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Best way to keep hot break and hops out of the plate chiller and fermentor ?

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I typically put hops in a muslin bag to prevent too much sludge in the first place, and then the bazooka strainer handles the rest. Anything else that goes through isn't a big deal-- I flush my plate chiller immediately afterward.
 

seatazzz

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Hops will definitely clog up your chiller (and pump), but break material usually won't. I don't filter out my break but I do use a bag or a basket for my hops, both leaf and pellet. The last time I didn't I wound up with a horribly clogged plate chiller and the last gallon had to be dumped in to the fermenter manually. For the break material try using whirlfloc or irish moss, and depending on how you are transferring to your fermenter, try to have the pickup above the break.
 
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What if one recirculated into a fine mesh BIAB bag after the boil, but before sterilizing the plate chiller ?

Would it catch all the hot break ?

You could remove the bag of hot break and hop residue and proceed with clean wort through the chiller ?
 
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I brewed another beer last night and tested out a new (to me) concept - post boil straining. It seemed to work really well.

I brewed normally, without a hop filter in the kettle. I used pellet hops. At the end of the boil I put a BIAB bag into the kettle. Then I recirculated back into the BIAB bag in the kettle for a bit.

Once I was pretty sure I had strained out the hop material and hot break, I connected the chiller and recirculated hot wort through it, back into the BIAB bag. This sterilized the chiller.

Once the chiller was sterilized, I turned on the chilling water while continuing to circulate back into the BIAB bag in the kettle. I think this caught some of the cold break.

At some point I diverted the chiller output from the kettle into the fermentor.

It seemed to work really well. The bag caught a lot of debris. The pump had zero problems because it had no inlet restriction. The chiller didn't plug because I had filtered out most of the debris from the wort. And the wort that went to the fermentor was pretty clean.

The one concern I have is that the wort sits pretty still while all this is going on. DMS could build up. But I could also bring it back to a boil again after straining too.

If I had a counterflow tube chiller instead of a plate chiller I could immediately start recirculating through the chiller and save about 10 minutes of straining before I circulate through the plate chiller. This would speed up my brew day and also cut down on the DMS prone time. Hmmm....

I'm going to try this again on my next batch.

Here the wort is recirculating through the chiller back into the BIAB bag.

20190217_233932.jpg


This is what the bag caught. The bottom of the kettle was almost perfectly clean.

20190217_234949.jpg
 
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I brewed again last night and ran the BIAB filter post boil. I brewed a very light (SRM 3.18) lager with 3 oz of hop pellets and crystal clear wort going into the boil kettle.

I recirculated and filtered while boiling for abut 5 minutes. Then I recirculated through the chiller and into the filter for another 5 minutes. Then I chilled into the filter for 5 minutes. Then I redirected the flow into the fermentor.

Post boil filtering is now my go to method for dealing with hops, hot break and cold break.

20190218_205317.jpg


This is what came out of the bag.

20190218_213545.jpg
 
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Update: I've performed this procedure on my last ~8 brews and it works great. My plate chiller never plugs and my beers taste excellent.
 
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I got rid of my plate chiller for that reason and switched to a CFC.
There is more benefit than being able to use a plate chiller. Look at all the organic material you keep out of the fermenter. The bag catches way more than just the hop material.

At the end of the boil, I now circulate through the chiller and back into the bag for a while so that I strain out the cold break. It seems to work really well. Much less material in the fermenter, very clean tasting beers. Coincidence ? I don't know.
 

TheMadKing

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There is more benefit than being able to use a plate chiller. Look at all the organic material you keep out of the fermenter. The bag catches way more than just the hop material.

At the end of the boil, I now circulate through the chiller and back into the bag for a while so that I strain out the cold break. It seems to work really well. Much less material in the fermenter, very clean tasting beers. Coincidence ? I don't know.
I whirlpool and end up with a good trub pile before transferring into my fermenter. Yeast health is improved by some of those amino acids and lipid compounds that are included in the cold break so there are benefits to not filtering them out. They do include some staling compounds that easily oxidize and contribute to beer staling if you aren't careful about oxidation. Otherwise dumping 100% of the trub into your fermenter is fine and I have done this with BIAB in the past (I now have a 3-vessel system and whirlpool to remove some of the staling compounds but not all) , and my beers always taste "clean" (no off flavors anyway) before and after the switch. I have noticed an improvement in shelf life though.
 

