So for the few months that my wife & I have been brewing, we've been using the sink/icebath method of cooling our wort. This is mostly because of our erratic brewing schedule. Every cost, no matter how small, takes months to be "worth it" meaning we're not going to be buying a chiller anytime soon.

We do have a lot of laboratory glassware in our basement however, and among those more esoteric pieces, is a 300mm Graham condenser. Despite not being designed for it, I'm finding a hard time seeing any reason why I couldn't place the condenser over the primary, and siphon our hot wort through it, while running cold water (our groundwater is COLD) through the jacket.

I did some tests earlier today (boiling water), and got a ~70degree drop depending on my flow rates. This makes me think that I should be able to siphon through the condenser into an icebath, and have drastically reduced cooling times.

Okay, so now please tell me what I'm missing, because if I'm not missing anything, I'm gonna do this with our next brew on Tuesday.

EDIT: gramamr ;)

1 Answer 1


Seems like a good idea, especially if you tested it with boiling water it and it worked, and you sanitize it well. You would also want to make sure your siphon and tubing are all good for hot liquids. The only potential problem I can think of is that borosilicate glass (which I'm assuming is what your condenser is made out of) is very resistant to temperature shock, but it's not copper or stainless steel. I'm not a materials scientist, but it's still glass - I would think that after repeated use under the stress of extreme rapid heating and cooling, it could eventually start to crack.

  • +1 I agree that this should work, but also my only question would be how it would hold up to wear. But I guess, if it's made for hot chemicals in chemistry, where should there be the harm?
    – hartski
    Aug 19, 2012 at 13:06
  • @paul Thanks. It is borosilicate, (as is all pyrex LABware to my knowledge) which is what gave me this idea in the first place, but after mulling it over for a bit, I'm starting to think maybe I should just put all my glassware up on eBay and buy a metal chiller, if only for peace of mind.
    – Peter R
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:01
  • Yea, probably worth the peace of mind. I got a used morebeer.com chiller from a guy in my homebrew club, but I remember this place having some that were cheaper than I could find elsewhere nybrewsupply.com/wort-chillers.html
    – paul
    Aug 19, 2012 at 17:49
  • 2
    I think the metal chiller will also be a lot more efficient.
    – mdma
    Aug 19, 2012 at 19:26

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