Copper or Stainless immersion chiller and why?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    Going to need a taller chiller in the new system. Going to get one form NY Brew Supply(same place I got my last one, nice piece just not tall enough for my new Digiboil). Noticed that copper and stainless are roughly the same price.

    I know that copper SHOULD cool faster(all things being equal) and stainless should be easier to maintain. Price is within $2....

    What are the major pro's con's of each hands on?
     
  2. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I personally use copper, made my own. Heat transfer is definitely better with copper. I did buy a stainless coil is recently to fab into a HERMS coil. The stainless quite ridgid, and shouldn't need support. My copper coil was quite like a slinky, I had to use copper wire to stiffen it up.
     
  3. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Copper does have better heat conduction, but stainless is more durable and easier to clean. I would go with stainless, but either will work well.
     
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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Copper conducts heat better and beer lore has it that it provides copper the yeast needs. It passivates to a dull, almost black finish that looks scary but really isn't a problem. Stainless is stiffer, keeps its pretty finish and doesn't conduct heat as well. So it really comes down to preference.
     
  5. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    I'm a copper user and like others, used some heavy copper wire to stiffen up the slinky effect. Stainless is a pain to work with and unless you have access to a fabrication shop with brakes and rollers to make adjustments, I think that any of the DIY adjustments that you'll want to make are going to be trying

    Hmmmm...mine always comes out of the wort looking shinier than when I put it in....kinda like a penny in pickle juice! I wonder it that has anything to do the hardness of the copper that mine is made from?
     
  6. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    People will often get hung up on the differences in thermal conductivity between aluminum and stainless steel. In the case of a immersed heat exchanger coil, the governing factor will be convection. The water inside the tube will be governed by forced convection. The wort on the outside will be governed by free convection if the wort is still. The biggest enhancement to hear transfer rate is to stir or move the wort with relation to the coils. This makes a greater difference than stainless or copper coils.
     
  7. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I have used both. Copper is definitely faster to transfer heat, you can shave off 3-4 minutes cooling 5 gallons down to 70F.

    That being said, I use stainless steel despite being slower. Copper is good, but it needs a oxicidized layer to avoid copper from reacting to the wort. I made the mistake of using a bright and shiny copper immersion chiller on a lager I was making, the free copper can act as an oxcidizer. The malt character was very weak, the beer sucked.

    Stainless steel is for the most part inert to wort, easy to clean (just put it in the dishwasher) and tougher, but it’s slower.

    Copper is good, but don’t clean it so much that the brown oxicidized layer gets removed.
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Nope, it's the acidity of the wort.
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    True, if you circulate the wort it cools quicker.
     
  10. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    Planning on doing just that, have one pump already installed(getting a new stainless head for it) and will probably add a 2nd to the system eventually.

    From what I'm reading, I will probably just go with stainless.
     
  11. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I've used both, the copper one is better but that's cause it's a better unit. My wife bought me a Jaded Hydra for my birthday. Stainless will cause you less worry about damaging or storing.
     
  12. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    Ordered the stainless from NY Brew Supply, should be about a perfect fit for my system. May set up my old one in an ice bucket for a pre chiller ahead of the new one to get the water extra cold. Think it will help cool faster that way.
     
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  13. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Sure does that's what I use my old chiller for a prechiller in the summer no need in winter though.
     
  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    That's what I did with my stainless one.
     
  15. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    My copper slinky immersion chiller is a piece of metal art since it was replaced with a SS counterflow chiller about a year ago. :rolleyes:
     
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