Thursday, August 27, 2009


Waaaaay back, over the Fourth of July to be exact, Chris and I built ourselves a counterflow wort chiller.

Basically, we followed the instructions on the ever-so-useful RonBlog. A few changes:
  • 50' of copper tubing and garden hose (for ultimate chilling!) Copper tubing was on sale at Lowes so...why not?
  • Extra pairs of hose clamps on the garden hose input/output interfaces. I found that one set of clamps still allowed leaks, no matter how tight or loose the clamps were. Adding the second set stops all leaks.
  • 7/16" ID vinyl hose for the copper/wort interfaces. These creates a tight seal which prevents air from entering the hose.
What's a story without pictures?

The tee fittings (without inner copper tubing). The inner tubing is soldered to the caps to create a tight seal.

Shiny tubing!

Not so shiny tubing!

Here you can see the tee in place with the inner copper tubing soldered in place. It took a lot less work to place the tubing in the garden hose than thought. It did get difficult toward the end but it was still manageable.

Using a bucket, we wound the chiller into a coil, adding zipties as we went.

The mostly finished chiller. All that's left is adding the final tee and more zipties.

Finally, after almost two months of waiting and testing, I finally took the chiller for a test drive this past weekend. Here you can see it chilling an Irish red ale:

The chiller was so efficient that the chill water was turned almost completely off. Even with the chill water so slow, the output "waste" water was still lukewarm. The wort output? Cold. Colder than room temperature.

I made a hefeweizen the next day (sorry, no pictures). Now that was incredible. Hot, clear, yellow wort went in, cold, cloudy, whitish wort came out. I assume cloudiness was cold break and protein haze. Pretty awesome.

I plan on buying/building an inline thermometer to determine what the output temp is.

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