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Old 02-12-2012, 06:07 PM   #1
Coastarine
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Default CFC Users: How do you get it clean and keep it clean?

Hey all, it has been quite a while since I posted or even read anything here, mostly because it has been quite a while since I brewed anything! About 10 months to be precise, but it is time to get back on that horse.

This is the longest I have ever gone between brew sessions, and I just know that cleaning out my CFC is going to be a nightmare. I have a homemade copper-inside-garden hose type and I forget how long the copper is but I do remember that it is longer than most. My routine in the past has been to do a nice strong oxyclean soak/circ during the mash, rinse with water, then do a starsan soak/circ during the boil, then it is ready for wort. After the chill, I rinse thoroughly with water, then pump air through to blow what water I can out of it. This is how it sits till the next brew, which works well for less than a month in between brewdays.

I'm going to need a better method. I know I can improve on how I clean after brewing so that it doesn't grow nastiness while it is stored. It is stored outdoors currently. As for getting it ready to brew in a week...does anyone know of a better chemical to break up the grossness other than oxyclean? What about something solid to push through to agitate? A short length of pipe cleaner maybe? I once saw someone recommend an earplug and said it worked for them, but I'm just not comfortable with getting it stuck in there.


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Old 02-12-2012, 06:11 PM   #2
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What works for me (*crosses fingers*); I store it full of water and use those small red caps that fit on 3/8" copper pipe.

While I'm heating the sparge water, I heat an extra couple of gallons, and while I'm batch sparging, I heat that extra water to a boil and runoff the boiling water through the CFC (without turing on the hose). While it's still flowing (but almost empty), I'll recap until I start chilling.

After brewing; I do the same thing (boil water and run a few gallons through; and cap). A couple times a year I'll run some oxi through it, but that's about it...

I figure storing it wet (while probably not sanitary) doesn't allow any gunk to dry/cake on the inside.


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Old 02-12-2012, 06:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by AZ_IPA View Post
What works for me (*crosses fingers*); I store it full of water and use those small red caps that fit on 3/8" copper pipe.

While I'm heating the sparge water, I heat an extra couple of gallons, and while I'm batch sparging, I heat that extra water to a boil and runoff the boiling water through the CFC (without turing on the hose). While it's still flowing (but almost empty), I'll recap until I start chilling.

After brewing; I do the same thing (boil water and run a few gallons through; and cap). A couple times a year I'll run some oxi through it, but that's about it...

I figure storing it wet (while probably not sanitary) doesn't allow any gunk to dry/cake on the inside.
That sounds like a pretty solid plan, but I forgot to mention the details of my pump. Most of us use the standard march pump, but I went with the self priming pump that can't handle high temps. For this reason I can only use the pump up-stream of the chiller ("pushing" the liquid through) if the liquid is cool. For hot liquids like wort I use the pump downstream of the chiller to pull the liquid through, and then the water has to be flowing to cool it.
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SEMPER FIDELIS ET SEMPER PARATUS Bringin' the 'pane...the propane.Coming Up:..[Hefewiezen][BCS Robust Porter][EdWort's Haus Pale Ale][Peated Ale]
Fermenting:.
Conditioning:[Oaked Cider][ESB]
On Tap.........[The Munchner][Spiced Cider][English Cider][Simcoe IPA][Triple Hops Grooved][Cider'n 'gnac]
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:20 PM   #4
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I will start with... I have no experience with CFCs, but the hard plumbing on my brew rig I run PBW through at about 170 degrees. Then rinse with hot water, then drain and suck the lines dry with the shop vac. That seems to work pretty well for me so far, but most of those lines are post boil, or get boiling wort running through them during the boil.

as i am thinking about building a CF I am interested in others cleaning methods. I was just planning on using the same as above, and running sanitizer through it on brew day.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:22 PM   #5
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That sounds like a pretty solid plan, but I forgot to mention the details of my pump.
oops, and I forgot to mention that I gravity feed.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:29 PM   #6
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AZ, what kind of hose do you have? I know some people used a more heat resistant rubber hose but I went with the cheap-o vinyl one. I might consider rigging up a gravity feed for a good hot cleaning. I do have a nice high HLT on my 3-tier. It would be a shame if the boiling water heated the copper which melted the hose.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:37 PM   #7
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I bought it from my LHBS, so I'm not exactly sure. But it's the high-temp rated garden hose, red in color. I'm fairly sure it's not rated for boiling water, but because the boiling water doesn't come in contact with the hose, the air in the hose, and the heat absorbed by the copper, I'm not too worried about it.

But, I don't run boiling water through it for very long. My thoughts are to get the copper hot enough that when I cap it, it'll be above ~170*F for ~10-15 minutes.
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:51 PM   #8
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I have a cfc with a heavy duty hose I mix up a2 1/2 gal of PBW and 180 degree water adn use my march pump to recir it through the cfc till it cools. I don't run any water through it during this process. I suggest filling it with PBW and letting it sit over night. I have not brewed in a year and plan to do that with my set up before I brew again.

More on my set up here http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/stee...y-pics-125032/
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:56 PM   #9
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Recirculating cleaner through the chiller is your best best.

First line defense would be to heat sanitize before using it as has been suggested
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:17 PM   #10
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After doing some reading I am going to switch to PBW as it apparently is superior at breaking up the type of organic crud that I am bound to encounter.


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SEMPER FIDELIS ET SEMPER PARATUS Bringin' the 'pane...the propane.Coming Up:..[Hefewiezen][BCS Robust Porter][EdWort's Haus Pale Ale][Peated Ale]
Fermenting:.
Conditioning:[Oaked Cider][ESB]
On Tap.........[The Munchner][Spiced Cider][English Cider][Simcoe IPA][Triple Hops Grooved][Cider'n 'gnac]
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