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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Boost wort chilling performance
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
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Default Boost wort chilling performance

Hello, noob here. I am in Alabama where a pleasant Spring day is 98 degrees and humidity percentage. I popped my cherry with a partial extract brew in a 32-quart kettle with an economy chiller.

http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shoppingc...t-Chiller.html

I picked up a Bayou Classic turkey fryer and "seasoned" it by boiling 6.5 gallons of water in it. I tried out the chiller and noticed that after 30 minutes it was still about 100 degrees. On Sunday, I brewed my second extract kit (full boil, of course) and used the same chiller. I got the same results. I just couldn't get it to cool quickly down to 80. In fact, I gave up and pitched yeast at 95.

I have two thoughts...
1) Sell my economy chiller with 25' of copper and and buy the one with 39' of copper (http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shoppingc...t-Chiller.html), or...
2) Buy a chinchilla pre-chiller (http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shoppingc...2dchiller.html)

I'm kinda leanin' to #2. Right track? Or is there an easier way? Or am I trying too hard?

P.S. I was using the outflow of the chiller to wet/cool the sides of my pot as well as stir the wort now and then.

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Old 06-23-2011, 08:12 PM   #2
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Same issue here in Biloxi. If you are looking for an economical solution to you issue (I am assuming you are doing this outdoors) get a hose from the hardware store and leave coiled and let loose just enough to go to faucet and just enough to go to your chiller. Then put the rest in 5 gallon bucket (coiled) and pour a bag of ice over it and fill with water. Here in the Dirty South, it's sort of hard to cool wort when your water comes out of the tap at 95 degrees!!!

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Old 06-23-2011, 08:13 PM   #3
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What do you mean "stir the wort now and then" you shouldn't be touching the wort with anything that hasn't been sanitized while cooling and after. A pre chiller would help a lot. It also helps to move the chiller around in the kettle. The chiller creates a "cool zone" of wort around the coils while its working. If you don't agitate, the cool zone just sits there and the chiller doesn't work as efficiently.

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Old 06-23-2011, 08:26 PM   #4
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My tap water here in Atlanta is probably around the same temperature as you and it is no where near cool enough.

You REALLY NEED to get the wort a few degree colder than your fermentation target temp. For most ales I shoot for 64 (it might end up at 67 during fermentation) so I cool to at least 62. The problem is fermentation causes heat, and also the warmer you pitch the faster fermentation will kick in. So you pitching at 95 I bet fermentation was vigorous and fast, and your probably came no where near to the correct temp. Also this part of fermentation is where most of your temperature related off flavors come about.

So I have to use a pond pump in my sink full of ice. I knock it down to 100 with tap water and recirculate the ice water, in just around 20 min I went from boiling to sub 60's. I don't care if it takes 4 hours to get to my desired temp, I wont pitch till its where it needs to be. I had horrible ester filled beer until I understood how critical temperature control is and what it does for the quality and taste of the beer.

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Old 06-23-2011, 08:49 PM   #5
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I agree with using a pond pump. I typically chill down to about 100f with tap water and then switch to pumping ice water through the chiller with a pond pump. I got the pond pump from home depot; not very expensive.

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Old 06-23-2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxkling View Post
My tap water here in Atlanta is probably around the same temperature as you and it is no where near cool enough.

You REALLY NEED to get the wort a few degree colder than your fermentation target temp. For most ales I shoot for 64 (it might end up at 67 during fermentation) so I cool to at least 62. The problem is fermentation causes heat, and also the warmer you pitch the faster fermentation will kick in. So you pitching at 95 I bet fermentation was vigorous and fast, and your probably came no where near to the correct temp. Also this part of fermentation is where most of your temperature related off flavors come about.

So I have to use a pond pump in my sink full of ice. I knock it down to 100 with tap water and recirculate the ice water, in just around 20 min I went from boiling to sub 60's. I don't care if it takes 4 hours to get to my desired temp, I wont pitch till its where it needs to be. I had horrible ester filled beer until I understood how critical temperature control is and what it does for the quality and taste of the beer.

