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Old 02-25-2013, 02:22 PM   #1
frenchy9991
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Default keggle chiller

Just finished my keggle build, but after buying all the fittings and a new banjo burner, i'm pretty tapped out. Instead of buying a wort chiller before brewing my next batch, im considering using my old stock pot as an immersion chiller filled with ice water. Anyone else doing this? has it posed any problems for you?

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Old 02-25-2013, 02:31 PM   #2
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You just won't get the kind of surface area you need. You'll end up chilling a very thin layer and unless you move it around constantly, it'll be really slow. Plus you'll run the risk of tipping the contents into the wort. Make your own immersion chiller for not TOO much $$ using a 1/2 soft copper coil. Or, you can try no chill, leave it overnight covered. Pretty stress free if you ask me.

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Old 02-26-2013, 02:25 AM   #3
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i like the let it sit overnight idea but i've heard that putting a lid on the wort while it cools can produce off flavors from the drippings. any truth to this you think?

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Old 02-26-2013, 11:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchy9991
i like the let it sit overnight idea but i've heard that putting a lid on the wort while it cools can produce off flavors from the drippings. any truth to this you think?
I believe this is true when you are using a large percentage of pilsner malts. I've not tried the no-chill method myself, but suggesting it as an option. Do a search on no-chill here and you'll turn up all kinds of stuff.
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:18 PM   #5
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Realize that in a keggle, a large potion of the built up heat that you're trying to dissipate is stored in the stainless keg itself. They've got fairly thick sides and bottoms. If you're going to avoid an immersion chiller and have a reasonable cooling time, you need to cool the keg (spray with garden hose, but risks contamination) or remove the fluid from it before chilling.

Lets try to think up some crazy ways to do this...

You don't say how big your batches are, but you can fit a gallon of wort into five 1-quart mason jars, or even a tiny bit more if you really squeeze it. A case of twelve will set you back $10 at Walmart, plus tax, and that includes the lids and rings to seal them up. Two cases -- $20 worth -- would hold a 5-gallon post-boil volume. Four cases -- $40 worth -- would hold a 10 gallon post-boil volume. Put the lid on gentle, then tighten the ring finger tight (just enough to hold the lid tight enough to not leak liquid when shaken), toss them in a fridge or freezer or both, and you're there. The cooling will create a vacuum that will suck the lids down for a nice temporary seal. If you're worried about shocking the glass, you could pre-warm the jars to 150F in the oven. Better yet, you could bake them at 250F for 30 minutes to sterilize, then cool to 150F.

Or, transfer the wort out of the keggle, pouring it from as high as you can while still being able to cool the stream, into your old kettle. That'll knock off 20 degrees or so. Into the pre-heated mason jars and then into a warm water bath. Then a cool water bath. Then an ice water bath. The increased surface area will work to your advantage here. Or, into the fridge until below 100F, then straight into a cooler full of ice water.

Mason jars are super useful in a brewery (hops storage, canned starter, canned priming sugar, specialty grain storage, adjust or finings storage, etc etc), so it's not like they become useless once you can afford to get that IC eventually.

Or stir like hell with a power drill. I use a helical paint mixer in a power drill to circulate large amounts of wort around my IC. My paint mixer was $7 at Home Depot. -link- Be sure to boil the fins once before using in wort. As a bonus, you're aerating at the same time.

Do any of these whacky ideas help?

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
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actually yes! my swmbo collects mason jars so ive got a ton lying around. I'm going to try that as im installing a spigot on my keggle so that should work really well. i'll post back after my next brew day and tell you how it went.

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Old 02-28-2013, 05:13 PM   #7
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Well there ya go then!

Make sure you don't use the big 1/2 gallon ones. I have 6 cases of those buggers and can tell you they'd take forever to cool.

Ask her if she's got any spare lids that have already been boiled once before buying new ones. Many canners only boil lids once, then re-use them for dry storage until they fail. Mine all have a red X on them if they've been boiled.

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Old 03-01-2013, 10:33 PM   #8
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Just curious, the lids have all been boiled several times and are showing a little rust, do you think oxiclean would make them "food safe" again?

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Old 03-02-2013, 03:06 AM   #9
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Just curious, the lids have all been boiled several times and are showing a little rust, do you think oxiclean would make them "food safe" again?
It's not about the rust.

Once lids have been boiled once, the sealing material on the underside gets brittle and becomes less likely to seal properly. If the seal gives, oxygen and organisms ingress, and then you have a serious problem. Unlike a normal environment where nasty organisms have to compete with bacterium that don't harm us, those nasties will have free reign of a nutrient-rich, sterile environment.

In short, no. Don't boil lids twice. Don't re-use boiled lids for anything other than shelf-stable things like malted grain. There's too much at risk (wort materials lost, sickness or even death from botulism) when a pack of 12 lids is $3 or so. Write it off as a cost of storing.

If you don't boil them, they can be used many many times over. Years, even.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:04 AM   #10
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wow thats good to know, i'll have to tell the swmbo because i dont think she knows that either.ill check the local grocery store for some new lids i wasnt aware they were available

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