Author Topic: condenser as wort chiller  (Read 2476 times)

Offline NoVAbrewer

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condenser as wort chiller
« on: January 24, 2012, 06:49:54 PM »
Noob question:

I had a thought after watching Moonshiners the other day - build a wort chiller like the condenser on a still (the worm).  So it would sort of be the reverse of a immersion chiller now - the tubing is submersed in ice water and the hot wort travels through the copper tubing.  Standard ICs seem to be pretty inefficient - how much tap water goes through to cool 5 gallons of wort.

Does anybody know why this isn't done?  If not, about how many feet of tubing do you think it would take to cool the wort down to pitching temps?



Offline tubercle

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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 06:57:36 PM »
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Offline euge

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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 06:59:11 PM »
It is done. That is the most basic of the design in the counter-flow chiller family. I believe the efficiency works out to be the same. The best thing you can do is utilize the effluent. I water my lawn for instance by placing the sprinkler at the end of the line.:)

You have to let go somewhat the idea of "waste" vs time and what is expedient. Somewhere in the spectrum of chilling options you'll find that sweet spot that works best for you. ;)
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Gribble

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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 08:11:12 PM »
My first CFC was a coil inside a Home Depot bucket with through wall fittings and a drain valve for the water.  It worked pretty well in fact, dropped a couple blue ice packs in and would only have to switch the water out once for a 10 gallon batch.
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Offline anje

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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 08:40:41 PM »
My first CFC was a coil inside a Home Depot bucket with through wall fittings and a drain valve for the water.  It worked pretty well in fact, dropped a couple blue ice packs in and would only have to switch the water out once for a 10 gallon batch.
Did you run that on gravity, or use a pump?

I'm planning my second batch and coming up with all sorts of fun things I'd like to get.  (This hobby obsession could get expensive...) After a bottle tree, better wort cooling than kettle-in-sink seems to be high on my list.
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Offline Gribble

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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 02:34:31 AM »
Gravity, and it does.  I've done this for 7 years and have put in somewhere close to 10 grand but it all depends on what level you want to take your obsession too.
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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 05:50:03 AM »
Noob question:

I had a thought after watching Moonshiners the other day - build a wort chiller like the condenser on a still (the worm).  So it would sort of be the reverse of a immersion chiller now - the tubing is submersed in ice water and the hot wort travels through the copper tubing.  Standard ICs seem to be pretty inefficient - how much tap water goes through to cool 5 gallons of wort.

Does anybody know why this isn't done?  If not, about how many feet of tubing do you think it would take to cool the wort down to pitching temps?




As others have said, this is nothing new. But I will say that when I first started brewing  I used this exact same technique, running 5 gallons of wort through my coiled copper chiller which was immersed in my sink with ice water. You have to keep the water moving (like stirring with your hand or something) otherwise the water near the coils warms up enough to become less effective. Also, I had to change my water 2 or 3 times for a 5 gallon batch. It was kind of a PITA.

The really nice thing about an immersion chiller is that you place it in the boil 20 minutes before knock out to sanitize it. And you can be sure the copper is clean and no patina is building up. You can't do this on a CFC. I much prefer an IC set up over a CFC for that convenience.
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Offline NoVAbrewer

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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 12:42:04 PM »
My first CFC was a coil inside a Home Depot bucket with through wall fittings and a drain valve for the water.  It worked pretty well in fact, dropped a couple blue ice packs in and would only have to switch the water out once for a 10 gallon batch.

This is exactly what I was thinking of.  I'm guessing it was a 5 gallon bucket, but how many feet of tubing did you use?  And how did you keep it clean?

This is probably my next rainy day project...

Offline Gribble

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Re: condenser as wort chiller
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 01:42:23 PM »
I used 25' of 3/8" copper and an old coffee can as a form to bend the tubing.  on either end of the tubing a 3/8" compression to 1/2" MPT going through the wall of the bucket with a 1/2" FPT to 1/2" Barb.  little bit of Gorilla glue to make sure the fittings are sealed against the bucket.
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