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Cheap and water efficient wort chiller setup?

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RRising

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I want to make a wort chiller but not make it so i waste a lot of tap water, i rent and have to pay water usage, brew days uses up a lot of water as it is. I have seen counterflow chillers but still have the same water wastage problem.

I have the immersion chiller that came with my Robobrew and tried to use it to pump the wort through the chiller in an esky of ice water but it wasn't as efficient as i liked and warmed the ice water up pretty quickly and had to hot cube because i ran out of ice. You live and learn.

I want to make a system where i can pump and recirculate ice water through the chiller, i feel that the water having less contact with the hot wort will make the heat transfer a little more efficient as the water is in contact with the hot wort for a short amount of time.

Would this be feasible or should i just stick with hot cubing which isn't really a big deal?
 

MHB

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What makes heat transfer quick is the difference between the wort and the cooling water.
If we are just talking about an immersion chiller. It might sound counter intuitive but the slower the coolant flow the more efficient as the coolant has time to warm up taking heat out of the wort, this happens faster when the wort is hotter.
Say at the start your wort is at 90oC and your tap water is at 20oC there is a large gradient (90-20=70oC) but as the wort gets cooler there is less gradient and the heat moves from the wort to the water slower.
You only need enough flow so the coolant is coming out at about the same temperature as the wort.
That saves water but takes a long time.
Once the wort is down to say 40oC, your gradient has dropped to 20oC and it takes a very slow flow give the coolant time to warm up
About this time its starting to look like its going to take forever, about now most people crank up the flow, which will make it cool a bit faster, but uses lots of water.
Alternative is to get that gradient back up by cooling the tap water. Lots of options, a pump in the bottom of an esky full of water and ice, a second immersion chiller in the same esky. Getting the cooling water down to say 5oC would give you a 35oC gradient so it starts cooling down pretty fast again, without using too much water.

A coil of 1/2" copper (just like your immersion chiller but copper) that the tap water can flow through early on and when the wort gets too cool can be stuck into the esky/bucket of ice and water to act as a pre-chiller appears to be a pretty good all round solution.

Mind you, you are trading water use against electricity for making ice, personally I'm far from sure which is the cheapest answer.
Mark

Before someone has a kitten, yes faster flows will cool slightly faster, but will use heaps more water, which wasnt the question being asked.
M
 

MaggieO

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I do the ice in a bucket with a pump system.

I use tap water to get down to 110F then add ice to a bucket of water and pump it through my chiller down to 68F. Ice water gets recirculated. I found this was the best compromise between cooling efficiency and reducing wasted water.
 

razz

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I have found agitation of the wort will also speed up cooling time RR. I don’t use a Robobrew but I’m guessing that you can recirc the wort back into the boiler while the chiller is doing it’s thing?
 

RRising

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Thank you for the ideas but i think i'll stick to hot cubing for now, it's not that big of a deal, i just have to wait to the next day to transfer it to my fermenter.
 

Fro-Daddy

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Can buy this or try and make something similar.
They claim from boil to 20°C in 3 minutes on a 20L batch.
 

Grmblz

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Just to state the obvious (maybe not to everyone) ss is not a very good conductor of heat, other things to consider of course, just sayin.
 

BrewLizard

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I've tried the pre-chiller idea, with a copper coil in an ice bath, but found I needed slow flows to chill the tap water before it went into the wort (where faster flow = faster cooling). It was also a mess, having to have two chillers and 3 hoses.

I've since silver-soldered my two chillers together into a messy ball (2 parallel paths), and I run tap water through at full bore into a bucket to get my temp down to 50°C in a few minutes, then I unplug my water input from the tap and recirculate it with a submersible pump in an ice bath.
Phase 1: tap -> chiller in wort -> discard bucket
Phase 2: ice bath -> chiller in wort -v
.....................^-------------------------|

End result = fast chilling, a 20 L bucket full of hot water that I can use for cleaning, and a sink full of cool (now warm) water.

Of course, you have to prepare about 5 days in advance to make enough ice. If you buy ice for this, you're wasting money.
 

dkril

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Can buy this or try and make something similar.
They claim from boil to 20°C in 3 minutes on a 20L batch.
Looks like 4 coils in parallel. I wonder what the total length of tube is? Any idea what size fittings it takes/comes with? Or what material it's made from?
 

RRising

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Just to state the obvious (maybe not to everyone) ss is not a very good conductor of heat, other things to consider of course, just sayin.
I understand the concept of heat transfer but my stainless steel chiller did a good job of conducting the hot wort, enough that it nearly melted the ice i had in my esky instantly. It did knock off about 40°C from the wort before it equalised and i ran out of ice.
 

BrewLizard

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Stainless steel is a significantly better conductor of heat than wort (or water) itself, so it works just fine.

SS makes lousy heatsinks compared to copper or aluminium, but that doesn't really matter in this application.
 
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I understand the concept of heat transfer but my stainless steel chiller did a good job of conducting the hot wort, enough that it nearly melted the ice i had in my esky instantly. It did knock off about 40°C from the wort before it equalised and i ran out of ice.
You could try filling some 1 or 2 litre pet bottles to get a larger ice mass, other than that brew in the afternoon or evening, when finished put the lid on spray some sanitiser around the lid, wrao with some cling wrap and fill your fermenter in the morning. Saves mucking around with cubes.
 

Fro-Daddy

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Looks like 4 coils in parallel. I wonder what the total length of tube is? Any idea what size fittings it takes/comes with? Or what material it's made from?
Solid brass garden hose connectors.
I assume copper, but they also have a stainless version.
 

RRising

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You could try filling some 1 or 2 litre pet bottles to get a larger ice mass, other than that brew in the afternoon or evening, when finished put the lid on spray some sanitiser around the lid, wrao with some cling wrap and fill your fermenter in the morning. Saves mucking around with cubes.
That's not a bad idea but i haven't had any issues with hot cubing in a 20L jerry can though.

I did get the idea of setting up a pond pump in a esky and pumping icy water through the chiller, im going to do a proof of concept this weekend with an old fish tank pump to see if its powerful enough.

Bunnings has pond pumps with variable flow rates.
 

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Willigofasta

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A mate told me of a friend who puts his cube in a swimming pool for quick chilling. No wasting of water. I'm going to try that. Meanwhile I run water from my 5000 litre rainwater tank through a chiller coil and the outlet goes back into the tank. 90 C down to mid 20s in about 30 minutes. Only cost is running the pump. No water wasted.
 

RRising

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Not saying you have had a problem with the cubing just suggesting an alternative without using a cube, you will also have the advantage of a clear wort into the fermenter.
Absolutely, i just did a test with an old fish tank pump and some tubing and it was pumping beautifully although i had to prime it by sucking water up to the first peak but once it reached it, it created a siphon and gravity did the rest.

I might just use the fish tank pump, so i can have it loose in the cooler so i can just lift it out and replace the water once temps have equalised and replace with more ice/water.
 

CyriusBrew

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have one, it has US garden hose fittings for input/output. No idea on the length of tube. Its all copper.

A review here, with some cooling times vs volume The Hydra Immersion Chiller by JaDeD Brewing | Product Review
Those JaDed chillers are bloody nice. They can really handle a lot of water going through. However, I just bough 15 meter of copper tubing, and wrapped it around a pipe then brazed brass hose fittings on it. It really works a treat in my 3 vessel setup. In the Guten I am just using the SS chiller that came with it since my copper one does not fit.

I keep wondering about no chill...How do you prevent all of your hops from basically becoming bittering hops? It seems like it would be a bit of work to get your 0 minute addition flavours. Then again, being able to reduce time on the brew day is quite tempting.
 
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