Whirlpool Hot Or Cold

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Do you whirlpool hot or cold?

  • Hot

  • Cold

  • Don't whirlpool

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Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2007
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westlake village, ca
As I am building my brewery, I am studying some procedures that will be new to me.
I will have a pumped system with a plate chiller and wort recirculation/whirlpool capabilities. I have read that some people whirlpool cold, while others hot. It would make more sense to me to do it cold, so I am wondering what the downside is?
I don't whirlpool know, but have not had any problem as I use a Bazooka screen in my current kettle (yes, there is some waste). I also use conicals that allow for a trub dump, so am wondering how important the procedure is anyway.

Thanks for input
IMO, you would want to whirlpool after getting the wort cold so that you can leave the cold break in the kettle.
Beerrific said:
IMO, you would want to whirlpool after getting the wort cold so that you can leave the cold break in the kettle.

I agree. I whirlpool after I chill.
The main purpose of this is to forse the cold break to the bottom of the pot so it doesnt end up in fermenter. I on the other hand do not mind all the break material..I just try to get the bulk of as well as hops and any other big things out. The trub looks bad but does not hurt your beer.IMO

To answer: COLD
After the wort is chilled, the cold break is just hanging there, so I whirlpool it so most of it is in the middle and I siphon around it. I still have quite a bit that goes into primary, too, though.
I think hot and cold whirlpooling are for different purposes. A hot whirlpool is associated with a chilling technique -- e.g. a pump is used to generate a whirlpool around an immersion chiller to increase the contact between hot wort and the cold chiller coil, hence speeding the chilling process. A cold whirlpool is used to move break material to the center of the boil kettle to facilitate cleaner siphoning/draw from a spigot.

I am guessing that anyone who uses a hot whirlpool for chilling also uses a cold whirlpool??
yeah, I believe that jamil uses a whirlpool to chill quickly and then just happens to have the benefit of all the cold break in the center of the kettle. I'm sure he designed his system to do that.
I suggest a cold whirlpool as this is less prone to DMS creation (you don't have to boil pilsner malt worts for 90 min) and better retains hop aromatics of the latter additions. They also allow you to leave most of the cold break in the kettle.

Hot whirlpools will only remove hot break and hop sediment, but they are better from a chilling efficicnecy standpoint if you are using a CFC, that's why I believe they are used by commercial breweries. Also when performing a cold whirlpool where you chill by recirculating through a CFC, you will pump a lot of trub through the CFC which, depending on design, may cause problems. This is something to keep in mind.

CarlLBC said:
yeah, I believe that jamil uses a whirlpool to chill quickly and then just happens to have the benefit of all the cold break in the center of the kettle. I'm sure he designed his system to do that.

The whirlpool part of his system actually doesn't do much in the way of collecting the trub in the middle. The chiller is creating to much turbulences to get an even whirlpool going. Though this were the initial intentions, its more designed to keep the wort well mixed which helps him with his chilling efficiency. I think he mentioned this once in one of his shows.

the only places i've seen a hot whirlpool recommended involve cooling the kettle without a wort chiller, by immersing it in cold water or ice. in that case it seems advantageous to have the wort moving inside the kettle so more of it is exposed to the cold walls.

edit: i wasn't thinking about counterflow chillers. that would be another good time to whirlpool hot.
check this out www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

Edit: From www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

Q: How does it work?

A: What I've done is combine an immersion chiller and a whirlpool, to rapidly cool my wort and leave the cold break behind. The action of moving the hot wort across the chiller coils results in a very rapid chilling of the wort.

The basic setup is that I put my immersion chiller in the boil pot with 15 minutes remaining in the boil. I connect my pump to my kettle spigot (out) with a length of tubing. From the pump output it goes through a hunk (about 2 feet) of the silicon tubing that B3 sells with their systems. This hunk of tubing is attached to a piece of copper tubing with a hose clamp. The tubing has a gentle curve to it and goes underneath the surface of the wort, just inside the coils of the immersion chiller. Although the pump is clean, and has been pumping 170F+ water for the past hour during the sparge, I turn it on for a few minutes to recirculate the wort through it and heat sanitize the setup.

When the boil is complete, I turn on the pump and the chiller water. The temp drops more than 100F in 3 minutes, using one of the beefy, B3 Super Chillers. It is 50' of 1/2" copper, which is a huge amount of surface area. The rest of the drop (another 50F or so) takes longer, but it is still as quick or quicker than any counter-flow I've used. I watch the thermometer until the temperature is where I want it for pitching, then I turn off the water and the pump to let everything settle for 20 minutes. This allows me to rack clear wort to the fermenter and leave all the trub behind in the kettle. If you don't care about it settling, you can just run it off at that point.

There are many advantages to this technique. The first is that you're cooling the entire wort below 140F in about a minute or two. Below 140F you're not going to keep generating DMS like you will with a plate chiller or counter flow chiller. If you're into clean german lagers, this is a critical factor in success with this style. The other huge advantage is leaving the cold break behind. With a counter flow chiller or plate chiller you're sending all that cold break into the fermenter and you're going to need to get rid of it if you want the best lager possible. With the whirlpool chiller, the trub forms a nice cone in the kettle and you can leave it behind when you transfer to your fermenter.
I do a hot whirlpool before I drain through my CFC.

Well, the Therminator instructions recommend a hot whirlpool, followed by cooling with a screen in front of the plate chiller. I suppose I could do another whirlpool after cooling to capture the cold break. Any downside to this approach?
I built a set up like Jamil's and follow his procedure.

I'll turn on the pump a couple of minutes before I cut the flame and run it until the temp is close to where I want it. I'll only let it set in the kettle a few more minutes and then run off to my fermenters. I don't seem to get a ton of break material in the fermenters, but I also tend to use whole leaf hops and have a boil screen so I think a lot of the break material is filtered out. If I use pellet hops, I'll use a hop bag and still get very little break material or trub in the fermenter. I probably only leave a pint of wort behind.