Author Topic: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?  (Read 1830 times)

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« on: June 05, 2017, 03:39:46 PM »
My water temp gets up to 76 F in the summer.  Cooling 6. 5 gals of wort from the boil to about 85 F takes a lot of time and water.

Does any one have experience using a hydra chiller with that volume of wort and warm water temps?

How long did it take to cool down to about 85 F?

Thanks in advance for your response.
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Offline denny

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 03:40:57 PM »
My water temp gets up to 76 F in the summer.  Cooling 6. 5 gals of wort from the boil to about 85 F takes a lot of time and water.

Does any one have experience using a hydra chiller with that volume of wort and warm water temps?

How long did it take to cool down to about 85 F?

Thanks in advance for your response.

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Offline kramerog

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 04:57:45 PM »
JaDeD Brewing claims that the Hydra Chiller can chill a 5 gallon batch from boiling to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in just 3 minutes using only 18 gallons of 58 degree Fahrenheit tap water.  Assuming similar conditions, e.g., if Jaded used a stirred kettle than you'd have to sti, it should take 30% more water and time to cool to 86 F using 76 F water.

Offline RC

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2017, 05:13:56 PM »
I've been using the Hydra for about a year now. I love it. It's the best IC I've ever used, but in my experience the claim that it chills boiling wort to 68 F in 3 minutes does not hold up. In summer, I run the hose water first through a second chiller immersed in an ice bath in a cooler. The output from this then goes into the Hydra in the kettle. Thus, the water entering the Hydra almost certainly is 58 degrees or colder (although to be fair I've never taken its temp), regardless of temp of groundwater. I also have a pump going to keep the wort in motion in the kettle to improve chilling efficiency. With all this, it takes me ~15-20 min to chill to my pitching temp of 72. This is definitely better than other chillers I've used, but it's also way longer than 3 min. In winter, when our groundwater is ~50 F, I forgo the pre-chilling and still takes ~15-20 min. Again, I love the Hydra, but that claim is not true for me.

Offline Todd H.

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2017, 05:31:29 PM »
...still takes ~15-20 min. Again, I love the Hydra, but that claim is not true for me.

Out of curiosity, how much water do you use in 15-20 minutes?  Not being judgy, just wondering if it is worth buying or building an IC (currently either do the salt/ice/water bath for 2.5 gal or no-chill for 5 gal).  Thanks!

Offline denny

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 05:33:48 PM »
I've been using the Hydra for about a year now. I love it. It's the best IC I've ever used, but in my experience the claim that it chills boiling wort to 68 F in 3 minutes does not hold up. In summer, I run the hose water first through a second chiller immersed in an ice bath in a cooler. The output from this then goes into the Hydra in the kettle. Thus, the water entering the Hydra almost certainly is 58 degrees or colder (although to be fair I've never taken its temp), regardless of temp of groundwater. I also have a pump going to keep the wort in motion in the kettle to improve chilling efficiency. With all this, it takes me ~15-20 min to chill to my pitching temp of 72. This is definitely better than other chillers I've used, but it's also way longer than 3 min. In winter, when our groundwater is ~50 F, I forgo the pre-chilling and still takes ~15-20 min. Again, I love the Hydra, but that claim is not true for me.

That last sentence is interesting.  When my groundwater gets down to there, I can chill 5.5 gal. from boiling to under 60F in 8 min. or less. I'm using a pump and recirc arm, though, so that may be the difference.
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Offline RC

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 06:12:22 PM »
...still takes ~15-20 min. Again, I love the Hydra, but that claim is not true for me.

Out of curiosity, how much water do you use in 15-20 minutes?  Not being judgy, just wondering if it is worth buying or building an IC (currently either do the salt/ice/water bath for 2.5 gal or no-chill for 5 gal).  Thanks!

I've actually never tracked how much water I use, but it's certainly more than 18 gallons. I open the hose spigot all the way. While the Hydra's claimed specs don't ring true for me, despite optimizing everything, it still cut my chilling time in half--and presumably the water used also--compared to what I was using before (a standard 1/2" ID 50-ft IC). So I'm still very pleased with the Hydra.

