Plug-In Cooler=Glycol Chiller?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
775
Reaction score
1,272
Location
Torrance
Has anyone used one of these as an ice/glycol chiller for their fermentation systems? It says it cools to 40F below ambient, which would be 40-50F in the summer for me and less in the winter; but I do ales, ciders, and wines, so keeping things at about 60-65F is what I am shooting for.

Koolatron 52qt.png
 
OP
JAReeves
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
775
Reaction score
1,272
Location
Torrance
Not to be a bug, but after 50 views, has no one actually used one of these to cool either glycol or ice for chilling fermentation?
 

Bent-Brewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
119
Reaction score
40
I doubt they’d be effective. BTU/hr is probably way too low to be used as a reservoir for a recirculating chiller. Comparably priced aquarium chillers are insufficient.
 

augiedoggy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
10,284
Reaction score
2,280
Location
North Tonawanda NY
I doubt they’d be effective. BTU/hr is probably way too low to be used as a reservoir for a recirculating chiller. Comparably priced aquarium chillers are insufficient.
I agree... That said the grainfather conical chiller is actually a small repurposed aquarium chiller. You would be surprised on what you can get away with.. We lager 4 (four) 110gallon 3bbl plastic conical fermenters at one with a single 1/3hp micromatic chiller at the brewpub and we regularly crash them down to 40-45 before tranfering to brites with no issues as long as we do so one at a time.

stout sells a chilling unit for their 12.5gallon conicals that uses (2) 12v thermoelectric peltier chips like those coolers use
 
OP
JAReeves
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
775
Reaction score
1,272
Location
Torrance
I will look into both of these suggestions. I am leaning toward taking apart a window a/c to make my own glycol chiller, but also considering a little bit more cash for an already put together item if it works. The btu/hr # is something I will look into.

thank you!
 

Bent-Brewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
119
Reaction score
40
If it helps: I went with the Icemaster Max 2 and while there are things I wish were a bit different, it is way more powerful than what I needed for a single 5gal fermenter and is extremely quiet.
Looking back, probably would have gone with a fridge. Less condensation and can use it for other things the vast majority of the time I don’t have a batch going.
 
OP
JAReeves
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
775
Reaction score
1,272
Location
Torrance
That does help. I have been using ice and a cooler with an Anvil cooling system for one fermenter up until now. I just added two more SS fermenters, so I want the option of cooling them as well. If I am using $10-15 worth of ice for one fermenter, over about 3-7 days, I can’t imagine if I am using 3. And I can’t afford $1k on a glycol chiller at the moment. So I find an alternative or build it myself.
 

Nate R

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
1,446
Reaction score
805
Location
Sacramento
That does help. I have been using ice and a cooler with an Anvil cooling system for one fermenter up until now. I just added two more SS fermenters, so I want the option of cooling them as well. If I am using $10-15 worth of ice for one fermenter, over about 3-7 days, I can’t imagine if I am using 3. And I can’t afford $1k on a glycol chiller at the moment. So I find an alternative or build it myself.
If you have a decent freezer... i just filled a bunch of 1 gallon water jugs and froze them. Swapped them out every 8 hours in my cheap-azz water bath before i got my glycol system. It worked great! No way i would pay for ice!! Lol
Good luck.
P.s... i splurged and got a Penguin 1/3 hp...( you dont need much like auggiedoggy says.) That chiller is the bomb!! If you are handy diy is very easy i hear.
It will change your life!! Lol
 

Barbarossa

Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 23, 2021
Messages
356
Reaction score
554
Location
Montreal
I put a stainless steel 3 gallon pot in my keezer, which I keep at 35f. The water always stays between 38 and 43. I keep my fermenter at 50f. I had to put a fan or else it does not chill enough. Glycol might be harder to cool also. It can go lower than water, but harder to cool. If my keezer can barely keep up, I doubt that a cooler can.
 

danimal92sport

Undefeated at naps
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
191
Reaction score
431
Location
Midwestern US
I know this thread has moved on, but for posterity’s sake; thermoelectric cooling is real low power. 40F below ambient, per the advertized value, is unlikely in most conditions and only if you don’t open the lid of the cooler. With a glycol chiller, you’re trying to remove a lot of heat at a decent rate, and this thing would probably not even keep up with the heat generated by the glycol pump, let alone the beer.

Dan
 
Top