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-   -   Did I ruin my chiller?? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/did-i-ruin-my-chiller-287835/)

BillTheSlink 12-17-2011 07:14 PM

Did I ruin my chiller??
I have to admit it guys I have screwed up. I am disabled and cannot clean up the same day I brew. But last time I brewed was last year or the spring. After brew day was over I put everything to soak and left it. Then I got a blood clot and then my attention turned to making small batches of fruit wine. Today i found my chiller sitting in the pot I had left it in that was once full of water and either PBW or dish liquid. It is all green and corroded and with lime scale all over it. I am on a seriously tight budget to and this would put me out of brewing for a couple of months where as I wanted to do a recipe next week. Can you think of anything that would help? I was thinking of spraying it down with a bottle of CLR and then giving it a good boil a couple of times to get rid of any chemicals, but is that too dangerous or would it even work?

On the up side my aluminum and stainless big pots look redeemable with soaking and scrubbing. Dang it I just forgot the stuff. I do have a Grotto mash cooler that is going to have to be thrown away but thankfully I have two more round coolers and was thinking of going with a cheap cube anyway since I batch sparge.

unionrdr 12-17-2011 07:31 PM

Why not kill 2 birds with one stone & mix up the CLR in the pot with the chiller in it? Just let it soak for awhile. I'm trying to remember if we had to dilute that stuff when we used it in the coffee maker,though?...

dutchoven 12-17-2011 07:56 PM

I would try a hot, strong mix of vinegar and water ... You may need to change the solution a few times ... Starsan should work, too, but would be more expensive than vinegar ... Good luck

BOBrob 12-17-2011 08:01 PM

Cheap and easy; 3 cups white vinegar &1/4 cup salt with 5 gallons water in the brew pot. bring it to a boil for 10-20 minutes, comes out nice and shiny. It will corrode again but thats natural for copper. A soak in star san works too. Good brewing & Cheers:D

Snicks 12-17-2011 08:03 PM

Are we talking about a copper immersion coil? If so I would try scrubbing with undiluted Star-San on a rag, wear gloves and be careful with it. It did wonders on an old rusted wok I was trying to clean for re-seasoning.

BillTheSlink 12-19-2011 03:40 AM


Originally Posted by unionrdr (Post 3579885)
Why not kill 2 birds with one stone & mix up the CLR in the pot with the chiller in it? Just let it soak for awhile. I'm trying to remember if we had to dilute that stuff when we used it in the coffee maker,though?...

That's right! I was worried about CLR being toxic but it's used to clean coffee makers. Perfect. I might try the vinegar and salt thing first though. I think you use CLR straight and it would be cheaper to use vinegar.

Back in the 90's I worked in a hardware store and if now were then I would say replace it, but DANG, have you seen the price of copper? HOLY COW! I used to sell it by the foot off 75 ft. rolls. Now the largest run I can find is 10' and it's in a sealed box.

mmonacel 12-19-2011 03:51 AM

Yep - the vinegar solution and boil trick above should get you straight in no time. Enjoy!

daksin 12-19-2011 05:36 PM

Definitely going to want to run it for a while before putting it into a beer. If it's really corroded there might be a pinhole somewhere that could be spilling the nasty insides of your chiller into a cooling beer. That would be a bummer.

Fennis 12-19-2011 05:56 PM

Actually, I have a question to go along with the OPs statement about copper. I've found 20' coiled lengths available in the big box hardware stores. They call it utility grade, but say its safe for drinking water. They also say its only rated for use up to 180 degrees. Has anyone used this type of copper before for a homemade chiller? Or should I just shell out the extra $40 and buy one?

Chris1272 12-19-2011 06:07 PM

The green layer on your chiller is copper oxide. basically you need an Acid to react with it. any of the above solutions will work. Vinegar, Starsan CLR, ECT. I actually clean mine on brew day with a few squirts of lemon juice in a tub of water. Just use what ever acid is handy or most economical.

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