Author Topic: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?  (Read 1009 times)

Offline backflip9960

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Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« on: May 10, 2015, 12:04:28 PM »
First time posting here, so go easy on me! :)
I am looking at chilling my wort by passing a vinyl tubing through a cooler filled with ice water and then onto my carboy.  I have included a pic of my proposed setup.  My two questions are -
1. Will gravity be enough for the wort to go from the kettle on the oven, to the cooler on a chair, into the carboy on the floor?
2. Any drawbacks to this method if gravity is enough to make this work that anyone can think of?


Offline jeffy

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2015, 12:10:15 PM »
I used to do this, but used a ten-foot length of copper tubing in the ice.  It made a lot of difference if you stirred the ice water or otherwise kept the coil moving.  Gravity worked fine.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2015, 12:10:54 PM »
It might work. Gravity will be fine but the energy transfer through the vinyl might not be great. Copper would be better. You will have to stir the ice water the whole time otherwise you'll get a warm zone right up against your tubing and it won't chill quickly enough. I think you'll need more than a straight tube though. I use 50' of copper for my immersion chiller as an example.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 04:39:16 PM by morticaixavier »
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Offline backflip9960

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2015, 12:31:36 PM »
Thanks! Are your thoughts that it might chill too rapidly with the vinyl?  I was a bit confused on that...

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2015, 12:46:36 PM »
Vinyl has a low heat transfer coefficient, so it will be slow. The work around would be to increase the surface area, so that would take a long length. A long length will increase flow resistance.
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Offline santoch

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2015, 03:40:30 PM »
My guess is you are in CA or some other drought stricken area?

One other consideration is that vinyl may impart flavors while the beer is at high temps at the start of the flow.  I'm not saying it WILL, just that it MIGHT. 
Or, even worse, it could melt.
You would get better chilling effects by using copper, and your yeast will like it better, too.
It's far from a horrible idea, it's just that other materials for the coil would be a better choice.

Good Luck!
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 04:38:38 PM »
Thanks! Are your thoughts that it might chill too rapidly with the vinyl?  I was a bit confused on that...

as others have said, not fast enough. the thing about a single pass chiller is if it doesn't get cool enough on that one pass you've got to figure out a way to chill the fermenter.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 05:31:30 PM »
My guess is you are in CA or some other drought stricken area?

One other consideration is that vinyl may impart flavors while the beer is at high temps at the start of the flow.  I'm not saying it WILL, just that it MIGHT. 
Or, even worse, it could melt.
You would get better chilling effects by using copper, and your yeast will like it better, too.
It's far from a horrible idea, it's just that other materials for the coil would be a better choice.

Good Luck!

The vinyl tubing is the only bad part of this idea IMO. Vinyl gets super mushy when hot, its got to be be leeching into your wort. And it just won't work for heat transfer.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 06:04:50 PM »
Most of the Brewers here have used immersion chillers.  That way the copper goes into the hot wort and the hot wort is not running through any tubing.  This would involve a coil of copper and a cold water source.  If water use is an issue, you can use a small amount of water in an ice bath and recirculate it with a small inexpensive pump that would push the cold water from the ice bath through the copper chiller and back to the source ice bath.  You might have to keep adding ice to the ice bath as it melts from the return water, but it is do-able.  I did this in the winter in the Midwest, not to save water as much as to eliminate icing up my driveway in the coldest months of the winter.  The longer the  copper coil, the better on that aspect.  Good luck!
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2015, 08:21:53 PM »
I've seen videos of similar builds on YouTube. Copper would be ideal followed by stainless.

Offline backflip9960

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 01:18:40 AM »
Thanks all for the great feedback!  I've decided to build my immersion chiller!  Thanks again!!


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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 02:08:40 AM »
And welcome to the forum!  There are some really great guys and gals here who are surprisingly helpful and pleasant.  Not a lot of forum flaming happening, which is appreciated by all.  Post questions, regardless of whether you think that they are too simple or not.  There is a ton of reference materials out there that are cited here all the time, too.
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Offline backflip9960

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2015, 02:02:31 AM »
Thanks a lot everyone for the great feedback!!!!!!

Offline Hooper

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Re: Gravity fed cooler pass through wort chiller?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2015, 03:32:07 PM »
For the price of the cooler and the copper, you could get an immersion chiller. You will not regret it. I used to be happy with my plate chiller until I bought my IC. Plate chiller is retired.
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