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Author Topic: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?  (Read 1175 times)

Offline ScallyWag

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Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« on: June 13, 2022, 01:40:19 pm »
To this point, I have not yet used an immersion chiller, but am considering one.  I currently place the kettle inside a tub of cold water (with hose running to replenish the cool external source as it warms, as well as to circulate).  Even if I do get an immersion chiller, I may still do this, to cool from the exterior walls as well as internally in the wort. 

The chillers that I am looking at purchasing are generally coiled to a 10" diameter.  My boil kettle has an inside diameter of slightly less than 12", which means the chiller will be less than an inch from the kettle walls.  Not much room to 'stir' it.  I assume most people are using larger diameter boil kettles than I am (I brew smaller batches, generally 2.5g to 4g.)

Should I be trying to find a smaller [tighter] coil, or is this ideal for my kettle size?  Or, can I stretch it and attempt to coil it a bit tighter, or is that risking compromising its structural integrity?

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2022, 02:01:15 pm »
I bought one off amazon for 100 bucks.  I run a line from the output into a cooler, fill the cooler with ice and water.  then run the input side to a garden pump and run it thru the beer.  mine was a bit narrow, but I stretched it so make some room in between the coils and it works great.  Takes less time cool down and does not waste a ton of water.  I am very happy with the one I got. 

Offline denny

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2022, 02:54:10 pm »
why not try it as is before assuming it needs to be modified? Maybe it's fine now.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2022, 03:01:34 pm »
I think Jaded and CuSS both instruct to lift and lower the coil during the cooling process to break up thermal spots, rather than stirring...for what that is worth.  At least it is a means of avoiding the stirring concern.
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Offline ScallyWag

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2022, 03:59:01 pm »
why not try it as is before assuming it needs to be modified? Maybe it's fine now.

That's the ideal scenario, and what I am hoping for.  But I won't know unless/until I spend the money first.

With my experience (zero) in using one, I wasn't sure whether that was "too wide" for my kettle, and figured those who know would warn me if that's obviously the case.  I'd rather not buy it if those of you who are experienced with them tell me "dude, that's too wide" or "dude, you should buy a smaller one instead" but it sounds like you're implying it is probably fine...  Which makes me more confident in making the purchase... 

ETA:  I guess I wasn't clear in the original post that I hadn't actually bought one yet.  Sorry.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2022, 04:01:07 pm by ScallyWag »

Offline Semper Sitientem

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2022, 05:22:59 pm »
I think Jaded and CuSS both instruct to lift and lower the coil during the cooling process to break up thermal spots, rather than stirring...for what that is worth.  At least it is a means of avoiding the stirring concern.

+1
I have a Jaded and this is exactly what I do. After the first few gallons, which I save for cleaning, the temperature drop slows and I move the chiller up and down which does increase the cooling due to breaking the thermal spots and the wort is hotter towards the top.

My measurements for kettle and chiller are basically the same as yours and I don’t have an issue. It even clears the threaded portions of the ball valve and plug inside the kettle. However, if you're using a thermometer the probe end will stick out too far.
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Offline purduekenn

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2022, 06:56:43 pm »
I have a Jaded Scylla chiller that I use in my Anvil Foundry 10.5. The Scylla will chill 5 gallons of wort to ground water temperature in about 8 minutes. Jaded has excellent chillers and in my opinion they are worth the price if you can afford it.

Offline Kevin

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2022, 06:02:38 am »
Don't over think it. A 10" IC in a 12" kettle will work just fine with no stirring necessary. Also no need to also place the kettle in a tub of water while using the IC.
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Offline ScallyWag

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2022, 06:17:41 am »
I think Jaded and CuSS both instruct to lift and lower the coil during the cooling process to break up thermal spots, rather than stirring...for what that is worth.  At least it is a means of avoiding the stirring concern.

My measurements for kettle and chiller are basically the same as yours and I don’t have an issue. It even clears the threaded portions of the ball valve and plug inside the kettle. However, if you're using a thermometer the probe end will stick out too far.

Thanks guys - that's what I needed to hear.   It should work for me, I'll probably go ahead and spend the dollaz. 

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2022, 09:30:10 am »
Just my .02 worth, the Jaded stuff is pricey.  I got one of Amazon for 100 bucks and it works really well.  I do what has already been stated, every once in a while I will just lift it up and down a few times to get things moving.  I did not time it, but it seemed to be a lot faster than an ice bath, and only had to use two 5lb bags of ice with a small cooler and my pond pump.  Either way, it is a good investment if you like being able to cut down the cooling time.  Good luck and enjoy.  RR

Offline Visor

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2022, 10:40:34 am »
   I bought one when I resumed brewing a few years back, it only has ~30' of copper though and I wasn't satisfied with its performance, so I bought a coil of 1/4" copper and made my own. It took a few hours work to turn it into a chiller, but it was well worth it. I DO NOT agitate/lift or otherwise disturb the chiller once it's in the chiller bucket as that just works to keep the cold break material from settling out, my bucket is somewhat translucent so it's easy to see how well the break is settling.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Immersion chiller: should I modify it?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2022, 11:07:02 am »
Whatever works for the brewer, is the way for that brewer to go.  I intermittently lift and drop the chiller per the manufacturers' suggestion, which in my experience seems to speed the chilling action and eliminate the "hot spots".  Once I get close to the temperature I want, I let the break settle out with no more movement of the IC.  It typically settles out in a few more minutes, resulting in fairly clear wort from the kettle to the fermenter.

Cheers!
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