Recirculating CFC?

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Mar 13, 2010
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Hi everyone!

THis is my first day on this form, so sorry if I sound like a total newb. Haven't brewed a batch of beer in 16 years and am now committed to getting back into it. I am doing extract + steeped grains at the moment, but eventually hope the wife will grant me the space to do all grain eventually.

I have a CFC at the moment but have been reading with interest all the things about Jamil's method of cooling as being superior... especially for the increased hop flavor. I do prefer the CFC, though, as I plan on eventually getting a hopback.

I have a few technical questions for people who have been through this before (and it seems there are lot of you out there). Some people have mentioned they are doing a whirlpool method with a CFC instead of an Immersion chiller. Has that been very successful? The reason I am wondering about this is that internal resistance of a CFC (standard 3/8" OD copper tubing CFCs should have 16x as much resistance as 1/2" silicone tubing per if you disregard the different friction from different materials) should SERIOUSLY cut back on the flow rate with the March pump. Are people getting enough flow to chill their worts quickly with this method, or does one HAVE to upgrade to a Therminator, or something else with extremely low internal resistance? I am hoping people will say this works very well, because after doing some reading my preferred method of cooling will be recirculate with the CFC, and when it reaches around 120 degrees, transfer the wort to the fermentor via the CFC.

If one has a hopback, can you get the same very hoppy results as with Jamil's method by just putting the whirlpool hops in the hopback, and making all hops additions a few minutes later in the boil (for instance, if a recipe says to add hops at 15 minutes, but you know it takes 5 minutes to drain your kettle through the CFC, so you add them instead at 10 minutes)?

Also, I am planning on building a "hop-stopper" instead of buying one for a single reason. I want to increase the flow through my system so that if I upgrade to a therminator, I can increase flow by keeping all tubing internal diameters at 0.5 inches. The Hop Stopper uses a 3/8 OD dip tube (about 1/4 inch ID)- and this will become a choke point on flow. And I had read that March pumps do pretty poorly if they are flow limited on the supply side.

So I am planning on building one with 5/8" OD copper tube instead, so I will have 0.5" ID tubing all through the system. I guess my question would be as follows: if I DO upgrade to a therminator and I am able to severely decrease resistance through the system, will a hopstopper type filter be able to handle that kind of flow, or will it become a bottleneck in the system itself?

Are there any other considerations I need to take into account before going through with building one of these things?

Thanks a lot to anyone who answers. It is good to be back brewing beer again after such a long hiatus. I can't wait for my 1st batch to be done!



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Aug 11, 2008
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Portland OR
I built a homemade hop stopper and it failed big time with pellet hops. I much prefer false bottom & leaf hops only. Many people put the pellets into a filter bag suspended from the top of the kettle with some metal rods & pvc couplings, it works but I still prefer my leaf hops floating free in the kettle.