Exploring the Future: The Increasing Importance of Immersion


An Examination of Chilling in Brewing: A Comparative Analysis

Brewing requires a careful combination of art and science, precision and intuition. Crucial among this process is the cooling or chilling stage, which can greatly influence the final product. Today, we will explore chilling in detail; comparing the immersion chiller that comes with your Brisilla to a 50 foot half-inch immersion chiller, counter flow Kegland chiller, and a 50-foot 3/8-inch chiller.

Testing Procedure

Our cooling experiment involved chilling one batch at a time, ensuring equal conditions across all test cases. We will measure the chilling time and compare the efficiency of each system on a value-for-money basis. Our main goal is to figure out whether spending more money on a high-end chiller provides a noticeable increase in chilling efficiency.

The Counter Flow Chiller

The counter flow Kegland chiller was first in line. During the cooling process, it is essential to ensure that the circulating water remains cold. Interestingly, the output of the chiller at this point recorded drastically lower temperatures compared to the pre-chiller measurements. This difference highlights one of the counter flow chiller’s significant advantages: high-level cooling efficiency.

While the desired chilling temperature was about 66 to 68 Fahrenheit, the output recorded was in the low 70s within two minutes. The efficiency and speed of this chiller were surprising, achieving a steady temperature of 68 Fahrenheit in just under four minutes. The only downside is that cleaning isn’t as straightforward as with immersion chillers.

The Brisilla Immersion Chiller

Next, we tested the chiller that comes with the Brusilla unit. A system of coolant water and a recirculating arm was used to ensure optimal performance. The full process took about 9 minutes and 20 seconds, almost more than twice the time taken by the counterflow chiller.

The 50-Foot Half Inch Immersion Chiller

The 50-foot half-inch immersion chiller was then put to the test. This chiller managed to bring the temperature down to about 61 Fahrenheit in just under five minutes. This model is known for its efficiency and ease of cleaning, making it a popular choice for many brewers. Disadvantage includes higher costs compared to other immersion chillers.

The 50-Foot 3/8 Inch Immersion Chiller

Lastly, we tested the 50 foot 3/8 inch immersion chiller which showed a performance quite similar to its half inch counterpart but cooled at a slower rate, achieving the desired temperature in around 6.5 minutes.

Conclusion and Takeaways

When comparing the efficiency rates, the counter-flow chiller was the fastest among the four. However, the type of chiller you choose will depend on your specific circumstances and needs. Those who prioritize speed above all else may prefer the counter-flow chiller, while those who want an easy-to-clean solution may look towards immersion chillers.

It’s also important to remember that our tests were conducted with water, which may not behave exactly like wort during the chilling process. Also, ground water temperature can greatly influence the chilling results. The cooler it is initially, the faster the chill.

Experimenting with different cooling systems and considering the specificities of your brewing location and infrastructure will ultimately guide you towards the most convenient and efficient choice. Knowing your options and understanding how each one works will allow you to choose the one that best fits your brewing style. So now it’s your turn brewers, what do you use for chilling and how does it fare with your brews? Let us know in the comments below and happy brewing!

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About the Author: Mike Izzo


  1. Counter flow wins for me, and its already ordered. Every time I put the immersion cooler in the boil my temp drops way down and I have to wait for boil to start again. counter flow wins because its not hooked up until boil is over. No removing hop spider until cooled. No fing around.

  2. Thanks Paul! Would copper(*) have made a difference (i know this was geared for Brewzillas)?

    And what’s the build dimensions for that handy workbench we always see next to the wall?

    *edit: typo on copper…not cooper

  3. I just got an Exchillerator for my brewzilla. Would have gone with the kegland one if I knew it was out there. It cools down very quick. I'm in the San Francisco, CA area. I love the content you guys push out. Thank you!

  4. I’m in south Florida, our ground water is 80F. It takes more than 30 to chill a batch with a immersion chiller here. I might buy a second one and use some ice as a pre chill. But then again I can have most of my equipment cleaned in that 30 minutes. And I usually stick with warmer fermenting yeast during the heat scorching summers here since I don’t have temp control (yet).

  5. Super video. Just what I was looking for since I was wondering if I should go for a counterflow chiller. I currently use the standard one that comes with the brewzilla. Thank you for the super practical and useful content!

  6. I'm using the chiller that comes with the BZ gen4. Last time I used a low-medium stream of water from the hose, in order to waste a little less water. The pump is on 100% but even when using a full stream the performance isn't great. The manual also "kind of" suggests trying the Ice Bath method: pumping the wort through the chiller on an ice bucket. Haven't tried it yet but it SEEMS like it can be faster / waste less water. Of course you need ice but that's mostly planning. I'm not really sure about how much wort will be left inside the chiller tho. Anyway, will try this on my next brew.

  7. I made I own counter flow using 2 3/8” tubes in a 1 1/4 plastic tube. I can cool down to 50 degrees if I want to. With that it is gravity, fed right into my Fermentation container by controlling the water temperature and the flow of the beer reaching 68° ready to pitch right away.

  8. I use the grainfather counterflow chiller that was included with grainfather. Pretty good over the past 2 years. I love counterflow chillers because you can pretty much transfer your boiling wort to the fermenter and it cools along the way. Cheers and love your shop.

  9. I use an immersion chiller, but only about half of the coils are submerged. I have a small Anvil setup and would like to get a faster chiller. Currently it takes around twenty five minutes to cool 2.5 gallons of wort to 68.

  10. The only problem I have with the included immersion cooler is the diameter. My hop spider won't fit in it. Will a hop spider (mammoth brand) fit inside either of immersion types or would counterflow be better when using a hop spider?
    Just measured our cold water up here. 35.5f or 2c.

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