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Old 06-26-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
njs170
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Default Cutting down time

My wife has been on me for not spending time with the family so I have been working on way to cut down my brew day. I brew 5 gallon all grain batches.

12G brew kettle
10G Cooler mash tun
8.75G HLT
grain mill
50K BTU Propane burner and a 5500W electric element! I can get 6 gallons of water to boil in like 15 mins. (never timed it)
March pump
SS Immersion chiller


The only place I can see to save time is in my chilling. I am using a SS immersion chiller. It takes about 45 mins to get down to 70F. Is a plate heat exchanger or the hose counter-flow chiller the way to go?

Any other ideas to cut down some time? Thanks!

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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How cold is your tap water for the chiller? I can get from boil to 70 in about 25 minutes. My tap water is really cold though. Maybe a pre-chiller?

How about your prep? Can you get things ready the night before? Mill your grains, pull out the equipment, prep water volumes?

Clean as you go?

You may be doing any or all of these, but just some thoughts.

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:07 PM   #3
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Your brew day shouldnt take more that 3.5 hours
Ive gotten mine down to 3 hours in the summer (i also dont have a pump) with milling the grains the day before.

Your ground water should be plenty cold to chill the wort down to 70 within 10-15 minutes with an IC, not sure what the problem is there.
I have a 25ft copper IC and have gotten to pitching temps within 9minutes in the winter and around 13 in the summer.

A big time saver for me also has been to "clean up" while you have the boil going. Dump and clean the MT/any pot u used to sparge/collect.
This is the time i will also sanitize and prep FV, airlock and bung. So when it hits pitching temp i have 20 minutes to put everything away then rack to FV and seal it up.

Hope this helps!
Cheers

I never pitch yeast untill im fully cleaned up, possibly another reason i push so hard to keep things in order during brewday.

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:18 PM   #4
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My ground water here in Texas is cold, but last weekend I had trouble getting my wort lower than 82 degrees. The temps outside where I was brewing were in the upper 90's and I'm sure it was even hotter in my garage with my propane burner running for an hour.

I finally gave up on my chiller and moved the carboy full of 82 degree wort into a freezer I have in my garage. By the time I cleaned all of my equipment up and took a shower (about an hour later), I checked my wort in the freezer and it was down to 68.

I think this will just have to become part of my standard routine for brewing in the summer.

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:22 PM   #5
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There's a video on you tube where a guy was using his chiller hooked up with cold ice water or something, search for "wort chiller", It might be on the first page.......

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:31 PM   #6
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Get a sheet of paper and sketch out a process flow of your brew day. Try to identify the critical path, then move redundant/overlapping tasks accordingly

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:32 PM   #7
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I started out brewing without a chiller, doing partial (~2-3 gallons) boils and chilling with an ice bath which took about an hour to get to around 80F for me. So I bought a 25' immersion chiller which took those same partial boils down to around 75F in 45-50 minutes. So when I jumped into AG batches with full 7 gallon boils, I knew there was no way my chiller would be able to keep up so I built a 20' CFC out of a hose and soft copper tubing. Now, in the time it takes to empty my boil kettle into my fermenter (~10 minutes), my wort is cooled to 70F, then I let my swamp cooler bring it down the rest of the way to keep it around 65F. And the water out of my hose outside that I use isn't particularly cold, obviously less than 70F, but probably not too much less.

For me, there's no way I could ever go back to before I had my counterflow chiller. It works wonders and cuts my brew time way down.

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:33 PM   #8
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The last time I brewed it was about 91 outside and the ground water was around 72. I normally use the pump to push cold ice water through the chiller. (I didn't have the ice last time) Seen I got this new brew kettle my times have been longer. I think I may need a chiller with more surface area. I have a 25ft SS Immersion chiller.

I try to clean as I go and prep what I have time for. All great ideas guys! Thank you!

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scutiger View Post
I started out brewing without a chiller, doing partial (~2-3 gallons) boils and chilling with an ice bath which took about an hour to get to around 80F for me. So I bought a 25' immersion chiller which took those same partial boils down to around 75F in 45-50 minutes. So when I jumped into AG batches with full 7 gallon boils, I knew there was no way my chiller would be able to keep up so I built a 20' CFC out of a hose and soft copper tubing. Now, in the time it takes to empty my boil kettle into my fermenter (~10 minutes), my wort is cooled to 70F, then I let my swamp cooler bring it down the rest of the way to keep it around 65F. And the water out of my hose outside that I use isn't particularly cold, obviously less than 70F, but probably not too much less.

For me, there's no way I could ever go back to before I had my counterflow chiller. It works wonders and cuts my brew time way down.
~10 mins that is awesome! I think this maybe the way to go! Any troubles keeping it clean or getting clogged?
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:42 PM   #10
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I cool mine from a boil to 65F in 15 minutes using two immersion chillers and a whirlpool.

From the sink, a hose goes to the first IC which is in a 5 gallon bucket full of ice and water (mostly ice). From there another hose goes to the second IC in the boil kettle. I added a whirlpool pipe to my IC and I recirculate the wort through that while I chill.

The whirlpool makes a huge difference in the chilling time because it is constantly exposing all of the wort to the IC surfaces. The ice/water bath for the first IC lets me drop quickly regardless of the incoming water temperatures. My water supply temps vary a lot from winter to summer. I can still chill in the same amount of time.... what varies is the amount of ice I need for the bucket.

Just to clarify, my wort never sees the inside of an IC. I just soldered a piece of copper to one of my ICs. One end of that added pipe has a QD fitting that my pump output attaches to and the other end exits in the boil kettle along the inside wall of the kettle. The added benefit is that all the hops and break material are dropped in the center of the kettle.

Also, both my ICs are homemade from 50' of 1/2" copper.

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