Cool Wort Using Recirculation, Questions about Setup?

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lashack

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Hello everyone! I am interested in automating my wort cooling process. Currently, I am using the setup shown in the first image below (2 immersion wort chillers, one in the BK and one in an insulated Ice Water Cooler). It works for the most part and cools my water in about 10 minutes with vigours stirring of the wort and agitation to both immersion chillers. This manual process of agitation and stirring is cumbersome. Without stirring and agitation, it would probably take 20-30 or longer. I am hoping to introduce something a bit more automated and less wasteful on water.

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 3.18.26 PM.png



I am wondering if this setup is possible (see image below)? I know folks use something similar to this in HERMS setups. This would allow me to just let the pump do the work and all I would need to do is ensure the Ice Water Cool has enough ice to cool down the dimension chiller. Please let me know ya'lls thoughts and whether this setup is worth investing in. Also, any complications or advice I should know about this. Thanks in advance!

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 3.18.37 PM.png




Cheers!
 

VikeMan

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I suppose that could work. But there's an easier and perhaps more sanitary way. Put the immersion chiller in the brew kettle and circulate the ice water instead of the wort. I can say from experience that it beats the 2-chiller (pre-chiller) method hands down.

I use the immersion chiller in the standard way, until the rate of cooling slows noticeably. At that point, I switch to the ice water pump.
 

day_trippr

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Any time one is using a coil heat exchanger in a tank of fluid, there must be relative movement of fluid vs hex. You can stir the fluid, or move the hex around, but if neither is done the efficiency will plummet.

In the first pic, both tanks would need stirring or both hex coils moved around constantly.
In the second pic, the cooling tank or the hex therein would need constant movement.

I suggest going with the second configuration and add some kind of mechanical stirrer...

Cheers!
 
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lashack

lashack

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I suppose that could work. But there's an easier and perhaps more sanitary way. Put the immersion chiller in the brew kettle and circulate the ice water instead of the wort. I can say from experience that it beats the 2-chiller (pre-chiller) method hands down.

I use the immersion chiller in the standard way, until the rate of cooling slows noticeably. At that point, I switch to the ice water pump.
It sounds like our setups are the same currently! My current setup is using water from a water hose/water pressure and no pump. I hook up the hose water to a pre immersion chiller in the ice-cold cooler. The output water is super cold running into the immersion chiller in the BK with the hot wort, but I am not using any pump. The water coming out of the immersion chiller in the BK is really hot water that I dispose of. It sounds like our setups are similar, except I do not have a pump.

Let me know if I could improve my current setup with a pump somehow, with using water through the system instead of wort.
 
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lashack

lashack

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Any time one is using a coil heat exchanger in a tank of fluid, there must be relative movement of fluid vs hex. You can stir the fluid, or move the hex around, but if neither is done the efficiency will plummet.

In the first pic, both tanks would need stirring or both hex coils moved around constantly.
In the second pic, the cooling tank or the hex therein would need constant movement.

I suggest going with the second configuration and add some kind of mechanical stirrer...

Cheers!
Yes, this is entirely the case. I have to constantly agitate and stir both tanks to get the temp down fast. I am willing to sacrifice a few minutes on cooling time, in exchange for less effort during the entire process.

Thanks for the reply!
 

VikeMan

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It sounds like our setups are the same currently! My current setup is using water from a water hose/water pressure and no pump. I hook up the hose water to a pre immersion chiller in the ice-cold cooler. The output water is super cold running into the immersion chiller in the BK with the hot wort, but I am not using any pump. The water coming out of the immersion chiller in the BK is really hot water that I dispose of. It sounds like our setups are similar, except I do not have a pump.
Not the same, though. The difference is that when I switch to ice water, it is recirculated through the main (only) chiller. This is way more efficient than pre-chilling via an extra immersion chiller. I mean, not even close, efficiency-wise.
 
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lashack

lashack

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Not the same, though. The difference is that when I switch to ice water, it is recirculated through the main (only) chiller. This is way more efficient than pre-chilling via an extra immersion chiller. I mean, not even close, efficiency-wise.
So something like this is what you have and are suggesting? Thanks again!

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 4.14.15 PM.png
 

VikeMan

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So something like this is what you have and are suggesting? Thanks again!

View attachment 678489
Close. The "hot water out" goes back into the ice water cooler. (Though by the time I switch to this, it's more like "warm" water out. Remember, I do traditional immersion chiller (without a pump, without recycling) until the rate of chilling slows noticeably, then swtich over.)
 
