Author Topic: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel  (Read 3776 times)

Offline peteck36

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Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« on: October 20, 2014, 02:45:42 AM »
Hi all.

I'm a newbie (4 brews) and am thinking about getting an immersion wort chiller. I've seen both copper and stainless steel for sale.  Which do you think is better?

Thanks for your help.

Peter

Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 02:47:19 AM »
Copper is more efficient, stainless is cheaper. Both will work fine. I have multiple copper chillers.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 03:34:24 AM »
Copper costs more today, which was a surprise. SS is more durable.

If one looks at the effectiveness, it only goes a little in favor of copper.

Buy the biggest you can afford. You can make a copper chiller easier. I have a 50ft 1/2 inch copper chiller.
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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 01:38:17 AM »
If you talking about immersion chillers, I have chillers made from both materials.  Stainless steel is definitely durable and pretty, but copper wins hands down when it comes to chilling.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2014, 02:52:41 AM »
How much is hands down?

Running the numbers, one gets that the SS is about 88% of the copper. What are your numbers?
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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2014, 01:47:56 PM »
My copper immersion chiller chills in roughly 75% of the time that it takes to chill with my stainless chiller.  The stainless chiller is definitely prettier.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2014, 02:29:55 PM »
Copper is a little faster no argument.
 These guys were more like 90% for SS. Stirring would speed both up.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yz4CoITHX3M


Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline peteck36

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2014, 06:47:51 PM »
Thanks for your responses!

S. cerevisiae

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2014, 07:15:00 PM »
Copper is a little faster no argument.
 These guys were more like 90% for SS. Stirring would speed both up.

What I found with my copper chiller is that I can run the water a little faster because heat transfer is better; hence, my chilling time delta does not take into account greater per minute water usage.  A properly executed test should compare the amount of water that it takes to achieve equal temps. 

« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 03:07:03 AM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline jmsetzler

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2014, 07:52:29 PM »
If you are brewing outside and have the ability to use a counterflow chiller, I would suggest trying that out instead of an immersion chiller.  I built and immersion chiller and I have been using it for over 10 years but I'm in the process of switching to counterflow.  I think counterflow is more efficient at cooling.  I plan to use my immersion chiller in line with the counterflow during warm weater to pre-cool my water going into the counterflow chiller.

I spent most of the day Saturday trying to build my own counterflow chiller.  I'm terrible at soldering and ended up with a mess.  I ordered a pre-assembled counterflow chiller for about $80 that should arrive later this week :)

Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2014, 08:14:37 PM »
I've been think of building the copper inside a hose type chiller for a while. Savings over pre-made isn't that much, so I think I'll buy one. I'll wait for your video.

Offline jmsetzler

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2014, 10:21:24 PM »
I've been think of building the copper inside a hose type chiller for a while. Savings over pre-made isn't that much, so I think I'll buy one. I'll wait for your video.

If my soldering skills were better I'd be in business.  Austin Homebrew Supply sells this model that I ordered yesterday:

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/Beer/Chillers/Counterflow-Wort-Chiller-25-Foot.html#.VEbac_nF98E

The assembly on this one is solderless.  Had I discovered this in advance, I might have bought their kit for building this chiller:

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/Beer/Chillers/Counter-Flow-Wort-Chiller-Kit.html#.VEban_nF98E

With this, all you need is the copper tubing and the hose.  20' of soft 3/8 OD copper tubing here is $29 and then you would still need a garden hose.  So you could come in a few bux under the price of the finished chiller IF you don't want to consider the time you have in assembling it. 

I'll probably make a product review video of this chiller over the weekend.  I always like to test a new piece of equipment before I toss it into the production loop :)

I want to BREW the following weekend :)

Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2014, 10:36:21 PM »
Does the AHBS version have the wire tacked on the outside of the inner tube for turbulence?

Offline 58limited

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2014, 10:53:56 PM »
Copper has a greater efficiency in heat transfer than stainless, but in a typical small-scale home brewing set up I'm not sure if that really matters.

I haven't checked prices in quite awhile but you can probably make your own chiller cheaper than buying a commercially made one. I made my own copper chiller back in college. I went to Lowe's and bought 50' of 3/8" copper tubing, formed it around one of my corny kegs to get the uniform round shape (I only used 30' of the copper, the other 20' I used to make a chiller coil that fits in an ice chest fitted with a tap to dispense kegged beer without a big trash can full of ice to chill the keg), and put a female garden hose compression fitting on one end (I lived in an old farmhouse and I ran the garden hose in the window of the bathroom, which was over the tub, and let the chiller drain into the bath tub). Later, I got a hand-held shower head and bought an adapter to hook the shower hose to the chiller. Seventeen years later and I'm still using it.

One thing: Lowe's had two different brands of 50' long 3/8" dia. copper tubing and there was a $20.00 difference in the price. Both are basically identical: same length, diameter, and gauge; so I don't know why the price was that different. I spent $32.00 on the tubing in 1998, probably a lot more now.


Offline Stevie

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Re: Wort Chillers - Copper vs. Stainless Steel
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2014, 10:56:54 PM »
For sure a lot more now. I built a prechiller a few years back. Copper alone ran me $60 for 50 feet.