Over-clock your wort chiller

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topherman

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Hey all,

The last few brew days I've done a little something to noticeably speed up my wort chiller. Not too long ago I switched from a stovetop 4 gallon kettle to a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer setup. Being a cheap grad student, I didn't feel like springing for a new chiller, and stuck with the tiny one. Remembering my godawful heat transfer class, I realized that moving the wort over the coils of the chiller would greatly increase its efficiency. So, I stirred, and it sped things up a bit.

A bit later, I got into mead making, and got a mix-stir. When I utilized this, it gave me an even greater increase in chilling speed, getting me to pitching temps in about half the time.

The caveat here, of course, is oxidation. The faster you spin the wort around the chiller, the faster it cools, but you don't want to go so fast that it starts to froth and bubble until your temperature is below 80, or you risk hot-side oxidation.

This may be old news to you guys, but I couldn't find mention of similar techniques anywhere, so I thought I'd post it and hope I didn't re-invent the wheel.

Have a good night!
T
 

Revvy

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Hotside oxydation/aeration is one of those real boogeymen myths of the homebrewer. It's not really something most of us pay attention to....I sometimes start whipping my wort chiller up and down almost immediately while the beer is practically still boiling and have not had an issue.

But otherwise getting some movement definitely is a good thing for rapid chilling. That's why there are a couple designs for immersion chillers in which you use a pump to recirculate the wort around the chiller with a whirlpool motion.

Jamil created a version called the whirlpool chiller



I usually leave one of those plastic paddles that came with my starter kit in my kettle at flameout and use that to swirl the wort every few minutes.
 

barrooze

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I too still have a tiny IC which takes a while to get to low temps. Over my last few brews I too have been stirring the wort. I can get it from boiling to < 140F in about 3 minutes. I get a bit of froth, but I haven't noticed any off-flavors, in fact, they've been some of the best beers I've made. :) Just thought I'd share! This forum and my discovery of The BN has turned my hobby into a bit of an obsession, but my brew has done nothing but improve drastically! :mug:
 

devilishprune

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+1 to Revvy. I just stir mine every few minutes and get it chilled down real fast. I was starting to wonder if anyone else did the same thing.
 
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topherman

topherman

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Thanks, Revvy! Having my technique verified by a forum veteran like you is pretty gratifying. Turns out I may occasionally know what I'm doing after all.

Also, that chiller looks pretty sweet; I'll have to start saving my pennies. It'll be next on the list of brewing stuff to buy, after the grain mill, and the lagering cave, and the keg system. ;-)
 
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I'm currently using the storing method top. I am thinking about buying a pump and moving to the jamil whirpool method. Has anyone tried this and is there a significant improvement over just stirring it constantly like we are?
 

FrewBrew

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I actually use my chiller to stir the wort. Ill go 6-12 clockwise circles then reverse it for 6-12 so that the wort isnt just moving with the chiller. Once its cooled to ~80-90 f (10 mins? ) I siphon to primary and start aerating. After ~5 mind of sedating I pitch add an airlock and call it a day. With this method im done pitching before the wort would've previously been cooled.
 

kharma

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I also stir while chilling... we actually use a couple bar clamps and a drill regulated by a zip tie:



The rod is a mix-stir with the plastic paddles replaced by larger measuring spoons. Also, we use the pre-chiller in the summer by filling the orange cooler with brine & ice. The tap water is cold enough in the winter so no need.
 

LakewoodBrew

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I just rebuilt my rig over winter, I added a pump which whirlpools, at the same time it pushes the wort through 25 feet of concentric copper piping, at a relatively low effluent rate I can chill from boil to pitching temp in about 12min, then I just open the exist valve, close the whirlpool return and pump the wort to the keg fermenter. But if you are using an IC, strring or pump agitation is going to make a big difference, overwise you are relying on convection and internal conduction within the wort to get the heat to the coil. That can be terribly slow.
 

birvine

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I did a practice run of my chiller today in hot water and immediately found that gently stirring the water immediately drove up the temp of the outflow. That is, much more heat transfer right away.

B
 
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topherman

topherman

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If I recall correctly from my heat and mass transfer class, moving the liquid over a heat transfer device, rather than relying on convective currents, can make the device up to 20x more efficient. I hated the class, but if it helped my brewing, it can't be all bad. Hurray, science!

kharma,
Sweet setup! That looks impressively organized; I may end up stealing one or two ideas from that.
 
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