Connect two in series - the first in an ice bath to prechill the water, the second in your wort.
Another approach, using the icebath but with a single wort chiller and less water waste: Place a submersible pond circulation pump into the icebath and connect its output to the wort chiller input, with the return from the chiller back into the icebath.
Look into a counter flow chiller if you have a valve on your boil pot.
HA. I was just pondering the best way to get ice cold water into one of these as I click through to the boards. Thanks.
Come on people... if you're incapable of making this I question your ability to make beer.
Actually, it's difficult to coil copper tubing into a small radius without creasing a flat spot, and also, getting the various end pieces of matching inner and outer diameters can also be tough. How about a little respect for value-add?
Or use an evaporative-cooler recirculation pump in the ice bath, which is way cheaper because it's not submersible - it just mounts the motor up out of the water on a shaft.
About $15-25 at most home-improvement stores.
Fill with sand, salt or water and bend. Simple
Not to mention that 25' of copper ususally comes in a coil anyway. Plus you could buy an actual tool to make this thing that is not actually a tool.
I think I'm just jealous that I'm not selling something so simple.
It is one of those things that you can easily make but the money you save/satisfaction you gain is so minimal compared to the time saved. Its an afternoon trip to the hardware store that costs me in time and gas easily what I'd save buying the parts. Also I am kinda suspicious about how much you'd save when not buying the copper, rubber tubing and fittings in some bulk.
I did a quick calculation. You save next to nothing, but you gain experience in making things and working with materials. They're essentially making their profit on those bulk savings.
It's almost as good a gig as selling rocks to put in whisky
Definitely cheaper to make your own at UK prices. Get the copper online though; plumbers' merchants tend to be considerably more expensive.
A useful bonus with one of these is that you can use the hot (scalding at first - take care) water for cleaning equipment. Probably not a huge saving in fuel and water, but better than just dumping it straight down the drain.
BTW, there's no real point in using ice-baths, etc unless your supply of water is severely limited. Mains water is quite cold enough if the flow is reasonable. It probably wouldn't be difficult to work out the optimum exit temperature from the coil and adjust the flow for that, but I simply set it to just attain the max. temperature possible, and that seems good enough. You don't have to watch over it all the time.
Sand and salt (buckshot? sugar?) maybe, but water won't prevent the kinking.
Pipe bending springs are cheap, don't take up much room in your toolbox(es) and work well. (typically $5 or less).
Salt has the advantage that you can remove it by dissolving it out with water. Sugar might also.
Water does prevent the kinking, I've seen it done. The challenge (obviously) is keeping the water IN the tube. You have to seal off the ends water tight. There's a guy on youtube that uses salt who insists that you can't use sugar. I've not personally used either so I can't confirm that.
I'm with you though... tools > workarounds
Absolutely, or as @glenblank mentions, grab the non-submersible pump. Also, once the chilling is done, route the water into your clothes washing machine and do a load of laundry.
I used a corny key (if you homebrew, you must have one or know someone who does). And wrapped a coil of copper tubing around it, then bent with a tube bender (pretty much a spring you wrap around the copper tube) to get the upper tubes in line. Keep an eye out on craigslist or kijiji, I scored a 50' coil for $20. I did do 50 all-grain batches of beer as no-chill cube brews, but the immersion chiller is essential now.
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