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Ever made your own wort chiller?

I can buy 20 feet of 3/8 copper tubing for $20 at Lowes. Add in the few accessories needed and I’ve got a homemade wort chiller for under $30. Anyone ever done that? What are the drawbacks from making your own instead of buying one already pre-made?

I’ve done it. Only drawback is odds are it will be less pretty as store bought. Plan well, measure kettle, and use a tubing bender…

Drawback is if you bend or kink it once…you are out $20…

It’s not difficult plus it allows you options. I opted for the 50 ft roll. I tightly wound it around a CO2 tank and attached an extra pair of washing each one hoses I had laying around. Throw in a bag of worm clamps and a little creativity and there you have it. I live in SC where the weather is pretty warm 9 months out of the year. My chiller consistently gets my wort down from boiling to 80 degrees in 10 minutes. Not quite cold enough, but effective nonetheless. I use a pump and recirculate icewater to then reach desired temps. Good luck!

Anyone heard of the wasp immersion wort chiller?

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I recommend getting a $15 garden hose as well and making it a home made counter flow chiller. With the help of my father in law (who had made one before) we were able to put it together in under an hour. I consistently can get my wort from boiling to under 70F in 15 minutes. It is AWESOME!

I made mine a few years ago from that Lowes 20’ roll. After I got it bent up how I wanted it, I thought it looked a little small, so I measured it with a piece of string. Turned out it was only about 16 feet! I’ll give Lowes the benefit of the doubt that someone must have stolen a few feet out of the box off the shelf, but still sucky that I was shorted. I haven’t used a chiller in a few years since going to all no-chill, so I guess if anyone in the Seattle/Tacoma area wants a 16’ wort chiller let me know… :smiley:

I used a 25 foot copper IC for years and it was adequate. My new 50 foot stainless chiller is far more effective. Twenty feet might not be enough to cool well. GeerBoggles’ idea of spending a few extra dollars on a garden hose to make a counterflow chiller sounds like a cost-effective option.

I made one from 20 or 25’ of tubing. Chills just fine (down to 80 degrees in 15-20 minutes).

I built two a couple of years ago. Like the others I used a corny keg as the mold to bend the main curves. I used an inexpensive bender tool (looks like a spring) to bend the top. Mine has hose connections soldered on each end. One thing that I did differently was to take the copper ground wire from a 14 gage wire and wrap is around the coil at each layer. Once forward, then up to the next row and that one back. Did this in 3 places evenly spaced around the coil. This does 2 things: 1 makes the chiller very solid and the coil does not move around and 2, puts a slight gap between each row to maximize the contact with hot wort all they way around the copper tubing. I can dig up some photos if you want to see this design.

Each of mine are made with more than 20’, maybe 50’, I can’t remember. I use one in an ice bucket as a pre-chiller and the other in the wort. I can stack one on top of the other and connect the out to the in and double the chiller for a large batch. My thought was to do this with a 10 gallon boil but the pre chilling and wort chiller works really well and fast so I have not done a double up yet.

One suggestion I would make is extend the coil tubing so the hose connection is outside of the pot. This way if the connection leaks ( and they can ) it will not be dripping into the wort.

What size copper tube? 3/8 inch? Wouldn’t it work better if you used 1/2 inch? You could probably get by with a shorter length.

If you have the option, go with refrigeration tubing instead of the regular stuff and you can save a few bucks. It’s got a thinner wall so you’re paying for less metal.

One thing to beware of, though, is that the kinds of copper pipe used for plumbing are measured by inner diameter, but refrigerator tubing is measured by outer diameter. So 3/8" regular tubing is equivalent to 1/2" ACR tubing. Easy to get tripped up there when you’re shopping for the fittings.

At least go 3/8 by 50 feet, that will leave you extra room for bending errors and the like.

i made this immersion chiller a few weeks ago. 3/8 inch outside dimension copper tube from home depot, 10 foot 3/8 inch inside dimension plastic tube for the water out, tube clamp, compression fitting, 1/2 inch to 3/8 inch adapter, and garden hose attachment.

bent the copper tube around a foam roller.

all in all, cost about $30 and took less than 30 minutes to put together.

i then place the hose in an ice bath, set the brew pot into an ice bath… chills from boil to 70 degrees in about 10 minutes.

I would echo what the previous poster mentioned about making the connections at the top long enough so if it drips it won’t go in the wort. I wish I would have done that, but mine isn’t leaking yet…

Well since we are showing off our home made wort chillers, here is mine.

What I did…

bought the roll and fittings…stressed for a couple of days, “what am I gonna wrap it around?”, read about filling the thing with sand or buying a bender, etc.

In the end, I did not uncoil the tubing, I slowly pulled until I had a coil (think large spring), that was maybe a foot or so across one one end and a few inches tighter on the other end; then I passed the smaller coil through the larger side, straightened the ends, bent them over so that a leak would always be below the pot side.

What I ended up with was a double inverted coil, that cools from boil to 60F in ten to 15 minutes, depending on stirring frequency.

If anyone is interested, I’ll take photo when I get home tonight and post it.

I kind of am…

[quote=“darthmorgoth”]What I did…

bought the roll and fittings…stressed for a couple of days, “what am I gonna wrap it around?”, read about filling the thing with sand or buying a bender, etc.

In the end, I did not uncoil the tubing, I slowly pulled until I had a coil (think large spring), that was maybe a foot or so across one one end and a few inches tighter on the other end; then I passed the smaller coil through the larger side, straightened the ends, bent them over so that a leak would always be below the pot side.

What I ended up with was a double inverted coil, that cools from boil to 60F in ten to 15 minutes, depending on stirring frequency.

If anyone is interested, I’ll take photo when I get home tonight and post it.[/quote]

I did the same thing works well but not the prettiest thing i have for brewing. Cheers

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