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Use a wort chiller to save time

Submitted by: Rob on May 06th, 2002

Invest in a wort chiller, which can easily cut the wort cooling process in half. There are mainly two types of wort chillers... (1) Immersion wort chiller and (2) Counter-flow wort chiller. The immersion wort chiller is a coil of copper tubing that you submerge into your hot wort and run cool water thru. The water traveling thru the tubing absorbs the heat from your wort. The counter-flow wort chiller cools your wort as it travels to your fermentation vessel. Cold water travels against the hot wort and absorbs the heat out of it. It is usually two tubes, one inside the other.


22 Comments Posted
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Re: Use a wort chiller to save time May 12th 2002, 04:42 pm
There are also 2 types of immersion chillers... (1) the kind you put in your beer and the water travels thru the copper tubing, and (2) the kind you put in ice water, and your beer travels thru the tubing on the way to the carboy. I prefer the number 1 so I don't have to sanitize the inside of my copper tubing, and I can sanitize the outside of my copper tubing by putting my wort chiller into my boiling beer during the last 5 minutes or so of the boil.
Comment by: Anonymous Brewer reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Aug 31st 2002, 01:49 am
Does the copper tubing affect the taste???

Comment by: KK reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Aug 31st 2002, 04:19 pm
I've never noticed anything flavors. The little copper that might get pulled off of the wort chiller would actually benefit the yeast because copper is an important yeast nutrient.

One tip to cleaning the surface of the copper before dunking it into the boiling wort is to soak the chiller in a solution of one half cup white vinegar to 5 gallons of water. This will clean the copper tubing by oxidizing it. I've never done this, but it is a bit disturbing to put your wort chiller in the wort as a dull, almost brown color, and it comes out all shiny and coppery.
Comment by: Rob reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jul 3rd 2004, 12:33 am
off the wall ideas from a green new brewer: http://sales.goldmine-elec.com/prodinfo.asp?prodid=9485 PELTIER DEVICE Cooler: I want to integrate to COLD surface in the inside of a plastic bucket with sealing by silicone-rubber (Plumbers GOOP brand)and use a propeller stirrer

Or have two coils of copper tubing united with flexible tubing and a fountain pump--one sterilized helix in the wort, the other in a
Icecream cooler-bucket with salted chipped ice.

I know this, in FLORIDA tapwater fails to get below 75 degrees and 8 liters of sterilized frozen water still failed to bring my wort down to 80 in 4 hours hence the wild hairbrained ideas
Comment by: yodar reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jul 31st 2004, 05:40 pm
The perils of brewing in Floida in the summer. I use an ice bath. Cover the wort and stir the ice and water around the pot. I get the temp to the high 60's in 20 min max. Buddy up with a local firefighter. There is always an ice machine at the fire house. A couple of bottles of homebrew should get you all the ice you need.
Comment by: Chad reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jul 31st 2002, 09:31 pm
I usually brew extract beers and end up boiling 2-3 gallons. When I'm straining the wort into the fermenter, I keep the funnel full of ice. I then use cold (bottled) water to finish it off to 5 gallons. I can usually pitch the yeast right after I get it into the carboy.
Comment by: Anonymous reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jan 8th 2003, 03:02 pm
I'd be very careful with this technique. The ice is not sanitized and could easily introduce contamination.
Comment by: dave reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Nov 12th 2003, 03:26 am
Be careful with this method. If you really want to do it, boil water days before. Add to sterilized ice tray, cover and freeze. No bad yeast!! Works, but time consuming, and still has risk. Happy Homebrewing!!
Comment by: Tim Patterson reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jan 13th 2004, 03:02 am
The best way I've found to use ice for chilling is to fill sanitized 2L seltzer bottles about 2/3 the way with clean water. Freeze them upright until they ice is almost solid, then let the pressure out and whack them with something blunt until the ice is crushed. Freeze them the rest of the way. Loosen the ice at racking time, then cut the top almost all the way off about where it starts to taper. We do 2-3 gal. partial boils, so 2-4L of ice goes right in the brew pot, and the rest goes in the funnel.
Comment by: rc reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Sep 7th 2002, 04:42 pm
I have been using a copper immersion wort chiller for 2 years now (ever since my wife bought it for me for Christmas) and will never go back. Since I brew mostly extracts, I've never had it take much more than 5 minutes to cool my wort. I also put my brew-pot in an ice bath while I'm running the cold water through the chiller - it works great.
Comment by: mackk reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Oct 9th 2003, 04:42 am
I just purchased a convoluted counter flow wort chiller. It's awesome, cools the boiling wort to 68 degrees at full flow. Adjust the flow it brings the temperature down, not much, because thats my normal tap temp. I am considering running the water through an immersion chiller in an ice bucket during the summer, I'm sure the tap temp will be higher then. Specs: The inner tube is made from 5/8" convoluted (twisted) copper which continually turbulates the wort as it flows through. The outer tube is made from 7/8" copper.
Comment by: Lagerman64 reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Mar 26th 2004, 05:22 am
Just curious, what brand of convoluted counter flow wort chiller did you purchase. SABCO? St. Pat's? Other?

