Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chill Out, Wort.

In a play straight out of Gene's book: I have big plans for a new contraption. For a while now I've been using a wort chiller that my friend Eric and I made out of a refrigerator condenser coil and a hose adapter compression fitting. Seriously, that's it. Does it work? Not-so-much.

The biggest issues I have with my current wort chiller are:

  • One end pees like a fountain cherub.
  • It takes nearly a full hour to cool the wort down the requisite number of degrees.
  • You end up with a backyard swamp unless you can do something with all that water.
  • You need a hose and therefore can't use it for indoor applications other than creating a slip-n-slide from the bathroom to the couch.
  • The coil isn't long enough to be effective.

I was reading Brew Your Own Magazine a few weeks ago and saw that somebody used a recirculating pump in an ice bucket to cool their wort. This closed system doesn't waste any water and once it warms up it can be used for cleaning. This article gave me an idea: why don't I use a recirculating pump in an ice bucket to cool my wort!

The cheapest pumps I could think of are either a fish-tank pump or a pond pump. The fish-tank pump probably doesn't have the cherubic umph to create enough back pressure to get that steam flowing; a pond pump seems like it would.

When I told my wife about this idea she replied, "too bad we threw out our old pond pump." I pretty much had to wrestle it out of swamp-things cold overcooked spinach covered hands. For cleanliness sake, I think I'd rather not use something that spent most of it's operational hours submerged in a outdoor bird toilet, algae farm, or cesspool. In this case I think buying new is worth the extra money.

I'm still not sure about what type of hose or fittings to use, but I'm sure I'll find something other than rubber bands, magic tape, or an unwitting assistant. I also need to find a cheaper source for copper pipe since I don't need much (but I need more than one refrigerator coil's worth.)

Anybody out there have one of these? Have any advice on where to get the materials? Leave me some comments below!

4 comments:

  1. I tried this, and unless you have 10 lbs of ice, your ice water heats up very quickly.

    I use copper tube hose clamped to 3/8 vinyl Hose clamped to garden hose adapters that have barbs like on a tap, with the waste water going into my pool.

    Sometimes I have the vinyl hose go through a bucket of ice water. Didn't notice a reduction in cooling time.

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  2. Micah Douglas left a comment, but for some reason it didn't show up:

    "I tried this, and unless you have 10 lbs of ice, your ice water heats up very quickly.

    I use copper tube hose clamped to 3/8 vinyl Hose clamped to garden hose adapters that have barbs like on a tap, with the waste water going into my pool.

    Sometimes I have the vinyl hose go through a bucket of ice water. Didn't notice a reduction in cooling time. "
    Thanks for the feedback! I usually use bagged ice so 10--15 lbs won't be a big deal. I had to run out for more ice last time with the kettle sitting in my sink.

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  3.  Sounds like a fun Home Depot/Lowes project! I can help!

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  4. Ponds fountains are 1 of the best approaches of getting a cooling effect in your yard all the way through the humid summertime months.

    pond pumps

    ReplyDelete