My wort chiller design - Jockey box chiller

Post #1 made 7 years ago
Hey there, I brew in an apartment and an immersion chiller seemed a bit difficult. The no chill method was a bit time consuming for me so I've built (maybe fairly naively) a jockey box style chiller that I fill with ice and connect to my urn to spit out chilled wort straight into my fermenter (the funnel in the picture is just for pouring sanitiser through it). It chills wort great, I can get a 20-22C wort in about 10-15 minutes using 3 bags of ice for 19 litres into the fermenter. I adjust the flow rate on the bottom tap to increase or decrease cooling and can get wort to around 17C if I dribble it through. A couple of downsides are that after 3 bags of ice the vessel will overflow (should have used a bigger esky it's only 15 Litres) and one possible downside I wanted some opinions on is the cold break going into the fermenter. As far as I understand from reading Palmers How to Brew, one of the main reasons for fast wort chilling is to form and seperate out some of the cold break. With my chiller the cold break is formed but all goes into the fermenter. Anyone have any thoughts on this or possible work arounds?
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Post #2 made 7 years ago
Welcome to the forum tenfingers :salute:,

Before I get into analytical mode, I firstly want to say you have done a really nice job there. But I am also worried, apart from the energy side of things, about several other factors.

What you have there is a counter-flow chiller but also a big lack of chilling efficiency. As you know, bags of ice are expensive to buy and/or produce. In active chilling (counter-flow, immersion or plate), ice should never be used until your wort approaches tap temps. Counter-flows and plate chillers are not good for this. They are fine if you just brew ales and have access to tap water at several degrees lower than pitching temp but most brewers do not.

Using a CFC or a plate chiller is never derided whereas it should be in nearly all situations for the extra work (chemicals and time) that such systems require to be cleaned and sanitised properly.

In your case the problem is worse. Chilling is all about heat exchange. With your design, there is no way of getting rid of the heat exchanged. You are trying to exchange the heat from three bags of ice (which won't even fit in the esky, with many more kilo-joules of heat from 20 L or more of boiling temp wort.

There are other problems in your set-up (but don't get depressed - some good stuff too - your set-up could make a great pre-chiller!)


On the good side, it looks like you have access to a lot of copper there! No-chilling is the most energy-efficient method of chilling of course. The next best method is controlled immersion-chilling. Combine that with a 'pre-chiller' (which is what you can also make your current set-up to be) and you will have a lot of control. In a pre-chiller though, never just add ice. Mix your ice with water. At all times, it must be iced water in the pre-chiller (or any chiller) for best results.


As for cold break, I always get a bit lost on this one as craft breweries use basically a plate chiller to chill as far as I can see. The chilling is not done in the kettle.

I've done a fair bit of asking about this and have a few books here as well but I can't make any sense of the 'break' stuff sorry. All I can say is that immersion chilling is going to be the only chilling method that can possibly prevent cold break being transferred.

Go figure :scratch:,
Last edited by PistolPatch on 18 Jul 2014, 19:04, edited 1 time in total.
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My wort chiller design - Jockey box chiller

Post #3 made 7 years ago
Hey thanks PistolPatch for your comments. Looks like I'm heading towards using an immersion chiller with a pre-chiller. I had a look at a few examples, pretty much exactly what I have :) when you say ice should never be used, is that purely from and efficiency point of view or is it damaging to the wort? I guess what I'm asking is until I get an immersion chiller happening is there any problem with using my setup apart from appalling inefficiency? It did get my wort to temperature and seems easier than an ice bath (the other method I can use) which would also use a lot of ice. When I use my chiller the ice starts to melt pretty quickly and I end up with icy water in it for most of the chilling. I will look into wether it's feasible to use an immersion chiller in my apartment. Cheers

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My wort chiller design - Jockey box chiller

Post #4 made 7 years ago
With cold break, according to someone named Tom Ayers who sounds like he knows his stuff (an article not a forum)
" Not removing the cold break can, but not always, lead to off flavor including DMS, Sulfur, and Fusel Alcohols. This is why I prefer to chill and whirlpool in the kettle so I can leave the cold break behind in the kettle and not let it pass to the fermentor. This is especially important for those delicate lagers with intricate flavor profiles, ales are a little more forgiving. When I was using a plate chiller the cold break would go directly into the fermentor, most of the time if I was making an ale I would not remove the break. However, if I was making a lager, I would let the break settle in the fermentor and transfer the wort off the break into another fermentor before pitching the yeast. With all of that said, some break is healthy for the yeast, it contains nutrients essential to the growth and reproduction of the yeast. Don’t get too caught up in the break as long as you don’t have a ton in a delicate beer. If you do transfer off the break like I do you can always add in yeast nutrient and plenty of o2 which should make up for any deficiencies."

Hot & Cold Break By: Tom Ayers

Guess I'll not worry too much about cold break as I'm only brewing big ales at the moment.

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Post #5 made 7 years ago
There is a lot written like the above on break but I ma still lost as to how the larger commercials and micros get rid of it given the way I believer they chill. There is one guy I can ask about this so I'll do that next time I catch up with him.

There's no problems with using your current set-up as long as the ice isn't costing you a million bucks and as long as you don't mid the through cleaning and sanitation you need to do of the inside of the chiller.

The big advantage of an immersion chiller is that you can use your ordinary tap water at quite a slow speed to get the brew down to say within 5 C of your tap water temp and then employ your pre-chiller which you might have sitting in your current round Esky with a bucket of iced water of which you have used say one bag of ice. (Ice is energy-wise expensive to make). So a lower temp can be achieved with less ice by conserving it until the tap water stops dropping the wort temp.

Another thing not to be scared of doing is slow chilling in the kettle. Now I wouldn't use this method on a delicate beer but would have (and have had) no problems with doing it on say an APA. Basically, just cover your kettle with a lid and say towel and let it cool overnight. Transfer to fermentor and pitch the next day. I haven't done this in a while but when I did, I think I even had the hops in there as well (no hop sock). If I were to do it today, I would let my hop sock sit in the kettle for say about ten minutes after flame-out and then pull it.

One of my mates up the road does this quite often with no problems as well. An especially good method for those who drink whilst they brew and by the end of the boil either can't find anything or be bothered finding anything.

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