Whirlpool port on kettle?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

kman42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
San Diego
I'm about to pull the trigger on a new 20 gallon kettle and I'm wondering if I should get a whirlpool port built in. The plan would be to pump out the normal port, through the plate chiller, and back into the whirlpool port. Suggestions from people that do this?

thanks,
kman
 

MachineShopBrewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
1,055
Reaction score
75
Location
Montrose, MN
I would do it. That is what I plan on doing for my next kettle. You may want to make some kind of hopback or filter system to keep excess trub out of the chiller.
 

mo_feezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2012
Messages
98
Reaction score
5
Location
Salina
You should definitely do it. I just did (only one brew so far) and it worked out amazingly. I used a hop spider (and bag) to contain the pellet hops so I wouldn't clog the plate chiller. I am also using a 20g pot. You'll need a valve on the return port also (so you can close it when the water/wort level is higher than where the port is). It took a little experimentation to angle the tubing so that it would make a nice whirlpool motion.



here's the setup.
I'm using a side-pickup tube to avoid the resulting cone of trub. The return port goes to an elbow that (currently) has a camlock with a short piece of silicone tubing. This allows me to adjust the whirlpool a little bit to make sure it gets spinning. I may make this a permanent setup, but i'll need a few more brews before I really know. The tubing actually follows the curve of the pot a little better than it looks here.

I run it out of the bottom valve, through the pump, through the plate chiller, then back into the return port. After it is ready, I put the output of the chiller straight into the fermenters.

Like I said, I've only brewed with this setup once, about a week ago, so it may run into problems later, but so far I haven't had any trouble.
 
OP
K

kman42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
San Diego
That looks great! Wondering if it's best to whirlpool with the chiller out if the loop first then run clean wort through it.
 

SagamoreAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2013
Messages
162
Reaction score
12
I do this in a converted keg. The concave bottom of the keg contains the debris nicely after whirlpool.

If I had a flat-bottom kettle and was building an new system, I'd probably look at the wifty Hop-Blocker from Blichmann Engineering in addition to the whirlpool.
 

mo_feezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2012
Messages
98
Reaction score
5
Location
Salina
What I did was run it through the chiller and pump back to the return port for a bit to sanitize (even though I took the chiller out of a bucket of sanitizer when I got to this point). Once I hit flameout, I did my flameout addition and then started the chilling water. I thought it would take a while, but after about 6 or 7 minutes I was already down below 90 degrees. So I turned off the pump and let it sit for about 20 mins (might go 30 next time just to see). While the whirlpool was settling I hooked up the chiller output to the fermenters. Then when I ran from the kettle to the pump through the chiller I hit 65 degrees almost instantly, so I just let it run as fast as it wanted.

When I backflushed the chiller with the garden hose barely anything I noticed came out of the chiller, so I assume it wasn't getting a ton of crap stuck in it. I also ran hot PBW through it when that was done just to be sure.
 

SagamoreAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2013
Messages
162
Reaction score
12
That looks great! Wondering if it's best to whirlpool with the chiller out if the loop first then run clean wort through it.
I've been thinking the same thing. My wort chiller got plugged with some debris during this weekend's brew. It was a bull$hit PITA to straighten out and screwed up my hops schedule (meaning: I ended up boiling for 15 minutes longer while I fixed the problem)
 
OP
K

kman42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
San Diego
Out of curiosity, what kind of chillers do you guys have? Does anyone think one brand is more prone to clogging than another?
Kman
 

mo_feezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2012
Messages
98
Reaction score
5
Location
Salina
I have one of the short 40 plate chillers from kegcowboy. I think it's the same as the one from dudadiesel.

For me, it was my first ever time using a whirlpool, pump, or plate chiller. But it still all went smooth. I used a hop spider with my pellet hops, which did a pretty good job of containing the hop debris which i've read is what causes clogging problems.

The whirlpool took care of the rest of the trub. I was pretty impressed how well it seemed to work. Maybe on my next brew something will clog and i'll be singing a different tune.

I considered removing the chiller and whirlpooling without it and then just using it to chill down into the carboy. I figured it would take longer to chill than it did, so I could go that route next time. My groundwater was only about 50 degrees that day, and will probably be in the high 70s in the summer, so it might depend on the season.
 

cuart682

Active Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2010
Messages
30
Reaction score
1
Location
portsmouth
I have a chilzlla form northern brewer that I use to whirlpool through back into my kettle and it works great, I have never had any clogs and I can get a very nice whirlpool in the kettle, I usually start the whirlpool shortly after I have added the last of my boiling hops and run it until batch is cooled then let it settle 20min or so before pumping into fermenter.
 

SagamoreAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2013
Messages
162
Reaction score
12
Out of curiosity, what kind of chillers do you guys have? Does anyone think one brand is more prone to clogging than another?
Kman
Mine is a counterflow chiller. The internal tube is 3/8 ID, so any system that uses the same size line has the same risk.

However this was the first time I've ever had a clogging problem in years of use. The more I think about it, I may rig some simple, sanitary mechanism so I can backflush the chiller with hot wort if this happens again.
 
Top