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SS vs Copper IC?

I’m ordering an immersion chiller and am trying to decide between stainless steel and copper. I get the advantages of both (SS = stronger, prettier vs Copper = weaker, more conductive or cools better) but I’m just looking for some advice from anyone on here with some input. Can you clean copper with PBW or Oxyclean and do a starsan soak? Or will that negatively affect the copper? Price isn’t an issue. They are almost exactly the same $69 vs $72.

I have never owned a SS IC, have had a couple copper though. Both home made and store bought. You can clean them with PBW and sanitize with a no-rinse but since you will normally immerse it in your boiling wort for the last 15 or so sanitizing isn’t much of an issue. I used to just clean them well and dunk in the wort. It is scary how nice and shiny they look after the acidic wort cleans off the oxidation on the outside though. :shock:

FWIW I have had a CF chiller for years and would not trade it for an IC. It is also copper BTW.

I don’t have an immersion cooler (yet), but I do have a copper inlay on my wedding ring. Since taking up brewing I no longer need to polish it. All I have to do is forget to take it off before dipping my hands in the Star San. That stuff strips the tarnish right off.

So anyone out there say go with SS over copper? And why?

I can’t answer your question but I can definately re-iterate that you will never need to clean an IC other than to take it out of your then cool wort and spray it with a hose.

I went with a SS IC. It works perfectly. I can go from boiling to pitch temp in a bout 15 minutes for a 5 gallon boil. It has completely changed my brew day. I’ve never had a copper IC. I chose the SS because of the ease of maintainance. But I’m guessing that is negligable as well - just like price and efficiency.

I dont see any benefit to having a SS IC, other then that its shiny.

As for cleaning a copper IC, I have used oxy and star san, niether will hurt the copper. I do find that after 20-30 batches the chiller starts to build a layer of tarnish on it. At that point I usually soak it in star san for 24 - 48 hours, after the star san soak, it takes almost no effort to get the tarnish off with a green scotch brite pad.

Thanks all! Think I may just go with the copper then… if only because it should cool just a little faster (or at least that’s what I’ve read on other forums). No real benefit to the SS.

Either will work. The better conduction of copper is pretty minimal for this application, and you can adjust the rate of your chill water flow to maximize the cooling or to minimize water use.

Living in a condo has some advantages. One being I don’t pay for water. Or I should say, the water is built into my association fees. So I just let all my faucets run 24/7. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just pulled the trigger on the copper IC. Thanks for the input guys! Don’t see any real advantage to SS except it’s pretty, which I couldn’t care less about.

I just bought a new, bigger IC (50’ of 1/2") and had the choice of copper or SS. I chose the copper because I knew that I wanted to re-bend it a little to better fit my kettle and that’s not easy with stainless (don’t have a tubing bender). But if I didn’t want to bend it, I would have picked the SS because it doesn’t tarnish like copper.

I use a copper CFC for my beer, but I have one SS IC that I use in conjunction with an aquarium chiller to control fermentation temps in meads.

[quote=“gregscsu”]I dont see any benefit to having a SS IC, other then that its shiny.

As for cleaning a copper IC, I have used oxy and star san, niether will hurt the copper. I do find that after 20-30 batches the chiller starts to build a layer of tarnish on it. At that point I usually soak it in star san for 24 - 48 hours, after the star san soak, it takes almost no effort to get the tarnish off with a green scotch brite pad.[/quote]
my siphon hose has a copper and and the star san sure shines it up nicely, i’d say the copper just for efficency SS can become a problem if its not high grade plus copper also has natural antibotic properties

I have a SS. Cleanup is pretty quick and easy, and I think the temp of your cooling water is going to be a deciding factor in your cool down time. SS is cheaper and easier to clean. Can’t see going copper as high as it is.

Maybe the only other difference between the stainless and copper is that the copper is more flexible. It isn’t so flexible that you have to worry about it though. I don’t think you can go wrong with either stainless or copper, I’m surprised that the prices are so close, I’ve seen the stainless at a decent discount in which case SS would get my vote.

I made a copper chiller a long time ago for cheap and it works incredibly well, 3-4 gallons of wort (partial boil) down to 70 degrees in about 15 minutes. No need to worry about sanitation as you dunk it in the hot wort which should kill everything, and then I wash mine with the green scratcher pad and it looks like new.

It seems that counterflow would potentially work better but you have wort inside of stuff and keeping it clean seems like more work.

My copper IC comes out of the wort nice and shiny, the only part that ever tarnishes is the stuff that doens’t get submerged in wort and I don’t worry about that. I dip it in my collected hot water from the chilling to rinse it off and then hang it do drip dry.

I suggest that copper has several advantages. The thermal conductivity is an important one. But another is that wort needs a small amount of copper in it to help remove sulfurous compounds from the finished beer. If you already have some copper piping in your system somewhere, then you may not need more. But if you have no copper in contact with your wort, moving to the copper IC is a win/win.

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