Chillers, Immersion vs. Counterflow

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Light Lager
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Chillers, Immersion vs. Counterflow

Post by jcassady » Fri Jan 02, 2004 11:13 pm

OK, another question for the brew masters here. I'm looking into getting a chiller and want to know what you guys think is the best way to go. Currently I'm brewing 5 gal batches, but want to move up to 10 with-in a few monthes. Right now I have a 5 gal. kettle and boil about 3 gal.

Should I go with an immersion chiller which will cost me about $35, or I found a counterflow for $64. I priced the stuff I would need to DIY up an immersion and it was going to run about $25 just for 30' of 3/8 copper. So the DIY option looks like I won't be saving a whole lot...

Anyway, the question is, what is the best way to go here?

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I like the counterflow

Post by jayhawk » Sat Jan 03, 2004 6:36 pm

I have been using a counterflow for a while and highly recommend them. I have found they take less water, and they cool the beer down quicker and to a lower temp. Some people complain that they are hard to sanitize, but you just have to run sanitizer through it followed by hot pre-boiled water. You can DIY for counterflow chillers too. Just slide some copper tubing through a hose (garden, PVC etc), and find two T fittings and connectors. If you walk around a plumbing or hardware store long enough you will be able to figure out a way to get it done. I had to modify the fittings at home so they would allow the copper pipe to exit and ended up sealing the ends with silicone. That explanation is terrible, but it works like a charm.

Pale Ale
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immersion man

Post by canman » Fri Jan 09, 2004 2:11 am

I am an immersion man myself. I believe it uses less water as I don't have to clean the inside at all. After use just rinse off and prior to use, toss in boil for last 15 min. I use 10-12 gallons of water to cool 10 gallons of wort to pitch temps. I do however have very cold well water.

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Post by Fernwood Fermentations » Wed Aug 04, 2004 2:49 pm

Counterflow all the way.
I found 50' of 3/8" copper tubing at my local Lowes for about $25.
50' 5/8" garden hose was $10.

* put a $2 garden hose shut-off valve on the input of your CFC to save trips to the spigot.

My CFC is about 45' in length, and I used the other 5' to make a sparge arm.


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Post by DreamWeaver » Wed Aug 04, 2004 8:45 pm


If you don't have a wort chiller, it's time my man! Either one will do if you have a ball valve for a CFC, maybe go there. If you have a converted keg with a ball valve, I'd still think about a immersion chiller for the break material and maybe add a short home made CFC later. If you have a 7.5 gallon or close brewpot, an imersion chiller will do fine. You need to cool your wort fast enough to get the benefits of the hot/cold break. I use both when I do 10 gallon batches in my keg boiler. I have my mashtun emptied by the time I start cooling and use my water for clean up.

Good Luck!
Four More Beers!... Four More Beers!... Four More Beers! ...

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Tough question

Post by KBrau » Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:11 pm

You pose a tough question my good man. I have been using an immersion chiller for the past 3 years and am very happy with it. I have thought numerous time about going to a counterflow, but I ultimately let it go because of the incredible ease of sanitation of the immersion chiller. If convenience is your priority I would go for the immersion, if you are looking for better cooling ability go for a CFC.

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Post by JSGilbert » Thu Aug 05, 2004 9:14 am

I have been told by many that if you want a counterflow chiller, you are going to also need a pump. Brewers have said that at least 15 feet of head would be necessary to get the wort to flow through the chiller (depends on chiller). Therefore, consider the price of a good quality pump and add it to the price of your cfc chiller-it gets pricey.

Immersions are easy to use, easy to clean, easy to sanitize, and you can SEE what your wort is coming into contact with.


"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,"
Hold a beer in the palm of your hand
And be glad it's happy hour.

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