Author Topic: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?  (Read 9806 times)

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2012, 08:43:20 PM »
Glycol chiller units are not very portable.
Smaller units do not have capacity to get rig of heat (BTUs) fast enough.
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Offline majorvices

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Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2012, 06:11:41 AM »
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. 




 

You probably could do it, just you may have to have a dual stage chiller. Use tap water to knock down temp first then glycol unit to tamp it down the rest. This would take the thermal load off the unit.

I have heard of people rigging AC units up as glycol chiller. Can't remember how it was done but I bet you could find it with a search.
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Offline mmitchem

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2012, 06:42:04 AM »
How long does it take you to cool down to ground water temp through the plate chiller? Do you use ice to get you down to pitching via the pre-chiller?
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Offline euge

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2012, 07:56:29 AM »
...I have no great desire to build one from a refrigerated air conditioner/ice chest.

He is looking for an off the shelf glycol chiller not a DIY rig.
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Offline jjflash

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2012, 08:06:22 AM »
How long does it take you to cool down to ground water temp through the plate chiller? Do you use ice to get you down to pitching via the pre-chiller?

From 204 to 110 takes about 10 - 15 minutes with kettle recirculation.
From 110 to 90 it slows considerably  and takes another 5 - 10 minutes.
Pitch the ice in the cooler and I can then go directly to the fermentor at 65 or less.
Shorter times in winter and longer times in summer.
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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2012, 08:08:44 AM »
I think you fellows are correct - probably can't circulate chilled glycol fast enough to do the job right.

Somebody with refridgeration know-how could figure it out, but keeping cold beer cold in a draft line requires much less cooling power than bringing 5 or 10 gallons of wort down even a few degrees.
 
I found this formula for cooling water -
 
BTU/hr = water flow rate in gal/minute * (input temp - output temp) * 500
 
so the energy needed to cool a 2 gallon/minute flow just 20 degrees is
 
2 GPM * (80 - 60) * 500 = 20,000 BTU
 
Far more than the 1100 btu that faucet chiller offers.
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Offline dean_palmer

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2012, 02:32:40 PM »
I live in Florida and have fought with warm tap water for almost 10 years in this hobby. I went through all the ideas for pre-chillers and such.

Pre-chillers in ice water while not efficient, can be used fairly effectively with a plate chiller after the wort has been recirculated down below 100 with tap water in the kettle, and ice then added to the pre-chiller bath. Before the wort is down near 100 it's a waste. As long as your tap water has at least a 15-20 degree differential it is effective, so adding ice too soon only wastes the ice and doesn't really improve chilling much.

My current method is to chill and recirculate to near 100 with tap water, then swap the tap water hose for a submersible pump in ice water. Crazy fast chilling.

I also have two Blichmann therminators that can be used inline with the first on tap water and the last on the ice water pump. That can allow me to pump 10+ gallons of hot wort directly into a fermenter and get a finished temp in the fermenter below 60f as needed.

I make the ice in the freezer during the week so I don't need to buy it. I probably use about 15lbs of ice for a 10 gallon batch, but I'll have to weigh it some day to be exact.

I haven't yet seen a glycol rig that I can afford that had the BTUs to do the same. The pump was about $40 (get at least  1/4hp not a little "pond pump"). The rest is garden hose and quick connects from the hardware store.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 02:38:42 PM by dean_palmer »

Offline majorvices

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Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2012, 05:51:21 AM »
I always just battled warm summer water with the cool over night trick. Narry a hitch, kinda nice to not have to screw with aerating and pitching until the next day.
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Offline thetooth

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2012, 08:10:49 AM »
I always just battled warm summer water with the cool over night trick. Narry a hitch, kinda nice to not have to screw with aerating and pitching until the next day.

This is what I do.  I transfer to fermenter through a counter-flow chiller with ground water, which usually drops me to about 80 degrees in the summer.  That fermenter goes into the fermentation fridge and I don't aerate or pitch yeast until the temp drops to the desired level.  Most of the time, I can pitch the same evening, but lagers take until the next morning.

Offline gandelf

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2012, 04:58:46 AM »
EBay, it took some time. I did end up finding a small unit (drinking fountain/bubbler) for $49 + shipping.
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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2012, 06:27:18 AM »
EBay, it took some time. I did end up finding a small unit (drinking fountain/bubbler) for $49 + shipping.
How is that working out?
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Offline gandelf

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2012, 09:44:11 AM »
EBay, it took some time. I did end up finding a small unit (drinking fountain/bubbler) for $49 + shipping.
How is that working out?

Works well, I have had it over 4 years with no problems. I use it on a liquid fermentation chamber I built. Liquid, not air; liquid has a much higher thermal coupling. I use the chiller to cool obviously and a ss heating element to do the heating with a PID and RTD doing the controlling. A small aquarium magnetic drive pump recirculates the water when heating or cooling is required. The Mrs likes not having carboys setting in different temp zones around the house. Win Win
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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2012, 10:04:07 AM »
Works well, I have had it over 4 years with no problems. I use it on a liquid fermentation chamber I built. Liquid, not air; liquid has a much higher thermal coupling. I use the chiller to cool obviously and a ss heating element to do the heating with a PID and RTD doing the controlling. A small aquarium magnetic drive pump recirculates the water when heating or cooling is required. The Mrs likes not having carboys setting in different temp zones around the house. Win Win
Ah, I figured it would work fine for fermentation. Less cooling needs than wort chilling.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2012, 10:21:35 AM »
EBay, it took some time. I did end up finding a small unit (drinking fountain/bubbler) for $49 + shipping.
What brand/model is it?  I'm interested.
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Re: Is there a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there?
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2012, 04:04:53 PM »
EBay, it took some time. I did end up finding a small unit (drinking fountain/bubbler) for $49 + shipping.
What brand/model is it?  I'm interested.

Tom, send me an email and I will send the info and a pic.
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