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Brewing Gadgets: DIY Immersion Chiller

A wort chiller is a must have for any serious homebrewer. I waited far too long to add one of these to my brewery and I since then I wouldn't brew without it. The basic concept is to cool down your wort after the boil to temperatures suitable for pitching yeast (about 75°) as quickly as possible. This substantially decreases risk of contamination and speeds up your brew day as well.

Before I had a wort chiller I used to sit my brew kettle in a tub of ice water, but this still took over an hour to fully lower the temp. Now I have a copper immersion chiller. It is easy to use and easy to clean/sanitize and lowers the wort to pitching temp in about 20min!

The coil has tubing attached for cold water to enter and exit. The inbound tubing has a garden hose style female connector that allows you to connect a standard garden hose to it if you are brewing outdoors or use an adapter to connect to your kitchen faucet. To sanitize, simply submerge the coil in sanitizer (I do this while cleaning my fermenter) then submerge in the brew kettle along with the final hop addition. When the boil is complete I move over to the sink, attach the hose to my faucet and turn on the cold water. You will notice the temperature drop 20° a minute for the first several minutes, then as the differential reduces it slows down. I will move the coils around a bit after the first ten minutes to help speed the heat transfer to the water in the coil. These two photos were taken 20min apart during my last brew day.

Immersion chillers typically fit nicely in your brew pot and are made of copper (<$50) or stainless (< $100).

Fashion your own immersion chiller by using about 25' of 3/8" copper tubing from the hardware store, some tubing and hose clamps. Just wrap the copper tubing around a paint can several times attach vinyl or silicon tubing and a hose barb to 3/4" female adapter on the inlet and you'll be chillin in no time! -D


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