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lashack

lashack

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Close. The "hot water out" goes back into the ice water cooler. (Though by the time I switch to this, it's more like "warm" water out. Remember, I do traditional immersion chiller (without a pump, without recycling) until the rate of chilling slows noticeably, then switch over.)
Gotcha, that makes sense. Curious to know about how long it takes? From the end of the boil to the end of traditional immersion chiller without pump/switchover, to pitching temps.
 

VikeMan

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Gotcha, that makes sense. Curious to know about how long it takes? From the end of the boil to the end of traditional immersion chiller without pump/switchover, to pitching temps.
It depends on the groundwater temp and how low the wort needs to go. All I can really say is that it's a lot faster than the other methods I have used.
 
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lashack

lashack

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It depends on the groundwater temp and how low the wort needs to go. All I can really say is that it's a lot faster than the other methods I have used.
Great thanks for the advice. All in all, it sounds like it applies recirculation, requiring less effort from me, and saving some water as well. Which is what I want! Thanks again.
 

day_trippr

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You'll still need to find a way to either move the wort or move the hex in the kettle...

Cheers!
 
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lashack

lashack

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You'll still need to find a way to either move the wort or move the hex in the kettle...

Cheers!
Any advice on how to "move the wort" other than sitting over the kettle and shaking the wort chiller or stirring the wort like a mad man??
 

day_trippr

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A wort pump - once a kettle return is provided - which can be as simple as a draped hose secured with a clamp. This can also be useful for whirlpooling hops, so it doesn't have to be a single-purpose investment.

Or, a lid or board-mounted cheap gear motor driving a paddle. Seen that, too.

fwiw, I use a pump to recirculate the wort when using an IC (which is pressure fed from my 55°F well water) and it makes a humongous difference in time to pitch temperature...

Cheers!
 
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lashack

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A wort pump - once a kettle return is provided - which can be as simple as a draped hose secured with a clamp. This can also be useful for whirlpooling hops, so it doesn't have to be a single-purpose investment.

Or, a lid or board-mounted cheap gear motor driving a paddle. Seen that, too.

fwiw, I use a pump to recirculate the wort when using an IC (which is pressure fed from my 55°F well water) and it makes a humongous difference in time to pitch temperature...

Cheers!
Hey @day_trippr! So after the suggestions, I plan on going with the following setup. Shoot me any advice, thanks, everyone!

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 8.00.25 PM.png
 
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day_trippr

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Yup, that'll fly :mug:
Should be about as hands-free as can be done...

Cheers!
 

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You may want to reintroduce your wort to the kettle below the liquid surface to minimize oxidation while it's still warmer than 80 degrees F. I think there's some debate as to how important that is, but I've read that while oxygenating your wort pre pitch is a good thing, you want it to be cooled down to a certain point first to avoid some reaction that causes off flavors down the road. You could either wait to start recirculating until it's cooled to that point, or recirculate in a way that doesn't involve any splashing. Anyone who knows more about this, please sound off. Am I crazy, or does anyone else recall what I'm talking about? I'd like to know for my own peace of mind.
 
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lashack

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You may want to reintroduce your wort to the kettle below the liquid surface to minimize oxidation while it's still warmer than 80 degrees F. I think there's some debate as to how important that is, but I've read that while oxygenating your wort pre pitch is a good thing, you want it to be cooled down to a certain point first to avoid some reaction that causes off flavors down the road. You could either wait to start recirculating until it's cooled to that point, or recirculate in a way that doesn't involve any splashing. Anyone who knows more about this, please sound off. Am I crazy, or does anyone else recall what I'm talking about? I'd like to know for my own peace of mind.
Recirculating the wort in the above description with your idea could easily be done. Just stick the output wort hose down into the wort. Does it really matter when wort temperatures are above 80F, could it calls off flavors? That's a great question, I do not know the answer.
 

Stormcrow

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Recirculating the wort in the above description with your idea could easily be done. Just stick the output wort hose down into the wort. Does it really matter when wort temperatures are above 80F, could it calls off flavors? That's a great question, I do not know the answer.
Yep. That's what I had pictured. Just didn't know if that was your plan or it was just going to sprinkle back in the top. I think Palmer's book mentions the temp phenomenon i was talking about. Heard something about it on dinner podcasts as well, but can't remember the technical terms. I think I've also heard dissenters say it's no big deal though. Brulosophy probably had something on it.
 

