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Should I upgrade to a 1/2 inch immersion chiller coil from 5/16 inch?

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by Horatio, 12/3/19.

 

  1. Horatio

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    Posted 12/3/19
    As per the title I'm looking at upgrading to a copper immersion wort chiller 18m in length with 1/2 inch diameter tubing from my current chiller (copper immersion 5/16 inch diameter tubing (approx 8mm) and roughly 8m in length).

    My current wort chiller takes somewhere between 30-40mins to chill my wort down to roughly 26c in summer here in Melbourne, ground water is approx 22c. In winter it's not much better taking 25-30mins to chill to 26c with 14c ground water.

    What are people's opinions/thoughts from those that might have had a similar experience? Is it worth the cost of approx $100? I'd make it myself, 18m of 1/2inch copper from the big green shed is $92, add a flare fitting and bits another say $10.

    And what are brewers thoughts on the time taking to chill my wort? Is there a benefit taste wise/off flavor wise from chilling quicker than my current times?

    Thanks in advance for opinions and feedback.
     
  2. FarsideOfCrazy

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    Posted 12/3/19
    A way you could make your chilling quicker is to use your current coil in a esky full of ice with some water, to increase the contact to 100% with the ice, and run that colder water through your new chiller.

    Recirculting hot water back into an ice bath isn't very efficent as it melts the ice in no time, but this way it's only cooling the from tap temp once.

    I'm looking at using my immersion chiller for the first part of the chilling, get the wort down below 60c, then remove it and place it in an ice bath to chill the cooling water to then run through a counter flow chiller straight into the fermenter.
     
  3. soreba

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    Posted 12/3/19
    https://www.kegland.com.au/wort-heat-exchanger-counterflow-chiller.html

    If KL is correct and say its as good as a 30 plate chiller, I would just get that for $55 (better if you have a pump though)
    I have the 30 plate chiller and chill + fill my fermenter up in about 15 mins (60 L) to a few degrees above groundwater then throw in the fridge for a couple hours to get it the rest of the way (in summer)

    Personal preference obviously, but never got the appeal of an immersion chiller. Everyone seems to stand there and twirl it around in the wort for half an hour to get the best cooling out of them. I got no time for that.

    To answer your question though, you would only maybe get a degree or two closer to ground water temp with increased surface area and dropping $100.

    Also, what FarsideOfCrazy said... Ice bucket will help getting straight to pitching temp.
     
    Last edited: 12/3/19
  4. dkril

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    Posted 12/3/19
    Just run tap water through the immersion chiller until the wort reaches about 45 degrees. Then connect in the ice bath. A mate and I experimented with such a setup years ago, and we found the iced water only really made a difference in the latter stages of cooling (when the temperature difference between tap water and wort is less than ~20 degrees).

    Best results were achieved when we put the iced chiller in a bucket of water, and then froze the whole lot.
     
  5. Milhouse

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    Posted 12/3/19
    You probably won't notice much difference. I have two immersion chillers one about 5/16" (might even be 1/4") and even that I run the water through quite slowly as if you run it through too fast it doesn't have enough time to suck up the heat and just wastes water.

    However similar to the above posts what I do is use both immersion chillers. I use one in the traditional fashion to knock off the first 30-40o then recirculate the wort through the second in an esky filled with ice water slurry. Works well but adds a bit of cost if buying I've which most people will for that volume of ice.

    I was thinking of getting a plate or counter flow chiller but have instead moved to no chill with the added advantage of knocking a good chunk of time off brew day. If you don't want to no chill I'd go to a plate or counter flow chiller.
     
  6. Horatio

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    Posted 12/3/19
    Sounds like its not worth upgrading and instead incorporating an ice bath for the later part of the chill.

    So I might just get a 3m length of 1/2 inch for $20 and fashion another chiller coil that will go inline before my current coil and into an ice bath towards the end of the cool down.

    Thanks guys much appreciated, crowd thinking has given me the solution I need :)

    Cheers drink beers.
     
  7. Neil Jansen

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    Posted 14/3/19 at 10:39 AM
    My cooling system gets me to pitching temperature in about 15 mins. I use a KegLand counter-flow wort chiller as the first stage of cooling, with the discharge feeding an immersion chiller that I have sitting in an ice-water bath. If you throttle the flow rate with a valve as it runs into the fermenter you can control the temperature. I've only used this set-up twice (having started whole grain brewing in December) but both times managed to get wort down from about 88C from the Robobrew to 23C in about 15 minutes. I've attached a diagram showing how I set it up for cooling (it's a HERMS system) and the temps at varying stages of the cooling cycle. Because the tap water at my place (Brisbane) is about 31C and the water in my 4,500L rainwater tank is about 24C, I use the tank water. The garden pump that's connected to the tank is used to feed water to the counter-flow chiller at max flow rate possible, and the discharge from the chiller is directed back to the tank, so the water isn't wasted. Cooling setup.jpg
     

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