4" Barb to 3/4" MPT (to connect outer jacket & hose connections) and (2) 1/2" Compression to 3/4" MPT. This doesnt include any of the fittings to attach equipment to the loop though. Would need 2 hose adapters for cooling water & probably (2) 1/2" stainless compression fittings to throw some camlocks on my stainless wort line.
 

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The advantage to a tube in tube exchanger is that it is not sensitive to particulate clogging over time.
Exactly, which means I wouldn't need to bag my hops anymore because of the worry that my Plate Chiller is going to clog.
 

tsb22

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Exactly, which means I wouldn't need to bag my hops anymore because of the worry that my Plate Chiller is going to clog.
And going 1/2" ID over 3/8" would make for a bigger (less potential clogging) opening.
 
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StainlessBrewing

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I don't think 1/2" over 3/8" would allow enough water volume to cool the wort down...don't you think? The ID of 1/2" x .035 wall is about .430. With the 3/8"OD (.375) inside of it would only allow just under a 1/16 of an inch of water to flow around the hot tube. I was thinking atleast a 5/8"OD. The ID on that would be .555 giving you a .18 just under an 1/8 of an inch (double that of 1/2").
 

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I've been trying to work out how to do this for ages as everyone says SS kinks to easy. 1bad did you bend the coil in your first pic just by hand around the 12" pipe and did you fill it with sand or water etc to stop the kinks? Also what about using 3/8 SS .035 inside with 5/8 copper around the outside? It would still have some bling and be perfect for harsher cleaners of the beer path and welding triclover onto etc.

thoughts
 

tsb22

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I don't think 1/2" over 3/8" would allow enough water volume to cool the wort down...don't you think? The ID of 1/2" x .035 wall is about .430. With the 3/8"OD (.375) inside of it would only allow just under a 1/16 of an inch of water to flow around the hot tube. I was thinking atleast a 5/8"OD. The ID on that would be .555 giving you a .18 just under an 1/8 of an inch (double that of 1/2").
Haha, what I meant was choosing to use 1/2" inner tubing instead of or "over" 3/8" inner tubing. But yes, most of the DIY CFCs using 3/8" inner line find a 5/8" rubber hose to use as the outer jacket.
 
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StainlessBrewing

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I've been trying to work out how to do this for ages as everyone says SS kinks to easy. 1bad did you bend the coil in your first pic just by hand around the 12" pipe and did you fill it with sand or water etc to stop the kinks? Also what about using 3/8 SS .035 inside with 5/8 copper around the outside? It would still have some bling and be perfect for harsher cleaners of the beer path and welding triclover onto etc.

thoughts
The first pic was just hand rolled with no sand around a 12"IPS piece of pipe...pretty easy. The only reason I was trying all stainless is cost. I can get it cheaper than copper. I can see why a lot of people just use a mesh screen or flase bottom before it enters their plate chiller. Makes sense cost wise. I'm still thinking of an easy jig, just trying to figure something cost effective.
 
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StainlessBrewing

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No these are not my wifes earings. The one on the right was the 3/4" I tried bending without any dies and ended up with no kinks but a flattened tube. The one on the left is 1" bent with a tube roller.

By zjosey at 2012-03-27

By zjosey at 2012-03-27
Right is 1"

By zjosey at 2012-03-27
 

wyzazz

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Wow, that looks nice! So when are you going to make me one to test out? ;)
 
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StainlessBrewing

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Well it would be a lot quicker if my Tig welder that should up today wasn't damaged! Bummed. I waited a week for this thing to come from NJ!

By zjosey at 2012-03-27
 

wyzazz

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Can you solder the chiller using some Stay Clean Flux? Might be quicker than a TIG anyway.
 

kickrjason

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Nice i am curious if the chilzilla gets around your kinking issues because of the convoluted copper internal piece. Anyone make convoluted stainless?
 
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StainlessBrewing

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Can you solder the chiller using some Stay Clean Flux? Might be quicker than a TIG anyway.
I want to try a few different options. All welded would be cheaper in fittings all the way up to your hose connections and probably be a little more compact design. Compression and threaded fittings would allow you take take apart the chiller to a certain point for any cleaning and maintenance that it may require but will cost more. I can solder thicker fittings no problems (like you typical couplings and what not) but the tubing I've tried to solder ends up weak at the solder joints. I want this to last as long as the stainless with no problems so I'll tig it.
 
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StainlessBrewing

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Nice i am curious if the chilzilla gets around your kinking issues because of the convoluted copper internal piece. Anyone make convoluted stainless?
I never really had a kinking issue, just keeping the tube round and not flattening out. I now have dies that shouldn't make it a problem anymore. The copper being so soft is a big advantage too. I was thinking about adding a few tacks of .065 wire here and there on the 1/2" to keep it center of the OD tube. Kind of like this setup. http://www.thegatesofdawn.ca/wordpress/homebrewing/wort_chiller/

I'm sure there are companies out there that do make convoluted stainless but I don't think the price would be worth it.
 
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StainlessBrewing

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All I need is a bottle for Argon to do some welding and experiment with the counterflow but for now I rolled up 50' of 1/2" for an immersion to brew a batch this weekend. Not to bad for a rookie!

By zjosey at 2012-04-13
 
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StainlessBrewing

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Wow, this is an old thread. I was able to make one up and it worked great but it's pretty ugly. It's a 20ft 1"OD x 1/2"ID with wire wrapped around the inner tube. On a hot summer day here in July using my cooler for the mash tun filled with ice water I was able to get this as low as 45 degrees. Keep in mind I'm in Arizona so chilling down that low is pretty amazing. It's at about 16" diameter at about 4" tall. I said I would never do one again after that one but our coiling tooling has improved along with our TIG welding so I might be try to give it another shot. Willams Brewing provides a 12' SS CFC at a fair price.
http://www.williamsbrewing.com/STAINLESS-CONVOLUTED-COUNTERFLOW-CHILLER-P3452C107.aspx
 
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