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how should I clean my new DIY CFC and new march pump

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HausBrauerei_Harvey

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Since I recently upgraded to a DIY keggle and at doing 12 gallon batches but am still using my 5 gallon IC chilling has become a much-hated part of my brewday.

I just finished assembling a 20' CFC and plan to use it this weekend. I also just got a polysulfone head march pump (may not have all the fittings to use this weekend just yet). I will just gravity feed to my CFC from the keggle if i can't use my pump just yet.

My question is how should I best clean my CFC before first use. I bet there is a bit of soldier flux in the lines, as well as manufacturing junk. Should I run some boiling water through it, then some hot pbw water, then rinse with hot water a few times? Just soak in PBW water for a while? Also what should I do before starting up the pump for the first time?

Thanks!
Steve
 

dmcman73

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Since I recently upgraded to a DIY keggle and at doing 12 gallon batches but am still using my 5 gallon IC chilling has become a much-hated part of my brewday.

I just finished assembling a 20' CFC and plan to use it this weekend. I also just got a polysulfone head march pump (may not have all the fittings to use this weekend just yet). I will just gravity feed to my CFC from the keggle if i can't use my pump just yet.

My question is how should I best clean my CFC before first use. I bet there is a bit of soldier flux in the lines, as well as manufacturing junk. Should I run some boiling water through it, then some hot pbw water, then rinse with hot water a few times? Just soak in PBW water for a while? Also what should I do before starting up the pump for the first time?

Thanks!
Steve
If you think there may be some solder flux in the lines, your best bet is to use some TSP that you can get from the hardware store. TSP is recommended by a lot of the equipment manufacturers of kettles, stainless conical fermenters, etc to get rid of the machining oil that may still be on the metal, it will work the same for solder flux. I would mix a batch up of TSP and very hot water (to soften the flux up) and run it through the CFC. Then follow up with a good rinse and then finally, boil water in your kettle and run that through as if you were running your wort through the system to cool. This will sanitize your system, test for leaks at the high temps and also make sure that everything is flushed out.


EDIT: One word of caution, if you made your CFC with copper piping, do not use StarSan to sanitize it. You won't be able to get it all out and the StarSan can start eating through the copper. Always sanitize by running boiling wort through the CFC and back into your kettle for ~15 minutes before flame out, same as you would do with your immersion chiller.
 
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HausBrauerei_Harvey

HausBrauerei_Harvey

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If you think there may be some solder flux in the lines, your best bet is to use some TSP that you can get from the hardware store. TSP is recommended by a lot of the equipment manufacturers of kettles, stainless conical fermenters, etc to get rid of the machining oil that may still be on the metal, it will work the same for solder flux. I would mix a batch up of TSP and very hot water (to soften the flux up) and run it through the CFC. Then follow up with a good rinse and then finally, boil water in your kettle and run that through as if you were running your wort through the system to cool. This will sanitize your system, test for leaks at the high temps and also make sure that everything is flushed out.


EDIT: One word of caution, if you made your CFC with copper piping, do not use StarSan to sanitize it. You won't be able to get it all out and the StarSan can start eating through the copper. Always sanitize by running boiling wort through the CFC and back into your kettle for ~15 minutes before flame out, same as you would do with your immersion chiller.
Thanks for the tip on the TSP. Can I also do hot PBW in there after that?

My plan after this first cleaning was to just do a boiling water flush post-brew to clean it out, then hit it with compressed air to get most of the water out of it. Then of course cycling with hot wort for sanitizing when using subsequently.
 

Wayne1

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Take a look through this thread.

While the main topic is cleaning and sanitizing a plate heat exchanger, the information can be used for doing the same thing with a CFC.

StarSan and SaniClean are perfectly safe to use on copper at the suggested dilution rates. I have used the method described above on my homebrew system with a copper CFC for over eight years and well over 100 brews with no problems. The same system is being used as a pilot brewery in the pro brewery where I am now working.
 

dmcman73

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Thanks for the tip on the TSP. Can I also do hot PBW in there after that?

My plan after this first cleaning was to just do a boiling water flush post-brew to clean it out, then hit it with compressed air to get most of the water out of it. Then of course cycling with hot wort for sanitizing when using subsequently.
You can follow up with hot PBW as well if you like.

EDIT: You only need to use the TSP once, just to get off the flux. Make sure the water you mix it in with is HOT so that is softens the flux.
 

dmcman73

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Take a look through this thread.

While the main topic is cleaning and sanitizing a plate heat exchanger, the information can be used for doing the same thing with a CFC.

