Counterflow Chillers

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brew703

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Looking to get a counterflow chiller. I've looked at a few different ones but keep coming back to the Exchilerator.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this chiller or recommend any others?

I currently use a IC but want something that I do not have to put in my kettle to sanitize. Not looking for a plate chiller.
 

mongoose33

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About not having to put the chiller in your wort to sanitize: I have a counterflow chiller. The issue for me is always how to clean and sanitize it.

I pre-boil the strike water and to bring it down to strike temp, I recirculate that boiling water through the CFC.

Then, because I'm a little anal about this, I recirculate the boiling wort through it as well before turning on the water.

But then after I've racked it to the fermenter, I rinse the BK, add water and PBW, bring the temp up to 160, and recirculate that solution through the CFC as I clean the kettle. Then it's rinsing of the CFC.

********

My point, probably poorly made, is that you're not going to relieve yourself of cleaning that CFC, or rinsing it, and you're not going to save time.

Mine is Stainless Steel (I'm doing LODO stuff), but I miss the days when I could chill with my Jaded Hydra. I just put that in there with 15 minutes left in the boil to sanitize it. Turned on water when time to chill, and 4-6 minutes later, chilled. I'd immediately pull the chiller out (using a bucket lid under it to catch the drips), take it over to the sink and spray it off. Easiest cleaning job of a chiller I've had.

So, not sure exactly why you want to go from an IC to a CFC, but it's not a panacea. It does prevent me from having wort open to the air toward the end of chilling where either a fruit fly or some dust might fall into the wort, but because that chiller was so fast, as soon as I got it out of the kettle I'd cover it.
 
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Moose_MI

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^^^^ what he said.

My process exactly...a relief to know there are other people out there as OCD about the chiller

...and I’ve thought many times about going back to a quality IC for my 15G batches
 
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brew703

brew703

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About not having to put the chiller in your wort to sanitize: I have a counterflow chiller. The issue for me is always how to clean and sanitize it.

I pre-boil the strike water and to bring it down to strike temp, I recirculate that boiling water through the CFC.

Then, because I'm a little anal about this, I recirculate the boiling wort through it as well before turning on the water.

But then after I've racked it to the fermenter, I rinse the BK, add water and PBW, bring the temp up to 160, and recirculate that solution through the CFC as I clean the kettle. Then it's rinsing of the CFC.

********

My point, probably poorly made, is that you're not going to relieve yourself of cleaning that CFC, or rinsing it, or of saving time.

Mine is Stainless Steel (I'm doing LODO stuff), but I miss the days when I could chill with my Jaded Hydra. I just put that in there with 15 minutes left in the boil to sanitize it. Turned on water when time to chill, and 4-6 minutes later, chilled. I'd immediately pull the chiller out (using a bucket lid under it to catch the drips), take it over to the sink and spray it off. Easiest cleaning job of a chiller I've had.

So, not sure exactly why you want to go from an IC to a CFC, but it's not a panacea. It does prevent me from having wort open to the air toward the end of chilling where either a fruit fly or some dust might fall into the wort, but because that chiller was so fast, as soon as I got it out of the kettle I'd cover it.
Thanks for the info.Heating the strike water to 160 or so wouldn't be an issue for me and I would probably do as you mentioned and circulate boiling wort through the system as I already do that at the 10-15 min boil mark to sanitize my tubing.

Definitely not trying to add to my brew day as it already is 5-6 hrs, which isn't an issue since I'm usually not in a rush to finish. Most of my batches are 5.5 gallons but occasionally I will brew a 3 gal test batch and the IC i use is a bit too big for a 3 gal batch as only about half of the chiller sits in the wort plus it sits on the element.

I surely do not want to have to use another kettle to heat water to cycle through the CFC as I recently started brewing on an electric system and that in itself has added an hour to my brew day. Not because of the time it takes to get to strike temp to boil temp but for the cleaning process having to circulate PBW then clean water through the system.

I watched a few Youtube vids on different CFC's and some circulate PBW then starsan and others just hot water or wort.

But if moving to a CFC is going to add more time to my brew day then I'll just stick with the IC.
 

jack13

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My understanding of 'clean' is that there is no gunk--essentially, if it looks clean it is clean. That provides a good surface for sanitizing. You MAY need a cleaner of some kind to get it there, but in my experience, you usually do not.

So, to clean my CFC I just run hot water through it (140F, maybe) for a few minutes at the end of the brew day. Assuming it's done right afterwards, that should remove any gunk. Then next brew day after the boil ends I circulate the hot wort through for a few minutes to sanitize. I've been using this clean right away with hot water (no soap) approach for years with no problems, for much of my equipment.
 

Jag75

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I do exactly what Mongoose33 does. I'd rather be overly cautious. Since I recirc pbw through my Grainfather after a brew day I hook up my cfc for about 15 min.
 

Wayne1

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Running hot water through a CFC is not cleaning. There will be organic films left behind. After you run wort through the CFC, you should also circulate PBW or an alkaline cleaning agent through the CFC. Usually you will see a color change when the alkaline cleaner starts to remove the oganic debris. Discard this and when the color changes back to clear/white, start to recirculate for about 15 minutes.

