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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Wort Chilling - New Idea
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
hazaramj
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Default Wort Chilling - New Idea

Howdy everyone,

I had this crazy idea this morning about a new method to possibly chill beer faster than IC coils.

Vacuum Chilling, hear me out on this one.

Every time you use a pressure cooker you heat the water above its normal boiling point due to above normal atmospheric pressure inside the vessel.

If you remove the pressure regulator a violent boil occurs as the water is de-pressurized. The temperature drops rapidly between 126oC (15bar) to 100 oC.

What if you were to develop a way to reduce the pressure of the boil kettle below ambient?

at 0.5 psi water boils at roughly 80F
4 psi at 150F
8 at 180F

maybe a heavy duty shop vac could be used to drop the pressure?
you would probably still need the IC but this could be an interesting way to drop below 150F rapidly.

Cheers,
Matthew

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Old 11-29-2010, 06:53 PM   #2
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Makes me think of a Little Feat tune.

".........pass it over to meeeeeee.............."

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Old 11-29-2010, 07:34 PM   #3
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A heavy duty shop vac wouldn't pullenough of a vacuum to affect the temp. You'd have to have a serious air pump. And you'd have to have a boil kettle quite a bit larger because your wort will expand as you pull the air out of the vessel. Not to mention a kettle designed for negative pressure.


Be easier to use dry ice. cools down stupid fast and produces CO2 as a by product.

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Old 11-29-2010, 07:51 PM   #4
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The temp drops because energy is used to convert the liquid to a gas. If you pull a vacuum on the wort, you are going to generate a lot of steam.

It would be fairly easy to try out. Just get you an old fridge and use the compressor off of it. That is a positive displacement pump and will pull a fair vacuum. Make you a lid from a few layers of 1/4 lexan glued together. Most kitchen pots will handle a few psi of negative pressure.

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Old 11-29-2010, 07:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartski View Post
And you'd have to have a boil kettle quite a bit larger because your wort will expand as you pull the air out of the vessel.
Not really. I wouldn't think. Water is a non compressible fluid, so in theory there would be no expansion of the wort due to the pressure drop. I think there should be a contraction of the wort due to the evaporation and the drop in temperature.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:26 PM   #6
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Water might be a non compressable fluid, but wort is a bunch of stuff in suspension in said fluid. i don't know how it would react in a vacuum.

I would want to be observing this experiment from a good distance.............

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Old 11-29-2010, 10:02 PM   #7
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Maybe I'm not thinking about this right, but wouldn't decreasing the pressure in the vessel make the hot wort (just under 212F) boil at lower and lower temperatures (as you increase vacuum), which would make a more and more violent boil inside, producing a ton of steam, which, without a way to release its pressure (due to the vacuum), would just build pressure again? And if you did release all the steam, wouldn't it just be a ton of extra boil off? Or would the steam created from the violent boil (at lower than 212F) not raise the pressure again?

I guess the real question would be, possible or not, whether or not it would really be any faster than an IC, which is pretty darn fast, particularly from 212F down to the 180F or whatever we are talking about for the realistic vacuums you might achieve in kitchen pots. The initial cooling from the IC is really pretty quick.

In any event, I can't imagine that the setup this would take to really work would be worth the effort compared to a CFC?

I do look forward to hearing more about it from someone with a better physics mind than me

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Old 11-29-2010, 10:36 PM   #8
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^I was wondering the same thing. messing with pressure either positive or negative and hot liquids usually ends badly....

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Old 11-29-2010, 10:47 PM   #9
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Let's say, theoretically, that you have a boil vessel that's capable of holding pressure, and an effective means of creating at least a partial vacuum in the boil vessel.

It's been a long time since I studied physics, so bear with me...

So, high pressure = high boiling temp. Therefore, low pressure (i.e. partial vacuum) should equal lower boiling temp.

So, take the kettle off the heat source, it starts cooling from 212° (+/-) naturally. You don't chill it at all, it's going to pretty quickly cool down to ~200° just based on the ambient temperature.

Now, you reduce the pressure, what's going to happen?

The wort's just going to start boiling again, isn't it? How's the energy actually being removed in this equation? Where's the energy going?

Maybe if you've reduced the wort's boiling point to 150°, that's all well and good, maybe the wort's boiling at a lower temp - but what happens when you release the vacuum and the wort's now at normal atmospheric pressures?

I can understand how changing the pressure would impact the boiling point, but I fail to see how this does anything to remove the energy that's stored in the boiled wort.

Not that any of this is in any way, shape, or form feasible. Even if you don't like immersion chillers, a $100 pump and a $100 40-plate wort chiller is going to be hard to beat in terms of cost and efficiency.

The much more *interesting* question, in my mind... if you COULD build a vacuum-capable wort boiler, wouldn't you be looking to do your BOIL at a reduced temperature? Pretty sure that's how malt extract is made. "Vacuum boiling," not "vacuum chilling."

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Old 11-29-2010, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Now, you reduce the pressure, what's going to happen? The wort's just going to start boiling again, isn't it? How's the energy actually being removed in this equation? Where's the energy going?
Into boiling. Water "resists" going above 212F normally because even when you add energy, that energy goes into boiling liquid into gas instead of heating up the liquid. That's called "heat of vaporization." When you decrease the pressure so that the liquid is above its boiling point, it boils very rapidly and gives up that heat quickly.

Quote:
Maybe if you've reduced the wort's boiling point to 150°, that's all well and good, maybe the wort's boiling at a lower temp - but what happens when you release the vacuum and the wort's now at normal atmospheric pressures?
The wort stops boiling immediately, and just sits there.

Quote:
The much more *interesting* question, in my mind... if you COULD build a vacuum-capable wort boiler, wouldn't you be looking to do your BOIL at a reduced temperature? Pretty sure that's how malt extract is made. "Vacuum boiling," not "vacuum chilling."
Well, you still have to get the temperatures high enough to do all the "good stuff" you do in the boil (hop isomerization etc.) So you can't reduce it too far.
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