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Chilling with ice bombs

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BrewDey

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I've had a few bad batches recently and I'm beginning to think that it's due to my long cooling period. I use an immersion chiller let my brewpot swim in a bath of water in a utility tub. I add ice bombs (frozen bottles of water) to the water to help as well. This still takes about an hour typically-and I know a utility tub cannot be the most germ-free environment.

I'm thinking that I may start hooking up the IC to my outside hose faucet to keep it out of the basement. Another thing that would help would be to put the ice bombs right into the wort. I'd sanitize them 1st, but it seems like they should be pretty sanitary if they're frozen to begin with. Any thoughts on this?

Also-what is the highest temp that's safe for pitching ales? I usually try to get it down to mid 60s at the highest. I had a bad experience pitching too warm and it really fouled it up...so I've probably cooled a little more than necessary.
 

Deacon240

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I wouldn't recommend putting the bombs into the wort itself (some areas of their bottle may not get hit by san). I'd say if you stuck to putting it into the water bath with the ice bottles and added rock salt that'd help cool it down quicker. Water is a better transfer surface than ice (ice tends to insulate) and in addition of the rock salt the water will drop below freezing.

I pitched at 95*f my first brew (it had been 2 hours of cooling and I wouldn't wait any longer to pitch cause I was paranoid) and the yeast where happy as all get up the next morning. Didnt have any ill effects in the beer but I may have been lucky.
 

zac

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My immersion chiller can get me to pitching temps within 15 minutes, how big of batches are you making? Or what size chiller do you have?

Seems odd!
 
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BrewDey

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I use the 1st one on this page:

NORTHERN BREWER: Wort Chillers

Pretty standard. Maybe I'm just not checking the temp enough. The other thing is I don't blast the water full-throttle because I've had the vinyl tubes burst on me when they are soft and warm. Maybe if I pitch at 80, and kept checking, it would be closer to your timing.
 

Saccharomyces

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Replace those vinyl hoses with silicone hose. Then you can run the water at full throttle.

It is also necessary to agitate the wort (stirring, shaking the chiller, tea bagging the hop bag is what I do) during the first 10 minutes of cooling.

My schedule is something like this:

Turn on chiller full blast, tea bag the hop bag for 10 minutes
Turn water to 1/3rd, let hop bag drain for a few minutes, slap the lid on and let it go for 10-15 minutes

If it's summer, I'll then switch to a pump to recirc ice water for 20 more minutes to get down to pitching temp. This time of year I'm good to go after 20-25 minutes.
 

MikeRobrew

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i searched and can not find the thread, but someone posted a how-to on a recycling system.

basically there was a tub of ice water (more ice than water cause it will melt), with a water pump in it. the pump had a normal garden hose connector. it went into the chiller, and the return went back into the bucket.

i tried this and without putting the kettle in an ice bath, it was down to 90 degrees within about 12 minutes. By that time all the ice was melted, so I put the kettle int he water and it was down to 70 in a few more minutes.

If someone knows of that post, link it. It works great.
 

acdavis

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I'd also be concerned about the plastic on your ice bombs melting in the hot wort. I had my keggle in a water bath with some ice bombs and the plastic bottles all melted which was no big deal, but if they were in my wort it would have ruined my day!
 

BargainFittings

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Are you stirring while you chill?

Just replace the vinyl with the heavy braided vinyl hoses of the same inner diameter and clamp them down tight.

I would not trust throwing anything in the wort.
 

remilard

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Yeah, stirring or a recirculation whirlpool is necessary for the best performance with an IC. You should be able to get within a few degrees of the water you are using in 10 minutes assuming you have a reasonable sized chiller (25 feet of 3/8 is reasonable for 5 gallons).
 

Baldy_Beer_Brewery

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I'd replace the hoses just because they suck.

But as far as for running more water through the chiller... I get better results running only about a gallon per minute through mine.
 

Gonefishing

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The engineer types here can better address this, but, I thought that too slow or too fast a flow was less efficient than a moderate speed, so to me at least your 1 gallon a minute would seem better than full flow. When I make another IC it's in my plans to do some tests to determine most efficient flow for me.
 
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Higher flow rates will yield faster results (greater "delta T"). However, you'll get those faster results at the expense of a greater volume of water expended. So, you need to define what "efficient" really means. If you want an energy/resource efficient system, dumping vast amounts of cooling water onto the lawn may not be the answer. However, if you want a time efficient method, high flow rates are the way to go.
 

humann_brewing

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I have been able to get 5.5G of boiling wort down to 75 degrees in 5 minutes.

My equipment is

  • 13G brew pot that has a wide profile so the 5.5G doesn't come up that high in the pot
  • an copper immersion chiller, not that big really, maybe 7 inches wide and 10 rings high I think
  • and a pool

I don't know if this is recommended, so I am sure something will correct me or say that my beer is going to be filled with airborne illnesses or something, but my beer has turned out great so far. What I do, is immediately take the pot from the burner and put it on the first step of the stairs going into the pool. I then thread the hose onto the IC and turn the water on. I have the exit water run onto the deck of the pool since it is really hot and don't want it warming up the pool water near the pot, my dog also likes to slurp up the water when it is shooting out the outlet of the IC. The final thing is that I grab the cold (inlet) portion of the IC and move it around in the wort bringing it in and out of the wort as well as back and forth around the pot. This helps to aerate the wort and cool it a lot quicker.

I was really surprised at how fast it goes. I had a 90 minute boil going on the timer and had to stop at 80 minutes because my volume was getting low and I had all of the wort in the fermentor before the timer went off.

P.S. my pool is like 48 degrees right now too which certainly helps
 

cantari

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The engineer types here can better address this, but, I thought that too slow or too fast a flow was less efficient than a moderate speed, so to me at least your 1 gallon a minute would seem better than full flow. When I make another IC it's in my plans to do some tests to determine most efficient flow for me.
Definitely the faster the flow rate the quicker it will cool.
 

dehn0045

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+1, more flow is better -- since the water dirt cheap, let it flow. The tubing should have no problem holding back the pressure. Unless you have some wicked water pressure...

Agitation is a must. Furthermore I have found that vertical agitation is much more effective than horizontal stirring. I get the vertical agitation by grabbing the inlet/outlet end of the IC (where the copper and plastic meet) and tea bag the whole IC as violently as possible (I know, some more unnecessary visuals...). You can tell how much heat transfer you are getting by holding both the inlet and outlet and comparing the temperature difference. More temperature rise, more heat transfer. Stirring with a spoon does virtually nothing for improving heat transfer. (All of this is supported by engineering fundamentals -- Reynolds Number, viscous/turbulent flow regimes, heat and mass transfer. Just trust me, it works!). I usually get to 75 degF within less than 10 minutes.

One other thing, if you top up (i.e. less than full boil) then put your water that you use to top up in the fridge or freezer. This could save you a couple of minutes...
 
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