Copper Wort Chiller as Heating Element?

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rootsofvai722

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I am trying to find a better way of automating my temperature in my all grain process. I am also trying to use equipment that I already own.

Here is what I came up with.

I place my copper wort chiller in my SS mash tun. I pump hot water from my HLT through the wort chiller and back into the HLT. I do this until MT water reaches strike temp. I then add grain basket. Pump is connected to temperature controller which turns on when mash temp gets .5 degrees below target temp and turns off when reaches target temp. Once finished with mash, raise grain basket, vorlauf/sparge, and simultaneously get HLT to a rapid boil. I then heat my wort to a boil again by pumping hot water through copper wort chiller. Once boil is finished, I replace hot water in HLT with ice water and chill wort.

My main question is this.

Are there any negative effects from using a copper wort chiller in the wort throughout the entire process? Should I be concerned about copper poisoning, off-flavors, etc.?

If so, are there any special cleaning/sanitation steps needed to alleviate this? If there are legitimate health/taste concerns, is there another method you would recommend given the equipment I mentioned?

Thanks in advance!

P.S If this post is better suited for a different spot on the forum, please let me know.
 

bionut

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You will not get the wort boiling by running hot water through the chiller. You will need something hotter that boiling water, like super heated steam or oil. The water in the chiller will be 100°C and will tend to get in a balance with your wort, so you will get maybe 80°C wort, not 100°C needed to boil.
That's why you can't really chill your wort to the same temperature of the ground water.

The copper won't affect your wort in any way, you just need some other fluid than water to boil with.
 
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rootsofvai722

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You will not get the wort boiling by running hot water through the chiller. You will need something hotter that boiling water, like super heated steam or oil. The water in the chiller will be 100°C and will tend to get in a balance with your wort, so you will get maybe 80°C wort, not 100°C needed to boil.
That's why you can't really chill your wort to the same temperature of the ground water.

The copper won't affect your wort in any way, you just need some other fluid than water to boil with.
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, hadn't thought of that. I suppose using this process for boil is unnecessary anyways since it is pretty easy to maintain a rolling boil using regular gas heating.
 

bucketnative

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I think it is going to take a long time (if ever) to bring a substantial volume of water up to mashing temperature using just a copper coil. You need to put in enough heat to overcome any heat loss out the sides, bottom, and open top... that's a lot of surface area. You would also need to have your copper coil significantly hotter than the strike temperature, because any water flowing through the coil is going to cool as it transfers heat to your mash water, so you can't assume that your coil is a single temperature all the way through it.

It would be more efficient in terms of energy and time to just heat the water in your HLT and transfer at strike temperature to the MT.
 
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rootsofvai722

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I think it is going to take a long time (if ever) to bring a substantial volume of water up to mashing temperature using just a copper coil. You need to put in enough heat to overcome any heat loss out the sides, bottom, and open top... that's a lot of surface area. You would also need to have your copper coil significantly hotter than the strike temperature, because any water flowing through the coil is going to cool as it transfers heat to your mash water, so you can't assume that your coil is a single temperature all the way through it.

It would be more efficient in terms of energy and time to just heat the water in your HLT and transfer at strike temperature to the MT.
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah I imagine for large batches this would definitely be a concern. It's worth noting that I am only doing 2 gallon batches.
 
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