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Wort chiller question

Hi all long time lurker first time poster. have my first brew in the carboy now, carribou slobber:>)
anyway I am brewing my second batch doing a sweet stout, and want to use a pump to recirculate the water though the chiller from a bucket of ice water, I feel this is a lot less wastful and it would make sense that it would be more efficent. I made my own chiller it works great BTW easy peasy to do. So what size pump should I get to do the job I know you do not want water pumping to fast.

Just want to add that these forums have been a wealth of information my first brew day I did with my wife and it went off without a hitch I feel like a pro already:>) just want to say thank you to all you guys for being so helpful


I would just find the cheapest pump you can that has a fitting for garden hoses. I have seen a lot of people post links to harbor freight and such for them in the 20-30 dollar range.

Even though you are obviously concerned with water usage, your best chilling solution is probably going to be using the hose water until you get to around 100 degrees and then switching to the pump and ice water. The last part of chilling is the toughest because the differential between the wort and the chilling water is smaller. By doing this you can maximize the differential and get the fastest chilling times and temps without wasting a lot of time, water, ice, and beer quality.

[quote=“thecarrclan”]I feel this is a lot less wastful and it would make sense that it would be more efficent.[/qoute]
Although you may save water, it will take MUCH longer to cool. As the water goes through the immersion chiller it will come out very hot and melt your ice very quickly which means you’ll go through a TON of ice. I found this out a couple weeks ago when I discovered my hose was frozen and had to submit to using ONLY my pump with water/ice. I suggest using your chiller until you hit a temp of 90* or so then switching to a pump type system.

[quote=“thecarrclan”]I know you do not want water pumping to fast.[/qoute]
Since you are recirculating the water this doesn’t matter as much. The pace of water is for a CFC. I bought a nice sized pump at Menards for around $40.00 and it pumps much better than a pond pump. I have used a pond pump and it was a waste of time.

Would you happen to remember how many gallons per hour the pump you got was rated for? I was thinking of getting a pond pump, but after reading your post I think your solution would be better. Thanks.

It depends on the length and rise of output line but highest was 1500 gals per hour. It even came with a connection for a standard garden hose which was a plus. You can find them with the sump pumps…
I went and checked and it was a 1/4 HP Barracuda Pump

Welcome to the forum. What I understand from the last Zymurgy issue (For Geeks Only), the faster you get the water through, the quicker your temp will drop. You also need to keep hot wort in contact with the cold coils, through recirculation or stirring. I agree with using tap water to knock heat down before pumping ice water.

Sounds good, thank you guys, I just want to come up with a solution as I live in Florida and when summer kicks in my tap water is not very cold, but should be fine to bring down enough to not kill a bucket of ice water

Thanks mrv. The more I think about it the more I’m inclined to re-fashon my copper wort chiller into a counter-flow chiller. Or just drop the cash on a Chillzilla from Northern Brewer. Or just learn to be patient and enjoy life as my wort cools!

I’ve been thinking of doing the same thing, but don’t know how well it will work. I know more about pumps than I do brewing and Immersion Chillers, so that’s the only help I can be. I usually estimate the flow from a garden hose to be around a 250-300 gph pump depending on your water pressure. Time how long it takes to fill up one of your buckets or carboys and you should be able to figure it out. For a pond pump you’d be looking at $70ish for 500gph at a garden center. They tend to be more expensive because they’re engineered for constant use. Sump pumps only need to run sporadically so they are cheaper. However if you are reducing down to 3/8" or 1/2" OD copper tubing for the IC it will dramatically reduce the flow. I’d be surprised if you could get 1500gph on the return from the IC. I’d stay under 1000gph. That should also keep the cost down as well.

have you thought of running through the ice and then capturing the water for later use? I have rain barrels on my property and once the weather gets above freezing, I plan to just route the chiller water outlet in to one of them. I can use the water later to water things in my garden.

Hi hope someone can help, I recently bought a chillzilla but since we use mostly metric threads I can’t figure out the thread for the water inlet and outlet can anyone please tell me what the threads are?


I don’t own one, but I believe it uses standard US garden hose thread. That would would mean a diameter of 1 1/16 inch, and 11 1/2 threads per inch.

Thanks, I’ll have to hunt around for a fitting.

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