After switching to all grain, the ice bath method of cooling my wort was not working like it did with the extract batches. The full boils were just too much. It took about 60 minutes of ice bath time to cool 5.5 gallons of wort!
I have been looking at the different types of chillers online and I decided to go with an immersion wort chiller. Not just any immersion wort chiller, but the stainless steel version. I have no real reason to not want copper other than the fact that it tarnishes and then gets cleaned by the boiling wort. I also think that the stainless steel tubing might take more of a beating than the copper would. The price of the chillers was pretty much the same, the stainless version was a little cheaper so that made my decision easier.
I found this 3/8 inch by 50ft stainless immersion wort chiller for $71.99, and it is already home with daddy!
I have already been able to use the wort chiller on a batch of an all amarillo pale ale I made this last week (post on that coming soon!).
In Arizona, the ground water is very hot in the summer so I searched for a way to combat this problem. I decided to go with a small recirculation system using a small fountain pump and an ice chest. I thought about using 2 wort chillers, but this way was much cheaper. I was able to cool my 6 gallons of wort from boiling to 65F in just over 26 minutes! I bet it could have been faster if I got a better pump, but I am still happy with it. Maybe I will upgrade the pump in the summer.
Here is a photo of the setup. I ended up using a bigger ice chest and bought 2 huge bags of ice from Costco, the ice there is like $1.75 for per 20 pound bag.
Yep, thats the little pump I got from Home Depot. It is only 140 gallons per minutes, but it did the job.
Update: I checked out the NYBrewSupply website and seen the same wort chiller directly from them listed at $66.99. I checked and the shipping to me was $13.84. Only a 60 cent difference from them on Amazon so I am not upset, Amazon is easy to deal with if I did end up have a problem.
Compare the prices on both sites if you are interested in one.