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Old 05-08-2007, 10:56 PM   #1
barside laundry
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Default Would anyone think I was crazy if...

I am thinking about cutting the garden hose off my homemade c/f chiller to use the copper inside as a prechiller and go back to my old immersion. 3 reasons:

1. I am beginning to believe that cooling the wort (all the wort) at once will yield better hop aroma and less dms.

2. Because I use an eletric keggle I can't whirlpool (the element creates turbulence) and my pickup tube drains off the bottom resulting clogging and a very very slow drain through the chiller (45 stressful minutes). I think it would work better if I could raise the keggle or afford a pump, neither are possible. I would just siphon the chilled wort with a racking cane off the top and leave the trub behind.

3. I will be making a lager this weekend and the prechiller/immersion will probably chill the wort down to 60, which my c/f never will do.

thoughts?

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Old 05-08-2007, 10:59 PM   #2
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I have never used a CFC myself but the simplicity of an immersion chiller is a concept I do enjoy. It may not be as efficient, especially at temps below 90deg F, but the ease of use makes up for that IMHO.

I'd say you are not crazy, sir.

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Old 05-09-2007, 12:34 AM   #3
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Actually, I think I've heard of at least one other brewer on here who's done the same thing.

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Old 05-09-2007, 03:16 AM   #4
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I was actually thinking of going from my immersion chiller to a CFC, and using my current IC as a pre-chiller. The only reason I'm holding back is because of concerns about cleaning and sanitizing the CFC properly. Seems like a real PITA.

Oh, and I'd definitely need to get some sort of hopstopper setup figured out before I ever went with a CFC, or a plate chiller for that matter. I have a Bazooka T on a dip tube right now, and that thing is useless for filtering out cold break (which I'm not terribly concerned about), and pellet hops plug it up instantly (which I am quite concerned about). I finally located a Gott 10 gallon beverage cooler, so I think I'm going to move the Bazooka T into that for a new MLT. It should work really, really well for batch sparging, I would think.

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Old 05-09-2007, 10:47 AM   #5
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If your bazooka gets clogged how do your drain your wort? I think the cfc would work fine if a pump was used but without that it takes forever to drain and as the volume in the keggle decreases so does the rate at which it drains and usually it stops or is reduced to dripping with about a gallon left in the keggle. I have avoided making hoppy beers because which sucks.

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Old 05-09-2007, 02:04 PM   #6
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I have my cfc a little below my BK and it works flawlessly, I open spigot and let it drain out. I do 10 gal batches and it takes about 8 min to drain 190 deg wort to 70 deg.

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Old 05-09-2007, 02:12 PM   #7
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Mr. Malty would agree:
Q: I already have a counter flow chiller. Why would I switch to this method (immersion chiller) after spending all that money?
A: There are several additional benefits:
* Improved hop aroma.
* Improved hop flavor.
* Reduced DMS.
* Reduced cold break in the fermenter.
* Ability to control the final temperature more precisely.
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:40 PM   #8
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At first, I hated my CFC. But now that I've learned how to use it, I really like it.

1. It's quick.
2. It's easy to use.
3. It's easy to clean
4. Leaves your wort exposed for less time.

I don't buy into his entire argument. I think that a CFC's quick-chilling effect is a big bonus, and it's been said over-and-over again that the break material is beneficial.

As for cleaning it, immediately after using it, I fill my kettle wit hcold water until it's cool enough to touch, then rinse out the trub. I then fill the kettle with water and Oxyclean, hook up the CFC and open her up to let the Oxy water rinse out the CFC.

On brewday, I hook it up to my MLT and do the same drill twice - the first time with Oxyclean, the second time with sanitizer.

I've been thinking about getting a trumpet cleaning snake to help scrub out the inside every now and then.

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Old 05-09-2007, 02:41 PM   #9
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I've tried a few different configurations so far, but I haven't used a pump yet so keep that in mind.

Before going to the keggle, I always used an IC in the 30qt pot and poured through a strainer into the carboy. Worked well.

I then moved to a keggle, DIY hopstopper, and cooled through a gravity drain CFC. Two PIAs are cleaning/sanitizing the CFC (not horrible but more work than an IC) and regulating the final temp of the wort in the carboy. You really need a thermo on the output of the CFC so you can control the flow of your cooling water. Once you have most of the wort into the fermenter, it's hard to make temp adjustments. I realize that the benefits of CFC cooling increase as your batch size does so it's minimal at 5 gallons.

After playing with that config for 3 brews, I recently did 10 gallons and cooled with my IC (40' of 3/8" OD) and found it to take a little longer than expected. Not a big deal. Once I hit 75F, I began draining through the DIY hopstopper. Unfortunately, it clogged without about 6 gallons remaining. The problem is, I can't tell if it's becuase of the increased hop bill (5 total oz) or that PLUS the cold break. Probably a bit of both.

These expereiences leave me with a few conclusions:

If you use an IC in a keggle, you really have to whirlpool then siphon. I don't think there is a screen that could stop all the hops and cold break. You could probably get away with using a hop bag or similar hybrid workaround where you can remove all the hop material prior to draining (thinking of that hanging hop bag device). In that case, maybe a hopstopper would hold back cold break without the hop load.

In any case, I think a March pump is in my future. It affords benefits in both configurations. In the IC solution, you can use it for whirlpooling during chilling while leaving a cover on the BK. With the CFC, you can run boiling wort through the CFC and back into the BK for a minute or so for sanitizing, then continue to recirc while cooling until your reach your desired temp (similar to what you do when using the IC)

Wow, long post. SOrry.

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Old 05-09-2007, 03:17 PM   #10
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And keep in mind the arguments from Mr. Malty's page is for a WHIRLPOOL immersion chiller which requires the use of a pump and chills almost as fast a CFC. This plays into almost all of the benefits he lists. The way most of us use ICs, I think the only point of his argument that carries over to traditiona ICs reduced cold break in fermenter.

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