This February I got a deal on 50 feet of 1/2" ID copper and saw my chance to build the wort chiller of my dreams; Jamil Zainasheff's whirlpool chiller.
This thing is a beast! Here's how I did it:
The Tools and Fittings
In addition to the copper I used some basic pipe cutting and soldering tools.
Any hardware store should be able to provide you with the means to clean and solder copper pipe.
In the picture above you see all the fittings I used. Ninety and 45 degree elbows, pipe-thread and hose threads.
All Wound Up
To form the coil I wrapped it around a 2.5 gal corny (because it was a little wider than a 5). But I'm sure a 5 gal would work fine. The trick is to only tighten the coil from its original, concentric circle, shape.
The coils come in either a 2 foot or a 3 foot diameter coil. Put a corny in the middle, and grab the innermost coil hold it tight to the corny. Then start tightening the coil by lifting and manipulating the original coil.
You will be turning the coil clockwise the whole time, as it winds from the inside of the original - and tightens on the corny. It helps to have a buddy hold the coil, as you make sure the newly tightened coil wraps neatly on the corny.
Cleaning & Cutting
Using a pipe brush I cleaned each area to be cut before using a copper tubing cutter. The insides of the elbows also got a good scrubbing to help insure the best possible joint.
Don't skip this part; in fact take a little time to dry-fit your pieces together. A bad joint will mean water leaking into your fresh wort while chilling.
Creating the Wort Return
The real chilling power of this setup is in the return that recirculates hot wort right against the inside coils of the chiller. I bent a short length of pipe and lightly crimped its end to make my angled return.
Even if you don't have a recirculating pump right now, put that return in anyway... you will have a pump someday - and it makes it so much more efficient when you do.
Putting it all together
A little paste flux before soldering...
and I was sweating the first fitting.
I gave up on trying to form the top bends out of flex. Fortunately, because it is not "refrigeration tubing" the outside diameter is 5/8" and fits normal sweat-in fittings.
I measured my kettle and determined an appropriate length for my top fittings. These are the ins and outs of the system and I wanted them comfortably angled away from the kettle, but without kinks.
I went with 45 degree elbows for all three fittings (water in, water out and wort return).
Wrapping the pipe threads with teflon tape
Tacking the wort return in place.
I screwed the hose fittings to the water in & out and tied the coils to the long vertical water line.
This solidified everything nicely and the chiller has a good heft to it.
Final Touches and Practical Tests
A good cleaning and I was done.
There is enough space between the coils for liquid to pass through. I'm actually hoping to contain most of the hot and cold break and spent hops inside the coil, since I draw from the outside.
I tested it out today for the first time. From 212F down to 120F in 5 minutes. Another 5 minutes down to 75F, and five more minutes down to 60F. Fifteen minutes total.... frickin' sweet...
MyloFiore is an avid homebrewer and lives in Scottsdale, AZ with his ever-enduring wife, Nancy, pre-teen son & daughter and Yorkie, Winston. He can often be found raising hell on the Brewing Network's forum. If he were a beer he would be a Saison.
Whirlpool/Immersion Chiller, www.mrmalty.com
- Jamil Zainasheff
How to Solder Copper Pipe, www.youtube.com
50' 1/2" Immersion Chiller, www.morebeer.com
Here are Push's results using the whirlpool chiller on 10 gallon batches in the high deserts of California where ground water is routinely above 70F.