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wort chiller

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by calebj, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. calebj

    calebj Aspirant (40) North Dakota Jan 9, 2013

    so i just got a brewing kit. and now i see a chiller is benificial in the brewing process. im a dyi kinda guy so i made one. i used regular stock 1/4 copper tubing. is the copper tubing gonna be good enuf with sterilization, or nasty flavors or chemicals? if its fine, shud i do something pre brew day?
  2. MrOH

    MrOH Savant (490) Maryland Jul 5, 2010

    I made my own as well. I just drop it in towards the end of the boil and go with it.
  3. Ilanko

    Ilanko Aficionado (235) New York Aug 3, 2012

    You don't have to use this piece of equipment try this
  4. HugeBulge

    HugeBulge Savant (440) New York Dec 31, 2012


  5. cates1tg

    cates1tg Savant (255) Michigan Jul 18, 2010

    You should be fine, copper develops an oxidized layer which makes it more or less inert with the wort over time. if your copper looks dirty you can use some white vinegar to clean it. DO NOT use bleach to clean it, it will destroy it and actually make it kind of dangerous if you put it in your wort.
  6. How many feet of copper did you use, and also what size batches are you doing?
  7. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Savant (415) Louisiana Dec 3, 2005

    If it is new copper it will have a layer of tool oil on it. Hot water and dish soap will take care of it, it could possibly require several washes at first. After that, a regular wash with soapy water before and after dropping in the wort should be sufficient.
  8. calebj

    calebj Aspirant (40) North Dakota Jan 9, 2013

    just 5 gal. batches. i had about 8' or so. i spun it around a pot. may b a lil small but it looks just like the pic i saw:).. k thanks for the help.
  9. I'd recommend doing a "dry run" first to see if everything works...and clean your copper while you're at it. 8' may be short for 5 gal batches.
  10. calebj

    calebj Aspirant (40) North Dakota Jan 9, 2013

    i will def. be cleanin it.. itll sparkle.. i figured it wud b a lil short. but oh well it was free.:) i was thinkin about adding a lil bit of length to it but im sketched out about the sodder and its effect on the beer. but if its fine im just gonna go with it
  11. tngolfer

    tngolfer Aficionado (225) Tennessee Feb 16, 2012

    I started with 20' and added another 10' or 20' to it. I soldered the extensions and haven't noticed any side effects.
  12. Most new-purchase plumbers solder is pretty low on lead anymore.
  13. mountsnow1010

    mountsnow1010 Savant (360) Vermont Jan 23, 2009

    If you decide it's too short and aren't willing to solder you can use it as a nifty 'lil prechiller.
  14. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (840) Georgia Feb 12, 2012 Staff Member

    8 ft will be too short I think. Will probably take quite a while to chill.
  15. PortLargo

    PortLargo Savant (490) Florida Oct 19, 2012

    I use 25' and don't see how anything shorter would be effective.

    The copper will have a "dirty" sheen accumulate between batches. On brew day the first thing I do is a total immersion in the bucket filled with sanitizer. In about an hour it will shine like brand new, the exterior grime will be taken off in the bucket instead of the wort. Dunk the chiller in boiling wort for a couple of minutes and the last of the "nasties" will be gone.

    I never bothered to install garden hose attachments. My tap water is so hot that I must use a pre-chiller/pump, all connected by flexible tubing. Ordinary hose clamps keeps it all together.
  16. mountsnow1010

    mountsnow1010 Savant (360) Vermont Jan 23, 2009

    I am of the opposite opinion - I can't fathom how anything LONGER than 25' would be more effective than 25'. Using my 25' chiller, the outlet water is boiling hot - it's equilibrated to wort temperature. If it has equilibrated to wort temperature after 25' it isn't going to pick up more heat obviously, so what's the point of the extra 25 feet after that? I must be missing something. Diameter of tubing, on the other hand, I could see having a dramatic effect by allowing greater throughput of cooling water.
  17. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    You have a good point. But also err... 120*F and lower takes the longest. That's where the extra length could help.If the OP has cold ground water that could be the great equalizer. But the worst part is with eight feet at least two will be wasted out of the wort.

    Once thing is a must. The OP must either move the wort around the chiller or move the chiller around in the wort. And don't directly hold the output. It will be a 212*F to start.
  18. not only is 8' too short but I think 1/4 is too small as well..ID or OD..1/4" is too small...5/16" is as small as you should be..IMHO
  19. Indeed, you are missing something. If the water is coming out boiling hot, you need to increase the water flow. You're correct on your point that increasing the length will have no benefit, but only because your water flow is too slow. I use 1/2"x50' chiller for ten gallon batches. The only 'boiling hot' water I get out of it is the first spurt after I turn on the water. After that, it's still pretty warm, but not hot, even with the wort at 200F and the pump keeping everything in the kettle moving. I'm at pitching temp in about 15 minutes. All else being equal (that's an important qualifier), the colder the water exiting the chiller, the faster the chilling (though, admittedly, at a loss of efficiency).

