Whirlpool and a LOT of foam?

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davekippen

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Gang,

I just added a Chugger pump and installed a weldless whirlpool port to my kettle. My process is very standard:

Put wort chiller in pot with 10 minutes left in boil
Knock out flame
Turn on water for chiller
Turn on pump to whirlpool during chilling
Pull out chiller when desired temp is reached

I have only had 2 brew sessions with the new equipment and both times I had massive amounts of foam in the kettle by the time the wort is at pitching temps. Its probably not a huge deal but I want to be able to see how well the trub/break is settling and I cant see it through 10 inches of foam!

I would guess that I am pumping too fast back into the kettle? How open is your valve when you recirc? Other thoughts? Do you get this too?
 

BigFloyd

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Until it gets below 100*F, I have the valve cracked about 1/4th or so of the way open. I want it flowing, but not frothing a bunch while the wort is hot. Once my PID controller reads in the 90's, I open it up full to finish chilling faster (using a 30 plate chiller), but it also causes a fair amount of aeration and foam.

After it's chilled all the way, I leave the kettle covered and allow the trub to settle for about 15-20 minutes. That allows me to leave much of the break and gunk behind when pumping into the fermenter.
 

acidrain

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Is your return port down in the wort? Do you see bubbles forming somewhere?
I do exactly as you described, and mine runs completely foam-less.
What pump are you using? I'm using a chugger.
 

beinert

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Is your return port down in the wort? Do you see bubbles forming somewhere?
I do exactly as you described, and mine runs completely foam-less.
What pump are you using? I'm using a chugger.
+1 I chill/whirlpool the same way too with no foaming issues. I close the valve on the pump outlet about half way while the wort is still boiling to avoid cavitation, but after flame out wide open is fine. Return port on my system is about 1-2 inches off the bottom of the kettle.
 
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davekippen

davekippen

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The first brew day the port was above the wort level (half batch) but the last one it was submerged. It is just a 90 degree street elbow pointed to the side, is that what you guys use or do you have the "real" whirlpool thing which is a length of stainless tube.

To confirm, you last two guys run wide open the whole time?
 

acidrain

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I run wide open, but my whirlpool port is a 3/8 x 6" nipple turned on a lathe to make kind of a jet nozzle. It's welded tangent to the vessel so that it makes the whirlpool. I'm sure it reduces the velocity/volume quite a bit.
 

beinert

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Except when I'm still boiling the wort, then it's about 1/2 flow. Shortly after flame out and thereafter, it's wide open.
Mine's a home built 1/2" copper recirculating arm, similar to the Jamil designed one that MoreBeer sells. The wort exits only about 1" or so past a 90* elbow. No gradual bends like some of the ones I have seen for sale.
I aim it at the chiller coils during cooling, then clamp it to the kettle side to whirlpool after the IC has been removed.
 
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davekippen

davekippen

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Hmm just not sure why she gets so foamy! I will try restricting the flow on the next batch and see if that helps. My other suspicion is the elbow itself. Maybe the wort flowing out over those threads causes too much turbulence. Im no fluid dynamics expert, thats for sure!
 

RiverCityBrewer

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If its foaming that badly, especially submerged, I would suspect that air is being sucked in somewhere. Check your intake lines and fittings to your pump and maybe re-clamp/re-tape/tighten everything. Also, maybe take the pump head apart and check the main gasket for nicks or pinches.

*edit*

Forgot to add to fill up the kettle with cold water and see if you see tiny bubbles coming out of the whirlpool return. If you do then keep making changes until you find the problem.
 
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davekippen

davekippen

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I will try that water test for sure. Thanks for all the advice gang.
 
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davekippen

davekippen

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Brewed a BIPA on saturday with no foaming problems during whirlpool. Had the flow at about 1/2 full open and it didnt foam at all. I guess that running it wide open was the problem.

Cheers!
 
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