StarSan and SaniClean are perfectly safe to use on copper at the suggested dilution rates. I have used the method described above on my homebrew system with a copper CFC for over eight years and well over 100 brews with no problems. The same system is being used as a pilot brewery in the pro brewery where I am now working.
I've read in countless threads on here and other boards that since StarSan is an acid, over time it will pit the copper and slowly dissolve it. All that it is eating away at it will find it's way into the Wort it is cooling as well. Is it going to happen over night, depends on how strong of a mixture you made and if the StarSan was not drained out completely from the CFC.

Again, it's debatable just as is what type of chiller is better is always debated so if it works for you, then awesome but YMMV.
 

Wayne1

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From John Palmer: HOW TO BREW:

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.


Star San and Sani-Clean are perfectly fine to sanitize the chiller. As you can see from the quote above, they are the preferred method for sanitizing. A copper chiller should not be stored with sanitizer in it. It should be cleaned with an alkaline cleaner (such as PBW) after use, rinsed and drained or blown out. Sanitizing should happen right before the wort goes through the CFC.

I use a shop vac to blow all the water out of my CFC at the end of the brew day. That method works very well.
 

Islandboy85

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. A copper chiller should not be stored with sanitizer in it. It should be cleaned with an alkaline cleaner (such as PBW) after use, rinsed and drained or blown out. Sanitizing should happen right before the wort goes through the CFC.

What about storing a copper DIY CFC full of $3 vodka? Wouldn't that keep funk growth to a minimum? I definitely need to work on my sanitation. I added the DIY CFC three batches ago. The first batch was fine. The second batch became a bit of a Belgian. My tub got drunk on the third batch. Do you use your regular brew pump to circulate the acid wash and acid rinse or have a CIP setup?
 

Wayne1

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There is no reason to store the CFC with ANYTHING in it.

Make sure you CLEAN it well, That means about a 5-10 minute recirculation with PBW AFTER you see a color change in the liquid. As you see the liquid change color, do not allw it to go back in the bucket. When the liquid is more clear, return the CFC stream to the bucket and allow it to recirculate for 5-10 minutes.

Run clear water through the CFC after that to rinse out the CFC. Blow out any remaining water to drain thoroughly.

Recirculate Sani-Clean or StarSan through the CFC, hoses and fermenter during the brew day. This should be done during the time you are mashing. When it comes time to cool down the wort, allow the wort to push the remaining sanitizer out until you see the beer coming through the CFC. Then connect it to the fermenter.

On my homebrew/pilot brew system I use a homemade diverter panel and hoses for recirculation. I use pretty much the same equipment, but on a much larger scale, at work for the 15 bbl system.

If you want to store the CFC packed with something, make up a solution of water, citric acid and potassium metabisulfite. That will prevent anything from growing inside. That is what I fill my lenticular filter with when not in use.
 

The_Bishop

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What about storing a copper DIY CFC full of $3 vodka? Wouldn't that keep funk growth to a minimum? I definitely need to work on my sanitation. I added the DIY CFC three batches ago. The first batch was fine. The second batch became a bit of a Belgian. My tub got drunk on the third batch. Do you use your regular brew pump to circulate the acid wash and acid rinse or have a CIP setup?
That would be a pain in the *** to do regularly and is unnecessary. Rinse it out well after every brew, flush with PBW occasionally, and blow out the excess water. That's all. Once in a great while, you can pump startsan through it for a thorough copper cleaning, but if you follow the regime above, it'll be fine.

I got tired of dealing with cleaning where I couldn't see with my plate chiller and made a very efficient immersion chiller. It's just as fast, except I'm chilling the whole batch, I don't need to screw around with a hop spider anymore, and I can see the whole surface the beer contacts. :)
 
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HausBrauerei_Harvey

HausBrauerei_Harvey

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Yeah i've been using this CFC for about 10 brews now (12 gallons each). I've made a lot of light lager recently and definitely don't have any funk in my chiller.

Here's my process:

1) 15 minutes before the end of the boil I hook up my pump/chiller and recirculate the boiling wort to santize everything.

2) after 15 minutes have elapsed I kill the flame and chill the batch.

3) After attending to my carboys/pitching, I start cleanup.

4) I clean the kettle well, then put hot (from the house water heater) pbw solution in the kettle, and recirculate it through the system for 10-15 minutes. Also I make sure to keep the leftover wort out of the kettle so the PBW is cleaner to start.

5) After 15 minutes I rinse/fill kettle with hot water, and repeat a 15 minute rinse. Again ensuring the pbw water in the system doesn't go into the kettle it goes in a slop bucket, I know when it's out by feeling the water for the temperature change to the hotter fresh water.

6) after 10-15 minutes i shut it off, drain the hoses and use my air compressor to blow out the chiller and pump.

This may seem like a lot of time but in reality i'm doing all my other cleanup at the same time so it's not that big a deal. Hope this helps a bit it's worked really well for me so far.
 
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