Actually there are different opinions on that. I am of the school that likes to pitch higher than fermentation temps to get the growth phase off to a quick start and cool to fermentation temps over a few hours. Just like I wouldn't rehydrate yeast at 65 degrees, I don't pitch at that temp either. I mostly use dry yeast and rehydrate around 90 degrees then pitch my yeast when the wort is around 75 or so and the rehydrated yeast is below 80, then after an hour or so I add my water bath and bring the temps down to around 65. Usually by 4 hours I see first airlock activity and a couple hours after that it is really taking off. This method allows me to avoid both long lag phase and too high of fermentation temps.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:58 PM   #7
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My water for chilling is really warm as well in Louisiana. When I used an immersion chiller, I also set the boil kettle in a wheelbarrow in an ice water bath and continually moved the chiller around and stirred (yes, with a santized spoon). But once the outdoor temp gets to 95 and above, even that wouldn't get my wort to less than about 85-90 in an hour or two.
I switched to a 40 plate chiller and turned the immersion chiller into a pre-chiller running through an ice bath. I also put the plate chiller in the freezer (in a plastic bag) after sterilizing. Now, even at 100 degrees outside, I get down to 80+ in 10 minutes. After that, it goes in the fermentation chamber for a few hours to get down to 64 and then I pitch and put it back in the fermentation chamber (one of those larger dorm room fridges).
It's tough in the deep South to cool wort for sure.

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Old 06-23-2011, 09:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonK331 View Post
What do you mean "stir the wort now and then" you shouldn't be touching the wort with anything that hasn't been sanitized while cooling and after. A pre chiller would help a lot. It also helps to move the chiller around in the kettle. The chiller creates a "cool zone" of wort around the coils while its working. If you don't agitate, the cool zone just sits there and the chiller doesn't work as efficiently.
Sorry, I did not fill it all in. Once I sanitized my fermenting bucket (StarSan), I poured that into a good-sized cooler. I put the top and the airlock and the siphon and the stirring paddle in there. Placed the top on the bucket. I was stirring the wort now and then with the paddle for the exact reason you state - to mix the cool zone throughout the wort.

Thanks for watching out for me!

I like the (cheap) idea of coiling the water hose in a bucket and throwing in a few bags of ice! Yes, I am doing this outside on my back patio.

I am thinking this second brew is not going to be the best, but it is a learning experience!
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by brewit2it View Post
Actually there are different opinions on that. I am of the school that likes to pitch higher than fermentation temps to get the growth phase off to a quick start and cool to fermentation temps over a few hours. Just like I wouldn't rehydrate yeast at 65 degrees, I don't pitch at that temp either. I mostly use dry yeast and rehydrate around 90 degrees then pitch my yeast when the wort is around 75 or so and the rehydrated yeast is below 80, then after an hour or so I add my water bath and bring the temps down to around 65. Usually by 4 hours I see first airlock activity and a couple hours after that it is really taking off. This method allows me to avoid both long lag phase and too high of fermentation temps.
Yea Ive have done it both ways and with me, the way I described above works for me. Honestly I don't care about lag, and usually you wouldn't get it if you are using a starter like everyone should. Half the battle of brewing is just learning what works for you, and as you stated there is a big 2 sided debate about it. Kinda like the debates on using a secondary or not, or bucket or carboy. So yea... After I switched to a full cool all my ester issues and hot alcohol tastes disappeared.

Also to puter, did you just jump into brewing with some minor instruction? If so visit http://www.howtobrew.com/ and read it, then buy the new edition. I read it before I started brewing and understood about 5%, now Im a newer all grain brewer and understand about 85%. It has helped me so much.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:33 PM   #10
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Pond pump and ice water is totally the way to go. They're as cheap as any pre-chiller short of the hose method mentioned earlier, and it gets everything chilled fast.

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