Wort chiller...is it worth the expense?

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IanPC

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I've been debating to upgrade a bit and get a wort chiller. Are they worth it, or are they just a fancy add on that isn't really needed. Secondly, are there any recommendations for places that have good deals on them.
 

irunxcjm

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It's totally worth it especially if you are doing full boils. But even if you aren't, you need to chill the wort as quickly as you can to get a good cold break. This leads to a cleaner beer. Plus, it means there is less time for other bugs to take ahold.
 

DoubleAught

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Depends on what you need it for. If doing full boil then absolutely yes, they are worth it. If boiling two gallon batches, then topping off...not so much
 

whitehause

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One of the more important basic items. You'll need it weather doing all grain or extract. I probably would rank it number 4 after a good thermometer, hydrometer, and kettle/heating source. Number 5 would probably an auto-siphon. Cooling the wort quickly to pitching temp will help reduce the possibility of infections. Of course there is the no chill method, but that requires it's own set of specialty equipment.

As far as deals....you can make one( search wort chiller construction ) or I've seen some decent deals on Amazon of all places.


LOL...3 responses before I got done typing
 

Draken

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I put together a wort chiller at lowes for less than 50 bucks, including copper bending tools. I would say if you are worried about your budget and a little DIY capable then just make one.
 

Grumpybumpy

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Draken said:
I put together a wort chiller at lowes for less than 50 bucks, including copper bending tools. I would say if you are worried about your budget and a little DIY capable then just make one.
This. And you don't really need any tools. I wrapped the coil around a small pot then bent the rest by hand. It's not too hard to avoid a kink.

Also, I see no need for an auto siphon. It's pretty easy to rack without one
 

CraigT

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Yes I would definitely recommend making one. I made a small 50 ft one with 3/8 copper and wrapped it around a keg I think. One end soldered an adapter to a garden hose. And the other I slide a piece of tubing over. It cools my wort in 10 to 15 minutes to under 80 degrees
 

SwampassJ

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If you're doing a full boil for a 5 gallon or 10 gallon batch then it's very much worth it. I don't have the best fitting kettle lid so no brew to me isn't a viable option and I don't have a sink big enough or enough freezer space to fit enough ice. That and my 5 gallon sparge pot won't even fit into the sink without wedging into the side.

The quicker cooling will give a better cold break and will speed up the brew day a bit. Now for all you people cooling with ground water in the 40s, I hate you all.
 

milldoggy

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Might be overkill, but the chillzilla is worth every penny. I cool 11 gallons in a single pass pretty darn quick.
 

RM-MN

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If you're doing a full boil for a 5 gallon or 10 gallon batch then it's very much worth it. I don't have the best fitting kettle lid so no brew to me isn't a viable option and I don't have a sink big enough or enough freezer space to fit enough ice. That and my 5 gallon sparge pot won't even fit into the sink without wedging into the side.

The quicker cooling will give a better cold break and will speed up the brew day a bit. Now for all you people cooling with ground water in the 40s, I hate you all.
Does that include us who have the 40 degree ground water and snow besides? I get a pretty decent cold break by chilling my full boil pot in a tub of cold water with lots of snow added to chill the water nearer to the freezing point. :fro:

At some point I may add a chiller just so I don't have to move a pot full of hot liquid. :rockin:
 

SaevaVeritas

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You can get 50' copper coils in the refrigerator section at lowes for $50 just pick up that some cheap gas line, and a faucet adapter and your there. Saved $30 on mine. Bent the tubing SLOWLY around a pot.
 

CGVT

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I know a lot of people push the DIY route, but I bought mine here http://www.nybrewsupply.com/ . Great prices. With any size boil the quicker you can chill the better.
+1 to this. Even with shipping it was cheaper to buy my 3/8" X50' chiller through them than build one myself..

Because my tap water is over 80* in the summer and 70* in the winter, I use a smaller 20' chiller as a pre chiller in a cooler full of ice water and cool to 65* in about ten minutes.

