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Using a Counterflow Chiller

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doggage

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Hello All. Just finished making a rubber hose counterflow chiller per BobbyM's design, and in anticipation of a brewing session this weekend, I have a couple questions on using it:

First, can someone give me a quick walk-through on transferring my wort to my wort chiller? I don't have a valve on my brew kettle. Would it be okay to use an autosiphon and hi-temp 3/8 tubing to transfer the hot wort to the chiller? (I'm thinking that autosiphon isn't okay for hi temps.) If I don't want to install a valve on my pot, what cheaper options are there?

Second, What's the best way to regulate the output temp of wort from my chiller? Should I stick a valve on the output? Also, what's the best way to measure the temp? (Again, I'd rather not buy a $25 in-line thermometer.)

Thanks in advance!
 

mandoman

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an easy way to get around the temp thing is to poke a TINY hole on the wort out side of the cfc, right after where it connects. Make sure the hole is just a bit smaller than the tip of your thermometer - with regular tubing it should seal back up since it's not under pressure. Experiment with smaller thermometers, thicker tubing, or smaller holes - it will work.

I'm not sure about the autosiphon temp tolerance but I'll be you're right. Maybe try just regular tubing? If you still have an old IC you could prechill the wort and use the autosiphon.

But really, you can piece together a brass ball valve/weldless fitting pretty cheap and I used a hole saw drill bit on aluminum and stainless and they're pretty inexpensive or borrowable.
 

Bobby_M

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The only way I know of being able to siphon through a CFC is to fill it with sanitizer and let that pull the wort through a copper or stainless racking cane. You'd let it run into a bucket until you see beer, then go to the fermenter.
 
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doggage

doggage

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Thanks (again) Bobby. I think I'll go that route.

And if it's running too warm? How do you go about slowing the rate of the wort passing through?
 

conpewter

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one pass through decent sized (25') CFC with a gravity system should get you really close to your water temp. If it is coming out too warm just turn the water on faster. If your water temp is too high you may need to add a prechiller to it or a post-chiller to the wort etc. lots of options/complications at that point.
 

GreenMan

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Auto-siphon will melt. At least ours did when we tried it. Hit the bottom of the pot and just curved along the base of the pot. We ended up sucking on the output of the chiller to get the siphon started. If you put a T on the output of the chiller you can suck on one out put of the T till the siphon is started and then close it off with a clamp to prevent just sucking on the output and contaminating something your beer will touch.
 
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doggage

doggage

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I decided to do a little trial run with my new CFC tonight and had a hell of a time getting a siphon started. Tried filling up the CFC with water and thumbing off the hi-temp hose and submerging it in my pot. Also tried filling the CFC and doing the same thing with a copper racking cane attached. Neither of those worked. I finally tried sucking on the end of the CFC like GreenMan suggested. That worked, but only produced a trickle. Is there any easier way? Was planning on brewing tomorrow.

I attached a photo of how I had it set up. I appreciate your suggestions.

 

HairyDogBrewing

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I fill the CFC with Starsan to sanitize and start the siphon.
Fill from the bottom to minimize airbubbles.
I melted my autosiphon on the first batch.
Now I use a copper racking cane and a copper potscrubber to keep the hops out.

I check the temp of my hydrometer sample.
My tap water is about 60F (varies) and the wort is 85F if I use 5/16ID tubing.
So I added one of those nylon stopcocks from LHBS that has a 3/16 opening.
It takes twice as long to drain, but the wort is closer to 65F.
YMMV
 

Homercidal

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Well, I can tell you that an Autosiphon will not handle the temps! I used the warped inner tube form my old autosiphon to siphon the hot wort from my last batch. Filling with Starsan and starting the siphon that way ought to work pretty good.

I have used a copper tube for a siphon tube in the past. A bit easier to use than just tubing IMO.

But that spigot on the kettle is my next brewing upgrade!
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I'd just go with a weldless ball valve fitting. You can buy one online at Bargain Fittings for as little as $19, and it includes everything you need except for a 7/8" drill bit. Alternately, you could spend about an hour at Home Depot and piece together one for about $12 or less. You might have trouble finding a stainless steel washer and the high temperature seals, but you should be able to figure something out for your next brew. Stick a steel scrubby on the end of the weldless fitting to keep the hops and trub out of the CFC.

A ball valve is really the best way to go. And if you're going to spend some money, you might as well get the right parts. Using a ball valve also enables you to control the flow of the wort and therfore the temperature of the wort coming out. My 2 cents...
 

drunkatuw

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Before I got a March pump, I used a water bed pump which cost about $3 to pull the wort through the CFC (although I had a ball valve on my BK). You can also buy a wort wizard for around $20 which does the same thing as the water bed pump.
 

MikeG

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Will those pumps handle high wort temps to pull from the pot, through the CFC and into the fermenter?
 
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doggage

doggage

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Thanks for the tips! Brewed yesterday and discovered the reason I was having so much trouble getting a siphon started with just starsan solution: I didn't have enough in the container. Once I put it in a large, tall container the weight of the water made it much easier to get the siphon started.

As a side note on CFCs, I was amazed how little coolant water it needed. Barely above a trickle from the hose, and I ended up using only about 7 gallons of water to cool. I love it!
 
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