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Old 09-23-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Cold Liquor Tank

That's right kids, time for another "what if" post by the WortMonger. Some of you will be like WTF???, why can't this guy just do "this." Well, I have to talk things out to understand them better and to completely shut out old ideas that are starting to pile up in my brain, so please understand where I am coming from and take pity on an old brewer if ya can see yourself to. (ie I have read all those posts of things being done and I would like them compared to this/these ideas with numbers, not just personal opinions please)

The plot of the story... (ok, probably dumb idea... there, ya happy now) is contemplation of using another piece of brewing equipment for more than just one use. I like my brewing to be as universal as possible, and I try to consolidate as much as I can. So, I have this electronic temperature controlled chest freezer and I am reading an article in Brewing Techniques. This idea hits me when I was on the throne; I could use my chest freezer to either make ice blocks for chilling (and not have to get a bucket for the ice water recirculating that some of you do), or fill with water and use as a true cold liquor tun. Brewpastor did an excellent write-up about his homemade Temperature Controlled Fermentation (glycol chilling reservoir), and it is what triggered me thinking. The freezer can obviously hold that much liquid (upwards of 65 gallons) without busting the sides out, might make for a good cold liquor tun for chilling the wort before becoming hot liquor water to use for cleaning after brewing.

I have a three tier setup, and always run my tap water from the Therminator to the HLT first. 15.5 gallons, of then hot tap liquor, fills quickly and I have to stop to run it outside until I reach tap temperatures in the kettle (I recirculate wort back into the kettle during the chill). Doesn't take very long, maybe 10-15 minutes or so to get 12.5 gallons to tap temp (65*F-75*F season dependent). But... I still wonder the best way, with what I have, to get me down to lager temperatures of 45*F or less (65*F for my cold pitch ales) no matter the season or reason.

This is where the information (scientific hopefully) will come in handy from you guys. Let us take my worst case scenarios, and roll with them shall we? 12-13 gallons of 212*F wort down to 45*F is a lot to drop in temperature(167*F worth). I have already talked about my current procedure, so I already understand I could still use my tap to get me to 75*F, have a HLT full of hot water for cleaning, and still have more hot tap water to fill my MT with at this point before doing anything. Here's where my main questions come into play!

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Why not just fill my freezer with enough water to chill my wort to my wanted temperature of 45*F, and heat the fill water to the tuns in the process? What temperature should I look for in my chill water if I do this way? Or... would it be more efficient/practical to make ice in the freezer, add enough 75*F tap water to it, and then use that water to chill on the way to the tuns? How much would be enough water to add in either case? Without the ice route, I would simply dump any "excess of tun(s)" water the same as I do with the "tap only" setup I do now. With ice in the freezer I could recirculate back into the freezer if that would be better, and use less water...right?
Please help me think this out with numbers and good retort from you guys. I don't want to use more water than I need to (must be the Eagle Scout/conservationists in me), even though water is not scarce. I also don't want to go buy more containers for brewing than I have now, if I can help it by using something I already have. Cold liquor tuns have their place, as stated in the BT article, and my freezer wouldn't be used for anything prior to fermentation. So... I thought it might be a good fit for my intended purpose. Input your knowledge O'knowledgeable confederates... PLEASE!!!!
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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Why not copy Yorgs ice inside of pipe ice bank method http://picasaweb.google.com.au/YorgTheodore/ShareOnline#5356097670941569362.

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Old 09-23-2009, 07:32 PM   #3
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Scientifically, would that work for 13 gallons of wort with tap only water? I like the idea, just need some more info.

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Old 09-23-2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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If the volume and temperature change are known then the amount of ice needed can be calculated and the number of pipes you would need. The copper tubing in pipe ice bank method should be easy to copy, you could parallel the pipes to keep pressure drop down to where a march pump could handle it.

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Old 09-23-2009, 07:44 PM   #5
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How exactly does it work? The copper pip contains the chilling water that is recirculated to and from my Therminator? If that is the case won't a thermal barrier build around the pipe and the ice lowering cooling efficiency? I'm liking the idea and want more knowledge on the subject.

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Old 09-23-2009, 07:51 PM   #6
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By using a glycol mix inside the copper tube, and using multiple tubes in each pipe you could parallel the tubing and pump through the heat exchanger for chilling. The ice melt will drop the efficiency so you would have to overdesign the total cooling reserve to compensate. The colder the starting point, the lower the flow needed to hold temperature, as ice melts the flow will have to increase to hold temperature.

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Old 09-23-2009, 07:54 PM   #7
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Seems more difficult than what I proposed. How do I get the hot water I want for cleaning, as well as this is another added brewing gadget? Thinking it out, but thanks so much for your input kladue. You are always a big help.

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:00 PM   #8
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From an energy use standpoint, you'd have to ask several questions.

In your current method of making ice to chill tap water for the very last bit of cooling, do you ever make too little or too much ice?

If you can figure it to the point where you only chill the exact amount of water need to hit pitching temps OR make exactly the amount of ice necessary, the energy use would be the same. Ice has more heat capacity once it's ice, but it takes quite a bit more energy to make a gallon of ice than it does to make a gallon of 33F water.

The other question is whether or not to run the big reservoir of chilled water as the ONLY coolant. It would be really fast, but wouldn't be as cheap as taking it down to 90F with tap water first would. People always center in on saving water because it's so tactile. You see the water (potentially) running down the driveway. However, making water cold or frozen via electricity displaces the environmental impact all the way back to the coal smokestack down in where ever, USA.

I'd still want to hold the water in some kind of water tight basin. The seams inside my 2 year old chest freezer are already getting a bit rusty and that's just from condensation, not full submersion.

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:02 PM   #9
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I will tinker with this idea and see what I can come up with that would allow for one heat exchanger and a hyrbrid approach, water for reheat, then chilled coolant for final temperature drop.

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:06 PM   #10
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Great info Bobby_M!!! This is my biggest thought on the process, and I wasn't really wanting to make ice. I do know that some ice will be made on the walls of the cooler during the lowering of the water to 33*F. I was hoping having just enough water (trial and error) to accomplish my goal would be the way to go. I have 65 gallons capacity to play with in the initial process. Figured/hoping I wouldn't need that much, but I do not know right this second. I have never made ice to chill as of yet, still haven't pulled a low temperature lager ferment yet, but I really want to and that is why I need to know all this stuff. Thanks for any more input, I knew I could get some helpful thoughts flowing from you guys.

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