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Old 03-16-2012, 07:33 PM   #1
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Default Brewhemoth glycol chiller test

For chilling on my Brewhemoth I am using their stainless immersion chiller. They 'stretched' the coils out at the factory for me like has been done by people on several other posts.

I have about 3 gallons of glycol in a tub in my freezer with a submersible aquarium pump (780 GPH). My first cheap harbor freight pump would not even move the liquid. The new one trickles out the return, but provides enough flow.
The freezer is set to max and gets the glycol down to about -20 degrees. I discovered that regular vinyl tubing gets way to brittle at that temperature and cracks creating a mess of glycol. Silicone tubing remains flexible. I am using a love controller to turn the pump on and off as needed.

Without insulation in a room that is 68-70 degrees I can maintain a temperature of 49-50. With a sleeping bag draped over the fermenter I got it down to 43 degrees. One problem I am seeing is that the pump is heating up the glycol faster than the freezer can chill it.

The next step is to insulate the fermenter. I'd like something that can easily be removed for cleaning and using heat wrap. What are people using to insulate theirs?

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Old 03-16-2012, 08:00 PM   #2
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do you have pics of your immersion coil spread out ?

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Old 03-16-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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So the freezer uses air to cool the glycol I guess? Just a thought, why not remove the evaporator from the freezer, and directly immerse the evaporator in the glycol? The direct contact would probably be much more efficient (and faster) than using air to liquid cooling.

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Old 03-16-2012, 09:28 PM   #4
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How about removing the pump from the bucket of glycol? I know a bunch of aquarium pumps can be used outside of the tanks. It would add an extra hose going from your glycol bucket to the pump, but that would keep the heat from the pump from warming up you glycol.

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Old 03-16-2012, 09:35 PM   #5
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How about removing the pump from the bucket of glycol? I know a bunch of aquarium pumps can be used outside of the tanks. It would add an extra hose going from your glycol bucket to the pump, but that would keep the heat from the pump from warming up you glycol.
wouldn't the pump then warm the freezer from the heat its producing then the freezer would be running none stop to combat the heat from the pump.
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:05 PM   #6
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Good suggestions. I don't want to tear apart my freezer though, since I use it for hop storage too.
The pump is a submersible pump so it needs to be in the glycol. I may look for a different pump that could be mounted outside of the freezer.
I think with some good insulation I can get to lagering temps now, just have to figure out the best material that can come off easily too.

I'll post a picture of the stretched chiller this evening.

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Old 03-17-2012, 01:29 AM   #7
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I used a mix of 2gal glycol to 2gal RO water. It won't freeze at that ratio at -20degF. My chiller coil isn't stretched... might have to go with that technique to avoid thermal stratification. That's been a big problem for me with this setup. The other is the massive amount of condensation I get when chilling to lager fermentation temps. Water drips down all over the valves and grows mildew in short order... not what I want on my nice clean butterfly valves!

I tried the sleeping bag method. It does help with the stratification, and of course the pump does run less often. Still drips condensation, and I end up with a soggy sleeping bag. BTW, with 65degF ambient, and no insulation, the chilling system holds 50degF at the bottom of the fermenter, with the glycol bath hovering around -5degF. BTW my cheapo chest freezer runs at about 100w about a third cycle duty to keep the air inside at -20degF.

I'm thinking now that I'll enclose the entire brewhemoth in an insulated cavity (maybe 4'' of foam), ditch the internal chiller, an use a transmission cooler/fan to chill the box. This method worked quite well to chill my blichmans... that is, before I sold them and bought a hemoth. I used a cooler full of ice water in that setup. Did not enjoy swapping out 2L bottles of ice every day though.

I don't like having to clean the chilling coil separately from the fermentor, for which I use a cip ball.

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Old 03-17-2012, 03:56 AM   #8
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I tried the sleeping bag method. It does help with the stratification, and of course the pump does run less often. Still drips condensation, and I end up with a soggy sleeping bag. BTW, with 65degF ambient, and no insulation, the chilling system holds 50degF at the bottom of the fermenter, with the glycol bath hovering around -5degF. BTW my cheapo chest freezer runs at about 100w about a third cycle duty to keep the air inside at -20degF.
Sounds almost exactly like my results and setup. I am leaning toward insulating with some flexible foam sheets - polyethylene or neoprene that I can strap on and easily remove. The other method I am considering is a rigid foam box I can set over it. I don't think it would work as well though.

I like the internal chiller. It is easier and I think cheaper than making a "jacketed" glycol line around the outside of the fermenter with copper tubing and I sure don't want to struggle with trying to put it inside a fridge after every brew. Here is a picture of the stretched version.

I plan on having a buddy weld a 1/2 threaded nipple on the chiller lid for a CIP ball (like nostalgia's) so that I can clean and sanitize it with the fermenter.

I can at least get down to lager fermenting temps. Anyway, I'd rather do the actual lagering in kegs in the fridge.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:04 AM   #9
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Any small magnetic drive pump mounted outside the freezer should work and not add heat to the system since the motor is separate from the head.

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Old 03-17-2012, 05:27 AM   #10
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The pump I use is a danner magdrive 5 or 7. Coolant barely dribbles back into the reservoir. I do think that the id of the coil could be larger.

Having the pump external to the freezer would add too many complications I think.

I thought about the foam box that you just drop on the whole thing idea too. Complicating the matter is the entrance and exit of the cooling tubes.

I'm going to try and stretch the coil, and then check to see how much difference that makes. I'm pretty sure I'll end up having some sort of chamber, as I also have a problem with heating and thermal stratification. I have a 200w heat mat stuck to the side.

Would be nice to have a glass door so I could see the stainless etc. Kinda like a peep show.

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