Rinse the CFC with clean water and then store. Before you use it again, run clean water through it again and then circulate sanitizer through it, similar to Saniclean. The you can run wort through it. Discard and sanitizer that the wort pushes through.
 

jack13

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Running hot water through a CFC is not cleaning. There will be organic films left behind. After you run wort through the CFC, you should also circulate PBW or an alkaline cleaning agent through the CFC. Usually you will see a color change when the alkaline cleaner starts to remove the oganic debris. Discard this and when the color changes back to clear/white, start to recirculate for about 15 minutes.

Rinse the CFC with clean water and then store. Before you use it again, run clean water through it again and then circulate sanitizer through it, similar to Saniclean. The you can run wort through it. Discard and sanitizer that the wort pushes through.
If I ever get an infection, I'll have learned my lesson and will definitely adopt a stricter cleaning regimen. :)
 

mongoose33

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You going to spring for one of the stainless chillers from CuSS or JaDeD that are coming soon?

I certainly will. My copper CFC is obnoxious and disappointing all around.
One thing to be aware of: the stainless ones aren't as fast as the copper ones. Stainless doesn't conduct heat as well. I have the Stout offering, and it makes up for that in part by being somewhat longer--a standard copper one is, I think, maybe 25 feet. Mine, IIRC, is something like 31 feet long. Still, it's not all that terribly fast.

Now, if you're going from the CFC directly into the fermenter, you can control that by slowing down the speed of the wort to a point where it will chill it. But then it's a longer transfer. Nothing is free, apparently. :)

As you know, I'm doing LODO, as are you, so that's why I have it. Maybe other brands are better, I don't know. I do know this: whereas with my Jaded Hydra IC I could get a 5-gallon batch chilled to 70 degrees in 4-5 minutes, with the Stout CFC it's around 15 minutes, more or less.

I could speed that up a bit if I just directly transferred to the fermenter once the "OUT" temp of the wort dropped to 70, but part of what I'm trying to do is leave most of the cold break in the kettle, so i'm chilling the entire kettle down to 70.

All FYI. Good luck, fun stuff to experiment with.
 

gnef

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I built a custom two-stage counterflow chiller. I used copper in mine, but if I had found stainless at the time, I would've definitely used that (I found it later, unfortunately).

It is 50 ft in total length, with the first stage using groundwater, and then the second stage is recirculated ice water. I am able to do a single pass through it directly into the fermenter at full flow, roughly 15 minutes for 12 gallons of fluid down to the low 60's when it is working as expected.

After chilling, I rinse out with water and then use my air compressor (oil-free) to blow out the water and get it as dry as possible (I know it isn't bone dry, but it is good enough for me).

I do need to do a deep cleaning of the coil though, it has been a long time!
 

RPh_Guy

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One thing to be aware of: the stainless ones aren't as fast as the copper ones. Stainless doesn't conduct heat as well. I have the Stout offering, and it makes up for that in part by being somewhat longer--a standard copper one is, I think, maybe 25 feet. Mine, IIRC, is something like 31 feet long. Still, it's not all that terribly fast.

Now, if you're going from the CFC directly into the fermenter, you can control that by slowing down the speed of the wort to a point where it will chill it. But then it's a longer transfer. Nothing is free, apparently. :)

As you know, I'm doing LODO, as are you, so that's why I have it. Maybe other brands are better, I don't know. I do know this: whereas with my Jaded Hydra IC I could get a 5-gallon batch chilled to 70 degrees in 4-5 minutes, with the Stout CFC it's around 15 minutes, more or less.

I could speed that up a bit if I just directly transferred to the fermenter once the "OUT" temp of the wort dropped to 70, but part of what I'm trying to do is leave most of the cold break in the kettle, so i'm chilling the entire kettle down to 70.

All FYI. Good luck, fun stuff to experiment with.
Sounds like no. :)
I know you've already gone through a series of chillers, so maybe you're sick of buying new ones. That's ok. This will be my third.

My current CFC chiller is 3/8" x 25'. I put some duotight fittings on it, which are nice because they don't leak ... I flush with water and then recirculate to sanitize. With all the flow restriction it still takes a long time to chill 5 gal, like 30-50 minutes based on ground water temp (I do a second stage with circulated ice water) ... And my pump pulverizes all the break material so it never settles, and the copper is causing staling problems.
 
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brew703

brew703

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I'm on the fence about what to do. I like the Exchilerator but my Cuss is only a few months old. I guess for now I will stick with my Cuss.
 

jack13

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Running hot water through a CFC is not cleaning. There will be organic films left behind. After you run wort through the CFC, you should also circulate PBW or an alkaline cleaning agent through the CFC. Usually you will see a color change when the alkaline cleaner starts to remove the oganic debris. Discard this and when the color changes back to clear/white, start to recirculate for about 15 minutes.

Rinse the CFC with clean water and then store. Before you use it again, run clean water through it again and then circulate sanitizer through it, similar to Saniclean. The you can run wort through it. Discard and sanitizer that the wort pushes through.
So as my post suggested I've never had an infection (about 120 brews). However, your post was gnawing at me so I PBW'd my counterflow chiller after all after today's brew. There were definitely some flakes flushed out as a result, and I'm doing a second cleaning now. Don't know if that would have caused an infection eventually, but I'm nevertheless quite happy said flakes are not in my CFC anymore. Probably won't PBW every time but will on occasion. Thanks.
 
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