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Old 04-20-2006, 08:31 PM   #1
GregKelley
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Default Counterflow Chillers

All of the counterflows I have seen say they work by attaching to a spicket at the bottom of your boiling vessel. My boiling vessel is merely a 6-7 gallon pot.

Can a counterflow work in such an envionment by just using my siphon? My racking cane at the end of my siphon is plastic. Will it melt in hot wort?

Are counterflows that much more efficient than immersion coolers with respect to water needed and time it takes to cool? How can one make an immersion cooler more efficient?

Has anyone taken a stainless steel pot and put a spicket on it? If this can be done, i would still want to use the pot on my stove to boil my wort.

-Greg

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Old 04-20-2006, 09:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregKelley
Can a counterflow work in such an envionment by just using my siphon? My racking cane at the end of my siphon is plastic. Will it melt in hot wort?
I would expect it to melt or at least to deform. But there are SS racking canes available. I just don't like them since I cannot see if there is gunk inside.

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Are counterflows that much more efficient than immersion coolers with respect to water needed and time it takes to cool?
yes they are.

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How can one make an immersion cooler more efficient?
By using longer copper tubing. Especially in the upper portion of the wort since that's where the wort will stay the hottest. The best imersion chiller design would be concentrical coils that lay just beneth the surface of the wort. As the wort cools it will sink to the bottom and you will get the inverse wort circulation that you would get during boiling. But this design is more difficult to build (less stable) and it will need to be suspended.

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Old 04-20-2006, 10:25 PM   #3
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go with 50ft of copper tubing and consider a prechiller for hot summer days. 50ft is fairly efficient, it is a noticeable improvement over 25ft.

I like the idea of a counterflow but I know from experience how my copper coils look after a few weeks - all that corrosion. Some is not bad but I think the blue green stuff is particularly bad. I just have difficulty trusting that the inside of the thing isn't full of crud or corrosion. Couple that with the increased difficulty of sanitizing the thing and I'll stick with immersion. Most around here would probably disagree with me.. this is just my opinion, take it for what its worth.

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Old 04-20-2006, 10:34 PM   #4
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Some people use a pre-cooler, which is nothing more than a small chiller in a bucket of ice water. You could make a larger chiller as suggested and use the old one for the pre-cooler. Since I get 55F water year round, I haven't needed it. I could see your tap water getting a bit warm in the summer. Grew up in Illinois and in the summer, you could let the tap run for ten minutes and not get cool water.

About the only thing I can add is counter-flow coolers are much more efficient, they chill the wort as fast as it flows through them. One minus, the cold break ends up in the fermenter.

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Old 04-20-2006, 11:40 PM   #5
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I just take a big picnic cooler, and for a day or two before brew day dump ice in it from my icemaker. While the wort is boiling, I fill the cooler the rest of the way with water. I then siphon this chilly water (usually sub-40 degree) through my immersion chiller, using a small fountain pump to start the siphon flow going. The wort is usually chilled before the cooler runs out of water - about 15 to 20 minutes.

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Old 04-21-2006, 05:43 PM   #6
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Gentlemen,

Thanks for the advice. I was wavering towards making my own counterflow but the fact that:

1. you can't be sure you got it clean
2. the cold break makes it to the fermenter

Has me thinking that an immersion chiller with a prechiller might be the way to go. How many feet of coil do you suggest putting into the wort and how many feet into the prechill bath?

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Old 04-21-2006, 06:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregKelley
1. you can't be sure you got it clean
That is the CFCs biggest disadvantage

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2. the cold break makes it to the fermenter
You want that. At least some of the cold trub should be present in the fermenter.

Kai
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
You want that. At least some of the cold trub should be present in the fermenter.
I thought this cold break is what imparts the buttery "homebrew" taste that one wants to avoid. How much do you want? Yeah, that's probably a dumb question.
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregKelley
I thought this cold break is what imparts the buttery "homebrew" taste that one wants to avoid. How much do you want? Yeah, that's probably a dumb question.
Not that is not a dumb question at all. The buttery taste usually comes from diacetyl produced by the yeast. To my knowledge this is not a affected by the trub.

I have found references in the literature that the complete removal for hot and cold break from the fermenter results in an empty tasting beer. Some sources say that at least 30% of the cold break should remain in the fermenter. Homebrewers are fine with getting 100% of the cold break in the primary. Some even dump everything (hot and cold break) in w/o any harm.

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Old 04-21-2006, 06:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
The buttery taste usually comes from diacetyl produced by the yeast.
So, how does one get rid of that?

I believe I've hijacked my own thread to ask a different question...
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