Wort cooling water system

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erikrocks

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First, some background. I brew 12 and 15 gallon batches with my "P-J" 3-kettle HERMS electric brew system, which I love. I own a Brewhemoth, which I keep in a stand up freezer and a 12 gallon SS Deep Wood Cavern fermentor in a small chest freezer. I pump straight out of my boil kettle, through my Blichmann Therminator, and into my fermentor.

My wife and I have a shallow well from which we get our water, so my greatest issue in brewing such large batches has been the (in)ability to chill all that 212 degree wort to pitching temp before running out of water. As a result, I decided to build a 150 gallon water storage system for chilling and cleaning purposes only. I brewed with it for the first time today, and it worked like a charm. Here are some pics:
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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The garden hose is coming from my water softener. The valve gives me the option of using the brine discharge water to fill the storage barrels OR continue to the septic like usual.

2013-08-13 08.07.25.jpg
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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This is where the brine water enters the storage tanks. I put the valve in so the water wouldn't backup into the softener.

2013-08-13 08.07.35.jpg
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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Here it is! I can choose which bay--left or right--I want to fill. One side is always full and one is always empty.

2013-08-13 08.07.44.jpg
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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I bought this pump from Harbor Freight. It's cheap, but pushes a ****-ton of H2O FAST out of the full side, through the Therminator, and back into the empty side.

2013-08-13 13.11.15.jpg
 

cosmatics

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Can I just give you a slow clap for some american ingenuity. Well done. The only thing that might make me slightly nervous is the garden hose, if any of that stuff breaks you could flood yourself. But its hard to see exactly how everything is setup.
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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Can I just give you a slow clap for some american ingenuity. Well done. The only thing that might make me slightly nervous is the garden hose, if any of that stuff breaks you could flood yourself. But its hard to see exactly how everything is setup.

I'm not too worried about flooding the basement. I ran a test with the water softener, and the hose clamps holding the garden hose to the valve and PVC barb fittings held fine.

The one thing I would like to do is either find a wider, stronger hose to go from the barrels to the pump OR hard plumb the barrels to the pump. THat feed line was too restrictive, as the pump was sucking the life out of the hose and flattened it out pretty badly.
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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Yeah that sounds like a good idea. I'd be curious on the temperature difference of your reservoir before and after just for kicks.

Funny you bring that up. The water couldn't have been colder than 60 degrees today, and it was able to get the wort down to 75. I just locked the Brewhemoth in the freezer for a couple hours after that, and it was down to 64. I definitely have to insulate my Bilco cellar doors with some foam board to keep that water cooler. I bet when I do that, I'll easily get the beer down to pitching temperature with the Therminator.
 

Stealthcruiser

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I'm not too worried about flooding the basement. I ran a test with the water softener, and the hose clamps holding the garden hose to the valve and PVC barb fittings held fine.

The one thing I would like to do is either find a wider, stronger hose to go from the barrels to the pump OR hard plumb the barrels to the pump. THat feed line was too restrictive, as the pump was sucking the life out of the hose and flattened it out pretty badly.


Try a length of automotive heater hose.
The diameters commonly available are 5/8, and 3/4.
It can be bought in bulk as well.
 

adamreef

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Nicely Done. I am also on a well, and want to minimize wasted water. I thought about a reservoir system, but never considered using the brine water. Genius! That said, if you just shuttle the water back and forth, you should have minimal losses, and very little need to top-off the reservoirs, correct?
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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adamreef said:
Nicely Done. I am also on a well, and want to minimize wasted water. I thought about a reservoir system, but never considered using the brine water. Genius! That said, if you just shuttle the water back and forth, you should have minimal losses, and very little need to top-off the reservoirs, correct?

I'm planning on using some of that water to clean with, too. I already emailed 5 Star and they said mixing PBW with the brine water is fine. I'll rings with tap water, of course, but I'm pretty excited about limiting my waste.
 

adamreef

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Know you got it from the source, but I'm skeptical about the brine water working with starsan. I would at least check the pH. You may have enough carbonate hardness in the brine water to raise the pH above the effective range.
 
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erikrocks

erikrocks

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adamreef said:
Know you got it from the source, but I'm skeptical about the brine water working with starsan. I would at least check the pH. You may have enough carbonate hardness in the brine water to raise the pH above the effective range.

I'm planning on using PBW withe the brine water. Five Star said to just make sure the ph of the water is between 6 and 10.
 

brew_ny

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very good read thanks for posting what you have done

I have dug wells also I was worrying about my water use with a chiller, it has been a good year for water here but that is not always the case

all the best and thanks again

S_M
 
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