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I solved the problem buy selling my plate chiller and bought a Hydra immersion chiller.
 
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I solved the problem buy selling my plate chiller and bought a Hydra immersion chiller.
Immersion chillers use way more water and don't produce near the cold break that a plate chiller does. 190F in, 60F out. Does 7 gallons in 5 minutes.

I used to own an immersion chiller. Used to.

Clean up is as simple as reverse flushing while it's cleaning the boil kettle and grain bucket at the same time.

Since straining the wort with the bag, I've never had a plugging incident nor any infected beer.

20210117_004159.jpg
 
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If I had to get rid of my plate chiller I would stop brewing. It is so efficient and quick. Just love it. I use a hop spider and never had anything near remotely to clog it. I clean it quickly at end and also flush it before use.
 

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Spiders won't keep cold break out of the product. Otoh, this thing does:

julius_11_23jan2021_07.jpg


fwiw, hot break should be skimmed.
If I was going to try to use my PC with 10 ounces of hops in the kettle I'd definitely want a Hopblocker-2 or equivalent in the kettle...

Cheers!
 
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Spiders won't keep cold break out of the product. Otoh, this thing does:

View attachment 715619

fwiw, hot break should be skimmed.
If I was going to try to use my PC with 10 ounces of hops in the kettle I'd definitely want a Hopblocker-2 or equivalent in the kettle...

Cheers!
I've plugged filters like that. I love recirculating into the grain bag because it has infinite capacity and the wort is so clean going into the fermentor.
 

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My hot break is thin and at the end some always goes through the PC. Never a problem and nothing 138F water and some PBW can’t easily handle. I don’t understand why people have problems with that alone.
 

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I just use a hop spider. I don't fuss about the hot break, providing you use adequate kettle finnings and you transfer slowly the hot break just gathers at the bottom of the kettle. You don't even need to whirlpool.

If you really worried about it then you can add a filter to the kettle or between your kettle and fermenter. I wouldn't bother with mesh fabric filters, imo they are not fit for purpose.

something like this

or this

 
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I wouldn't bother with mesh fabric filters, imo they are not fit for purpose.
You mean the mesh bags that are used to hold grain in BIAB and hops, ie hop socks ? They aren't "fit for the purpose" ? LOL.

something like this
Those things are very prone to plugging and when they do, you have a huge mess on your hands. That is the worst solution.
 
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FWIW, Gordon Strong, in Brewing Better Beer, page 63 states that too much cold break in the fermenter causes off flavors. Some is OK, lots is not good.

Furthermore, he describes a technique to drop out trub before fermentation by chilling with a plate chiller into the boil kettle until chilled, letting it sit for 10-15 minutes so things settle out and then pumping/racking the clear wort into the fermentor.

It turns out that I'm doing exactly what Strong suggests, except that I'm using a grain bag to capture the cold break instead of letting it settle out.

That is one ot the things I don't like about BIAB... it never sets up a good grain bed to filter the wort and get it truly clear... especially if you squeeze the bag at the end. Couple that with weak cold break from using an immersion chiller that slowly cools the wort and you get a lot of material in the fermenter.

I'll keep using my grain bag strainer method.
 

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It turns out that I'm doing exactly what Strong suggests, except that I'm using a grain bag to capture the cold break instead of letting it settle out..
You're not capturing cold break, you're capturing hot break only. There's a lot of confusion about this but cold break is not hot break once it becomes cold. Cold break is something else entirely, it forms when wort is chilled and is made of particles of less than 1 micron in size, i.e. much smaller than a yeast cell. There is no practical way to separate cold break from wort for a homebrewer.
I don't know what Mr. Strong wrote as I don't own any of his books, but if he was actually referring to cold break then yes, some of it is good for the yeast although even if it weren't we'd be stuck with it in any case. Hot break on the other hand is only bad and should never end up in the fermenter.
 
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You're not capturing cold break, you're capturing hot break only. There's a lot of confusion about this but cold break is not hot break once it becomes cold. Cold break is something else entirely, it forms when wort is chilled and is made of particles of less than 1 micron in size, i.e. much smaller than a yeast cell. There is no practical way to separate cold break from wort for a homebrewer.
I don't know what Mr. Strong wrote as I don't own any of his books, but if he was actually referring to cold break then yes, some of it is good for the yeast although even if it weren't we'd be stuck with it in any case. Hot break on the other hand is only bad and should never end up in the fermenter.
I know the difference between hot break and cold break.

