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Old 07-12-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default Critique my chilling process please, want beer chilled faster.

In Philly, ground water is balmy 80 degrees this afternoon. So I took my old immersion chiller and had it in a bucket of ice water hooked up to a hose. So here's my 'flow' hose through immersion chiller, then into CFC from top inlet then exiting through the bottom, with wort being pumped from the bottom inlet, out the top of the CFC and back into the kettle to help chill entire mass.

This still took an hour to get to just over 80 degrees, and who knows how many gallons of water down the drain.

This was my first time using this method, usually I am better at regaining the waste water, but today was a clustercuss of variables. I'd like to waste less water and waste less time (more importantly). With these two chillers at my disposal, what's the most efficient way to chill wort reasonably? Am I missing something? I really would prefer not to purchase a plate chiller. In the past I've just used the immersion chiller and pumped back into the kettle near the coils, but seemed to take nearly the same amount of time. Any suggestions?

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Old 07-12-2013, 10:29 PM   #2
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were you moving the coil in the ice water around a lot, if not you should because the wort heats up the water around the ice and the ice doesn't necessarily cool it back down again unless you agitate it. That might help...

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Old 07-12-2013, 10:44 PM   #3
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The wort didn't pass through the immersion chiller, just the CFC, the chilling water is the only thing that passed through the immersion chiller. My thinking was this would use less ice, because I'd only be chilling the ground water that would pass through the CFC.

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Old 07-12-2013, 10:55 PM   #4
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^ Nonetheless, you need to agitate the ice in the bucket to maximize your speed using a "pre-chiller" setup like that.

My suggestion. Flow it fast through your setup without any water/ice in the bucket. This runs counter to the idea of saving water, but I've found flowing it fast early greatly decreases cooling time and thus, water usage.

When you're down to about 100F, throw your ice (as much as you can fit) and then H20 (I fill the bucket (now filled with ice) about 1/2 way with water). Slow the flow of H20 through the setup so the groundwater spends more time in contact with the ice water surrounding the pre chiller.

Agitate your ice/water mix in the bucket as much as possible. At least every 5 minutes.....

If you slow the flow through your prechiller enough, and agitate the ice water in the bucket (the same phenomenon applies here, you need the heat exchanger (coils in this case) to be in close contact with the ice as much as possible, and agitating the ice water helps to this end), I bet with 80F ground water you can still chill it into the 70-ish range. Doing it this way will decrease your current time to cool.

Adding ice to the prechiller bucket right away is a waste of ice IME. The ability of say 70F water to to cool 200F wort is not much better then the ability of 80F water to do it. So that's why I recommend waiting to add ice/water to the prechiller bucket until you're at or below 100F.

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:06 PM   #5
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Agree with jbay- you're not cutting down on time, but you do save on ice that way. Fast chilling is all about temperature differential, so groundwater temps are fine for your initial 100F drop, then you can bust out the ice for the hard stuff (chilling from 100F to 60F).

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:20 PM   #6
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Yes agreed, I forgot to mention that u should use the pre-chilling ice after you get to about 120F. Its easy to get it down to there with 80F water but after that it gets a bit harder. Agitating the pre-chiller in the ice is what I meant...

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Old 07-13-2013, 12:28 AM   #7
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Sounds good, I'll report back with results. These ideas seem sound. I'd like this to work without additional purchases. Getting the wort below 100 makes a lot of sense, I blew through all of my ice before I got below 90 today, so it makes more sense, perhaps to get it below, then ice, then slow the flow.

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Old 07-13-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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Go for smaller diameter annealed copper pipe - this increases the surface area - go for a coil with a bigger length of this small copper pipe - this also increases the surface area - go for a slower flow through the coil - this increases the contact time.

with 80 degree groundwater you should get down to 85 quite easily - then switch the coil to a large bucket of ice and run the wort through for a second time.

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Old 07-14-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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I have a pump inlet taking in ice water from a bucket into my immersion chiller that is sitting in my wort. I take the water discharge into another bucket so it does not warm up the ice water. I have to fill the ice water bucket with more ice and water a couple of times during chilling. I agitate the wort to make sure there are no cool spots around the immersion chiller. With this approach I can cool the wort to 65 degrees in about 15 minutes.

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Old 07-16-2013, 12:07 PM   #10
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I've also considered this approach using a submersible pump to pump ice water through the immersion chiller, and pumping my wort out of the kettle and back around the immersion chiller.

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