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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Counter flow Chiller
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Old 10-20-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
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Default Counter flow Chiller

Looking at using 1 of these but don't know any thing about them. Any users out there with some info?


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Old 10-20-2006, 03:00 PM   #2
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I don't use one myself, but the concept is that you either gravity drain or siphon the wort out of your brewpot through a copper tubing coil that runs inside another larger coil of hose. You run cold tap through the outer hose to pull the heat out of the wort as it drains into your fermenter. It's a basic heat exchanger.

Just like an immersion chiller, your wort is only going to get as cold as your tap water. It's probably only a slight bit more difficult to DIY than an immersion chiller.


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Old 10-20-2006, 03:02 PM   #3
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There's a big thread around here, I think sticky, that Cheyco authored. He built a CFC that he loves. I thought about making one, but was really concerned about being able to get the wort flowing without using a pump. I think Cheyco has a pump, and it sounds like you CAN get a siphon going, but it's really a PITA.
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Old 10-20-2006, 04:18 PM   #4
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CFC's work best with a pump. You really don't need one for chilling wort but to get it really clean you need to recirculate hot PBW through it.
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Old 10-20-2006, 04:49 PM   #5
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Here you go
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthre...ht=counterflow

Not such a pain; gravity can get it done. I had to elevate my boil keg about 10" higher then the CFC sits maybe 3" lower than the keg spigot. As long as the bottom of the fermenter is lower you're good to go. Takes me about 15 minutes to cool the wort; no pump.

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Old 10-20-2006, 05:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
He built a CFC that he loves.
It's only platonic!

I've got my system going without using a pump. You just need to fill the cfc with sanitizer and plug one end. When you're ready to siphon, hook up the racking cane and open the clamp on the out line of the CFC. Piece of cake!
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Old 10-21-2006, 10:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I don't use one myself, but the concept is that you either gravity drain or siphon the wort out of your brewpot through a copper tubing coil that runs inside another larger coil of hose. You run cold tap through the outer hose to pull the heat out of the wort as it drains into your fermenter. It's a basic heat exchanger.

Just like an immersion chiller, your wort is only going to get as cold as your tap water. It's probably only a slight bit more difficult to DIY than an immersion chiller.
I'm gathering materials for my all grain system right now, have a 17 gallon pot and a 15 gal keg with a hole cut in the top. I'm going to buy a nice pump and a bunch of ball valves etc... from the hardware store. I will have a counter flow chiller. The one thing I will do differently than most people with their CFWC is use an emersion wort chiller in a salty ice bath after the hose and before the CFWC to get that tap water to drop in temp a conciderable amount. I plan on buying about 200' of copper pipe for my whole system...... MAN I can't wait for my tax return... ACE up the street is going to LOVE me.... (and morebeer... LOL!!!)
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Old 10-21-2006, 01:56 PM   #8
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For many years, I used an immersion chiller with reasonable results. (i.e. it took about 30 minutes to cool a 5g batch down to pitching temperature.) The problem was that it took about 30 minutes to cool the wort, and if put the beer on ice, it developed a severe chill haze. As I drink my beers (usually English Bitters) at 55 - 60 degrees, the chill haze never appeared in my beers, but a number of Americans who insist on putting the beer on ice had the audacity to complain!
In spite of this, they are basically a good bunch of guys, so I decided to invest in a counterflow chiller in order to improve the chilling performance, and hopefully eliminate the chill haze. So far, I have only made two brews with it. One is in the primary, and the other in the secondary, so I don't know if it cured the chill haze, but the following is a summary of the advantages/disadvantages versus the immersion chiller.

Immersion chiller advantages.

As you only have to clean and sanitize the outside of an immersion chiller, it appears to be easier to clean and sanitize. I cleaned by rinsing in the kitchen sink, and sanitized by soaking in a bucket of Iodophor.

Drain straight from kettle to fermenter. I have a false bottom and a spigot on the kettle, so with the immersion chiller, I just run a small hose from the spigot to the fermenter. Providing the bottom of the kettle is higher than the top of the fermenter, this works well.

As the immersion chiller cools in the kettle, much of the break material is filtered out by the hops (I use whole hops) lying on the false bottom. This results in a very clear wort being transferred to the fermenter.

Disadvantages of immersion chiller.

30 minutes to chill.

Chill haze?

Advantages of CFC.

0 minutes chilling time. (The wort is chilled on the way from the kettle to the fermenter.)

No (or less) chill haze?

Disadvantages of CFC.

Necessary to use a 3 level set up. The bottom of the kettle needs to be higher than the top of the chiller, and the bottom of the chiller needs to be higher than the top of the fermenter. <EDIT. As Yuri pointed out. This is B.S.>

The cold water connections for the CFC are a pain.

A lot of break material is discharged into the fermenter (but this could be considered as an advantage as it is a yeast nutrient).

More difficult cleaning and sanitizing. To clean, I rinse out kettle, and then drain hot water through CFC until it comes out clear, then fill kettle with a solution containing PBW, partially drain to fill the CFC with cleaner, wait for 30 minutes to let PBW to do its magic, then drain, and rinse well. To sanitize, I first rinse by draining a few gallons hot water through the chiller, then use the bottling bucket filled with Iodophor or Star San to sanitize. When draining the kettle, I wait till wort starts to flow before directing the outlet to the fermenter. (This probably wastes about 2 cups of wort.)

I wouldn't use the CFC without a secondary because of all the break material that gets into the primary. The faster chilling undoubtably reduces the chance of infection prior to pitching, but I never suffered this problem for the 14 years that I used the immersion chiller. I'll have to wait another month or so to see if it cures the chill haze problem.

-a.

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Old 10-21-2006, 02:50 PM   #9
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I like mine. I use it via gravity feed, but it doesn't require a 3-tier setup. I put the brew kettle on the counter and drain into a fermenter on the floor. I use a pump to recirculate water from an ice bath, but if you have cold tap water, that's unnecessary (I don't have very cold water for most of the year, as my water lines are run through the attic). I get clear beer unless I've screwed something else up, but I do use a clearing tank (secondary...) as insurance. I don't think the break material is THAT bad, honestly. Most of the hot break stays in my brew kettle, and the cold break just settles out under the yeast "pancake." If you put a screen or large pore filter on the cold side of the chiller, you could catch a lot of the cold break before it gets to your fermenter.
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Old 10-21-2006, 03:29 PM   #10
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I built my own with directions from a article in BYO and I love it. The only downside I can see to my CFC is that in the winter it will ice my driveway so I dont use it then. I use a ball valve in the kettle and gravity so no worrying about a siphon. The only PITA is I dont have a 3 tire system so I tend to find myself lifting a half barrel brew keg with 5-6 gallons of 200+ degree wort in it onto some saw horses . . . but that will be fixed soon.

BTW thats the same way I get my mash/sparge water into my mash tun


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