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Old 10-04-2007, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default Daisy-chained CFCs/plate chillers

OK, so a little light went on in my head today (or maybe off, it's hard to say).

Anyway, there's been several threads this summer about trouble cooling with hot ground water. My last brew session was the first time I tried the technique of recirculating the wort through the chiller (I have a CFC) and back into the kettle until the wort's down to ~ 120' and then pump ice water through the chiller as the wort makes its final pass into the fermenter.

This may not take that long with 5.5 gal batches, but with 11 gals it really seemed to take too long.

Now, here's the idea. Any of you do this?

Why not just daisy-chain two counterflow (or plate) chillers together and effectively chill your wort in a single pass? If you use your warm hose water in the first CFC, the exiting wort will be 90-ish (at least it was for me), and then ice water pumping through the 2nd CFC can easily get the wort down (below) pitching temps.

I know it requires the extra cost of another chiller, but I've invested SOOOO much more than an extra chiller in other parts of my brewery. It seems like worth it to me to take the extra step out and get the wort chilled that much faster - especially with 10 gal batches.

The only counter argument I could see is that you may not get the entire batch cooled below 140' as fast as the recirculate first method, but I'm not sure. I think I could pump the entire batch through in about the same time to get it cooled below 140'. It would be really close anyway.

Comments?

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Old 10-04-2007, 09:27 PM   #2
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The point of recirculating is to drop the whole volume of wort faster for less DMS production and locking in the aroma hops. If you're pumping icewater through the chiller, there's no reason why it wouldn't cool enough on a single pass. In fact, when I first unleashed my DIY CFC, my tap water was only 55F and the wort went in at 210F and came out at 59F. Had to slow the coolant down. The temp of icewater is about 32F so even if you ran through all your ice up front, the first half of the wort would be down in the 40's and later warmed to pitching by the second half at 80F. Make sense?

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Old 10-04-2007, 09:41 PM   #3
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Hmmm. Couple of questions.

Do you use a submersible pump + ice water? What is the flow rating? I don't think my little submersible pump (160 or 190 gph) is enough to effectively chill it in a single pass without really throttling the March pump. It would probably work with a bigger pump and a huge amount of ice water to start out with. You wouldn't want to recirculate the hot water exiting the chiller.

Do you really think you can get the entire kettle down below 140' faster than you could pump it out if you were chilling in a single pass? Not with the 85' tap water we've got here.

How long is your CFC? Mine's 25'. I guess that's fairly standard. Anyway, I don't think there's any way I could use mine with 55' tap water to cool the wort to 60' in a single pass (without really restricting the pump). I'm wondering how much better any of this would be with a plate chiller.

I guess my original point was trying to devise a way to chill the wort in a single pass in the summer at full throttle with the March pump. I think that's a tall order but something my idea could accomplish.

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Old 10-04-2007, 09:44 PM   #4
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How long is your CFC? Mine's 25'. I guess that's fairly standard.
I just realized how gay that sounded. No f@ggotry intended.
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:39 PM   #5
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would a plate chiller like a therminator work even better if you submerged it in an ice bath ?

also, it was my understanding that to make a therminator cool the wort cooler, you just slowed down the flow of the wort that was going through it. is this not correct ?

I've never used a therminator, I'm just trying to get an idea of how they work before I buy one.

Thanks!

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Old 10-05-2007, 03:41 PM   #6
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When my tap water is to hot to get me to temp I put my carboy in a tub of ice water and just tel it rip thru the CFC. By the time the wort is all in there it's cooled down.

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Old 10-05-2007, 03:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutilated1
would a plate chiller like a therminator work even better if you submerged it in an ice bath ?
I think it would only make a slight difference. The real cooling comes from the cold water passing back and fourth over the plates.

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also, it was my understanding that to make a therminator cool the wort cooler, you just slowed down the flow of the wort that was going through it. is this not correct ?
The problem is it can't cool any lower than the temperature of you cooling water. That's true for any cooling device, regardless of its efficiency.

The goal of what I was thinking was to come up with a way to quickly drain the kettle with a single pass through the chillers. I did some checking and I think breweries to this too, except using glycol for the 2nd pass.
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Old 10-05-2007, 03:51 PM   #8
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You know, I only successfully cooled in one pass during cold tap times and when I was gravity feeding the CFC. I now have a March pump so the flow is probably twice as fast. Of course, my tap is still warm at 78F now so I still recirc to the kettle to hit sub 140F (this only takes me 5 minutes as of last batch even with warm tap). I think draining the entire 10 gallons with the March takes at least 10 minutes (my chiller is 1/4 ID so I don't have to throttle it with a valve). Once you get the wort down there, then start pumping icewater. I don't think the coolant output is much over tap temp though, so maybe running that back into the ice container isn't such a bad idea. If it's coming out 100+, I agree, ditch it onto the lawn.

I guess bottom line, if one CFC or plate isn't doing it, I'd spend more on cold water/ice so that you can run all 10 gallons through without running out. I find it hard to believe that 30ish coolant can't pull wort down from 210 to 65F.

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Old 10-05-2007, 03:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FSR402
When my tap water is to hot to get me to temp I put my carboy in a tub of ice water and just tel it rip thru the CFC. By the time the wort is all in there it's cooled down.
Sorry, that won't cut it for me. With 85' ground water, a single pass through the chiller still leaves the wort at 90-95'. It takes a long time and a lot of ice to get (2) carboys down to 70-75' with an ice bath. I want it at pitching temps faster than that.
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Old 10-05-2007, 03:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I guess bottom line, if one CFC or plate isn't doing it, I'd spend more on cold water/ice so that you can run all 10 gallons through without running out. I find it hard to believe that 30ish coolant can't pull wort down from 210 to 65F.
At the march pump's rate, my CFC won't do it. If I used a more efficient chiller like a Therminator, I'm sure it would easily. Maybe that's the best route to go. My CFC's a cheap POS anyway - I don't like it.
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