Author Topic: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless  (Read 5519 times)

Offline ckpash88

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Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« on: May 21, 2011, 03:29:25 PM »
I am looking to make a counterflow wort chiller and I was looking to use copper for it or should I use stainless tube? Does the copper affect the beer? How many feet of tube should I use?
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2011, 04:27:51 PM »
I am looking to make a counterflow wort chiller and I was looking to use copper for it or should I use stainless tube? Does the copper affect the beer? How many feet of tube should I use?

Yes, copper can affect the beer - in a positive way.  The trace elements are supposed to be good for it.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2011, 05:43:25 PM »
Copper transfers heat better than stainless, but I think the effect would be negligible.

Do you have the equipment to bend stainless tubing?

If you'd care to share your plans for the chiller, I'm interested in hearing more about it. 

Offline euge

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2011, 06:00:11 PM »
Yup copper. I went with 50' of 1/2" copper tubing. Wrapped it around a cornie keg but the top coils usually stick out of the top of the wort. In retrospect I'd use something wider like a bucket. 
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2011, 09:15:49 PM »
+1 for copper. One thing, it transfers heat a lot better than SS, plus, it's a LOT easier to work with.
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2011, 08:38:08 AM »
+1 to copper just for the ease of working with it.  I use 25' of 3/8" O.D. copper for my counterflow and it works like a champ.
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Offline tom

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2011, 09:02:21 AM »
After you price out the $$ for the copper, compare the cost to one of these:  http://cgi.ebay.com/30-Plate-Heat-Exchanger-SS304-Cu-Brazed-1-2-MPT-B3-12-/230566338913?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35aed32161

They are super efficient (in the Winter I need to turn down the water flow), compact and easy to sterilize in the oven.  After I use it I backflush with the garden hose.  I clean my pump and hoses after every brew anyway and just add the chiller into the loop.  I pump hot PBW through it for 30 minutes and you're done.
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Offline rightasrain

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 05:56:45 PM »
I am looking to make a counterflow wort chiller and I was looking to use copper for it or should I use stainless tube? Does the copper affect the beer? How many feet of tube should I use?

A lot of trappist breweries use copper kettles and mash tun's. I guess they could be lined with something on the inside to seperate the beer from the copper. Would be interesting to find out.

http://www.digivu.co.za/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/trappistbrewhouse.jpg
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 02:47:54 PM by rightasrain »
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Offline richardt

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2011, 07:05:08 PM »
Yup copper. I went with 50' of 1/2" copper tubing. Wrapped it around a cornie keg but the top coils usually stick out of the top of the wort. In retrospect I'd use something wider like a bucket. 

I did the same thing thinking that I might one day want to be able to immerse it in a smaller stock pot (like my 5.5 gallon SS kettle) or in a Homer Bucket (and use it like a prechiller).  Haven't done either.  Nonetheless, it stores easily around a corny keg, which keeps it from getting bent or damaged.

It still cools it down pretty good.  Not so much now since the ambient temps are 85+ during the day in Summer.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2011, 09:42:04 PM »
+1 for copper.

Soft copper refrigerator coil is incredibly easy to bend around a corny keg or equivalent using a cheap spring-type pipe bending kit. Copper also adds necessary trace nutrients to the beer which aids yeast nutrition. It's also very easy to sanitize/sterilize, since you can just fill the copper coil with water and dump it into your wort kettle for the last 20-30 minutes of the boil. Just be careful to catch the boiling water that spits out the ends!

If you're worried about tarnish on the copper, just put it in a boiling pot of slightly acidic water for 15-30 minutes, then carefully rinse and dry it afterwards.

Finally, if you want to upgrade to a counterflow chiller, it's easy to incorporate your copper tubing into the new project.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2011, 12:58:20 PM »
I am looking to make a counterflow wort chiller and I was looking to use copper for it or should I use stainless tube? Does the copper affect the beer? How many feet of tube should I use?

A lot of trappist breweries use copper fermenters. I guess they could be lined with something on the inside to seperate the beer from the copper. Would be interesting to find out.

http://www.digivu.co.za/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/trappistbrewhouse.jpg
Those look like the old time mash tun and boil kettle designs, not fermenters.
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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 01:00:51 PM »
I am looking to make a counterflow wort chiller and I was looking to use copper for it or should I use stainless tube? Does the copper affect the beer? How many feet of tube should I use?

A lot of trappist breweries use copper fermenters. I guess they could be lined with something on the inside to seperate the beer from the copper. Would be interesting to find out.

http://www.digivu.co.za/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/trappistbrewhouse.jpg
Those look like the old time mash tun and boil kettle designs, not fermenters.

Agreed.  They sure don't look like fermenters to me.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 02:25:36 PM »
I am looking to make a counterflow wort chiller and I was looking to use copper for it or should I use stainless tube? Does the copper affect the beer? How many feet of tube should I use?

A lot of trappist breweries use copper fermenters. I guess they could be lined with something on the inside to seperate the beer from the copper. Would be interesting to find out.

http://www.digivu.co.za/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/trappistbrewhouse.jpg
Those look like the old time mash tun and boil kettle designs, not fermenters.

Agreed.  They sure don't look like fermenters to me.

Yep... those are the mash tun and boil kettles at Rochefort.

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Offline ckpash88

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2011, 08:02:32 AM »
Back on topic lo. II am making a counter flow chiller. Sso my question is this I am using like 50 feet of 3/8 soft copper inside a garden hose and such. My kettle has a torpedo tube and I put the hops right into thh kettle wlll have to woory about hop sediment clogging the tube?
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Offline tom

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Re: Wort Chiller copper vs stainless
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 09:53:42 AM »
I have a Bazooka screen along the inside of my kettle (along the side, not into the middle).  After the boil I'll stir the hot wort into a whirlpool and let the trub settle in the center for at least 15 minutes.  So far I haven't had any problems with clogging.
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