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Old 12-01-2012, 02:52 AM   #1
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Default Thinking out loud, kettle whirlpool

I've been thinking about a way to automate a whirlpool in my kettle for the purpose of more efficient immersion coil chilling.

Before I go on, let me just state for the record that I am not interested in counterflow and/or plate chillers. To me, there's just too much potential for clogging, and I don't like the idea of not being able to see if the inside is really clean or not. Nor am I interested in a debate over which is the best method.

Ok, so. With my immersion chiller, I have a couple choices. I can lid the kettle, turn the water on and walk away. If I'm lucky, I'll be down to pitching temp in an hour and a half. Or, I can sit there with my brew spoon stirrring, and have it done in 25 mins. Problem is, the lid has to be off to do it, and that's more cold side exposure than I'm comfortable with.

I know that Jamiel Z uses a march pump and recirculates wort in his kettle to accomplish his whirlpool chilling. Now I could do that, but I'm just a lowly extract brewer so I don't have a $130 pump, lying around.
I have seen DIY whirlpool designs that use smallish DC motors to run a paddle through the lid, so that may be doable, but I had another idea...

What if I tapped into the water pressure I'm already using through the chiller to spin an impeller shaft? Anybody here hydrodynamics savvy enough to tell me if this is stupid idea or not? Can I simply take a March pump replacement head and plumb a garden hose to it and get enough torque to spin a small paddle in the wort at low rpms? I'm on city water so I have decent PSI, I'm just not sure how that power translates mechanically.
The pump heads are fairly inexpensive. If it works, I think this could be done for well under $50 all in.

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Old 12-01-2012, 05:58 AM   #2
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you won't have nearly enough torque to do what you need. you may gain a bit if you make a mechanical connection to the shaft instead of the magnetic drive that the actual pump uses, but i don't think it'll move 5 or 6 gallons of wort well enough to whirlpool. keep your eyes out for a used march or chugger pump or get used to stirring

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Old 12-01-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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If you're just looking to agitate the wort to prevent thermal stratification during cooling, your idea may actually work. If you want to create enough movement to actually whirlpool.... then doubtful.

Worst case, you have the pump head - buy the motor and do it the right way!

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Old 12-01-2012, 12:31 PM   #4
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You could just get a small sump pump to recirculate ice water through the chiller. Many on here have used this technique with success and dramatically reduced their chilling time.

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Old 12-01-2012, 12:44 PM   #5
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Don't know if this helps but.. I went to a cheap tool store (harbor freight in this case) and bought a submersible pump for $40. The wort chiller hooks directly up to it and it sits in a 5 gallon bucket of ice water. The kettle sits in a ice water bath next to it and in ~ 5 mins were at 80f.

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Old 12-01-2012, 02:19 PM   #6
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I've seen small pumps that you can run with a drill. I wonder if you ran your water through that if it would have enough torque to turn a paddle? It's worth a try - they have one at harbor freight for under $4

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Old 12-04-2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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How about looking for a used rotisserre motor used for grill rotisserres? Some have a varible speed switch.

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Old 12-04-2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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These are great ideas, I may try drilling a hole in my lid and hook up a stainless steel mash paddle cut down to fit into the pot connected to my rotisserie. I wouldn't get the full whirlpool but if I add a cheap pump to recirculate ice water through the chiller I bet the temps would drop really fast. I really like the idea of using the water pressure to turn the paddle though.

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Old 12-04-2012, 06:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerevisaphile View Post
I've seen small pumps that you can run with a drill. I wonder if you ran your water through that if it would have enough torque to turn a paddle? It's worth a try - they have one at harbor freight for under $4
I actually have one of those and I love it. It takes a ton of torque to drive it though. I can barely turn the drive spindle by hand.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liquiditynerd View Post
Don't know if this helps but.. I went to a cheap tool store (harbor freight in this case) and bought a submersible pump for $40. The wort chiller hooks directly up to it and it sits in a 5 gallon bucket of ice water. The kettle sits in a ice water bath next to it and in ~ 5 mins were at 80f.
I sometime use a pseudo prechiller if my groundwater is warmer than pitch temp. I take my garden hose and coil it up inside a spare cooler and add a bag of ice and water. Works great.

I'm a little skeptical about using most submersible pumps as they are not food safe. Submersible aquarium pumps are something I have a little experience with, and these have to be hermetically sealed and made of inert materials so as not to contaminate the extremely sensitive environment of an aquarium. I'd feel ok about that, but I have a feeling they would fail in the high temp environment.
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Sometimes the angels punish us by answering our prayers. -Peart

Next Brew: SWMBO's choice. Probably Saison.
Primary: Janet's Brown, Mulled Chamomile Cider/Perry
Secondary: Nada
Bottle Conditioning: Nada
Bottled and Ready: Hop in the Dark, Raison Detre, Hoppy Saison

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