Ok, the first batch of beer I've ever brewed is downstairs in the closet in secondary, with about 2 weeks to go before bottling. First batch went very well, so I figured I'd start batch #2 tonight so that in 2 weeks I can bottle batch 1, and rack batch #2 into the soon to be empty secondary. However, I have since gotten creative, and was hooked up with 50' of copper, free of charge, from a friend who also happens to be a plumber and had a bunch left over from a job. So rather than just building a simple immersion chiller, which in hindsight I probably should have, I picked up a hose and some copper fittings from Menards to make my CounterFlow Wort Chiller, which seemed like a great idea at the time. I tested the counterflow chiller out a week ago, boiled a pot of water, filled the chiller with water(star-san when it's beer time), capped the exit tube, hooked the chiller up to my raking cane, and uncapped the exit tube. The water in the chiller poured out starting the siphon that sucked the water from my pot, through the racking cane and into the chiller. The water went in at 211 degrees, and came out at 63 degrees, seemed to be working very well.
So tonight, I made my stout LME kit per the directions that came with it, and then came time to chill it
Got the chiller all hooked up, filled the chiller with Star-san solution, capped the exit, hooked up my racking cane and put it in the pot on my stove, let the cap on the chiller exit go, and it starter siphoning, very very slowly, and eventually stopped. This hadn't happened in my test run, so I tried lifting the pot up higher but that didn't work, I eventually started sucking on the exit tube, figure the star-san would sanitize it on it's way out anyway, but I couldn't get enough pressure from my lungs to get it going. I then decided to dump my racking cane, and dumped the hot wort into my bottling bucket(previously full of star-san solution used to fill the chiller. I dumped the solution into another bucket) I then hooked the tubing up, set the bucked as high as I could get it but it still wasn't flowing. I think I may have plugged it up with sediment but I'm not sure, after futzing around, and thinking about just dumping the batch, I tried blowing the rest of the wort out of the chiller with my mouth, which didn't work. So I then got my air compressor and blaster the remaining wort out of the chiller and into the Carboy. I then grabbed my previously boiled pot of water from the deck(I'm in MN it was cooling out there), and dumped that into the bottling bucket with the remaaining wort which cooled it to about 70 degrees. I then sanitized my funnel and dumped the wort into the carboy via the funnel. I was a little short on wort at this point, I'd spilled quite a bit moving hoses around earlier, so I just said F! it, and topped it off with tap water, pitched 2 packets of dry yeast, put the air lock on, and decided we'll just wait and see what happens.
So, from the events that transpired tonight, I'm guessing there is a good chance I may have gotten some bad bacteria, yeasts, microbes, etc..... into my wort, but I am going to wait it out and see. What I am wondering is, can I tell if the beer is spoiled before bottling it, and if so how? I have no problems waiting it out through the primary and secondary, but I'd rather not waste time bottling it if it's bad.
Also, any suggestions on making my CounterFlow chiller a little less of of a pain in the @$$ would also be appreciated. I don't have money to spend on a pump right now so that's out of the question.
Actually, I was just reading this again before posting, and now that I think about it, I bet the mesh at the end of my racking cane got plugged causing siphon issues. In my test run I used my plastic racking cane which bent out of shape from the hot liquid. So I made a new racking cane out of left over copper tubing, and picked up a staineless steel mesh cover for the tip, I bet that mesh got plugged and slowed my siphon to a crawl, what do you other brewers use to filter out the sediment when using a racking cane to siphon from the brew pot?