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Old 03-06-2013, 01:07 PM   #1
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Default cfc fact check...

It seems to me that a cfc >>>> immerson chiller if it can truly cool the wort in one pass?

Am i missing something obvious with this? Besides maybe cost?

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Old 03-06-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
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It seems to me that a cfc >>>> immerson chiller if it can truly cool the wort in one pass?

Am i missing something obvious with this? Besides maybe cost?
You essentially have it right. The downside of CFC is that you need either gravity, or a pump, to feed the wort. If you go pumpless, you need a few feet (2-3 ft) of drop between the bottom of your kettle and the top of the fermenter.

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Old 03-06-2013, 01:53 PM   #3
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One thing to keep in mind is there are other meaningful differences between the two, which may be a pro or a con for either depending on what you want.

With a counterflow, all cold break is ending up in your fermenter (unless you have some sort of filter mechanism after the CFC). Now, depending on how you deal with the wort using an immersion chiller, much or all of the cold break may end up in the fermenter with immersion as well.
With a counterflow, the wort that is not cooled stays at near boiling temp the entire time it is in the kettle. Now, depending on how fast you can run your CFC, this may not be long, so could be negligible. But a good bit of your wort will stay at isomerization temps longer than with an immersion chiller. Again, not necessarily a pro or a con, it could be either. Just a difference that may need to be accounted for in recipe design.

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Old 03-06-2013, 05:03 PM   #4
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With a counterflow, all cold break is ending up in your fermenter (unless you have some sort of filter mechanism after the CFC).
I simply whirlpool my bitter wort and let it rest--almost ZERO break material into my CFC, let alone my fermenter.

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With a counterflow, the wort that is not cooled stays at near boiling temp the entire time it is in the kettle.... Just a difference that may need to be accounted for in recipe design.
I wouldn't say it stays near boiling. My CFC takes about 15 mins to run 10gal off (gravity only). In that time, the temps drop to 180F or so (in winter, at least). Maybe that's splitting hairs?

That being said, I agree 100% with the recipe design point. In fact, I move my hop additions to 10 min and 0 min to achieve approximately what a 20/5 regimen would have yielded in terms of bitterness and taste/aroma. It's fantastic!
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:12 PM   #5
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I simply whirlpool my bitter wort and let it rest--almost ZERO break material into my CFC, let alone my fermenter.
I can't speak to your experiences, so if that's what you have seen, awesome. While the whirlpool is fine for hot break, I'm referring to any break material that forms during chilling. If you don't end up with much, great. I'm just saying that cold break, not formed until its chilled, can't be left behind in a hot kettle.

EDIT: Unless what you mean is what Homer was talking about below, where you recirculate from the CFC back into the kettle, and that's what you meant by whirlpool.

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I wouldn't say it stays near boiling. My CFC takes about 15 mins to run 10gal off (gravity only). In that time, the temps drop to 180F or so (in winter, at least). Maybe that's splitting hairs?
I actually think 180 is about the cutoff where appreciable isomerization happens. At least I think that's what I remember.

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That being said, I agree 100% with the recipe design point. In fact, I move my hop additions to 10 min and 0 min to achieve approximately what a 20/5 regimen would have yielded in terms of bitterness and taste/aroma. It's fantastic!
Exactly!
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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The CFC is supposed to be more efficient at cooling wort, however, it only cools the portion that has passed through it, leaving the hot wort in the kettle to stay hot until it has its chance to pass through. Now you can avoid that minor issue by using a pump and recirculating the cooled wort back into the kettle where it can cool the hot wort. Also, a CFC requires either a pump to push the hot wort through it, or it has to be high enough to allow gravity to do it's thing.

An IC is supposedly less efficient, but does not require a pump or gravity and can cool the entire wort volume at the same time. And some of the newer designs seem to be very competitive with CFC's in cooling speed. As an additional bonus, an IC will not clog with hops and break and other *stuff*, like a CFC might. You can prevent that from happening, but it's extra something to watch for.

Also with a CFC, unless you recirculate with a pump and put the cooled wort back into the kettle, the cold break goes into the fermenter. If you recirculate, you can whirpool and allow the cold break to settle to the bottom of the kettle, thereby avoiding most of it in the fermenter.

TBH I think the differences between the two types is very minor. For example, let's say it takes 15 minutes for an IC to cool 5 gallons. Let's say that it takes a CFC 8 minutes to cool that same wort. Is the 7 minutes of time making your beer taste bad? Not likely. How about the cold break? Would cold break, fermented with the appropriate amount of yeast and at the correct temperature, and handled in an appropriate amount of time, ruin a beer? Probably not.

It's about minimizing a few variables. Personally, I see a lot of advantages to an IC, especially one of the newer types with several sections rather than one long continuous length of copper. But since I have a pump now, I plan to keep my CFC, mostly because I already have it. Once I build my electric brewing system, I'll probably look to recirculate my CFC, starting with a few minutes before I turn on the chilling water, thereby sanitizing the insides of it.

My best advice is to use whichever chiller you prefer. However, the only thing a CFC has over an IC is some efficiency gain. (And in the case of a Plate Chiller CFC, a bit of compactness...)

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Old 03-07-2013, 12:08 PM   #7
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I can't speak to your experiences, so if that's what you have seen, awesome. While the whirlpool is fine for hot break, I'm referring to any break material that forms during chilling. If you don't end up with much, great. I'm just saying that cold break, not formed until its chilled, can't be left behind in a hot kettle.
My bad--didn't read closely enough. You're right--I was thinking hot break. I do get a fair bit of cold break.
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