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Old 09-27-2009, 04:15 PM   #1
mewbrew
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Default wort chiller not so chill

I finally started using a wort chiller. I had been using the ice bath method. First of all it does not cool the wort any faster than ice and it dumps huge amounts of water. While it's in the kettle I am unable to cover the wort leaving it open for over an hour to collect contaminates. Further more, I am now noticing a metalic flavor to my beer. Could this be from the copper wort chiller or maybe an infection. Any better ways to cool wort? I thought the chiller was the way to go and is supposed to cool in 15-20 mins, but it's doing me wrong.

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Old 09-27-2009, 04:31 PM   #2
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I would say get the Shirion Plate chiller. It's not too bad from a price standpoint and I swear I am able to get my wort from 210 F to about 60-70 F in a matter of minutes. I couldn't believe it the first time I used this plate chiller.

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Old 09-27-2009, 04:41 PM   #3
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How big is the IC? What temp is the water running through it? Both of those make a big difference.

A few suggestions if the IC isn't working as well as it should: 1) make sure that you're stirring the wort as it chills. That makes a huge difference in cooling times, since it puts much more wort in contact with the chiller. 2) if your ground water isn't that cold, you could either build a pre-chiller (a smaller IC that you put in an ice bath, to make sure that cold water is running through the IC that's in the wort), or pump and recirculate ice water through the IC.

Also, if you want to save some water, you don't have to put the hose on full blast when you pump water through the IC. Cutting down the flow rate may actually help with cooling, in fact, since it gives the water in the IC more time to absorb the heat from the wort. The pump and recirculate method would also help with saving water.

As far as metallic tastes go, not sure what that is, but I doubt it's the chiller, since lots of people (including, say, Jamil) use IC's with no problems whatsoever.

Good luck!

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Old 09-27-2009, 04:56 PM   #4
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I use a 25' copper chiller. It usually takes about 45-50 minutes to chill my wort down to around 70-ish. I fill up a XL cooler with water and drop in about 4-5 gallons of ice in gallon jugs. I still have to re-fill the cooler with "new" water once or twice. I do save a lot of water this way as I am not constantly running water thru the chiller.

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Old 09-28-2009, 02:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palefire View Post
How big is the IC? What temp is the water running through it? Both of those make a big difference.

A few suggestions if the IC isn't working as well as it should: 1) make sure that you're stirring the wort as it chills. That makes a huge difference in cooling times, since it puts much more wort in contact with the chiller. 2) if your ground water isn't that cold, you could either build a pre-chiller (a smaller IC that you put in an ice bath, to make sure that cold water is running through the IC that's in the wort), or pump and recirculate ice water through the IC.

Also, if you want to save some water, you don't have to put the hose on full blast when you pump water through the IC. Cutting down the flow rate may actually help with cooling, in fact, since it gives the water in the IC more time to absorb the heat from the wort. The pump and recirculate method would also help with saving water.

As far as metallic tastes go, not sure what that is, but I doubt it's the chiller, since lots of people (including, say, Jamil) use IC's with no problems whatsoever.

Good luck!
I agree with what you're saying, except for the saving water bit. Flowrate is very important, and more is better.

Cutting the flow rate of water through the IC will increase cooling time.

There are three things that affect how an IC cools:
Temperature of cooling water (colder is better)
Flow rate of cooling water (faster is better)
Size of the chiller (bigger is better)
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortyjacobs View Post
I agree with what you're saying, except for the saving water bit. Flowrate is very important, and more is better.

Cutting the flow rate of water through the IC will increase cooling time.

There are three things that affect how an IC cools:
Temperature of cooling water (colder is better)
Flow rate of cooling water (faster is better)
Size of the chiller (bigger is better)
You missed one thing...stiring the wort will also help decrease the time it takes to cool. I just use the IC to stir with.

You can also cover your pot with an extra lid that has a notch cut out.

I can cool 10G in 20 minutes to 80* F with a 50' coil and I use the water by letting it flow into my garden or a rain barrel.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:54 PM   #7
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Hook up a short section of garden hose that you keep clean to a normal hose used for a sprinker or other yard job. Fire up the sprinkler and water your yard while cooling your beer. unless the water is excessivly hot it won't hurt grass.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:50 PM   #8
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An IC should chill pretty quick. The recommended size is 25-50 feet of 3/8" copper tubing. But make sure it's the right type. There is a kind with thinner walls, which is the one you want, because it will transfer the heat much faster.

The more and colder water you use, the faster the chiller will work. Stirring or whirlpooling the wort will help bring the temps down quicker (and helps separate the chunks from the liquid).

You can save water by using a prechiller and a pump, etc.

I use a homemade Counterflow Chiller and can chill my wort as fast as I can drain it through the 3/8" tubing. Generally about 10-15 minutes. The final temp of the wort depends a bit on the season and temp of the water, but it's usually about 70.

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Old 10-01-2009, 02:29 AM   #9
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My solution here in the heat of Texas has been to use a sump pump in an ice chest filled with ice. Add a little water, and then recirculate. My brewbud typically starts with tap water until we get the temp down to 130 or so, then we connect to the pump and start recirculating. I add ice as needed. The sump pump was one I already had for draining my pool for maintenance.

We have found that we get faster results if we adjust the flow through the chiller based on the amount of heat picked up. If we run at full flow, either with tap water or the ice water recirculation, we didn't pick up as much heat as we did if we slowed it a bit. Not much, but it was obvious we were getting more heat at the discharge.

Like a previous poster, I have gently agitated the wort with the chiller with one hand while keeping the other free to hold onto my beer. My brewbud has a rule that if we can't do it with one hand we need to rethink the process. If you let go of your beer, you risk losing it, leading to panic and that is never good on a brew day.

All that having been said, I am tempted by the no-chill concept.

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Old 10-01-2009, 03:38 AM   #10
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We have found that we get faster results if we adjust the flow through the chiller based on the amount of heat picked up. If we run at full flow, either with tap water or the ice water recirculation, we didn't pick up as much heat as we did if we slowed it a bit. Not much, but it was obvious we were getting more heat at the discharge.

I hate to beat a dead horse here, but faster is better when it comes to flowrate.

You will feel hotter discharge water with slower water, yes, but that doesn't mean more heat is being removed.

Think of the water like trains, and the heat energy like people. Say you have a whole crap ton of train stops, with a whole crap ton of people.

If you have just a few trains per day, each train (water), will carry more people (heat), but there will be a longer delay in getting all your people from point A to point B (A being the kettle, B being your driveway/sink).

If you have TONS of trains per day, you will only have one or two people per train, (not much heat in the water), BUT no person will have to wait long for a train to come, (so in the end, people get moved faster).

The key here is the difference between HEAT and TEMPERATURE. Your slower water is higher in temperature, but contains less heat flow. For a clear difference between heat and temperature, look at a bathtub and a needle. Heat the needle to red hot, (hundreds of degrees). That needle has a lot of TEMPERATURE, but no HEAT. No heat, because you stick that needle in a room, and the room won't get appreciably warmer. Now take a bathtub of water, and heat it up to only 100 degrees, (hot tub water). The tub has tons of HEAT, even though it doesn't have a very high TEMPERATURE. Lots of heat, because the room will get warmer as the tub cools.
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