Friday, November 28, 2014

Recirculating Wort Chiller Works Awesome

Chris and I fired up our second brew this evening, a Belgian Double.

This was our first chance to try the recirculating chiller, which worked great.  With the rush to get the kettle off of the stove and next to the sink we didn't take a time mark to know how fast it exactly cooled, but it seemed like about 10 minutes to get down to 75F.  We could have finished faster if we'd added salt and ice right at the start of the cool.  Plus doing a little more mixing of the wort to get the hot stuff on to the coils would have helped too.

Regardless, here's the chiller in action and a brief overview:


If you want to make your own version of one of these, here's the parts list (note that I also included the Home Depot sku (except for the pump and power adapter):

Qty - Description - SKU
1 - 20 foot 3/8" ID soft copper tubing - 685768328575
1 - 3/4 inch (OD) vinyl tubing - sku 098268038484
4 - ss clamps - 078575170657
1 - pack of heat shrink tubing - 032076077594
2 - brass connectors 1/2" compression to 1/2" male iron pipe - 042805445914
4 - brass barbs 1/2" barb to 1/2" female iron pipe - 042805446157

And here's how it goes together:

1. Put heat shrink over each of the pump wires, solder each pump wire to the corresponding adapter wire, pull the tubing over the joint, and shrink the tubing over the joint.
2. Attach one compression fitting to each end of the copper pipe.
3. Shape your copper tubing as necessary to fit your kettle.  I tightened the coils a bit and gently bent one end up so that it exited at the same side of the coil as the other. 
3. Cut 3 appropriately sized sections of the vinyl tubing.
4. Attach the 4 metal barbs to the vinyl tubing.  Your return from the copper and the uptake from the ice bath each get one barb.  The line from the pump, in to the copper pipe gets one barb on each end.  Use the ss clamps to ensure you've got a good seal between the vinyl and the barbs.
5. Apply Teflon tape to each of your male threads.
6. Attach the tubing to the pump and copper. 
7. I also chose to mount my pump in a piece of 2x4.  Regardless of what you chose to do, just make sure you consult the pump directions before you mount it anywhere.  And make sure you prime the pump by filling the uptake tube before you turn on the pump.

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