Quantcast

Wort Chillers?

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Stevorino

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
936
Reaction score
2
Location
Alpharetta, GA
I was thinking of just getting a typical immersion chiller-- but it seems like I could make a nifty counterflow system or even buy a chilling plate from More Beer for a similar price-- what's everyone's favorite/suggested method of chilling?

For what it's worth, I plan on eventually making 10 gallon batches w/ this chiller.
 

Dr_Deathweed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Messages
2,376
Reaction score
49
Location
Bryan
I use a home made CFC, works great for the 10gal batches I have done. You will hear arguments from both camps, an immersion may be easier to maintain, but a CFC is so much cooler...:p
 
OP
Stevorino

Stevorino

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
936
Reaction score
2
Location
Alpharetta, GA
deathweed said:
I use a home made CFC, works great for the 10gal batches I have done. You will hear arguments from both camps, an immersion may be easier to maintain, but a CFC is so much cooler...:p
How'd you build it?
 

menschmaschine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
3,259
Reaction score
49
Location
Delaware
Are there any other options out there? With any of these options, the wort is only going to get as cold as the water supply. I ask because I brew lagers every other batch. Apart from messing around with a submersible pump in ice water (+having to buy bagged ice), are there any chillers out there that will get wort down to 40-some degrees quickly? Has anyone built some sort of refrigerant-loaded air conditioner contraption to cool wort?
 

shafferpilot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2007
Messages
1,579
Reaction score
16
Location
Cincinnati OH
The trick is to run your cooling water from the tap through a pre-chiller before running it to your wort chiller. This could consist of a hose coiled in a basin full of ice or a copper coil in ice water. Anyways, lager wort can be pitched at 70 to 80 degrees and chilled to 50 while the yeast reproduce without causing any wierd flavors. Besides, the lag time is a little less if you pitch in that temp range. Also I've heard of using glycol engine coolant recirculated from a freezer through a chiller. That avoids having to charge a refrigerant system after modification
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,824
Reaction score
3,498
Location
Whitehouse Station
I don't mean any disrespect to those who advocate or suggest prechillers but I really think they are an incredible waste of copper. The temp drop is so minimal for the effort and cost of the ice used. In the case where you already have the copper, it's a sunk cost and I get why you'd use it. However, you'd be better off selling it as an IC and then using that money for a small sump pump. There is nothing like pushing 32ºF water through your chiller. A prechiller might drop the tap temp 5-10F by the time it exits at full flow. In the summer, when the tap is 80F or more, it's just not enough.

I've even gravity fed my CFC with icewater from my bottling bucket hung from a hook in the garage. The CFC is so efficient that I had chilled 6 gallons to 65F by the time the 6 gallons of icewater had drained out (edit... I added about 4 gallons more water to the ice that was still left in there for a total of 10 gallons of coolant).

The only alternative I can think of to pumping icewater is to buy a used chiller meant for aquariums but you'd need a huge one to drop tap temps. They're really not designed for huge heat loads.
 

Donasay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
1,563
Reaction score
11
Location
Boston
If you ever plan on upgrading to 10 or 15 gallon batches an immersion chiller needs to be about 50 feet of copper tubing to get the job done in less than 30 minutes. With the cost of copper these days, it almost makes sense to go get a Therminator (said like terminator) made by blichmann engineering, they are able to get wort down to within 5 degrees of the water you put into them and chill 10 gallons of wort in less than 10 minutes.
 
OP
Stevorino

Stevorino

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
936
Reaction score
2
Location
Alpharetta, GA
haha, I don't really like any of these answers. I may just build my own CFC, $200 for some of those mega CFC's seems a bit excessive (about 1/3 of my budget)-- anyone here use a plate chiller?
 

FSR402

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
2,811
Reaction score
30
Location
Jenison, MI
Stevorino said:
haha, I don't really like any of these answers. I may just build my own CFC, $200 for some of those mega CFC's seems a bit excessive (about 1/3 of my budget)-- anyone here use a plate chiller?
I bought my CFC for $60 from my LHBS.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,824
Reaction score
3,498
Location
Whitehouse Station
Plenty of plate chiller users here. You have to keep them from clogging because the passageways are very thin. You'll need a good hop filtration method at least. Of course, just like a CFC, you'll need to sanitize prior to use. That's sometimes a PITA if you're new to it. Again, the wort coming out is going to be something like 5-10F above the coolant water you have going in so take that into account. If your tap water is 80F, the wort coming out at BEST will be like 85F.
 

gutbucket

Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
I use a 20ft prechiller in an ice bath and the inflow to the main chiller is very cold. I usually can cool down to the upper 60's in about 20 min and I don't exactly live in a cold climate. Of course, YMMV.

Cheers
 

senorfartman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
96
Reaction score
0
My hybrid chiller costed all of like $30 when all was said and done. I already had a valve in my HLT so I place the HC in the HLT, connect the end of the copper to the output of the valve and connect the top of the copper to the pot.

It works well but I really need to recirculate the cooling water to get the best results. Even so it knocks wort from boiling to 70-80 in one pass with ~50 degree cooling water. To compensate for the lack of recirculation, I just slow down the output to let it have more time in the copper.
 

raceskier

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
611
Reaction score
3
Location
Port Townsend
Well, I started with an immersion chiller when I was doing partial boil extract brews and was not happy with the time it was taking to get through the critical temp range. I added a second immersion chiller as pre-chiller in ice water and agree that it's not real effective. (I didn't try the rock salt in the ice trick though.)

I then moved on to a plate chiller for full boils and I was happy with that, with the exception of the hottest month or so in the summer, until I started researching lagers. I read the Zymurgy article on Jamil's whirlpool/immersion chilling system,described here: http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

It is beginning to look, to me anyway, that the whrilpool/immersion system may not only be an aid in making better lagers, but ales as well.

So, I'm shopping for a pump and designing designing a hybrid system that will pull wort from the kettle, pump it through the plate chiller and whrilpool it back into the kettle, which will have the immersion chiller running in it. Overkill? Maybe, I'll just have to wait and see how the beers turn out. :D
 

FSR402

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
2,811
Reaction score
30
Location
Jenison, MI
Bobby_M said:
Hmm, running all that cold break through a plate chiller might not be the best idea.
+1


Man so many people bitch about MI, but danm, even in the hotest months my tap water is more then cold enough to chill the wort. :D


Sorry, I'm laied-of and drunk....:drunk:
 
OP
Stevorino

Stevorino

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
936
Reaction score
2
Location
Alpharetta, GA
raceskier said:
Well, I started with an immersion chiller when I was doing partial boil extract brews and was not happy with the time it was taking to get through the critical temp range. I added a second immersion chiller as pre-chiller in ice water and agree that it's not real effective. (I didn't try the rock salt in the ice trick though.)

I then moved on to a plate chiller for full boils and I was happy with that, with the exception of the hottest month or so in the summer, until I started researching lagers. I read the Zymurgy article on Jamil's whirlpool/immersion chilling system,described here: http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

It is beginning to look, to me anyway, that the whrilpool/immersion system may not only be an aid in making better lagers, but ales as well.

So, I'm shopping for a pump and designing designing a hybrid system that will pull wort from the kettle, pump it through the plate chiller and whrilpool it back into the kettle, which will have the immersion chiller running in it. Overkill? Maybe, I'll just have to wait and see how the beers turn out. :D

Very interesting-- I may invest in this... Anyone else try it? if Jamil is suggesting it, It's gotta be good

I decided to get the 50' Immersion Chiller that he uses, and then later I'll add on the pump and additional copper tubing. Thanks for the post!
 
Top