Date: 1992-06-29 16:37:00 GMT
The original poster, accidentally wrote "immersion" instead of "counterflow"
in his post, but that's it. For the record, there are basically two major
types of wort chillers used by homebrewers:
1. Immersion -- run cool water (usually tapwater) through a coil of tubing
which is immersed in the kettle of hot wort. A water-saving option is to
use a pump and recirculate icewater through the coil. Some immersion chillers
have an pre-chilling stage in which the tapwater runs through an additional
coil first which is submerged in a tank of icewater.
Advantages are: lower cost, most cold break left in kettle, easier to hit
pitching temperature, and the surface that touches the wort is visible and
thus easily cleanable.
Disadvantages: entire volume of wort (simultaneoulsy) cools slowly, efficiency
dependent on tapwater temperature (i.e. not efficient in say, Florida, where
the tapwater is not cold), and there is a slightly higher risk of infection
since the wort spends more time between boiling and pitching temperatures.
2. Counterflow -- tube-in-hose chiller. Hot wort is siphoned or pumped through
a tube which is surrounded by a hose carrying cool water (usually tapwater).
Again, a water saving option is to recirculate icewater through the hose.
Another option, which is based upon the same principle, is to substitute a
bucket of icewater for the hose -- basically siphoning or pumping hot wort
through a coil submerged in a bucket of icewater. The plate chiller which
many brewpubs and micros use is a version of this type (some also use glycol
Advantages: wort cools (serially) suddenly (better cold break), higher
efficiency even with warmer tapwaters, and slightly less chance of infection
since the wort immediately goes from boiling to pitching temperature.
Disadvantages: higher cost, cold break separation requires additional siphoning
or filtration, wort outlet temperature more difficult to predict and adjust,
and (unless you use a pump) requires you to siphon boiling wort.
For more information, see Zymurgy - "Brewer's and Thier Gadgets" and Jeff
Frane's paper in the 1992 AHA Conference Proceedings. There was also an
article on Wort Chillers in one of the last two issues of Zymurgy.
I use an immersion chiller mostly because I, personally, don't like the idea
of siphoning 200F wort and feel its easier to use.
NOTE: From Jeff's session at the Conference I learned that cold break really
begins at 65F, which is a little colder than I would like for pitching temp.
What I plan to start doing, is to cool down to 60F and then turn on the
hot water to bring the wort back to 70F. Try *that* with a counterflow chiller!
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