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DIY: Counterflow Wort Chiller

Counterflow wort chillers cool your boiled wort quickly and with less water than immersion chillers—learn to make your own here!

Jester Goldman Jul 29, 2016 - 9 min read

DIY: Counterflow Wort Chiller Primary Image

A wort chiller is one of the most important pieces of homebrew equipment you’ll use. Without a chiller of some kind, your batch is vulnerable to infection, whether you let it cool down naturally or do a partial boil and add ice or cold water at the end. Immersion chillers are cheap and easy to sanitize, which is why they’re so popular. However, in this post we’re going to talk about counterflow chillers and how to make one.

A counterflow chiller is a device that has an inner copper tube that allows hot wort to flow in one direction, and a surrounding outer hose that allows cold water to flow in the opposite direction. This heat exchange arrangement is so effective because temperatures change most efficiently when the temperature differential is high. This method also protects against infection because each bit of wort remains hot right up until it enters the chiller. By the time the wort is released, it’s cooled to pitching temperature. This quick drop also gives a nice cold break to clarify your beer, and it uses less water than a simple immersion chiller.

Parts List

A. 25 ft (7.6 m) 5/8” (16 mm) garden hose
B. 28 ft (8.5 m) 3/8” (10 mm) copper tubing
C. Two tee fittings, 1/2” (13 mm) NPT female ends
D. Two adapters, 1/2” (13 mm) NPT male to 3/8” (10 mm) compression male
E. Two 3/8” (10 mm) compression nuts
F. Two adapters, 1/2” (13 mm) NPT male to 5/8” (16 mm) hose male
G. Two adapters, 1/2” (13 mm) NPT male to 5/8” (16 mm) hose female
H. Plumber’s tape
I. Several zip ties


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