Thanks for the input.
Comment by: Patrick reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Oct 25th 2003, 02:00 pm
I wouldn't go out and buy a chiller, just get 25-50 feet of copper 1/2 inch and shape around a small object than the kettle (such as a small pan). I then cool in two different methods depending on how prepared I was. First is that I attached garden hose. Second for faster cooloing is running the water into bottling bucket full of ice, then to chiller. Ice is most effecient towards final stages would say 140 and below.
Comment by: Philip reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Feb 11th 2004, 03:18 am
I've been out of home brewing for a while(but soon to get back in) so I may be missing something here. It occured to me a while back to just take a sanitary coil of copper and immerse it in ice water. Then run a feed line going from the kettle to the coil, and another from the coil to the fermenter. It would be much cheaper than a $90 counter flow chiller but should have the same net effect. Granted, the ice water would eventually warm up, but for a 5 gallon batch it should be sufficient.
Comment by: Evil_B reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Apr 27th 2004, 04:31 pm
I'm not a physicist, but the with just running it through icewater at 32 degrees, and dropping temperature from 212 degrees to reach something close to 75 degrees doesn't sound like it would work. I doubt it is as simple as a linear temperature drop, but asking that bucket of 32 degree water to take the difference between 212 and 75... like I said, I don't know the answer but it sounds more complicated than that.
I'm searching the web trying to find a source of this convoluted copper tubing without any luck. I live in central Texas, so am going to need all I can to cool things down in a couple of months. What I have been doing is filling a 20 gallon trashcan with water, leaving the hose at a trickling rate and dropping my 10 gallon kettle with 8 gallons of wort in it. It just happens to be a perfect fit and the kettle handles rest on the top of the trashcan - when it is full of water. As long as the hose keeps pushing the hot water out, I am at 70 degrees within an hour. I can't advise this because moving a heavy kettle of wort is dangerous.
Comment by: jschultz reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time May 27th 2004, 02:44 pm
Beer, Beer and More Beer has convoluted copper at www.morebeer.com
Comment by: BigMike2 reply to comment
Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Nov 8th 2004, 02:24 am
  • Build a coil of 3/8 copper tubing (should be about 30-50' long).
  • Attach standard vinyl tubing to both sides - one to the racking cane - the other into your primary fermentation vessel (bucket).
  • Immerse the entire coil into a 20 or 30g trashcan that is 2/3 full of water.
  • It takes about 15 minutes to siphon 5g of wort through the coil - and I simply add one 8# bag of ice every five minutes. Wort goes in at 212 and comes out at 75 - every time.

    A good tip is to use your garden hose with a spray head to backfill the coil and get your siphon started. I put a 5g bucket about 1/2 full of sanitizing solution at the same height as the kettle (I use no-rinse iodopher - makes life easy). I connect everything up and put the racking cane right in the sanitizing solution. On the other side, I attach an in-line valve and add a bit more vinyl tubing after it. I open the valve and blast the hose into the end of the vinyl tubing. In about 10 seconds this will blow all the air out of the line (you will see it bubbling out the racking cane) and allow you to start siphoning sanitizer through the coil and into the fermentation vessel. Once you get the siphon going, I just let it run for a minute (it's sanitizing the coil) and then close the in-line valve. When you close the valve it holds the siphon - so I simply lift the racking cane out of the solution and into the kettle. Then I throw an 8# bag of ice into the trash can, open the valve and, because the vinyl tubing is clear, you can see when the sanitizing solution ends and the wort starts to flow out. When the wort starts to run, I close the valve, dump the sanitizer out the fermentation vessel, and then fill it up. Add 8# ice every 5 minutes - let the siphon run full speed - and fill up your primary fermenter. As soon as you hear the siphon start to pull air (or you start siphoning cloudly crud out of the kettle) - close the valve. Then move the racking can back into the sanitizing solution, move the outlet into an extra bucket, and open the valve to let sanitizer run through the coil - cleaning it for next time!

    Couldn't be easier. The only downside is the $7 or so you pay for the ice and the extra trip to the store. On about the 15th batch you make you will start to wish you had invested in a good couterflow wort chiller - because the cost of the ice will exceed the cost of a good twisted copper counterflow chiller. But this way works great for your first 20 batches or so.


  • Comment by: dlem reply to comment
    Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Aug 23rd 2005, 05:31 am
    Fill up 2 liter bottles with water and freeze them, then you can reuse them and its cheap ice. You can also use them to keep your fermenting brew cool (mine went from 80 F to 72 F with just one bottle in the water)
    Comment by: Zerget reply to comment
    Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jan 25th 2005, 09:28 pm
    As a formal mechanical engineer, this is not as effective as a counterflow chiller. when the chiller you described sits in the ice bath, you have localized heating of the water immediately around the tubing. What makes the counterflow so effective is the fact tha the cooling water flows in an opposite direction from the hot wort. The rate of heat transfer is a function of the difference in temperature on the two sides of the tubing. so the coldest water is hitting the wort when it is at it's coolest (at the end of the tube). This maintains the most heat transfer across the length of the tubing of any similar set-up. However, the system you describe would probably work fine; you may want to stir the ice bath to minimize the localized heating effect though.
    Comment by: Dan reply to comment
    Re: Use a wort chiller to save time May 13th 2004, 04:50 pm
    Keep the water you'll use to top off your total fermentation amount in the refrigerator for a day. When added, it'll help decrease the temperature as well as add more oxygen (than room temperaturewater or tap water).
    Your post is correct; a wort chiller is a very efficient and time saving device.
    Comment by: Ed Hughes reply to comment
    Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jun 2nd 2004, 11:42 am
    What about using a dry ice aparatus for cooling the wort?
    Comment by: tshep reply to comment
    Re: Use a wort chiller to save time Jun 16th 2005, 05:23 pm
    (for a >5 gal boil) I place my brew pot into a sink filled with ice water, add bag of (store bought) ice to the wort and stir the wort. As long as you keep the wort in motion, the much hotter wort (at the center of the pot) will circulate and contact the cold edges of the brew pot. When the temp reaches 95-100F add to primary and fill remainder with cold water to reach 70-75F. I consistently reach 'pitch' temp in >30 min. It's the same principal as a wort chiller (the hot wort contacts the cold sides of the brew pot, and the pot/ice water absorbs the heat), but without the additional equipment, sterilizing, hassle, etc.
    Comment by: PT reply to comment