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Old 05-05-2005, 10:28 PM   #1
brewhead
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Default wort chillers and why

seriously how much time does a wort chiller take off the process? yes yes i know the contamination hazards of the wort - so why not just slap a lid on it and wait for a few minutes? what does the wort chiller give you that time does not?

additionally, i have seen most imersion chillers made of copper. any reason to suspect copper leach into the wort? copper isn't exactly condusive to humans in high quantities.

i know brewing with aluminium will give you alzheimers - what about copper

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Old 05-05-2005, 11:08 PM   #2
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Using my wort chiller and tap water, I cut down chilling time from close to an hour with a water/ice bath to about 20 minutes. Further, it helps with the cold break, giving me a much clearer wort than I ever produced before I started using the chiller.

Why copper? because it conducts heat readily, AND is easy to form. I doubt seriously that there is any copper leaching going on.

Oh, and don't talk so matter of factly about alzheimer's being caused by aluminum. That is just speculation and there is no proof one way or the other. Further, the chances of aluminum being in your finished product is extremely small anyway. Using an aluminum kettle is just as acceptable as using a stainless steel one. To each their own.

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Old 05-05-2005, 11:20 PM   #3
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I'm doing full batch (5gal) boils in a modified keg. Not many places to submerge that in an ice bath. I would hate to handle it too... a bit heavy. It would take forever to cool down on its own. I cool it down with a submerged wort chiller in under 15 minutes.

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Old 05-05-2005, 11:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Oh, and don't talk so matter of factly about alzheimer's being caused by aluminum. That is just speculation and there is no proof one way or the other. Further, the chances of aluminum being in your finished product is extremely small anyway. Using an aluminum kettle is just as acceptable as using a stainless steel one. To each their own
merely repeating what a trusted - and rather large local microbrewery is telling me. to steer way clear of aluminium.
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Old 05-06-2005, 04:55 AM   #5
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I wouldn't worry about the leaching of copper from a wort chiller. I know there is different chemistry, but my home's water supply is through copper pipes. Come to think of it, I think that everyone I know has copper pipes. And then there are those really fancy showcase copper breweries that I like to look at.
Copper good.
g

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Old 05-06-2005, 06:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewhead
merely repeating what a trusted - and rather large local microbrewery is telling me. to steer way clear of aluminium.
And the myth perpetuates. I don't know which angers me more - the myth passed on as a fact, or that it is a large microbrewery (isn't that an oxymoron, by the way?) that is passing it on, lending credence to the myth. Grrrrr.
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Old 05-06-2005, 12:08 PM   #7
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yo people don't get all bent. sheesh. i wasn't trying to agitate - believe me you'll know it when i do. but when someone gives me advice in an area in which i have little expertise i tend to take it into consideration. wouldn't you?

so everyone enhance your calm. i'm just asking straight up questions - all i want in return is straight up answers.

this guy runs a successful microbrewery - is obviously well versed in what he does as a profitable business - has been doing so for around 8 years now - has been a craft brewer for 20 years, and when he gives advice , any intelligent person would at least consider his opinion and advice - as i give somewhat the same considerations to what i read here. that's all - nothing nefarious - just looking for advice and experience.

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Old 05-09-2005, 03:18 PM   #8
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Ok, here are some observations on wort chilling:

Option 1: Turn off the burner and wait. It will take the better part of 8 hours for a full wort boil to come down to ambient temp. Maybe longer depending on what the ambient conditions are. Not exactly a practical solution. I wouldn't recommend this.

Option 2: If you submerge the kettle in a water bath, it will be quicker than Option 1 for sure. To take full advantage, you need to stir the wort which means you have to take the lid off and stick a spoon in which adds a risk of contamination. Not much, but a risk none the less. Plus, you have to handle a large and very heavy pot of boiling liquid, plus you have to change out your chilling water periodically. In a pinch, this option definitely works, but there are better options.

Option 3: The immersion chiller. A great and very cheap option to really speed up the process. You can put cut outs in the lid of your kettle so you can leave the lid on while chilling which reduces the exposure risk, plus the large surface area of all the coils of the copper tubing means larger and more efficient heat transfer, i.e. faster than Option 2. To really take advantage here, you still need to agitate the wort inside the kettle. You can move the chiller around or rock the kettle gently, just something to keep the wort moving inside.

Option 4: The counter-flow chiller. This is basically a tube inside a tube heat exchanger. By far the fastest and most efficient way to chill. It's fast because you get to chill and drain at the same time. Also, because the wort flowing through the chiller goes from near boiling to pitching temperature in just a few seconds, you get a great cold break which will lead to clearer beer later on. Also, since you don't need to agitate the wort inside the kettle while you are chilling, you can allow the trub in the kettle to settle for several minutes before chilling which will leave more trub behind in the kettle and not in the fermentor.

For better beer, quicker chilling is better. For small wort boils, Option 2 will work nicely, but for full wort boils of 5 gallons or more, Option 3 or 4 will give much quicker results and, in my opinion, a better chance of success due to minmizing exposure to ambient air. Personally, I like the counter flow chiller for speed and clarity. The drawback here is that it's more "stuff" to deal with and a bit more labor intensive on cleaning and sanitizing. The immersion chiller is usually the method of choice for most homebrewers. Probably the ideal trade off between speed and convenience.

Regarding copper in your beer, the answer is yes. Copper ions will make it into your pre-fermented wort with a chiller made of copper. The good news is that yeast can utilize copper as a nutrient and by the time fermentation is complete, the copper will be gone. In other words, don't worry about it. The only warnings I've ever seen regarding exposing beer to copper is with post fermented beer. Here, it is said that the copper reacts with the beer in such a way as to accelerate oxidation. I think this is still under debate. If you use glass and plastic to handle your post fermented beer, this is a non issue anyway.

Prosit,

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Old 05-09-2005, 04:03 PM   #9
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I just put filtered tap water into 1 gal containers (milk jugs never used for milk) into the freezer for several hours prior to brewing. I add 2 gals to the primary and pour in the wort (1.5 gals) then top off to 5 gals and stir.

The temp drops down into the 70s in seconds.

Never had a problem doing this.

A question to the copper wort chiller users...how many gallons of water do you pass through a hose to chill your 5 gallon batch? Anyone have a guestimation?

At 20 minutes to cool it down that's a lot of wasted water.

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Old 05-09-2005, 07:54 PM   #10
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Water your plants with it, clean up the brewery with it, run it through a filter and use it next time you brew. The chill water doesn't have to go to waste. The cold top up water trick sounds promising, but once you graduate to full wort boils, you have to find another method.

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