It cuts about an hour off of my brew day. Worth every penny IMO.
 

bkl63

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I did the Ice Bath approach and was excited when I chilled it in under a 1/2 hour. I then got a Wort Chiller and do it in 10 mins. To me it's more than worth it and an indespensible tool in home brewing. I bought it, vs made it. I had gone to Home Depot but the longest copper tubing box was 25' and I wanted it to be a little longer. I will probably get the 25' foot tubing and make a pre-chiller for the summer time.
 

Rbeckett

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Copped a nice stainless 25 footer for less money than a copper one from New York Brew Supply.com on Ebay, The price with shipping was less than 50 bucks and I got it in 2 days from New York to Florida. And it is staimless rather than copper which is one of those quirky things, I wanted stainless just because I wanted it if the price could be managed to avoid overpaying and waiting too long for it to arrive. No real empirical data to support the thought behind it either, I just got what appealed best to me and my wallet. Next project is weld a nice sturdy and functional brew stand. Undecided on single tier versus multi tier designs. And of course how complex amd automated do I want to make the control panel? Fully automated or prompted or some cariation of a hybrid? Just the thoughts of a lunatic, out here on the fringe...
Bob
Bob
 

chainsmoke

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I know a lot of people push the DIY route, but I bought mine here http://www.nybrewsupply.com/ . Great prices. With any size boil the quicker you can chill the better.
I just bought a chiller from them last week and used it for the first time this weekend. With topping off partial boils I was bringing the water down to 80-85. It would still seem to take HOURS to bring it down to 75. All I wanted to do was finish my brew day; instead I was waiting around for wort to cool.

With my new chiller, my wort was pitched and in my fermenter 15 minutes after the boil finished.
 

Homebrewtastic

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IanPC said:
I've been debating to upgrade a bit and get a wort chiller. Are they worth it, or are they just a fancy add on that isn't really needed. Secondly, are there any recommendations for places that have good deals on them.
YES!!!! They are worth it. If you want to make a beer with good hop character (apa/ipa etc) you need to be able to chill quickly.
 

Homebrewtastic

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SwampassJ said:
Now for all you people cooling with ground water in the 40s, I hate you all.
that's why I now have two chillers. In Texas in the summer ground water is 80 degrees. I put the first one in a well salted ice bath and attach to the one that goes into the wort. 15 minute chill max. Sometimes 10. Works 60% of the time every time.
 

kh54s10

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I made mine from two 20' coils of 3/8". One coil goes in a bucket of ice the other in the wort.

The lowest price online that I saw for a 25 footer was about $35 then another $7.99 for shipping. I spent about $50 and got 40' of cooling.

Added. You don't need any tools to bend the copper tubing if you go slowly and carefully.
 

akervin

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Grumpybumpy said:
This. And you don't really need any tools. I wrapped the coil around a small pot then bent the rest by hand. It's not too hard to avoid a kink.

Also, I see no need for an auto siphon. It's pretty easy to rack without one
And if you do kink cut it and attach a strait peace or L shaped peace using solder. It's rather simple to solder and there are tons of videos out there that can help you. Save 50 bucks and do it your self. Best part about making your own is 1. well you made it and 2. custom size to fit your brew kettle.
 

davis119

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Is any one chilling 10gl batches with a 25' ? I only do 5gl batches but maybe one day if I love a recipe id do a larger batch. Will a 25' cool 10gl fast enough?
 

Skelator

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I got the standard chiller from NB for $70. I've chilled both 5.5 and 3.5 gallons using this and a waterbath. I high five myself every time i use the immersion chiller just because its less work. Less work, less lifting the pot out of the sink, less worry about if i have enough ice, etc etc. It just makes the brew day easier and in my small kitchen in my small apt, it works. To me, its worth the money because its something you'll use again, again, again, and again. I was worried about making my own because i didnt want to spend 50 bucks on tubing only to kink it or break it and be out 50 bucks.
 

rifraf

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Could be that ground water is cold enough in Illinois right now, but I chill my 3g boils in <10 minutes by putting the pot in the sink, and filling it by running the cold water directly on the outside of the pot while whirlpooling the hot wort. 3 fill cycles brings me down low enough that 60 degree top off water brings my bulk temp to 65 or so.

