Back to Shopping at

Wort cooling alternative

As a stop gap to using an immersion chiller and the amount of water required for chilling, could I get a few opinions on cooling wort in this method.
Say post boil i were to whirlpool in the kettle to hopefully cone my trub, could I then rack with a steel cane that is connected to high temp safe tubing.
That tubing would then have quite a few coils in an ice water bath, with the other end leading to my fermentor.
Just curious if anyone has tried this method?

I’d imagine much less ice would be used here, than with an ice bath. The idea of running gallons of water though an immersion chiller honestly seems wasteful, even if part was used again for cleaning.
The main issue i could see would be the lack of cold break in the kettle…possible haze issues in the finished beer.
I’ll likely fire up the kettle this weekend and give it a dry run with plain water to test temps into the carboy.

It won’t work very well - the hi-temp hose will not transfer the heat. Even if you used 50’ of copper and a slow flow with lots of ice, you would need to stir the ice bath (or move the coil) to keep ice water against the coil. It takes no more than 25 gallons of water to cool a 5-gal batch to pitching temp (64F) using an IC and a hose to 100F and then switching to an ice bath and pump with recirculation. I dump the water on the trees so no water is wasted.

Sounds like a good idea, but here’s my process and note I do full volume all-grain batches:

When my boil is done I open the valve on my kettle and it goes through a counterflow chiller, and into my fermenter. I run cold water through the counterflow chiller at the same time, but not full blast. The counterflow chiller sits in a small cooler that is filled with water and then on top of the chiller sits a milk jug full of frozen water.

So even with the frozen water jug I am at about 60-65 when it is all drained out. But this is still much more effective at cooling wort than using an immersion chiller and less wasteful.

Here’s a photo:

Thanks for the replies. So far the plate chiller is looking to be more up my alley.
Averagejoe, is that the smaller of the two plate chillers that NB offers, the Shirron?

Shadtree, I’m glad you brought up using copper in your post…that’s exactly where my mind was going next!!!

The smaller of the two, I think it’s about $100. And I noticed the comment about dumping the water into the trees but in Minnesota, dumping a large amount of water anywhere near your house is typically a bad idea, you’d create a ice rink quickly.

Assuming you are more eco-minded you can do what I do using my setup:
The first 5 minutes of water will be really hot, use it to clean out your mashtun, kettle and anything else you used. Then, use the remaining water to fill a carboy or bucket for your next brew OR have the remaining water go into your clothes washing machine for your next load (something the wife will appreciate).

As for other alternative methods of cooling, you could transfer your hot wort into a sanitized coney keg, seal it and let it sit in a cool spot for a few days. But beyond a plate chiller I don’t know of a better way… dry ice?

Well you know just as an alternative you could make yourself a counterflow chiller with 20 ft of 3/8 inch copper coil, 12 inches of 1/2 inch copper pipe, 2x 1/2 copper T’s, and 2x 1/2->3/8 inch reducers. A bit of soldering and 20 feet of garden hose you can make cheap counterflow chiller that is pretty efficient. It cools my wort down to 65F as fast as i can transfer from kettle to carboy. ~5 mins and it is definitely cheaper than buying a plate chiller. It costed me about 30 dollars for everything. I pretty much had all of the material and i only went to the hardware store to pick up the reducer. I orginally used the 20 ft of coil as an IC and got fed up waiting 20~30 minutes to chill my wort down to pitching temperature so i made this CFC. Spent only 20 minutes making this. It took 10 minutes to slide the hose thru the length of the copper coil and 10 minutes to solder. ... ial-51793/ ... ow_Chiller

I’ve been looking into buying/making an IC. One thought I had was using a cooler or bucket full of ice water with a small sump pump and having the water recirculating. It would probably take a few tries to get the water:ice ration correct. Either that or cutting 10-20 feet off of the coil and running the water through that packed in ice first then to the IC in the wort.

@KP- I have tried recirculating and reusing water for an IC but the amount of ice needed to cool down 5 gallons of ~200F you need to literally go buy a ridiculous amounts of ice. I have tried to make my own ice with a spare refridgerator i ended up making 7 gallons worth of ice and that was only enough to hit cool it down to ~100F. The best and fastest way to cool down wort is using a plate chiller or a counterflow chiller. The most cost effective way is make yourself an immersion chiller or counterflow chiller. Like I have said in my last post I bought copper coil to make an IC and then I got fed up with waiting and turned it into an CFC with stuff i had around the house. Using gravity to siphon my piping hot wort out of my kettle and cooling it down to ~65F and transfer in less than 10 mins is so much quicker.

KP, a pre chiller normally doesn’t work very well. Trying to make tap water colder takes a lot of surface area/ice. The best cooling takes place with a larger difference in temps.

Better to use your $ to purchase a sump pump and recirculate ice water in a IC/plate chiller.

Ice is free during the winter in the norther parts of the Country.

Cooling wort is going to be one of the biggest challenges on brewday. I have been learning lesson after lesson with buying equipment. The point that now resounds in my mind is that if you need to buy a piece of equipment, don’t be cheap with it because you will probably end up upgrading anyway. I built an IC for about 30 bucks using copper coil and some fittings from the hardware store. I ended up building another one, intending to use it as a prechiller to sit in an ice bath (which did not work). I then bought the Shirron plate chiller. The plate chiller works but not as quickly as I hoped (SoCal groundwater is usually around 50-55 degrees year round).

I now run the water and wort through the plate chiller and have both of my ICs in line on the water out from the plate chiller, this way I have the plate and then 2 immersion chillers running in the keggle. This works to cool it down to about 70F in about 7 minutes.

For a little more than I have spent on chillers (probably less if you include the bags of ice I bought too), I could have bought the Therminator. I like the Therminator better than the Shirron. It seems to have more channels that are a bit larger and doesn’t clog as much as the Shirron does, as least when using gravity to feed it rather than a pump.

Back to Shopping at