Author Topic: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?  (Read 9750 times)

Offline jjflash

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Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« on: November 24, 2012, 10:50:55 PM »
I am suprised I can't find a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there.
Was thinking of running glycol chiller in my Therminator instead of tap water with required ice bath pre-chiller to hit appropriate temperature. Tired of the pre-chiller mess and water hoses.
I have no great desire to build one from a refrigerated air conditioner/ice chest.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 11:17:48 PM »
You can build one with a bucket of glycol in a fridge, a subersible pump, and some hoses.  It's not ideal, but it works.
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Offline euge

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 07:42:27 AM »
I don't think it will be nearly as effective for the use you are planning for.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tom

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2012, 12:24:08 PM »
I don't think it will be nearly as effective for the use you are planning for.
Why?  A glycol chiller is basically a container of cold liquid and a pump.  His ground water in New Mexico is probably pretty warm in the Summer so anything cooler than his fermentation temperature is overkill.  I do well with a bucket of ice water with a sump pump and a second plate chiller in line when needed.

Of note, keep your eyes open for bars with those "chilled" towers.  They use little glycol chillers for the faucets.
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Offline euge

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2012, 12:45:00 PM »
Well an ice-bath prechiller is very inefficient and a waste of ice. The ice would be better served being used once ambient tap-water temp has been reached in the wort. Then once that has been achieved, using the ice-water in a closed loop is extremely effective and efficient. So if the jjflash changes his method slightly he will achieve what he desires without buying more equipment- potentially expensive equipment with unknown efficacy.

My concern is that a glycol chiller would not be able to regenerate the cooling fluid fast enough if used. It might work better substituted for the ice-water recirc described above but I doubt it. I've only heard of glycol chillers being used to keep fermenters cool.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Offline thetooth

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2012, 01:00:37 PM »
Well an ice-bath prechiller is very inefficient and a waste of ice. The ice would be better served being used once ambient tap-water temp has been reached in the wort. Then once that has been achieved, using the ice-water in a closed loop is extremely effective and efficient. So if the jjflash changes his method slightly he will achieve what he desires without buying more equipment- potentially expensive equipment with unknown efficacy.

That may be true for an immersion chiller... but the OP stated that he is using a Therminator.  For a plate chiller, the wort will be chilling on the way to the fermenter which will require the ice water/glycol be used for the entire chill/transfer process.  Efficiency improvements with this type of setup would be to slow the flow of ice water/glycol or increase the flow of wort based on chilling rate for maximum efficiency.

My concern is that a glycol chiller would not be able to regenerate the cooling fluid fast enough if used. It might work better substituted for the ice-water recirc described above but I doubt it. I've only heard of glycol chillers being used to keep fermenters cool.

Glycol plate chillers are very common in breweries.

Offline euge

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 01:12:21 PM »
It's going to make very little to no difference plate-chiller vs IC in an ice-water recirc. Also, it is a poor practice to try and emulate professional-scale breweries at the homebrew level.

But by all means waste your time, effort and money. I won't stand in your way.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2012, 02:39:13 PM »
If you put the bucket of glycol in a freezer it will work better.  But I tend to agree with euge, unless you have a very large bucket of glycol to start with you're going to run out of chilling capacity too soon.  You're best bet if you are using an open fermenter like a bucket might be to use water into the bucket to get it as cold as you can, then use an immersion chiller in the bucket with the glycol pump going to chill it further.  You'll want to remove the coil before pitching your yeast or you'll wind up with off flavors, unless you use stainless of course.
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Offline redbeerman

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Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2012, 03:06:46 PM »
Unless you are going below 0C for your coolant, using glycol will be a waste.  Water will work fine to temperatures just above freezing.  If you are going to run your coolant below freezing, glycol is the way to go, a bucket inside a refrigerator will not chill any better with glycol than with water.  As Tom said, a freezer will work better.
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Offline thetooth

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2012, 03:32:49 PM »
It's going to make very little to no difference plate-chiller vs IC in an ice-water recirc.

I think it does make a difference in that chilling with tap water first won't work with a plate chiller the same way it would with an IC since you are not attempting to bring the entire kettle down to any temp prior to transferring to your fermenter.  I agree with the assertion that I don't imagine there would be any improvement using glycol vs ice water, though.

Also, it is a poor practice to try and emulate professional-scale breweries at the homebrew level.

But by all means waste your time, effort and money. I won't stand in your way.

Agreed.  I think I misunderstood your original quote about only seeing glycol used for fermenters.  I'm guessing now you were only referring to homebrew equipment... whereas I originally thought you meant anywhere.  Sorry about that.

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Offline tom

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2012, 04:45:44 PM »
The ice would be better served being used once ambient tap-water temp has been reached in the wort. Then once that has been achieved, using the ice-water in a closed loop is extremely effective and efficient.
Ahh, that is how I do it when necessary.  One plate chiller with groundwater leading into another plate chiller with ice water.  Works like a charm.
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Offline tom

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Offline jjflash

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2012, 07:27:48 PM »
Just got done brewing...

My tap water temperature out in my RV garage where I brewed today was 72 degrees.  My water hose runs to a 50 foot copper IC in a 10 gallon Gott insulated round water cooler. That connects then to the Therminator.  I run straight tap water thru the system until the wort is down to 90 degrees.  Then I pitch the ice into the Gott cooler and bring the wort down to 65 degrees.  Works perfectly... but a pain in the arse.  Got to go out and buy ice every brew day.  Messy clean up.

So I saw this beer line gycol cooler on Craigs List for cheap and started dreaming. Won't it be nice to just connect the hoses to the Therminator, press the on button and "poof".  Instant cold glycol surging thru the plate chiller. No mess. No fuss.  No ice. No clean-up.

I think you fellows are correct - probably can't circulate chilled glycol fast enough to do the job right.  Guess I won't run out and buy that toy. 




 
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