Offline RC

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2017, 06:15:52 PM »
I've been using the Hydra for about a year now. I love it. It's the best IC I've ever used, but in my experience the claim that it chills boiling wort to 68 F in 3 minutes does not hold up. In summer, I run the hose water first through a second chiller immersed in an ice bath in a cooler. The output from this then goes into the Hydra in the kettle. Thus, the water entering the Hydra almost certainly is 58 degrees or colder (although to be fair I've never taken its temp), regardless of temp of groundwater. I also have a pump going to keep the wort in motion in the kettle to improve chilling efficiency. With all this, it takes me ~15-20 min to chill to my pitching temp of 72. This is definitely better than other chillers I've used, but it's also way longer than 3 min. In winter, when our groundwater is ~50 F, I forgo the pre-chilling and still takes ~15-20 min. Again, I love the Hydra, but that claim is not true for me.

That last sentence is interesting.  When my groundwater gets down to there, I can chill 5.5 gal. from boiling to under 60F in 8 min. or less. I'm using a pump and recirc arm, though, so that may be the difference.

I'm also using a pump and recirc arm. And, I also periodically stir the ice bath containing the pre-chill IC, to maximize pre-chilling cooling efficiency. With everything I do, I'm stumped why I don't get better performance from the Hydra. But it's still better than my previous IC by a factor of 2, so I'm nonetheless very happy with it.

Offline JaDeDBrewing

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2017, 09:06:15 PM »
Hey guys and gals!

The Hydra stated chilling times are based on following our recommendations here.

If you are not seeing a 3 minute chilling time for 5 gallons to 10F above your chilling water temp you can check your flow rate of chilling water through the chiller by timing how long it takes to fill up a graduated fermenter. The Hydra performs best at around 6 GPM  (i.e. filling to the 5 gallon mark in 50 secs = 6 Gallons Per Minute).

If you are not at 6 GPM on the output of the chiller, you can look at ways to increase your flow rate by keeping your feed hoses as short as possible (under 10') and making sure all your hoses and fittings for your chilling water are 5/8" I.D. or larger (this includes any cam-locks or shut off valves, the cheaper fittings and valves will usually have a much smaller actual I.D.).

If you have around 6 GPM of chilling water flow rate and are not seeing the 3 minute chilling time, you can try changing your method of wort agitation. Along those lines, we have found that moving the chiller around or stirring the wort with a spoon/mash paddle is faster than using a pump and whirlpool arm.

For those of you suffering from high ground water temps, we do not recommend using a pre-chiller since they will cut off the flow rate of the chilling water and result in slower chilling times. Our recommendation is to use the Hydra hooked up to a garden hose spigot until the wort is 10F above your chilling water temp (it should be 3 minutes with 5 gallons of wort). At the 10F above mark, we recommend using a utility pump similar to this one and pump ice water directly through the Hydra.

This is important, do not recirculate the chilling ice water, ever. If you recirculate the chilling water, you are ruining the temperature differential in the chilling water container. When we tested the Hydra with the above setup, we chilled 5 gallons of wort to 67F in 5 minutes using 80F tap water and 5 gallons of ice water with 12lbs of ice added. The ice water will need to be prepped before you start the chilling process to give the ice time for the transfer of energy. You should expect the ice water to be around 35F at the time of use with little to no ice left in the water.

If already have a pre-chiller and would prefer not to buy any additional equipment, you can use the pre-chiller, but do not hook it up inline with the Hydra until you are at 10F above your tap water temp, again, a pre-chiller is going to substantially reduce your chilling water flow rate, so don't add it inline until you really need it.   
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Offline Visor

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2017, 11:29:44 PM »
   It sounds like the Hydra relies as much on a massive flow rate of chilling water as it does on wondrous new game changing engineering. If chilling speed is your #1 priority then the Hydra may be the way to go, but running a chiller with one setup until wort temp is 10* above inlet water temp, and then shutting down to hook a pre-chiller up in line is more dinking around than I prefer. Fortunately our tap water rarely exceeds 60* until the City switches from wells to river water, when they do I just set up the pre-chiller with the IC. And, for those of us who brew indoors, rigging up to run less than 10" of 5/8" I.D. hose to the wort, and maintaining the 5/8" minimum throughout the system simply isn't possible in most cases.
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Offline JaDeDBrewing

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2017, 08:04:41 PM »
   It sounds like the Hydra relies as much on a massive flow rate of chilling water as it does on wondrous new game changing engineering.
It is definitely part of it. However, you could get a similar flow rate out of 5/8" copper tubing, but 5/8" would need to be in the 100' range to be as water efficient as the Hydra. By using the three separate 25' 3/8" sections in parallel, we were able to utilize the higher water flow more effectively. Also, our Hydra and King Cobra designs allow for the chilling coils to be kept in the wort, to be more effective than coils sticking out of the wort in a standard copper immersion chiller design.

