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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Using a counterflow chiller?
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:47 PM   #1
loughbrew
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Default Using a counterflow chiller?

is it possible to run the wort through the chiller via gravity and a SS racking cane or do I need a pump?


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Old 05-28-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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Possible I suppose, it will be difficult to get your siphon started. Before I had a pump I did gravity drain through a CFC, I was draining from my back porch to the basement though so I had a good 10' drop to create suction. I filled the whole thing with star-san during the boil.


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Old 05-28-2009, 06:51 PM   #3
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It is possible, but very slow and the probability of getting clogged is devastating. Not to mention, sometimes you need more than one pass through the chiller to get cool enough (season dependent usually).
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:55 PM   #4
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so I just fill the hose and chiller with sanatizer and pull the plug when i am ready to start? I dont see how clogs would be an issue.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loughbrew View Post
so I just fill the hose and chiller with sanatizer and pull the plug when i am ready to start? I dont see how clogs would be an issue.
That's pretty much how I did it back in the day. I had a bottom drain on my keg though. I also used hop bags (5 gallon paint strainer/PVC ring) so I didn't have much to clog it.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:31 PM   #6
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1) conpewter is right - make sure you're using a hop bag. Those big paint strainer bags are flipping awesome.

2) As long as the chiller and the racking cane are full of sanitizer when you drop the cane into the wort and open up the bottom side of the chiller, it should start enough to get your wort going. Just make sure you let the san run out of the chiller and wait until it's beer before you put it into your fermenter.

I remember reading about someone who used a hand vaccum cleaner to start the siphon. Not sure if it would work all the way through the chiller and up into the racking cane ,but it seemed to work for a racking cane and transfer tube. Give it a shot, what can it hurt?


It would better if you had a spigot on your boil kettle though.
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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That is how I do mine. My drop is from the kettle sitting on a cooler, down to a fermenter sitting on a chair. Runs ok. I never timed it but probably 10 minutes. I use tap water and have to turn the flow down to keep it from cooling too much.

The last batch I did was an IPA and the pellet hops very nearly clogged the chiller. I tried the whirlpool method and managed to get a good flow until the volume got low, and the little bit left I just strained into the fermenter.

I have been using the racking cane and sanitizer method ever since I melted my autosiphon a few batches ago, but there is a cheap device that allows you suck a siphon and not infect your beer. Basically a T near the end of your hose with a clamp just ahead of where you suck. Once the siphon is started, pinch the clamp and prevent bacteria from entering your beer (not that it's likely with the T, but the clamp also prevents the wort from pouring out the wrong hose).

Be careful with this method and hot wort.


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