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Old 07-02-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default Chilling wort

First off, I have to say that I absolutely love my new electric brewing system. Because my equipment has changed I am finding that I need to modify some of my processes. I have always used an IC and have been happy with the results. Unfortunately with the addition of a heating element only about 1/3 of my IC makes contact with the hot wort. Obviously this means that I get very poor cooling. I would like to go to a plate chiller. But because I use pellet hops I always have a lot of trub, so I am concerned about blockage and infections. At this point I am thinking that my best choice is to go with a counterflow chiller. So before spending the bucks on a counterflow chiller (I am too lazy to build one) I wanted to ask a quick question. Being as I don't have any pumps, will a counterflow chiller work using only gravity? Also, if there is there a simpler and/or less expensive way to chill my wort I'd love to hear about it. Thanks

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Old 07-02-2011, 02:34 PM   #2
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Gravity would work, if you had enough height from the brew kettle. I've never done it, but I can't see why it wouldn't work.

I have a pump, so I have a few more options. My first electric system used the HLT with the HEX as a chiller- filled with 42 pounds of ice. I hated that, as the reason for the pump was to avoid heavy lifting!

Then I added the CFC about a year ago (maybe longer) and I love it! I can chill 10 gallons of wort in less than 20 minutes, or recirculate it all for whirlpool additions. But that is with a pump.

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Old 07-02-2011, 03:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Gravity would work, if you had enough height from the brew kettle. I've never done it, but I can't see why it wouldn't work.

I have a pump, so I have a few more options. My first electric system used the HLT with the HEX as a chiller- filled with 42 pounds of ice. I hated that, as the reason for the pump was to avoid heavy lifting!

Then I added the CFC about a year ago (maybe longer) and I love it! I can chill 10 gallons of wort in less than 20 minutes, or recirculate it all for whirlpool additions. But that is with a pump.
I am assuming that you normally go straight from the kettle, through the CFC, then to the fermenter? At least that is how I believe that a CFC can be used. Is this correct?

Also, if it takes you 20 minutes for 10 gallons I guess that means that you must run the wort through at a relatively slow rate of flow. I know that plate chillers are very fast, I just assumed that CFC's would be the same.

One last question(s), what is your tap water temperature? And what temperature does your CFC get the wort to?
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:15 PM   #4
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You could go with a plate chiller too. I use hop bags in my batches, so trub is kept to a very low level. I picked up the Chillhog 4000 (a 40 plate chiller) along with the RebelSmart add-on from Rebel Brewer. This allows me to see the wort temp coming out of the chiller, and adjust my ball valves to hit my target going directly into fermenter. I don't have a pump, so I'm doing all this with gravity (rather easy to do too). I'm thinking of adding a pump to help get the last couple of inches of wort out of the Blichmann kettle. Not a requirement, more of a 'want to have' item.

I love how compact the plate chiller is. Compared with either a IC or CFC, it's down right TINY. But it does a pissa job of chilling wort.

To clean the chiller, I use the included backflush hose until it runs clear, then box it up and take it home. You can also run PBW through it if you have a pump (I plan on using a pump I got to drain waterbeds next time). To sterilize it, with a pump, you can run hot wort through it for the last few minutes of the boil, with the chill water off. Then set it to go into the fermenter, and turn on the chill water. Or you can boil it for a few minutes, or bake it at <200F for a few minutes (a minute, or so, is all you would need to make it safe). Or you can fill it with StarSan the day before and simply flush it with boiled water before you send the wort through.

You have more than a few options. It all depends on what's more important to you. It also depends on how much you want to spend, and how much space you want the chiller to take up when not in use. With the CFC and plate chiller, you'll still have the hoses for the chill water. But with the plate chiller, the actual chilling unit will be much smaller. Personally, I'd be a bit concerned about the CFC having a leak someplace that you won't see until far too late. Maybe that's not really an issue, but it would be in the back of MY mind.

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Old 07-02-2011, 03:36 PM   #5
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Hmmmmm .... that does sound mighty appealing. I think I'll get a hop bag first and see how much trub it leaves. If it is a very small amount, then the plate chiller would be the way to go.

As far as leaks go, how would you know if your plate chiller had a leak?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
You could go with a plate chiller too. I use hop bags in my batches, so trub is kept to a very low level. I picked up the Chillhog 4000 (a 40 plate chiller) along with the RebelSmart add-on from Rebel Brewer. This allows me to see the wort temp coming out of the chiller, and adjust my ball valves to hit my target going directly into fermenter. I don't have a pump, so I'm doing all this with gravity (rather easy to do too). I'm thinking of adding a pump to help get the last couple of inches of wort out of the Blichmann kettle. Not a requirement, more of a 'want to have' item.

I love how compact the plate chiller is. Compared with either a IC or CFC, it's down right TINY. But it does a pissa job of chilling wort.

To clean the chiller, I use the included backflush hose until it runs clear, then box it up and take it home. You can also run PBW through it if you have a pump (I plan on using a pump I got to drain waterbeds next time). To sterilize it, with a pump, you can run hot wort through it for the last few minutes of the boil, with the chill water off. Then set it to go into the fermenter, and turn on the chill water. Or you can boil it for a few minutes, or bake it at <200F for a few minutes (a minute, or so, is all you would need to make it safe). Or you can fill it with StarSan the day before and simply flush it with boiled water before you send the wort through.

You have more than a few options. It all depends on what's more important to you. It also depends on how much you want to spend, and how much space you want the chiller to take up when not in use. With the CFC and plate chiller, you'll still have the hoses for the chill water. But with the plate chiller, the actual chilling unit will be much smaller. Personally, I'd be a bit concerned about the CFC having a leak someplace that you won't see until far too late. Maybe that's not really an issue, but it would be in the back of MY mind.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:51 PM   #6
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You'd see the leaks if in the soldering. If internal, you wouldn't see it on either type of chiller. Same as the IC, unless you periodically tested when not in the wort.

If you wanted to, you could perform periodic tests using colored water on either side, using a pump for the wort side (to a bucket and back). If you used a pump on the chill side, from a bucket, then you would see the colors match pretty soon. I'll probably do that as a test every so often, once I get the pump for wort. Since I already have the pump that I can use for water, it's not that bad.

I would use food coloring for this. That way you just need to rinse with clear water to remove all traces. If you keep the color agent to the chill water side, then you won't have any concerns unless the wort side water changes color.

You could do this for the CFC chiller too... Personally, though, storage space (in my current apartment) is very limited. So having a smaller footprint wort chiller is of high value to me. I actually have mine in a box, on my brew fridge, so that it takes up very little space. Even with the RebelSmart on it, along with QD's (wort side) it takes up damned little space.

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Old 07-03-2011, 12:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRHunter View Post
I am assuming that you normally go straight from the kettle, through the CFC, then to the fermenter? At least that is how I believe that a CFC can be used. Is this correct?

Also, if it takes you 20 minutes for 10 gallons I guess that means that you must run the wort through at a relatively slow rate of flow. I know that plate chillers are very fast, I just assumed that CFC's would be the same.

One last question(s), what is your tap water temperature? And what temperature does your CFC get the wort to?
I do a lot of APAs and IPAs, so I often have 0 minute hops. I simply recirculate through the CFC until the wort gets to under 140 and then go to the fermenter, for my "whirlpool hops". My tap water is 45 degrees.
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