If chilling speed is your #1 priority then the Hydra may be the way to go, but running a chiller with one setup until wort temp is 10* above inlet water temp, and then shutting down to hook a pre-chiller up in line is more dinking around than I prefer. Fortunately our tap water rarely exceeds 60* until the City switches from wells to river water, when they do I just set up the pre-chiller with the IC. And, for those of us who brew indoors, rigging up to run less than 10" of 5/8" I.D. hose to the wort, and maintaining the 5/8" minimum throughout the system simply isn't possible in most cases.

Yeah, that totally makes sense for your situation. Different strokes for different folks! Stopping the chilling to change the water source is not our favorite thing in the world, but if you have high enough ground water temps (75F+), there is no fast way to chill without ice and this is the fastest/most efficient way that we have found to do it. As for the hoses and fittings, we have customers that have had no issues getting the 6 GPM or more with less than 5/8" I.D. fittings, valves, and they are using longer hoses. City water pressures, well pump pressures, water sources, etc. all vary depending on each brewer's setup and geographical location. We're just suggesting these options for places to look if you are not getting great flow-rate through your chiller.

Cheers! 
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Offline RC

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2017, 05:32:50 PM »
   It sounds like the Hydra relies as much on a massive flow rate of chilling water as it does on wondrous new game changing engineering.
It is definitely part of it. However, you could get a similar flow rate out of 5/8" copper tubing, but 5/8" would need to be in the 100' range to be as water efficient as the Hydra. By using the three separate 25' 3/8" sections in parallel, we were able to utilize the higher water flow more effectively. Also, our Hydra and King Cobra designs allow for the chilling coils to be kept in the wort, to be more effective than coils sticking out of the wort in a standard copper immersion chiller design.

If chilling speed is your #1 priority then the Hydra may be the way to go, but running a chiller with one setup until wort temp is 10* above inlet water temp, and then shutting down to hook a pre-chiller up in line is more dinking around than I prefer. Fortunately our tap water rarely exceeds 60* until the City switches from wells to river water, when they do I just set up the pre-chiller with the IC. And, for those of us who brew indoors, rigging up to run less than 10" of 5/8" I.D. hose to the wort, and maintaining the 5/8" minimum throughout the system simply isn't possible in most cases.

Yeah, that totally makes sense for your situation. Different strokes for different folks! Stopping the chilling to change the water source is not our favorite thing in the world, but if you have high enough ground water temps (75F+), there is no fast way to chill without ice and this is the fastest/most efficient way that we have found to do it. As for the hoses and fittings, we have customers that have had no issues getting the 6 GPM or more with less than 5/8" I.D. fittings, valves, and they are using longer hoses. City water pressures, well pump pressures, water sources, etc. all vary depending on each brewer's setup and geographical location. We're just suggesting these options for places to look if you are not getting great flow-rate through your chiller.

Cheers!

Update: JaDeDBrewing reached out to me based on my experience with the Hydra reported above, and gave me some pointers on how to decrease wort-chilling time. It came down to method of wort agitation. Moving the Hydra around in the wort continuously during chilling did the trick. This alone brought my chilling time to within range of the claims on their website. So I hearby stand corrected!

The trade-off is that in order to move/slosh the Hydra around in the wort, the kettle needs to be left uncovered during chilling. So I might stick with the pump and recirc arm for moving the wort around; even though it takes longer, I can keep the kettle covered, reducing the risk of contamination.

Major thanks to JaDeDBrewing for reaching out to me to here.

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2017, 05:41:00 PM »
My experience with JaDeD has been nothing but positive.  Great products from great guys!
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Hydra chillers. How efficient are they with warm water?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2017, 06:06:40 PM »
I was so happy with the performance of my King Cobra (Hydra was going to leave coils above wort level in my 15 gallon kettle for 6 gallon batches) from Jaded, that when I purchased a smaller kettle with appropriate dimensions for the Hydra, I immediately ordered that as well. I have not as yet used it, but I fully expect it to amaze me as the King Cobra did. I went from 45-60 minute chill times in summer months to less than 20 with no pre-chiller, ice water, or other mods with high temp ground water (never checked temp on my ground water though but 90° air temps so greatly higher than the 58° used in the testing. I am a fan, now if they come out with a SS hydra, I may have to buy a third
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