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Old 11-22-2012, 01:52 PM   #1
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Default Chiller with reusable water supply

Hey all,

Since it takes so much water to chill a batch, which essentially just gets tossed on the lawn, I was thinking about making a more "closed loop" cooling system to chill the beer. What I'm thinking is, getting two large containers (ie. rubber trash cans) and fill up one of them with my cooling water. I would then pump from one can, through my chiller, then back into the second can. Since I only brew every 1-2 weeks, this hot water would have plenty of time to cool down to ambient temperature. Once it's cool, I can then reuse this water for the next batch, thus saving a lot of waste water.

There are some limitations, for example the volume of water required to chill a batch, and the ambient temperature (which the water would be at). This would work well in the winter here because I brew in the garage and it often hovers just above freezing in there. In the summer, I could get the bulk of my chilling done with this water (even if it's at 20-30°C), then finish it off with some cold tap/ground water.

While I might not be able to reuse 100% of this water, I think it would drastically cut down on my water usage.

I also have some concerns about this water getting "skunky" over time. Is there a way to disinfect this water for long term storage? Liquid chlorine? Some of this water may also end up as hot cleaning water after brewing, but never for consumption.

Anybody do anything similar?

Cheers

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Old 11-22-2012, 02:22 PM   #2
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Seems like it would work. You will definately want to disinfect the water supply. My hesitation with chlorine is that it will slowly come out of solution as it sits there and it vaporizes at a relatively low temp so when you are using it through your system the hot chlorine water will make your brewing area like a chlorine sauna. You may be better off using something like Starsan that is stable for long periods...maybe someone has a better idea for long term stability of a sanitizing agent than I do though.

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Old 11-22-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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I use my rain barrel water. This time of year water temp drops below 75*

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Old 11-23-2012, 04:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bensiff View Post
Seems like it would work. You will definately want to disinfect the water supply. My hesitation with chlorine is that it will slowly come out of solution as it sits there and it vaporizes at a relatively low temp so when you are using it through your system the hot chlorine water will make your brewing area like a chlorine sauna. You may be better off using something like Starsan that is stable for long periods...maybe someone has a better idea for long term stability of a sanitizing agent than I do though.
The reason I was thinking of liquid chlorine is because that's what is used in pools/hot-tubs. I suppose things might start getting a bit stinky as it heats up to near-boiling temperatures.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:05 PM   #5
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I brew in a location with no running water. A day before brew day I fill a 77L or 20.3 gallon trash can with my salt brine solution. This trash can is in the freezer, over night I take it to about 10 F or so. This can cool a 11 gallon batch well.

After flame out I whirlpool while I pump the salt brine through the chiller and back into another trash can that is waiting outside of the freezer. The salt brine is stored here until the next brew. I can get to lager temps with this setup. The trash can is not quite full, possibly down 3-5 gallons of splash room.

With the salt brine mixed as it is I have had no growth, smells, or anything odd go on with it. No treatment other than salt necessary.

I do not want to get the salt brine vs other anti freeze debate going.... I know the ups and downs of them and I have what I have.

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Old 11-23-2012, 04:14 PM   #6
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Interesting idea with the salt water... I don't know if I want to go through the trouble of getting another freezer, though. I wonder if keeping it at such a low temperature also inhibits any sort of growth.
In the winter time, I could likely just roll out a large bin full of salt water outside, then it would be nice and cold for brewing....

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Old 11-23-2012, 04:16 PM   #7
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ahh... one thing I forgot to say.

I use that freezer for fermentation also. So the only time it is freezing is the day before the brew, then the brine comes out and the fermenters go in. Then the temp is controlled at ferm temp.

Then the cycle repeats.

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Old 11-23-2012, 04:26 PM   #8
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Use a submersible pump. I wish I had a pix of my set up but basically I bought http://www.harborfreight.com/16-horsepower-submersible-utility-pump-68422.html and hooked up short garden hosing with quick disconnects. Then I bought http://morebeer.com/view_product/19525//Pre-Chiller_-_25_x_1_2%22_with_Brass_Fittings which I actually put in my kettle. I had a cheapie old wort chiller that now I turned into a post chiller.

I fill an 18 gallon plastic tub with rope handles with water and ice and the submersible pump through the larger chiller in the kettle out into a paint bucket with water and ice (post chiller) back into the plastic tub. I use about a 4ft by 4ft area. I don't use more than 23 gallons total (which I eventually water my plants with).

I run the submersible pump about 10 min without the ice to cool the wort down a little. Then I start adding in ice. I buy 2 large crushed ice bag which is more than enough. I stir my wort while the pump is running. Cools in less than 30 min to at least 65 degrees.

PS - I work for a water conservation agency so I am all about conserving water.

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Old 11-23-2012, 04:49 PM   #9
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I also try not to use too much water. I fill a 48qt cooler maybe 1/3 full with water and drop in my frozen 5 gl bucket from the freezer that's filled 3/4 and frozen solid. I run a line from the cooler drain plug to pump intake and the return from the chiller goes back into the cooler. When I am done I use the water for my plants over the next couple days.

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Old 11-23-2012, 05:00 PM   #10
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I wonder how much it costs to freeze 4 gallons of water. I've never figured it out but it would be interesting to compare the cost of 20 gallons of tap water to the cost of freezing that much ice. I don't think the price would be enough to sway anyone one way or the other but no one ever brings the cost of making ice into the argument when trying to save water.

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