Now...this may change in the summer, but for now I'm saving the money.
 

AdamPag

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Um... I WAS considering getting a wort chiller, but based on the reports in this thread and others, Im chilling my partial boil (2.75gals) under 80* in approx 15mins in an ice bath in my sink (the trick is adding SALT!!!) and topping off another 2 gals of 58* water brings me to about 68* so unless a wort chiller is gonna get me there in like 5 mins, its seriously not worth the $50 I could use for other supplies, just my opinion
 

AdamPag

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Could be that ground water is cold enough in Illinois right now, but I chill my 3g boils in <10 minutes by putting the pot in the sink, and filling it by running the cold water directly on the outside of the pot while whirlpooling the hot wort. 3 fill cycles brings me down low enough that 60 degree top off water brings my bulk temp to 65 or so.

Now...this may change in the summer, but for now I'm saving the money.
yea +1, beat me to it
 
OP
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IanPC

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Thanks for all the responses, I think I may purchase one in the future. I live in Massachusetts and my tap water is running at 40-45 deg. Not sure about warmer weather. Ice bath with that water is about 15 min cool down. I've been doing 5 gal. extract kits so I'm only cooling 2 gallons of wort. I still think I'll get one, but I think I'll wait till summer. Thanks for all the great advice.
 

Brewcrew86

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I just bought one and used it for the first time this weekend. I looked into making and buying one. I ended up buying one because the materials were just as pricey and then the headache of the labor. It was a lifesaver, timesaver, and I cannot imagine brewing without one ever again.

I have a gift card to northern brewer. I got the 69.99 one and it works fine. I read a lot of wort chillers leak and squirt water everywhere. I just tightened the connectors before I used it.
 

brewmax25

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100% worth it. I cant believe I brewed without one!!

I found someone selling one on HBT for.a good deal.
 

CPFITNESS

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Um... I WAS considering getting a wort chiller, but based on the reports in this thread and others, Im chilling my partial boil (2.75gals) under 80* in approx 15mins in an ice bath in my sink (the trick is adding SALT!!!) and topping off another 2 gals of 58* water brings me to about 68* so unless a wort chiller is gonna get me there in like 5 mins, its seriously not worth the $50 I could use for other supplies, just my opinion
you will never cool 5 gallons that fast. I would agree with your statement, for smaller boils, not necessary but it's a lifesaver for 5 gallon batches. I actually timed mine yesterday a shade over 11 minutes to get down to 70*. Mine is 50'of tubing, homemade. I probably should have wrapped the coils wider but i didn't have anything cylindrical to mold it around.
 

CPFITNESS

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I just bought one and used it for the first time this weekend. I looked into making and buying one. I ended up buying one because the materials were just as pricey and then the headache of the labor. It was a lifesaver, timesaver, and I cannot imagine brewing without one ever again.

I have a gift card to northern brewer. I got the 69.99 one and it works fine. I read a lot of wort chillers leak and squirt water everywhere. I just tightened the connectors before I used it.
to minimize any potential leaks, I bought a 10' long laundry connection hose and cut it in half. That way i only had to clamp the on the chiller, I didn't have to also deal with a potential leak at the faucet from a clamped on connector there. works great, no leaks.
 

natefrog255

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Just tried to make one tonight. I haven't decided on what kind of adapter I want yet but I think it will turn out okay. My only issue is its too big for my 3 gallon pot I currently use. It should be fine whenever I step up to a larger pot. I ended up getting 50' of copper coil, wanted to go big right away, but it was alot of coil to deal with.

The good is I could have a 50' coil wort chiller for less then the 25' coil ones sold in the catalogs.
 

lumpher

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you couldn't get me to brew without a chiller. i got a 50' 1/2" chiller off craigslist for $20 early on. best brewing investment i ever made
 

techbiker

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I just stick the kettle in the right side of the sink and run cool water around it and down the drain of the other half of the sink. This can cool 5 gallons of wort down to around room temperatures in about half an hour without much fuss. The key is to keep the cooling water from warming up so continual replenishment is key. I would purchase a wort chiller, however I don't have access to a garden spigot.
 
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