Immersion Chiller Modification?

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jtucker101

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So I've been gathering all my equipment for an all-grain setup, and I just realized that my immersion chiller is too short. There's no way it's going to fit in the keggle without getting lost. If I stuck it in the boil now, I could just see the tubing connected to the copper being destroyed.

Has anyone modified an immersion chiller for their keggle, or should I start over with a new one? Extend the legs to make it taller so the fittings and tubing don't sit in the wort? Of course, it would take forever to cool, I think it's only a 25' coil.

I'd rather not spend the extra money (translation: I'm a cheap bastard), so I was thinking I could use the immersion chiller (with some minor modifications) to sit in a vessel filled with ice water and drain my wort through the IC? Kind of like an open-outer-vessel-counterflow-chiller.

Then this got me to thinking, what if I used the vessel (a 5-gallon cooler) for a dual-purpose application...as a heat exchanger for a HERMS setup (with a PID controlled electric element mounted inside the vessel) and then at the end of my boil I would use the same vessel (allowed to cool down, of course) as my chiller?

Anybody see any drawbacks to my "bi-directional heat transfer system" ?

(other than the obvious problem of being a cheap bastard???)
 

mbird

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If you're serious about 'cheap' then your transfer system may end up costing you more then you want. I would suggest just getting enough copper to sweat onto the ends and extend them out of the pot. You could also sweat on some copper hose fittings to the ends while your at it. Just my 2cents.
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McKBrew

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Better off spending the $45 for a roll of new copper and making a longer chiller. You could still use the smaller chiller in line (sitting in an ice bucket) as a pre-chiller to make the water even colder and cool faster.
 

ghack

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"Kind of like an open-outer-vessel-counterflow-chiller."

I did that for a while but got tired of the all the cleaning of the copper lines before and after use. I recently reconstructing and expanded my old immersion chiller with more tubing. Being a cheap bastard myself, I recycled the old one. That is one of the great things about copper, is it is easy to modify, and tossing 25' of good copper is crazy in my book.
 

HomebrewJeff

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What if you bent it so the majority of the coils were at the top. Something like this: B3-500 Immersion Chiller Option | MoreBeer.

Another option is to use some short lengths of copper tubing and solder them onto the bottom to make 3 - 4 "feet" to allow it to sit up higher. Another option is to use some thick gauge copper wire, wrap it around the top few coils and make some hooks to hang on the outside of the pot. This way you could adjust how low it sits in the pot.

Or you could just make a new one. Copper is a lot cheaper now, but I'm still in my "reuse it if at all possible" mode. :rockin:
 
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jtucker101

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Another option is to use some short lengths of copper tubing and solder them onto the bottom to make 3 - 4 "feet" to allow it to sit up higher.
Now there's an idea!

I tried to stretch out the coils, but the vertical tubes have a 90 degree bend that only allows me to stretch it out about 6 inches. Still not tall enough to just toss in and let sink to the bottom.

I like the idea of legs, though...or adjustable hangars.

I'll have to see what I've got laying around the I can use.
 
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jtucker101

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well, I decided to take one more look at the old IC to see what I could do. After looking at it for a while I got the bright idea to just re-bend some of the tubing to get what I needed. The vertical runs came up through the middle, so stretching it really didn't afford me anything. some of the existing bends were a little crimped to start with so I didn't want to risk restricting the flow any further. Figured I'd leave them and just work around it.

After about 10 minutes of bending and forming I think I have something that will work. The vertical runs are now running outside the coil and I unwound one coil from both the top and bottom to allow the hose connections to sit above the rim of the keggle.

Admittedly, the vertical runs ain't too pretty, but it'll get the job done (and like I said...I'm a cheap bastard!):



 
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jtucker101

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I'd say I'll have the same issues as everyone else. I'm thinking about recirculating my cooling water too keep from using so much. And since I am already freezing a few 2-liter soda bottles for use in my fermentation chiller, I'll just freeze a few extra and toss those in (instead of regularly buying ice). I figure at the same time I toss the IC into the boil I can toss some frozen 2-liters into a tub with some water and let it get nice and cold.

At this point, my focus isn't on efficiency, heat transfer, mathematical calculations, etc. etc. etc....(although doing all this on a budget certainly is a factor).

I just want to brew beer!

:mug:
 

beerocd

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What if you cooled the wort in batches. Dividing up the original volume and cooling it with the current immersion chiller. Something small like a grant, or I was thinking of using a hopback myself and chilling in it. I think that may work faster than chilling the whole volume at once, but then again you've got the added expense of another vessel to cool in which kills "being cheap".

-OCD
 

RedIrocZ-28

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What will help more is chilling the wort in something other than a keggle. Keggles are Stainless Steel and will hold heat longer than Aluminum or copper.

I have noticed that when doing a split boil on the stove, the Aluminum pot I have will be 20* higher than the SS pot in the race to a boil. Therefore it reaches a boil faster. I have also chilled in the AL pot, which cools signigicantly faster than in my SS pot.

I know this is not necessarily an option for everyone who owns a keggle, transferring to another vessel for chilling, but its the most efficient way if you need to be water usage conscious like our friends in the Southwest US.

And with those pots for sale on that restaurant site, the 15gal ones for $6x.00 delivered. :shrug:
 
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jtucker101

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actually, I'm thinking about doing 10 gallon batches, but I've only got 2 carboys. I've never racked to a secondary before, but it's a habit I'm thinking about forming. That being the case, It would probably take quite a while to chill a 10 gallon batch.

For the time being, it's going to be 5 gallon batches. I'll get a few test runs under my belt before I make too many changes.
 
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