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DIY wort chiller

April 07, 2010 By: grant Category: DIY, Homebrew

So I’ve begun the strange adventure of home brewing, under the tutelage of one Jeff Marvin (not his real name) and Michael Erskine.

last Friday, a beautiful day for a homebrew and a DIY project, Jeff and I build a wort chiller.

Jeff procured 50 feet of copper tubing, which we wrapped around a 5-gallon bucket. We bent the 90-degree angles around a can of dog food to avoid kinking. We attached heavy-duty hoses to the copper with worm clamps.

DIY wort chiller

Here are the results, and Jeff explains how it all works and why it is awesome.

Note: This story was originally posted over at grantmeaccess.com and has been back-dated to reflect the date it was posted over there, even though it was posted on FuzzyBrew on Aug. 23, 2010.

9 Comments to “DIY wort chiller”


  1. Hey guys, nice project. Seems pretty simple and I imagine saves a few bucks. How long is your cooling time down to with using this vs ice bath?

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  2. When we started using this in the spring I’d say it took us 20-25 min to get the temps down to around 70. Now with the heat probably twice as long and only down to the high 70’s. Been debating buying a pre-chiller or recirculating it but hoping the temperature drop first.

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  3. Thanks Jeff. Are those times for a 10 gallon batch? An intermediate step you might consider is one I saw in the comments of a recent Brewing TV episode (second comment): http://www.brewingtv.com/episodes/2010/8/13/brewing-tv-episode-14-this-old-brewhouse.html#comments
    try using a submersible fountain pump in a bucket of ice water along with your wort chiller. I do this to cool my wort. Saves on pumping water through from a hose and sometimes the ground water is too warm where I live. I found a simple 120 gal per hour pump for around $10 to $15. I put it at the bottom of a bucket of ice water and plug it in. Then I attach 1 tube from my wort chiller to it and place the other tube in the bucket as well. This way the fountain pump sucks up the ice water in the bucket, runs it through the wort chiller, and back into the bucket. Saves on water and I can just add a litttle ice as needed to keep the water cold. I can usually chill a 2.5 to 3 gallon boil from 180 down to 85 in 4 to 6 minutes this way. Especailly if I can put my pot in a sink of ice as well.

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  4. Brad good stuff. For $10 it would be worth a shot. Only worry is how quick we would burn through the ice. Might add up especially since we usually have two separate 6 g beers to cool. I’ll post the results if he get it up and running.

    Times were for 6 gallons. Thanks again.

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  5. Brad good stuff! I’ll put it on my to do list. Can’t hurt to try it out for $10. I’ll post the results if we get it set-up. Need to build a stir plate first.

    Times were for 6 gallons. Thanks again.

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  6. I heart you both.

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  7. From someone who is trying to get into this hobby. How much does your DIY wort chiller effect the final product? Is an Ice bath (not totally sure what that is yet) bad for the brew?

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  8. BILL FALLS!

    An ice bath works too. I’ve never done it, as I started brewing with Jeff after we’d made the chiller already. Ice gets expensive though, and you have to carry your big batch of boiling wort to wherever you’ve got the ice bath. It’s heavy.

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  9. B.Falls-
    If you are starting like I did, by doing extract kits on the stove top, you are only going to be boiling 1-2 gallons of wort then diluting it with tap water. Ice bath works fine for that initial 1-2 gallons. In fact I was still doing an ice bath when I stepped it up to full boil extract batches and made some pretty tasty beer. Once you get to the point of boiling the entire 5-6 gallon batch then come back to the chiller. Hope this helps.

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