Discolored Chiller

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Benny Blanco

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So, I got my first wort chiller in the mail today. I opened it up and found that at least half(if not 3/4 of it) is brown and discolored. Looked used. Shiny in only a few spots. Blotchy. Ugly.

I'm assuming this isn't a good reason to return it, but what are some good ways to clean it? It's a 50 foot chiller and I spent a good amount of dough on it so I wasn't very happy when I pulled it out of the box. I would prefer a way of cleaning it that doesn't involve me wasting 5 gallons of water to soak it...but if I must, I must.
 
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Benny Blanco

Benny Blanco

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Hmm, can I spray it somehow?


BTW, how is the snow up there in Buffalo? We are getting nailed over here.

Also, do chillers normally come with hoses? I've seen them sold in HBS's and they already have the hose attached. Mine came without one.

I think I wasted money on this big chiller. I put it inside my 40t pot and realized that only half of the chiller will be submerged in the wort when I put it in seeing as how I'm only making 5 gallon batches. Think I wasted money on the other 25 feet? Well, I've heard in homebrewin, bigger is always better. :mug:
 

DAAB

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The discoloration on the chiller (or any copper) is quite normal, it's natural occuring oxidation and actually protects the copper from corrosion. Once it has been in the wort for a while this layer will be stripped off, the copper is beneficial as a yeast nutrient and is hamless. If you replace this chiller or even clean it with an acid such as vinegar it will start to come back within a week or so.

I'd hang on to this chiller, the extra length wont give you any problems, it will still do it's job perfectly well. If you up grade you system and increase the size of your kettle you won't need to upgrade you chiller.
 

Funkenjaeger

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Boil it in water with a bunch of salt and vinegar added. The salt improves the cleaning effect as compared to vinegar alone. Vinegar is a couple bucks or less for a gallon, and salt is dirt cheap. Yeah, it wastes some water, but it's better than possibly having your first batch with the chiller come out contaminated and tasting gross.

It's true that it will re-oxidize with time, however it usually won't look very nasty after normal use. I would suspect that it's likely to be dirty after being manufactured, bent into a chiller, stored and shipped. Simple oxidation between batches is nothing to worry about, but I would DEFINITELY recommend giving it a good boil when you first get it before using it in wort to get any other nastiness off.
 

Beerlord

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It's called "patina" and is highly sought after on Ping and other putters made out of copper, some say it give the putter a softer feel. Won't hurt anything.
 

EvilTOJ

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Patina may be good for putters and the statue of liberty, but it's also highly toxic. I'd do as stated above, give it a soak in vinegar and salt water. Any other buildup you get after that should be harmless.

Edit; that is to say that you won't get brain damage and die if you leave it as is and use it, but better safe than sorry.
 

BuffaloSabresBrewer

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Benny Blanco said:
Hmm, can I spray it somehow?


BTW, how is the snow up there in Buffalo? We are getting nailed over here.

Also, do chillers normally come with hoses? I've seen them sold in HBS's and they already have the hose attached. Mine came without one.

I think I wasted money on this big chiller. I put it inside my 40t pot and realized that only half of the chiller will be submerged in the wort when I put it in seeing as how I'm only making 5 gallon batches. Think I wasted money on the other 25 feet? Well, I've heard in homebrewin, bigger is always better. :mug:
You might be able to put the same solution stated above in a spray bottle but it probably wont work as well and certainly isnt as simple and just letting it sit.
If you leave it on there it will come out of your acidic wort super clean. But doubt you want that in your beer.
The roads suck over here. I followed a plow and it wasnt even taking anything off the road. Worthless.
 

conpewter

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I was thinking about using a couple cheap off brand coke 2 liters (50 cents each at ALDI woot!) to clean the chiller. I've seen it strip a penny very clean before, I'd probably do the garbage bag through the middle of the chiller to take up some room trick though.
 

Bobby_M

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Don't think of the extra copper as a waste. You'll eventually graduate to 10 gallon batches and you'll appreciate not having to rebuy a chiller.

You can buy a gallon of white vinager over by the distilled water in the supermarket, usually in the dish detergent/air freshener isle. Should be a whole $2.
 

DAAB

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If it is Patina it is indeed toxic, that is a blue green color though.
 
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Benny Blanco

Benny Blanco

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Thanks guys. Especially Evil for the brain damage and dying part...you know I'm paranoid..

So, how about the hose? Mine didn't come with one.
 

DAAB

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Buy some 1/2" garden hose, slide a couple of pieces of 3/8" tubing over the tails to take up the slack, push the 1/2" hose over the 3/8" hose and secure with hose clips...don't worry about the dying part unless your copper is bluey green, in which case scrub it off well before cleaning in a hot acid like dilute vinegar.
 

Brewsmith

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You can make a paste of vinegar and flour and then rinse it off if you don't want to soak.
 

DAAB

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Verdigirs is the term generally used to refer to the greeny blue patena of copper albiet incorrectly as verdiris is copper acetate.

The brown copper oxide that forms is harmless in the quantities that form on a chiller, certainly less harmful that alcohol.
 
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