Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: smitty on June 20, 2010, 05:12:29 AM

Title: Newbie wort chiller question
Post by: smitty on June 20, 2010, 05:12:29 AM
Hey everyone, I'm still a little new around here.  I'm just a little curious how a wort chiller works and if it is a good idea to invest in one or not.  Thanks for the help.
Title: Re: Newbie wort chiller question
Post by: weithman5 on June 20, 2010, 12:53:27 PM
It is a good idea if you are going to boil full batches and not add 2gal of wort to 3 gal of pre boiled then cooled water.
Fundamentally, a wort chiller is a heat exchanger.  Think car radiator but instead of radiator fluid you have wort, and instead of air you have cold water.  Heat exchange is proportional to the temperature difference, the surface area and the flow rates on both sides of the barrier.  A simple heat exchanger is the immersion chiller hooked up to the kitchen sink.  To increase cooling you could hook up your immersion cooler to an ice bath and recirc the cooling water through this. (you may have heard of intercoolers on boats that go in sea water)  To increase cooling more you can move the wart past the cooling medium as well.  Hence a counter flow chiller. (flow can be in the same direction but counter flow has advantages of less thermal stress etc.)  These are reasonably easy to make.  Now go brew.
Title: Re: Newbie wort chiller question
Post by: mikebiewer on June 20, 2010, 03:57:00 PM
Exactly what he said.

If you are not doing full boils or don't want to spend the cash there is an easy option as well. If you have any 20 oz bottles, clean them up really good. Fill them with water and freeze them. Then on brew day, pull them out, sanitize them and drop them in your kettle to cool.

It's cheaper than 3 bags of ice, and less messy.

Title: Re: Newbie wort chiller question
Post by: euge on June 20, 2010, 05:07:54 PM
Using a bathtub full of water makes a great heat-sink for those small batches.

Copper isn't too bad in price. Made my own 1/2" IC by coiling 25' of tubing around a corny-keg. Only wish I'd left more space between the coils for the wort to pass through.

It is true that bigger batches require them but even 20' of 1/4 Cu coiled and hooked up to the sink will cool those 3 gallon partial boils pretty effectively and cheaply.
Title: Re: Newbie wort chiller question
Post by: smitty on June 20, 2010, 08:47:17 PM
Thanks guys.  Happy Brewing.