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Old 12-08-2008, 11:35 AM   #1
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Default How to unclog a ChillZilla?

Yup.....I'm an idiot. I used whole hops in a celebration ale clone yesterday. It was a 10 gallon batch, so I used about 4 oz whole and 2 oz pellets. I have a basic 1/2" diptube at the wall of the kettle, and I guess I figured the whole hops would form a nice bed and allow the wort to pass.

I couldn't have been more wrong. The chilzilla CFC clogged after 5 mins, and HARD. I even attached silicone tubing to the hose and tried to blow it out, but the pressure made the hose balloon out like a water weenie!

I tried to run a small tubing brush inside there, but there's a good obstruction that won't loosen.

I'm thinking about trying:

1. Put it in the oven at 200f for a few hours to dry the whole hops out. They won't be so swollen and should shrink as they dry.

2. Use the safe, enzymatic kind of drano?

3. Hook a pressure rated, braided hose onto it and try again to flush it out....

4. Somehow hook up my co2 to it at a high PSI and try to blow it out?

What do you guys think? Anyone have this happen to them? I'm for sure going to use some kind of braid if I do this again.

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Old 12-08-2008, 01:10 PM   #2
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I'd do the oven and the CO2.

One thing though -- when you turn on the CO2, don't look down into the hole

Oh yeah, and video tape this - It would make a great YouTube!!

"Rocket Lauched Hops"

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Old 12-08-2008, 01:29 PM   #3
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Oh yeah, and video tape this - It would make a great YouTube!!

"Rocket Lauched Hops"
Definitely video! I am looking into getting you some sort of distinction for being one of the few if not the only one to plug up that type of CFC!
You are good!
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:32 PM   #4
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I think I'd try the braided hose and some water pressure. The silicone tubing I have is only rated to 5 psi so I can imagine it not allowing you to put much water pressure behind it (I've had the same issue with it balooning out when I'm cleaning out my CFC with house water pressure)

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Old 12-08-2008, 01:45 PM   #5
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I think I'd try the braided hose and some water pressure. The silicone tubing I have is only rated to 5 psi so I can imagine it not allowing you to put much water pressure behind it (I've had the same issue with it balooning out when I'm cleaning out my CFC with house water pressure)
Good to know....I knew it wasn't rated for pressure....but I didn't think it was as low as 5 psi. Scared the hell out of me when I saw the hose ballooning, because it's expensive stuff. It seems to be intact and functional, so I should be good to go.

Actually, sink water pressure is surprisingly high. I think the easiest way would be to try again with a different hose, and just put the whole thing in a basin to contain the blast. If that doesn't work, then I think I'll put the thing in a warm oven for several hours to dry it out, and try using co2. Draino, while *supposedly* safe, should be the last resort.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:37 PM   #6
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I'd soak in hot PBW. If that doesn't do it then straight up sodium hydroxide or caustic will dissolve about anything but I'm not certain what the chillzilla was brazed with so I'd ask around it caustic is safe for the brazing.

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Old 12-08-2008, 02:48 PM   #7
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Backflush with city pressure with any hose that is NOT silicone. It will work.

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Old 12-08-2008, 06:17 PM   #8
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I'd soak in hot PBW. If that doesn't do it then straight up sodium hydroxide or caustic will dissolve about anything but I'm not certain what the chillzilla was brazed with so I'd ask around it caustic is safe for the brazing.
This is a great question. It appears to be soldered with a bronze/gold material....why they didn't choose to solder with silver solder, I don't know. Maybe it's for higher temps? This is the main reason I'm leery about putting it in the oven.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:26 PM   #9
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wouldn't think the temps you're talking about would be an issue for solder or brazing. I mean, the thing is rated at LEAST for 212F (boiling point) and the solder requires more than that to melt. I'd be a little more nervous about adding caustic.

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Old 12-09-2008, 08:14 PM   #10
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Steve recommended I ask this here:

Not to take this off-topic but my understanding is that there's no issues with having the cold break in the primaries (6 gallon carboys) correct? I swear I read that somewhere here. If yes, and the cold break compresses nicely over time, why do some people try and keep the cold break out of the fermenters?

(FWIW, I'm trying to determin if I should do the recirc through a CFC back into the BK to have the cold break in there or just go right into the fermenters).

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