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Old 07-21-2008, 11:53 AM   #1
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Default Fountain pump chilling failure

I've been wanting to improve upon my ability to chill the wort down to a pitch-able temperature, and in that vein, went out to Lowe's to purchase a 210GPH fountain pump with a garden hose adapter. After letting the garden hose rip away at the boiling wort for a few minutes, I switched over to the pump, which I had in an icechest with ice water in it.

I was less than impressed with my results. The wort got down to 100d and then just stalled there. I added some more ice, and ran out... but still no change. I ended up switching back to the garden hose, which got it down to 85d after a grand total of 45 min after flameout.

So, it's taking quite a long time to get the stuff chilled, and I'm still not making what I'd consider an acceptable pitching temp. I don't know if I just need to add yet more ice, if I need to rumble the IC around more than I am, or if the pump just isn't pushing the water fast enough... but I'm kind of depressed that I might have wasted money on it.

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Old 07-21-2008, 11:59 AM   #2
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I use the same system and have found that in order to accelerate cooling a good amount of ice is needed. My brewing conditions are hostile given that I brew in Puerto Rico and the water coming out of the hose is at 92 F. In order for me to cool a 5 gallon batch in 15 minutes to 70 F I need to use 50 pounds of ice. So a lot of ice at the beginning of the chilling period is more effective that adding ice later.

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #3
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Are you stirring the wort in the opposite direction of the IC?

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
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I am wondering if the pump is moving the chilled water too fast through your IC too fast to take in heat from your wort.

What is the out going temp of the pump water? If it is still cool then this may be the case.

The reason for my thought is the water from the garden hose is moving slower than the pumped water. This gives the wort more exposed time to the cooler water and therefore transfers more heat.

Just a thought.

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:24 PM   #5
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I had a 165gpm pump that I picked up cheap on eBay. It didn't work very well, similar to what you report. Just not enough volume going through the IC. Now I use a 400gpm that came from HD and it has made a huge difference. Not as good as some here have reported, but I got down to 65 degrees in 20 minutes last night. (78 degrees room temp - w/ a 50ft IC)

I use a 5 gallon bucket right from the start and keep a constant flow of tap water going into it. I start with 4 one liter frozen water bottles in the bucket. They never completely melt. When the temperature gets to around 100 degrees I add the contents of my icemaker. The cubes are gone by the time I reach pitching temperature.

+1 for lots of easy stirring. How long is your IC? Is the water coming out really hot?
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew-Happy View Post
I am wondering if the pump is moving the chilled water too fast through your IC too fast to take in heat from your wort.
No such thing. The faster the better. Only bad thing is a waste of water. If it comes out cold you are effectively using the full length of your chiller. If it comes out warm the last part of your chiller is not transfer the cold into you wort. More pressure or colder water will speed things up.
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:41 PM   #7
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Instead of just moving the IC around, I recommend whirlpooling it the fastest you can with a sanitized spoon. If the output water is still under about 65F, I would definitely slow the flow down a bit. If it's coming out 90 or more, I would say speeding up the flow would help. This can be done by making sure your ice bin is at about the same level as your kettle so it doesn't have to fight head pressure.

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:42 PM   #8
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My IC is a 25' with 3/8"Dia. tube (the standard chiller from AHS). I suspect that I didn't have enough ice, as I bought a 10# bag, but it sat in the ice chest for the brew day, and by the time I added hose water to it, they melted down pretty substantially.

I did not put a thermometer onto the outlet from the chiller when using the pump, but from my guestimation on feeling it, it was roughly ten degrees warmer than the hose water (I'd wager somewhere in the mid 90's). At first. I did feel a cooling of that outlet before I gave up and went back to the hose.

I gave stirring a shot, and found it to be cumbersome, trying to get a stir inside that 9" space inside the IC. But I might not have committed as much as I could have. The most progress I encountered from 100d to 85d was when I started "bobbing" the chiller around inside the kettle, while hosing off the outside of the kettle with the outlet from the IC.

Next time, I may try more ice (a couple 20# bags which I will keep in the deep freezer until flameout), and I'll commit to stirring the wort more... and see if these adjustments will help.

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Old 07-21-2008, 12:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
I would say speeding up the flow would help. This can be done by making sure your ice bin is at about the same level as your kettle so it doesn't have to fight head pressure.

That thought had occurred to me when I stood back and took in the scene. Next time, I will also put the ice chest onto one of my patio chairs, to get some elevation.
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:49 PM   #10
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I start out with tap water and stir gently. It takes about 10 - 15 mins to get to around 90F. Then I switch to the fountain pump(280gph) with 10# of ice. Again stir gently and it takes about 10 - 15 minutes to get to 70F. By then the ice is gone. If I am doing a lager I use another 10# bag of ice and stir. I get to 55F in 10 - 15 mins.

20 - 30 mins for 70F and 30 - 45 mins for 55F.

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