How to make a Counterflow Chiller

[Ed note: these instructions were originally published by Bobby_M on homebrewtalk.com, however that page is broken. Here is a link to an archive. We’ve also created an archive here to preserve the instructions. See our build of this counterflow chiller.]


This is the cheapest way to put a CFC together and doesn’t use any pricy compression fittings. It requires soldering, but you ought to know how to do that already. No? Shame. Here’s what we’re building:

diy counter flow chiller

 

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Agave Nectar Wheat Ale Recipe

Here’s the recipe for brewing with agave nectar syrup for the Iron Brewer International Freak Show Wheat Ale By Chris Creech

 

Type: All Grain

Date: 07/13/2011
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Brewer: Chris
Boil Size: 7.14 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
End of Boil Volume 6.14 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.30 gal
Est Mash Efficiency 77.2 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage

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Brewing With Local Malt – Part 2

Local malt american wheat aleAlmost exactly a month ago, I posted a write-up of my experience brewing with locally sourced NC-grown AMBA recommended 2-row malted barley and organic wheat malt from Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro, NC.  As a quick recap, the takeaways from the brew day were:

  • Lower than expected efficiency
  • Great bready aroma when mashing
  • Lots of tails mixed in with the grain
  • The SRM (color) of the 2-row was listed at 6, which is a bit dark, but did not appear that dark
  • The kernels are small and hard, making milling difficult unless you’re using a 3-roller mill

Now that it’s finished fermenting and has made it into the keg, it’s time to give the finished product a fair tasting to see how it stacks up.  I will also be entering this beer into a local competition or two to get some judges feedback (I’ll update this post once I get scores in hand). Read more »

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Another Beautiful Keezer for the DIY Showcase

Because who doesn’t love looking at beautifully done keezers?  Below is another great example of how you can customize a chest freezer to be functional and pretty at the same time.  There are literally thousands of different ways to build a keezer, I’ve posted a couple previously here and here.  What I really like about this one is the use of the thermostat being built into the rolling cart at the bottom.

Below are some notes from Gordie who sent us the photos of his keezer build.  Hopefully this will inspire you if you’re looking at different designs and how to build a homebrew kegerator or keezer for your own house! Read more »

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Follow-Up Review: GrogTag *Dry Erase* Keg/Carboy Labels

A few months back, I posted a review of the GrogTag beer bottle labels and the keg/carboy labels.  They’re a great product, but in my review I mentioned that one of the difficulties with the keg/carboy labels is that the material does not work well with crayon, which is the required utensil if you plan on re-using the labels.  The crayon works much better on the reusable bottle labels, but on the keg/carboy labels, the crayon just wouldn’t stick.

Well, GrogTag has answered!  Not long after my post, GrogTag announced new dry erase keg/carboy labels.  While they still can’t be moved from one keg/carboy to another (like the bottle labels), the new material allows you to use dry erase markers to label your fermenting or carbonating brews, with the promise of being easy to erase and re-use many times. Read more »

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FastRack Bottle Drying & Storage System Review

fastrack homebrew beer drying and storage system

Full Disclosure: FastRack sent me two free racks in exchange for writing a review.  However, the opinions below reflect my honest feelings on this product.  I do not endorse products that I do not actually believe in, and this review is no different.

One of the biggest pains when homebrewing is bottling.  Whenever you want to bottle a batch of beer, you end up cleaning, sanitizing, filling, and capping roughly 50 bottles.  It’s tedious.  And it’s the reason that a lot of homebrewers eventually buy a kegging system.

But not all beers are best on draft.  Some beer matures best in bottles – particularly those big high-alcohol imperial stouts or your sour Belgian styles, and even a hefeweizen is best when served on lees.  And then there is the issue of competitions.  To enter a beer into a competition, you are usually required to send in bottles (with some rare exceptions).

All of that is to say that bottles are a necessary evil in the homebrewing world. Read more »

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Product Review: GrogTag Bottle, Carboy and Keg Labels

GrogTag LogoI’ve been hearing of these guys for a while, but had always been a bit hesitant to check it out.  I mean, it sounds too good to be true, right?  Custom-designed beer and wine bottle labels that you can easily reuse over and over.  No scrubbing labels off of your bottles and dealing with falling apart paper labels and that leftover goo that never comes off the bottle.  Simply peel it off when you’re done with it, and then clean and sanitize your bottles as you normally would, then re-apply with the next batch.

Well, I finally decided to bite the bullet. and give them a shot.  I placed an order with GrogTag and ordered a set of standard, basic labels.  I dropped in the NC Homebrewing logo, of course, but otherwise got a generic label so that when I re-used it, it would work for any of the various beers that we make. Read more »

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Easy Upgrade Series: DIY In-line Thermometer for Chillers

Last week, I posted a quick piece on building a DIY counter-flow wort chiller.  You may have noticed that on the end of the chiller where the wort exits after being chilled, there was a little thermometer for measuring the temperature to make sure that the wort was chilled enough to pitch your yeast.

I have a thermometer on my kettle, which was great when using an immersion chiller, but if you’re using a plate chiller or a counterflow chiller, you need to know what the temperature is *after* the wort has gone through the chiller

There are a lot of really complicated ways of doing this, however, I wanted a simple, affordable, DIY method, so I started looking around.  The simplest design that you can buy is called the “Thrumometer.”  The only downside is that it costs $25.  Not terribly expensive, but it seems a bit high for a simple thing like this.  I got to thinking…there has got to be an easier way. Read more »

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Equipment Needed for All-Grain Brewing

So you’re committed to jumping into all-grain brewing?  Now you need to decide what equipment to buy and how much it’s going to cost. Below are some great items that I would recommend and that I use regularly myself. I’ve tried to note what equipment is required and what is optional. So consider your own budget and buy what is going to work best for you.

Also note that many of these items can be done at a lower cost if you build them yourself.  While this can save you money, it can also be time-consuming and confusing if you don’t have help from others who have done it before. Read more »

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Easy Upgrade Series: Counterflow Wort Chiller

We’ve posted several articles about the various methods of chilling your wort after brewing, and even using a pre-chiller, but I realized that we hadn’t gone into much depth on the various chillers, other than how to build a DIY immersion chiller.  Today, I wanted to talk a little about one of the more efficient (yet more expensive) chilling methods – a counter-flow wort chiller.

counter flow chiller

 

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