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Wort Chilling

Hi, all.
I’m cheap. I’ve been chilling my wort in the bathtub, but it takes forever to do this and I’m sure it wastes more water than going a different route.
My question is, does it matter if the wort chiller is copper or steel? What’s the pro/con of either?

Also, what’s the real benefit of a counter flow chiller? It looks like it just requires more tubing.

Thanks

A counter flow especially convoluted creates more and quicker transfer of heat/cooling power via more surface area in contact with the fluid as its moving through the device instead of loosely around it.

I am not certain but I would think copper has better heat transfer efficency than s/s.

Third I still use a immersion copper chiller and it works fine unless I have hot ambient temps and/ or need to hit lager temps then I have to use icewater after 90-100F anyway no matter the style of chiller unless I am brewing in the dead of winter which I have at the lowest to date of -10f sure made the lager chilling quite easy and I was warm enough in the uninsulated garage with just the burner running that I was comfortable with jackets off etc…

Check out this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=118853&hilit=copper

To summarize the discussion, copper has better heat transfer, but people who use stainless chillers are happy with them.

So my take away is, Copper is better at heat transfer, SS is better for price and clean-ability.

I like my CFCs because I cool WHILE transferring my beer. A real time saver indeed.

I like my SS chiller; it’s shiny. 8)

+1 on the SS chiller I have the 1/2 inch dia X 50 ft one.

Thanks for chiming in, everyone. This was helpful.

I use a copper immersion chiller. Have use it for years and recently after reading about brewers using recirculating pumps (which I don’t have) to produce a mild whirlpool around the chiller I use a brewing spoon to stir the wort while chilling. This has cut my chilling times by more than half (almost two thirds). I see some repurpose an ice cream machine to do this.

Mike

I have had both SS & copper and the difference is negligible. Both work well enough for me. Your choice.

[quote=“mbg”]I use a copper immersion chiller. Have use it for years and recently after reading about brewers using recirculating pumps (which I don’t have) to produce a mild whirlpool around the chiller I use a brewing spoon to stir the wort while chilling. This has cut my chilling times by more than half (almost two thirds). I see some repurpose an ice cream machine to do this.

Mike[/quote]

Aren’t you concerned about having the lid off while cooling and the increased chance of contamination?

[quote]mbg wrote:
I use a copper immersion chiller. Have use it for years and recently after reading about brewers using recirculating pumps (which I don’t have) to produce a mild whirlpool around the chiller I use a brewing spoon to stir the wort while chilling. This has cut my chilling times by more than half (almost two thirds). I see some repurpose an ice cream machine to do this.

Mike

Aren’t you concerned about having the lid off while cooling and the increased chance of contamination?[/quote]

Matt, You are correct that the lid will help keep contamination out. But, if you think about your whole process you might decide that you are better off cooling faster than keeping the lid on. Wort is more susceptable to contamination at 90-100 degrees than at 65-75 degrees. And, the faster you get the yeast pitched and taking off, the more that contaminating microbes will be crowded out.

I have decided that keeping the lid on while chilling is not important to me. I aerate by spinning a mix-stir with a drill, so I’m getting huge amounts of ambient air in the fermentor anyway. It seems pointless for me to worry about some additional exposure to air while chilling. I cool and pitch as quickly as I can and I find stirring and moving the imersion chiller around a lot cools much more quickly.

If you aerate with pure oxygen or use an aquarium pump with an inline filter, you might reducte the risk of infection somewhat by keeping the lid on while chilling. In my opinion, the slightly reduced risk of infection from leaving the lid on are far outweighed by the gains from fast cooling and using the room air to aerate. I think anyone who aerates by shaking, splashing, or spinning with a drill-driven implement is better off not worrying about keeping the lid on while chiling. And, the benfits of aeration with far outweigh the risk of chilling with the lid off.

For all practical purposes, SS and copper work equally well for this application despite a very big difference in thermal conductivity. Just goes to show that you can’t pull out a single number (even a relevant one) about some process and think everything else will follow in line.

CFCs and plate chillers work by flowing the hot and cold fluids past each other in opposite directions. This helps to maintain a very high temperature difference which drives high heat flow along the entire flow path. The net effect is VERY efficient heat transfer, which happens very quickly and with much less water use. As stated above, it also happens as the wort is being transferred to the fermentor which is also a time savings. The disadvantage of these systems is that they are difficult to clean, and you need to be very careful not to allow hop or trub material to get stuck inside, because you may not be able to get them out so easily.

I cooled by kettle in a sink for my first 5 years brewing before I bought my plate chiller. First time I used it I couldn’t believe how much that improved my brew day.

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