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wort chilling

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by tngolfer, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. tngolfer

    tngolfer Aficionado (225) Tennessee Feb 16, 2012

    Two questions:
    1. My wort chiller does well getting from boiling down to about 100-90 but then takes a long time to get down to 70. I'm running tap water set to cold through my line. What do others do?

    2. A lot of the wort chillers I see in magazines and online have the coils basically touching and they appear to be "bottom weighted" instead of uniformly spread out. Do they do that for shipping and then assume the user will pull the coils apart to meet their wort depth?

  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    I recently added a 'pre-chiller,' i.e. another immersion chiller that goes between the water supply and the main chiller. It sits in a cooler filled with ice.
  3. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (375) Michigan Mar 21, 2009 Subscriber

    I have 50 feet of coil. It usualy takes me 20 min. to get to pitching temps for 10 gal. batches.
  4. The chiller will give you the quickest cooling if you run the cooling water wide open, and you need to stir the wort to keep it moving.

    The temperature difference between the wort and the water is the driving potential. Flowing wide open gives the maximun delta T along the length of the chiller, removing the most heat per unit time. Stiring the wort will keep it from stratifying, i.e. having cold wort next to the chiller, hot wort in the rest of the kettle.

    If the supply water is hotter, it will take longer. My time in the winter are about 15 minutes, in the summer I switch to an ice water recirculation with a pond pump once the wort is at ~90F. As the top water in late summer is 70F, there is no way to get to my pitch temp of 62F.
  5. I haven't done this yet, but on my next batch I plan to use my bottling bucked filled with ice water to chill those last few pesky degrees out. I'm just going to fill with ice water then connect it to the inlet of my wort chiller and turn on my trusty gravity pump.
  6. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Savant (485) Nevada Dec 4, 2008 Verified

    I think I'm going to miss the simplicity of an immersion chiller...my counter-flow chiller for 10 gal batches will need more cleaning attention, but hopefully the transition will be smooth if I can adapt to the change gracefully.
  7. kjyost

    kjyost Champion (800) Manitoba (Canada) May 4, 2008 Verified Subscriber

    A tip I just got from the local brewer: Flush with ho water in the opposite direction to blast out the settled crap...
  8. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (445) Virginia Nov 10, 2010 Subscriber

    Who knows why they 'tight coil 'and 'bottom-weight'.
    It's a stoopit design b/c the hottest wort rises to the top of the kettle.
    Stirring gets the wort chilled but results in a lot of suspended break getting into the fermentor.

    My SS chiller from MidWest came all compressed'n sh!t.
    The 'top-weighted' coils were pulled apart to get better...altho still poor...coil coverage in the kettle.
    Wish I'd thought more about chiller design before I bought the POS from MW.
  9. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (810) Texas May 21, 2010

    I use spring water and do extract/partial mash batches, so I keep the last two gallons of spring water in the fridge. This helps me to get to pitching temperature quicker, as once the wort chiller does its work and gets my wort close, the chilled spring water finishes it off. Works for me.
  10. ColdPoncho

    ColdPoncho Savant (465) Ohio Jan 9, 2009

    Recently had an idea: Siphoning wort into fermenter through a length of tubing coiled through ice. Could this be a reasonable cheap alternative to a proper wort chiller?
    toastw likes this.
  11. Agold

    Agold Advocate (510) Pennsylvania Mar 13, 2010

    I use a pump. Tap water gets it down to about 90 then I dump in a boat load of ice and recirculate the water. Gets it down pretty quickly to pitching temperatures.
  12. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (810) Texas May 21, 2010

    I would expect copper tubing to work much better, as it almost certainly has a much higher ability to transfer heat than plastic (copper conducts heat well). That being said, I don't know the specifics of the heat transfer properties of plastic, and your idea will likely work to some extent, although probably not as well as copper. It's not an expensive thing to try though, as plastic tubing is cheep.
  13. It may work, but you'll need to keep adding ice as it melts, and you'll also need to stir the water throughout the process. As far as it being a cheap alternative to a 'proper' wort chiller, you might save a couple bucks on hose fittings, but the coil will cost the same no matter how you plan to use it.
    VikeMan likes this.
  14. if you do try it, experiment with hot water vs. hot wort. and not a huge volume, and have a heat safe container that you are siphoning in to.
  15. tngolfer

    tngolfer Aficionado (225) Tennessee Feb 16, 2012

    I think this would fit my system best without having to buy any additional equipment.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions.
  16. toastw

    toastw Aficionado (115) Texas Aug 16, 2008

    That's actually a pretty good idea that I can't believe I've never thought of before. It wouldn't necessarily be enough to chill the wort, but "freezing" (or chilling) the siphon before transferring surely wouldn't hurt anything! Thanks for the idea!