Double Immersion chiller w/Ice bath or plate chiller?

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Airborneguy

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I'm stuck between using a plate chiller I have recently acquired, which would require me to purchase a pump, or using my two immersion chillers, dunking one in an ice bath. For those who've done the ice bath routine, how quickly does it cool 5-6 gallons? Straight up immersion chiller uses too much water for my comfort (and wallet, water is expensive here). I have never used a plate chiller before and would have to buy a pump to use it. I'm not against this, but it would change up my "system" more than simply using two immersion chillers coupled together.
 
That’s quick. I coupled them last night. My first test will likely be Friday.
The key to getting quick chilling times is to find a way to move the wort around, else you have a blanket of cool wort right next to your chiller and hot wort beyond that. I simply move my chiller up and down by hand to get the times above. Others stir with a sanitized spoon. Still others use a pump to recirculate the wort.
 
I once tried having one chiller in the wort and one in a bath of ice water. Letting the supply water go through the chiller in the ice water first. I wasn't impressed with the results as much as I have been with pumping ice water through the one immersion chiller in the wort.

You only need a small inexpensive submersible aquarium water pump attached to the end of the hose and drop it in a cooler, large kettle or sink full of ice and water.

When your initial temps of the wort get low enough you can even recycle the out flow from the chiller back through the ice-bath to save water if you live where wasting water is an issue.
 
It's not hard at all to collect whatever water you are using in your IC for later use if you have a use for it. I use a lot of my RO waste water and plate chiller water in my garden.
 
Unfortunately I don’t have any real use for excess water. I’d be going out of my way to create one. Also, considering my brewing location, I’d have to move it afterwards.
 
A hose and water pressure can get it decently situated and after that gravity or a pump but without a willing use not much point. It's not exactly excess, you could drink it if you wanted to, it's run through copper or stainless. Use it in a washing machine, flush some toilets even. No problem though, I realize it wasn't what you asked, I only mentioned because of the concern about the price of water.
 
Have you compared the cost of water to the cost of making ice? I think you'll find the water is cheaper. In a full 60 seconds of Google-Fu, I'm finding average costs of municipal water at 5-7 bucks per 1000 gallons. Even on the high side if you use 100 gallons of water to chill, that's 50 to 70 cents.

I vaguely remember the last time I researched the cost to make ice, the figure was something like 1KWh to freeze 1 liter of water from room temp. That's about 2 pounds of ice. You probably wouldn't do much work to a 5 gallon batch without about 20 pounds of ice so that's 10 KwH of electricity at whatever you pay. Not bad if you have solar. Probably break even with the water cost if not.
 
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Yeah reuse for the toilet is awkward without a supply line. No room usually for a nearby tank either. I wish they would build residences with rainwater collection for the toilets as it's the perfect use. The toilet refill internals are designed specifically to keep the tank water out of the potable water.

I liked the immersible pump idea if you have an ice maker. If you have to buy the ice, that's usually $2 a bag, maybe 10 lbs of ice, which is only 1.25 gallons of water. So $1.60 gallon of water. I have,a 15 gallon container I collect some water in but I think I might have only used about 10 gallons with my IC . I used to fill up two 2.5 gallon watering cans and then some into the bigger container (could be think of my plate chiller however). The 15 gallon I can't tell how much is inside either. I want to set up the ice recirculation for lagering myself but my ice maker is broken and I am stubbornly too cheap to buy ice. What I've been doing is recirculating from the BK through the plate chiller and back, dropping the temperature, and then chilling normally to the fermenter. It gets close to the output temp of my city water but city water depends on time of year. So I have to put it in the fermentation fridge to drop the temp for lagering. No issue for ales though.

Planning on doing lagers for the next couple of brews but next time I do an ale maybe I will measure the output more carefully. Some one else can more than likely provide some more accurate usage estimates for ICs and PCs.
 
I used to have a dedicated fridge for cooling overnight. I’d use the immersion chiller to get it to 100, transfer to the fermenter, then move that to the fridge.
 
I used to have a dedicated fridge for cooling overnight. I’d use the immersion chiller to get it to 100, transfer to the fermenter, then move that to the fridge.
Come to think if it, that last bit of temperature drop on an IC to get close to city water temp, ale temps, was slow and water intensive, so my estimate of water usage is most likely for the PC. PC will bring it right to where you want it for ales, at most you might throttle the wort output flow a little. It's really fast too. I don't sit and time it because I am usually fussing/monitoring the inline oxygen and making sure I don't blow the hose out of the carboy but it's in the 5-10 minute range for 6 gallons.
 
