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Old 11-09-2009, 05:58 PM   #1
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Default Counterflow funk

So I went to go brew the other weekend- and as the mash was doing it's thing- I got to sanitizing my counterflow chiller. I will use an auto-siphon to pump starsan through the thing for a few min, then let it sit in it while the rest of the brewday commences, and drain it when it's time to use it. But This time- I noticed that I have a thin flaky film of...Something....that appeared to be flaking off the inside of the chiller. I was most displeased, and got an immersion chiller to use that day. (good think my buddy was home).
I've looked around Very briefly on here and saw that others have had an issue with residue with Starsan- but I'm familiar with that soapy-greasy residue- and this is not that. I was considering that I might have Some bug in there- but what is going to live in a tube that has been cleaned before and after each use with starsan? I was wondering if it's just oxidized copper- but I feel like I would recognize that.... this stuff looked like if it was real thick- it might be opaque- but the color I'm uncertain of.......It looked brown/green/yellow/ TOO transparent to tell.
Anyone have this issue- or know what I'm doing wrong?

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Old 11-09-2009, 06:05 PM   #2
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personally i allow boiling wort to flow through mine to sanitize. They are notoriously hard to clean but if your getting stuff sluffing off i would boil some water and flush it through. You could also just toss the whole CFL(if its all copper like mine) into a pot of boiling water to clear it out

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Old 11-09-2009, 06:12 PM   #3
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Boiling the whole thing Does sound nice- but I made it at home- It's half copper, half garden hose.

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Old 11-09-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Star-san isn't a cleaner, it's a sanitizer. You need to do a thorough flush with a strong cleaning solution like bleach or oxyclean if you think there's something growing in there.

I use a little $20 aquarium pump to run liquids through my CFC for cleaning. Before using the CFC, I run hot water through it for about 5 minutes. Then I mix up a strong oxyclean solution and run that through it for about 5 minutes. Then I run about a quart of star-san at normal dilution through it and turn off the pump. I let it sit for 5 minutes, then flush with hot water again for about a minute, and finally disconnect the pump and drain out the CFC.

After using the CFC, I do a 5 minute flush with hot water, then drain it. As long as I rinse it throughly like this, I don't seem to get anything growing inside the CFC for the week or two that it sits on a shelf between brew days.

If you are getting copper oxidization, you'll know because oxidized copper is bright blue. If you leave star-san in your CFC too long, you will see bright blue liquid come out when you rinse it; it has happened to me before. If it happens too many times, you'll eventually eat a hole in the coil and ruin the CFC.

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Old 11-18-2009, 01:20 AM   #5
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Reese - I am curious to learn about the pump you are using ... i am new to the CFC thing. I need a pump to start a siphon ... or some other way to get the boiling wort from the kettle into the CFC (kettle does not have a spigot).

Also, how do you keep 'stuff' from the kettle out of the CFC (hops, grain bits, etc.) ??

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Old 11-18-2009, 10:45 AM   #6
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Jayareo- in my case- the kettle does have a spigot- with a screen on the inboard side. I also use a steeping bag for hops because the screen is not That great. And if I'm doing a lager- I ALWAYS let the cold break settle and then rack it into another carboy that I pitch the yeast into.

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Old 11-18-2009, 02:40 PM   #7
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While I agree starsan is a sanitizer, it's also an acid and cleans copper really well. Leave a dirty old fitting sitting in some overnight. Better yet, leave half of it immersed and half not.

One of the best ways to clean the inside of a CFC is to leave starsan in overnight and then flush it. Follow with a foam earplug blasted through under city water pressure. This requires a more robust connection than a piece of tubing clamped on. I only did this every 8 batches or so. In between I'd just flush it with cold water after the batch and run boiling wort through it prior to chilling.

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:44 PM   #8
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Wow Bobby, sounds like a good idea with the earplug but aren't you worried about it getting stuck? I guess if it did you could use compressed air to follow it up.

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:48 PM   #9
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I always just shoot a hose through mine after chilling, withing like 3 seconds the water is running clear. Then before next use I funnel starsan through it. No problems or weird stuff coming out yet...

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:52 PM   #10
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I clean my plumbing with 140F Oxi and then 140F Star San. Never had any build up.

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