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whirlpool arm.JPGI made this to recirculate wort while using an immersion coil in the kettle. The quick disconnect goes to my pump and the copper arm pivots to direct the wort at the chiller or along the kettle sides as a whirlpool.

I have also used a portable sump pump to push iced water thru the coil and using a second coil in an ice bath as a pre-chiiler. Both seem to work equally well.
 
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lashack

lashack

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View attachment 678679I made this to recirculate wort while using an immersion coil in the kettle. The quick disconnect goes to my pump and the copper arm pivots to direct the wort at the chiller or along the kettle sides as a whirlpool.

I have also used a portable sump pump to push iced water thru the coil and using a second coil in an ice bath as a pre-chiller. Both seem to work equally well.
This is a pretty cool little arm to create whirlpooling during wort recirculation. I am waiting on my supplies to arrive to set up an immersion pump and also a recirculating pump. My plans were to use clamps and drape the recirculation tubing over the top of the BK, or possibly submerging the tubing directly into the wort.

As @Stormcrow mentioned, I'll need to watch out for introducing too much oxygen when the wort is >80F, so submersion of the tubing or an arm build similar to yours many be the best option. Or look into drilling another hole in the BK for a whirlpooling arm!

Should whirlpooling wort inputs in a BK always be below the whirlpooling wort outputs (as far as placement on a BK)?
 

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As @Stormcrow mentioned, I'll need to watch out for introducing too much oxygen when the wort is >80F, so submersion of the tubing or an arm build similar to yours many be the best option. Or look into drilling another hole in the BK for a whirlpooling arm!
I use something similar to Spincycle Weldless Kettle Whirlpool Return.

Depending on your groundwater temperature, adding the ice bath may be unnecessary. I use a Jaded Hydra immersion chiller, and it will bring wort to within a couple of degrees of groundwater in less than 10 minutes when whirlpooling. Here in Illinois, that's always good enough to hit pitching temperatures without added complication.
 
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lashack

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I use something similar to Spincycle Weldless Kettle Whirlpool Return.

Depending on your groundwater temperature, adding the ice bath may be unnecessary. I use a Jaded Hydra immersion chiller, and it will bring wort to within a couple of degrees of groundwater in less than 10 minutes when whirlpooling. Here in Illinois, that's always good enough to hit pitching temperatures without added complication.
Thanks for the suggestion @mirthfuldragon. I will consider this after some experimenting with new equipment. Also, how lucky are you do not have to use an ice bath! Hopefully, groundwater temps in South Carolina will be similarly helpful.
 

Nagorg

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Thats exactly what I do. Just have lots of ice on hand, it melts pretty quickly! FWIW, I just run tap water through the immersion chiller until I get around ~90-100 degrees. (Gets harder to pull below 100 during the Texas summer..) Then I switch to the recirculating ice-water and take things down to ~65-70. I'll go through 2-4 bags of ice doing this depending on the size of the ice. Smaller cubes melt quicker, block is best!
 
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Thats exactly what I do. Just have lots of ice on hand, it melts pretty quickly! FWIW, I just run tap water through the immersion chiller until I get around ~90-100 degrees. (Gets harder to pull below 100 during the Texas summer..) Then I switch to the recirculating ice-water and take things down to ~65-70. I'll go through 2-4 bags of ice doing this depending on the size of the ice. Smaller cubes melt quicker, block is best!
I am from Louisiana so I know about the Texas heat. Very interesting, and thanks for the response! I am all about freezing some gallon Ziplock bags full of water the night before to create ice blocks and also having an ice machine in the fridge helps too. Buying 3-4 bags of ice gets expensive!
 

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I use a simple ice cooler recirculation system like this video. I just run tap water through the immersion chiller for a few minutes initially to get the temperature down a little so i don't need to use as much ice. I then have a small paddle in the BK and gently stir the wort a little to keep it moving around the immersion chiller. You definitely don't need to stir it like a "mad man."

I would not want to mess around cleaning and sanitizing another set of hoses and a pump to move the wort around just to try to save a few extra minutes. That is also another potential source of contamination.

 
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Here is my first brew with the new setup. I decided to use the BrewHardware Spincyle Overboard, No Drill Kettle Whirlpool Return to create the whirlpool in my brew kettle. It worked great. I cooled my wort to pitching temp. (~ 65F) in 15 minutes completely hands free.

Here is just using the water hose until the wort is groundwater temp. ~ 100 F
IMG_4456.JPG


Here is the recirculation using the immersion pump.
IMG_4457.JPG
 

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