Cleaning an Immersion Chiller

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Brew-boy

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What is everyone using to clean there chiller? I have tried hot soaking it in PBW other times I have tried Vinegar solution but it still seems to be grubby.
 

pava

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just spray it off with the hose right after I am done using it (before any hop or break particles have a chance to dry on it). . .then a quick rinse again right before using it. Other than that, putting it into the boil during the last 15 minutes of the boil will sanitize it.
 

Figbash

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What's to clean? I just rinse mine off after use and it's ready to go. Dunking it in boiling wort on a regular basis does a darned good job of keeping it clean.

Tom
 

nostalgia

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If you want it shiny, immerse it in Star-San for a few minutes. It'll come up sparkly clean.

I usually just hose mine off when I'm done, since I'll be dunking it in Star-San right before use anyway.

-Joe
 

earlytimes

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I saw this tip on here - Fill up a bucket with the hot water coming out of it, then once you're done with it, take it out of your kettle and place it in the bucket with hot water. Finish what you need to do, then once you come back to it, all it needs is a rinse and a drying and it's ready to go back to storage!
 

frolickingmonkey

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I saw this tip on here - Fill up a bucket with the hot water coming out of it, then once you're done with it, take it out of your kettle and place it in the bucket with hot water. Finish what you need to do, then once you come back to it, all it needs is a rinse and a drying and it's ready to go back to storage!
This is what I do! :mug:
 

Edcculus

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I soak in hot PBW then scrub. It should be pretty shiny when you put it in the boil.
 

AnOldUR

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50ft x 3/8" dia. Just fits . . . . .

This is a picture from after brewing, but I put it in the dishwasher early on brewday (antibacterial setting, no soap, extra hot wash) along with all the other things needed to transfer from pot to carboy. The dishwasher door stays shut until it's time to chill. The IC goes straight from the dishwasher into the brewpot.

IC_cleaning.jpg
 

springer

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If you want it shiny, immerse it in Star-San for a few minutes. It'll come up sparkly clean.

I usually just hose mine off when I'm done, since I'll be dunking it in Star-San right before use anyway.

-Joe
While I agree that every so often you can soak in Starsan to clean the copper , but why do you do it before use?

I rinse it with some of the hot water collected from the chill let it air dry . Then just rinse it off prior to use and toss it in the boil for the last 10 minutes to sanitize everything
 

mkade

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If you want it shiny, immerse it in Star-San for a few minutes. It'll come up sparkly clean.

I usually just hose mine off when I'm done, since I'll be dunking it in Star-San right before use anyway.

-Joe
This is actually a bad idea. You do NOT want it shiny. The oxide layer that forms (making your chiller look dull) is a good thing because without you dissolve copper into your wort. You would rather not dissolve excess copper because it can be toxic to yeast. Just rinse it, and allow the oxide layer to stay.
 

frolickingmonkey

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The straight story from the man, John Palmer:

For routine cleaning of copper and other metals, percarbonate-based cleaners like PBW are the best choice. For heavily oxidized conditions, acetic acid is very effective, especially when hot. Acetic acid is available in grocery stores as white distilled vinegar at a standard concentration of 5% acetic acid by volume.

Brewers who use immersion wort chillers are always surprised how bright and shiny the chiller is the first time it comes out of the wort. If the chiller wasn't bright and shiny when it went into the wort, guess where the grime and oxides ended up? Yep, in your beer. The oxides of copper are more readily dissolved by the mildly acidic wort than is the copper itself. By cleaning copper tubing with acetic acid once before the first use and rinsing with water immediately after each use, the copper will remain clean with no oxide or wort deposits that could harbor bacteria. Cleaning copper with vinegar should only occasionally be necessary.

You do not need to clean copper shiny-bright after every use. With time, the copper should take on a dull copper color, not black, not green or blue, just dull, like an old penny. This copper oxide is relatively inert to wort and will mimimize copper dissolving into the wort, more so than shiny-bright copper.

The best sanitizer for counterflow wort chillers is Star San. It is acidic and can be used to clean copper as well as sanitize. Sanitizing with Star San only takes minutes and should not be left in the chiller more than an hour, because it will start dissolving the copper.

Cleaning and sanitizing copper with bleach solutions is not recommended. The chlorine and hypochlorites in bleach cause oxidation and blackening of copper and brass. If the oxides come in contact with the mildly acidic wort, the oxides will quickly dissolve, possibly exposing yeast to unhealthy levels of copper during fermentation.
 

jpc

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This is actually a bad idea. You do NOT want it shiny. The oxide layer that forms (making your chiller look dull) is a good thing because without you dissolve copper into your wort. You would rather not dissolve excess copper because it can be toxic to yeast. Just rinse it, and allow the oxide layer to stay.
The wort is acidic and will "clean" the copper anyway; mine always comes out much shinier (less oxidized) than when I put it in. This is evidence that there is definitely copper getting into my wort. I don't think a +/-30 minute soak in wort will dissolve enough copper ion to become toxic to the yeast, even if it were cleaned perfectly beforehand. That said, why bother? Just rinse it.
 

vfinch

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I saw this tip on here - Fill up a bucket with the hot water coming out of it, then once you're done with it, take it out of your kettle and place it in the bucket with hot water. Finish what you need to do, then once you come back to it, all it needs is a rinse and a drying and it's ready to go back to storage!
I do the same and it works great. I've done countless brews and I wouldn't hesitate to eat off my chiller (not I regularly do that kind of thing... ;) )
 

mkade

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The thing I don't understand about the Palmer excerpt is that he's saying that initial oxides are more soluble, and later oxides are less soluble. This seems counter-intuitive to me. Is he implying that early on in the chiller's lifetime, the oxides are Cu(I), and later on they're Cu(II). It just doesn't add up to me.
 
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