Filtering with a grain bag does catch cold break because although the particles are tiny, they coagulate into larger particles almost as soon as they stop moving. This happens inside the grain bag. And the material already in the grain bag acts as a filter of sorts. Result: much cleaner wort.
 
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Vale71

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I know the difference between hot break and cold break.

Filtering with a grain bag does catch hot break because although the particles are tiny, they coagulate into larger particles almost as soon as they stop moving. This happens inside the grain bag. And the material already in the grain bag acts as a filter of sorts. Result: much cleaner wort.
Was that a typo and did you actually mean cold break? Cold break material does not coagulate and remains in suspension for a very long time making sedimentation impractical as a means of removal. Their exceptionally small size means you won't be filtering them out either unless you use a filter with a mesh size of <1 micron which would be impractical as well. The only way to actually remove all or part of the cold break material are centrifugal separation or flotation in a specilized tank, both of which are out of the reach of homebrewers.
 
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Was that a typo and did you actually mean cold break? Cold break material does not coagulate and remains in suspension for a very long time making sedimentation impractical as a means of removal. Their exceptionally small size means you won't be filtering them out either unless you use a filter with a mesh size of <1 micron which would be impractical as well. The only way to actually remove all or part of the cold break material are centrifugal separation or flotation in a specilized tank, both of which are out of the reach of homebrewers.
It was a typo. I meant to say cold break. I changed it.

And yes it does coagulate if you chill it enough. That is why Strong says if you chill into the boil kettle and leave it sit for 10 minutes you can rack off clean wort. It isn't just me that this happens to.

You need a really good chiller to give it enough thermal shock for this to happen. My wort goes from 207F (boiling here) to 55F in however long it takes for the wort to go through the chiller. If it is gently pumped and then stationary, it clumps almost immediately and then the filter mesh and the hot break material already in the bag capture it.

In any event, it works. I've done it many times. And it is a good thing.
 

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It was a typo. I meant to say cold break. I changed it.

And yes it does coagulate if you chill it enough. That is why Strong says if you chill into the boil kettle and leave it sit for 10 minutes you can rack off clean wort. It isn't just me that this happens to.

You need a really good chiller to give it enough thermal shock for this to happen. My wort goes from 207F (boiling here) to 55F in however long it takes for the wort to go through the chiller. If it is gently pumped and then stationary, it clumps almost immediately and then the filter mesh and the hot break material already in the bag capture it.

In any event, it works. I've done it many times. And it is a good thing.
I wasn't familiar with Strong's work but if what you say is representative of it then I must say I'm disappointed.

Cold break material does not coalesce because the surface of the particles is charged and all particles repel each other becuause they all have the same charge. Because of the very small size it takes many hours or even days for any significant amount of cold break material to sediment, depending on the depth it has to travel. In a timeframe of 10 minutes the amount that settles is equal to zero.

Remember, particle size is 1/10th of a yeast cell or less. You need a powerful microscope to see that. If follows that anything you see in your kettle cannot be cold break. Cold break only manifests itself as a haze in chilled wort.
 
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Whatever. I don't have time to argue with you.
 

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Suit yourself. You just missed out on a learning opportunity. Sometimes I wonder why I bother at all.
 

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Cold break only manifests itself as a haze in chilled wort.
This is an interesting conversation. I am curious about the quoted statement, though. If cold break is only seen as haze in chilled wort, then what are the fluffy clumps that show up only once the wort is chilled in the kettle? And then they float down and settle, albeit not always tightly, in whatever vessel the wort is transferred to. The effect is familiar to any home brewer and is not subtle.

This is not haze, and I've always called it "cold break." I skim out the hot break FWIW.
 

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You can't "skim out" the hot break either unlike you subscribe to the misconception that hot break equals the foamy mess that floats on top of the boiling wort. While that is indeed hot break material it is only a small part of it, the rest is happily floating around and coalescing as boil progresses. You can clearly see it (at best when brewing something pale in color) if you ladle some boiling wort into a transparent container. The flakes you'll see swimming around in the wort and slowly settling to the bottom are made of hot break material.

Long story short, what you see in your wort either before or after chilling is 100% hot break material, the only difference is whether you separate it prior to chilling (f.e. via a whirlpool) or after chilling.
 
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