    To the OP: 8' is definitely too short and 1/4" is too small. And don't worry about the solder - modern day solder is perfectly safe for contact with food. When I built mine, I didn't have the tools necessary to make the tight bends, so I soldered in some elbows (it actually came out looking a lot nicer - actually a lot less bad - than it otherwise might have looked)
  20. calebj

    calebj Aspirant (40) North Dakota Jan 9, 2013

    i got somewheres around 20' now... its actually 3/8" my mistake.. i appreciate all the help! u all rule!!!
  21. Delta T is what you want...actually more heat is being Xfered when the exit water is hottest (what used to be kettle heat). It's slower @<100*F because the delta T is not as great between the wort and the cooling water. If the flow rate is too slow though you will be effectively raising your cooling water temp I/S the chiller (also < Delta T)

    I miss the discussions on here about thermal boundary layers : )
  22. You actually are transfering more heat when running full flow and the exit water is cold, you have greater delta T along the whole length of the chiller, so therefore more heat transfer. That is faster, but you use more water.

    You want to have turbulent flow, so something around a liter/minute for the size pipes we have is the transition to turbulent flow.
    yinzer likes this.
  23. "You actually are transfering more heat when running full flow and the exit water is cold"

    It's actually a pretty dynamic system...but if the chill water doesn't get any warmer...it wouldn't have picked up any heat : ).
  24. It will pick up heat, but it will feel cold - well not at first. You have the heat energy mixed up with the temperature. The energy transferred will be the Specific Heat*mass*temperature rise. If I am flowing at max flow, I have the largest delta T along the length of pipe, and will transfer the heat to the water faster. It is the product of the mass going through the chiller times the temperature rise. If the product is bigger, even though the temp of the water coming out is smaller, I chill faster.
  25. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    But is it possible not to pick up any heat?

    Which would be better, for the last meter of the coil to be cold or hot? To be cold of course. If it cold it's going to remove heat.
  26. OK...for the record I chill with max flow also : )

    The reason the effluent is so hot when you start chilling is that it is picking up so much heat it can't get rid of it fast enough
  27. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    I think on April 1st I'll tell the world about how I have a PID hooked up to my chiller to regulate the flow.
  28. The faster the water flows, the colder the exit water will be, and the faster you'll chill the wort. It's just that simple. No amount of analysis will lead to any other conclusion. Efficiency drops, meaning you'll use more water to do the job, but it will get done faster (which, BTW, is the goal). If the water feels warm, crank it up! I run it full flow. The output goes into the pool in the summer. It's just wasted the rest of the year, though I use some of it to wash some of my equipment.
  29. "Efficiency drops, meaning you'll use more water to do the job, but it will get done faster..."

    Oh good, I thought you were talking about thermal efficiency at first : )
  30. HugeBulge

    HugeBulge Savant (440) New York Dec 31, 2012

    does anyone whirlpool their wort chiller?
  31. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    No, it's too hard since it's connected to hoses. Much easier to whirlpool the wort. If you don't have the means to move the wort you can just pick up the chiller and move it around. But be careful, the outlet can get to boiling temps (at first).
  32. Look at mrmalty.com to see how to do it with a pump, if you have a pump.
  33. I assume you mean run a whirlpool while chilling? (yinzer interpreted your question differently than I did. I don't know who's correct).

    I use my interpretation of Jamil's invention (I don't know if Jamil actually invented it, but he is commonly credited with at least popularizing it). As hopfenunmaltz suggested, you can read about it here: http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

    I did this to my chiller when I originally built it. I have a pump and I was playing with copper tubing/pipes anyway, so it really didn't make sense not to at that time. My ten gallion batches are usually chilled to pitching temp in 15 minutes or so. You could achieve much the same results by stirring vigorously while chilling, but that's waaaaay too much work ;). And I can do other clean-up type things while this is happening - the warm water from the chiller is nice for washing equipment. Unless there's a compelling reason not to (no pump, for example), I would consider this to be mandatory upgrade to any immersion chiller, even a ready built, store bought unit.
  34. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Savant (415) Louisiana Dec 3, 2005

    I use a cordless drill and a paddle attachment (don't remember which online retailer, NB, WB, or MB) I get great chilling with my 50' x 1/2" copper immersion chiller. Drops from 212 to 150 in a couple minutes while I whirlpool with the drill. As stated, the closer you get to water temp, the slower it goes.
  35. sounds like and ex-nuke maybe?
    Travisurfin247 likes this.
  36. mountsnow1010

    mountsnow1010 Savant (360) Vermont Jan 23, 2009

    Right. I'm a fool, this should have been obvious! Cheers.
  37. calebj

    calebj Aspirant (40) North Dakota Jan 9, 2013

    so this whirlpool action has already crossed my mind before i even wrote this thread.. can i use a pump that i get @ a hardware store? or just get one from like northern brewer? im worried obviously about the temps going into and and out damaging the pump.. also chemicals gettin in my wort.. shud i b worried about that? and i guess back to the original ??, so im obviously need more length on the tubing?
  38. For 5 gal or < batches, you don't need a pump unless you are disabled. Just use your immersion wort chiller to "stir the wort/whirlpool"

    You are correct to be worried about the temp handling abilities of a pump that is pumping hot wort.
  39. The pumps are food grade, high temp, and magnetically driven so there is no oil that can get in the impeller section.
  40. Just a guess - you've never used a whirlpool chiller, have you? ;)