Can I cool down the wort with only city water?
Some brewers have planned to cool down the wort using only city water. While this is possible, we do not recommend it.
For cooling the wort with only city water, a single-stage heat exchanger is required. According to our standards, we suggest using cold water at around 3-5 degrees Celsius for single-stage cooling. However, to be honest, city water in most countries cannot reach such low temperatures throughout the year. It usually ranges between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, depending on the season…
Therefore, the wort may initially cool down to 30 degrees Celsius, and the remaining temperature can be reduced using the cooling jacket before pitching the yeast. This method works, but it is not as ideal as using a heat exchanger, as the cooling jacket has lower efficiency.
If it is allowed, we still recommend using cold water (chilled city water) with a single-stage heat exchanger, or cold water and glycol water with a double-stage heat exchanger.
Tips for Controlling the Cooling Process in a Reasonable Time
We advise that the flow rate of the city water should be the same as the flow rate of the wort inside the heat exchanger. We usually recommend a pressure of 2 bars for the city water source. Therefore, if you are using inline-filtered city water from an RO machine or water softener, it is common for the water flow at the first stage to be insufficient. As a result, the wort temperature cannot reach the desired temperature during the first stage.
We typically set the temperature of the glycol water tank at 23-26°F (-2℃ to -5℃).
(1) The glycol concentration should be no less than 30% if you set the temperature at 23-26°F, otherwise, the chiller compressor may freeze and get damaged. Normally, this ratio of glycol water can be maintained for around 2 years. After two years, please check and add new glycol into the GWT.
(2) Additionally, during winter, please cover the chiller to prevent snow and cold rain from falling into it. If snow or water enters the chiller, it can accumulate around the compressor and chiller heat exchanger, causing freezing. Freezing is dangerous for the chiller.