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What is the easiest way to make a wort chiller?

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Pipi22

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I have been just sitting the pot in a bath of cold water but I think it takes too long and doesn't do as good of a job as a wort chiler would do. Can I make one using copper tubing or is there another material I should use? Any help would be appreciated.
 

cbotrice

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As I understand it, copper or stainless tubing bent in a coil with fittings for supply and discharge is pretty much it. I would believe stainless is overkill, but it will last a long time and look cleaner. MPW
 

bikebryan

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I watched while mine was made at the HBS. They took 25 foot of copper tubing and wound it around a large can of peaches, with the feed and discharge lines bent up and over. Next they attached the fittings/hoses to it. It took them maybe 10 minutes to make it from scratch, and it works like a charm.
 

Turricaine

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I recommend you just buy one online or from your brewshop. They are expensive if all you are doing is extract so I assume you are an AG brewer. With a basic AG setup (no fancy stuff) it is a good investment though to lay your money on somebody elses experience rather than try it yourself and make a pigs ear of it. Ofcourse if you are an incredibly gifted craftsman such as a plumber then it would seem feasible.
 

cowain

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I have to disagree with Turricaine. I paid for mine and have regretted it ever since. Those of us who are brewing our own beer generally have a knack for making their own stuff and this one is really easy. The copper bends very easily and then all you need are the proper hoses, clamps, etc. to make yours work. Also, you'll definitely appreciate the decreased time for cooling.
 

Kephren

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I agree. I'm not very skilled at all when it comes to the do-it-yourself stuff, but I just bought 25' of copper tubing from home depot along with some hose clamps, plastic tubing and a garden hose attachment and made it myself in a few minutes.. couldn't have been easier and it works great. If I would do it again, I would use 50' and make one coil inside the other one so I have twice the surface area to cool with. Still... with 25' it takes only about 20 minutes to cool down my batch.
 

vtfan99

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Kephren said:
I agree. I'm not very skilled at all when it comes to the do-it-yourself stuff, but I just bought 25' of copper tubing from home depot along with some hose clamps, plastic tubing and a garden hose attachment and made it myself in a few minutes.. couldn't have been easier and it works great. If I would do it again, I would use 50' and make one coil inside the other one so I have twice the surface area to cool with. Still... with 25' it takes only about 20 minutes to cool down my batch.
I just did this about a week ago. Very simple to do as the copper tubing is soft and easy to bend. I've seen to basic options for connecting the copper to the garden hose. One way is to get a garden hose, chop it in half and attach it to the copper. I do NOT recommend this as it leaks very easily because the ID of the garden hose does not match the OD of the copper. The second way is to use 1/2" OD vinyl hose attached with hose clamps. On one end of the vinyl tubing attach a barbed hose adapter. This is the preferred method as 1/2" OD vinyl hose has a 3/8" ID, which is the OD of my copper. It makes the attachment very clean and nearly leakproof.

It cost me about 40-45 bucks to make my own 50' 3/8" chiller. You will be able to save about 20+ bucks by doing it yourself (dont forget shipping).
 

tnlandsailor

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Immersion chillers are cake. Just like most of the others have already stated. I would like to address the issue of stainless steel: don't do it. Stainless is an absolute bitch to work with and does not conduct heat worth a damn. Copper has a heat transfer coefficient 30 times greater than stainless. Plus, stainless is very expensive. Copper wins the homebrew-material-of-choice award hands down.

Prosit!
 
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Pipi22

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Thanks for your help everyone. I'm gonna get right on making one!
 

Lost

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I used 25 ft of copper tubing.. I used vinyl tubing to attach the wort chiller to the bottling bucket. I then fill the bottling bucket with ice and water and elevate it on a stool on the counter and let the ice water flow through the chiller and out into a pot or bucket placed on the floor. Works great and doesn't waste near as much water. I imagine a hose would run water through faster but the tap water is not very cool right now (FL). Go to a hotel before you begin brewing and borrow a LOT of ice (at least a cooler full). Oh, you can fill the wort chiller with sand or salt if you're afraid of kinking it.. you really won't kink it though. I just wrapped mine around an old paint can - perfect diameter. Make sure you clean the copper as best you can with hot vineagar before using it as the wort will clean it up very very shiny and the less copper corrosion you have in your beer the better. If you're worried about copper ending up in your wort don't worry.. the wort will dissolve some but the yeast will eat it.. there will be no significant amounts of copper in the finished product.
 
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I made my own. 20' of copper tubing and adapters to fit a hose onto it for $23 at HomeD. On the discharge side I left that alone and simply use a 3/8 plastic diameter tubing that fits over the copper. Had that in stock already but 10' of that is nothing...
 

Rhoobarb

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I agree with everybody! :D I made my own out of 25' of 3/8" copper tubing and it works okay. But now that I'm doing AG, I wanted to up the ante.

I 've been looking into making a 50' unit out of either 3/8" or 1/2" tubing. But by the time I added up the cost of materials at both Home Depot and Lowe's, it will be cheaper to buy this pre-made 50', 1/2" unit from an LHBS for about $65.00.

Maybe I'll wait a few weeks and see if maybe someone will have copper tubing on sale.
 

uglygoat

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my old man likes to tinker. i put my order in about a month ago, explained the purpose and gave him dimensions and he built it. i'm gonna pick it up tomorow, now i need a fridge to lager in and i'll be set...
 

hot_cook10

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The easiest way to make one, is to forget it and just buy one. I've been doing a LOT of research on chillers and it seems that immersion chillers have the cheapest up front cost, but if water cost/usage is an issue for you a CFC will be worth the added expense. I seriously looking into buying a CFC it saves a LOT of water and a LOT of time.
 

Turricaine

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Well I was using my immersion wort chiller just the other day and it is not at all as though it requires a lot of water. Relatively speaking having the cold water tap running for 10 minutes is not alot for a 5 gallon batch of beer.

Here is a picture of the one I own: http://www.art-of-brewing.co.uk/acatalog/img1323.jpg

The Vinyl counter-flow chiller looks quite good also on the website you showed. I guess that is the superior option if you are prepared to do the leg-work.
 
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