Try the No Chill method.

Or if No Chill isn't your cup of tea, just buy a pump. I brewed for years in a garage with no access to water. I had to carry everything downstairs in buckets. You get really good at economizing water use like that. My added expenses were 6+ gallons of RO water and 20-30lbs of ice.

I have two pumps and a counter flow chiller. I would circulate wort through the chiller until I hit either pitching temp or the temp simply stopped dropping. Then, after I'd pumped the wort over the fermenter, I would repurpose the warmed chiller water into wash water to clean and rinse the system. My total water usage for a 5.5 gallon batch was around 30 gallons, including the RO water. This wasn't the most economical method but it works.

If water is expensive where you live, buy a pumps or two and try something similar.
 
Try the No Chill method.

Or if No Chill isn't your cup of tea, just buy a pump. I brewed for years in a garage with no access to water. I had to carry everything downstairs in buckets. You get really good at economizing water use like that. My added expenses were 6+ gallons of RO water and 20-30lbs of ice.

I have two pumps and a counter flow chiller. I would circulate wort through the chiller until I hit either pitching temp or the temp simply stopped dropping. Then, after I'd pumped the wort over the fermenter, I would repurpose the warmed chiller water into wash water to clean and rinse the system. My total water usage for a 5.5 gallon batch was around 30 gallons, including the RO water. This wasn't the most economical method but it works.

If water is expensive where you live, buy a pumps or two and try something similar.
Interesting. So instead of pumping water through the chiller, you pumped wort through it. I think I like this idea. All of my waste water would already be contained using this process.

This would also aerate the wort somewhat no?
 
Interesting. So instead of pumping water through the chiller, you pumped wort through it. I think I like this idea. All of my waste water would already be contained using this process.

This would also aerate the wort somewhat no?
No, no....I'm using a counter flow chiller, which works like a plate chiller. It has separate passages for wort and chiller water.

I was implying that since you already have a plate chiller, that you could pick up the appropriate pumps to pump wort and chiller water from an ice chest through the plate chiller, and save a bunch of water in the process.

This does not aerate the wort unless you splash it back into the kettle and/or fermenter.
 
That’s my problem: expensive water. Electricity is dirt cheap thankfully, but water is higher than average.
Agree completely and have the same problem. I was running a ton of water down the drain to get the initial chill to about 100 as others have said, then recirculating through cooler with ice. Used a lot of water and ice each time, but did a great job of chilling quickly.

If minimizing water use for cooling is your main concern I'd use the plate chiller. They provide the most efficient heat exchange particularly for the last 20-30 degrees of cooling where ICs struggle with out ice baths. Small plate chillers are prone to lots of problems with clogging and sanitation. They also requires some additional efforts to filter out hops and moss like a spider or hop bag, which reduce hop utilization.

If you go for a plate chiller look at some of the larger sized chillers with bigger openings. I have used a Duda Diesel B3-36A 40 plate chiller for a few years and have avoided many of the problems mentioned. It cools a 10 gallon batch in a single pass from flameout or whirlpool to 62-68 degrees in 5 min with less than 25 gallons of water. I collect the water which is about 130 degrees and use it for clean up or a second batch if brew on consecutive days.
 
You may have a point there, but I still can’t stomach wasting so much water.

I'm just saying, beware of false economies. If we're not in any kind of draught, the big picture impact is low. If the electricity is made by burning coal, that could change things. There is a logical tendency to treat these differently. You can see the water pouring down the drain but the electricity just magically shows up in the house.

The most efficient use of water is using something like the Jaded Hydra or CussBrewing "short and stocky" immersion chillers or a copper counterflow chiller. Run the output water into a few buckets and use that hot water to clean your kettle.

In the winter months, you can keep a barrel of water/glycol mixture outside and use a submersible pump to push it through your chiller. It could be 20F without freezing as long as your glycol to water ratio is 1:3.
 
So I tested my double immersion chiller today. I was very happy with the time savings, about 20 minutes less than last week. I used one bag of ice in a bucket with some water.

Further, I realized that if I change up my clean-as-I-go system, I’ll have plenty of items ready to be cleaned with the excess water. I had already cleaned everything I’d used prior to chill time. Next time I will wait.
 
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