Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: KLbrewer on April 19, 2011, 11:32:54 AM

Title: Transition to all grain?
Post by: KLbrewer on April 19, 2011, 11:32:54 AM
Greetings Forum. 

I am considering a transition to all grain brewing, and I have one question - how do I cool the wort to an acceptable temp for pitching the yeast?  I am an an extract/steeping brewer now and use a combination of an ice-bath, 25ft copper IC and adding chilled H20 to the wort to drop the temp prior to pitching.  The problem is my "cold" tap water here in S.E. Asia averages about 80 + degrees F, which limits the effectiveness of the IC.   So, what's the best way to get a full 5+ gallons of boiling wort to acceptable temps for pitching in this climate?   I don't have a spare fridge to use help cool the wort either.  Should I just stick to extract brewing until I return to cooler climates?

Thanks,
KLB
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: theDarkSide on April 19, 2011, 12:16:56 PM
You can pre-chill the water by coiling the hose in an ice bath before it goes through the chiller. 

You could also look into a whirlpool chiller ( check Morebeer for Jamil's whirlpool chiller ) where you use a pump and copper tube to recirculate the wort to speed cooling. It also creates a whirlpool so the trub cone forms in the middle.

Lastly, you could do a no-chill method like a lot of Australians do.  Plenty of info on the interwebs about that.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 19, 2011, 12:31:58 PM
A pond/utility pump in an ice bath is the solution you are looking for.  Use tap water to chill to 100F or so, then switch to the ice water.

This should help.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/2490/Beat_the_Heat_JAzym00_.pdf
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: weithman5 on April 19, 2011, 12:42:35 PM
you can't get the wort cooler than your coolant.  if your temperature of tap water is 80 degrees, you have to find a way to cool it.  i like the submersible pump in a cooler of ice the best, otherwise you will be limited.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: bluesman on April 19, 2011, 01:41:00 PM
A pond/utility pump in an ice bath is the solution you are looking for.  Use tap water to chill to 100F or so, then switch to the ice water.

This should help.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/2490/Beat_the_Heat_JAzym00_.pdf

+1

The wort will only get as cold as the water your using to chill it with so you will have to use an ice bath and a pump of sorts. I have a submersilble pump that works well.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: a10t2 on April 19, 2011, 02:20:26 PM
Sounds like you're planning on switching to all-grain and to full boils. No reason you have to do both, though. If you find that you can't effectively chill 5+ gal, just keep doing partial boils.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: morticaixavier on April 19, 2011, 02:42:56 PM
Get some 2 litre soda bottles and freeze some water in them, sanitize them well and add them to the wort, swapping out as needed. Or the no-chill method if you can get big foodgrade plastic gerry cans
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 19, 2011, 03:40:00 PM
Several good ideas above . . . but my question is, how do you control your fermentation temp?  However you do that can also be done to cool your wort.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: Beer Monger on April 19, 2011, 04:00:08 PM
The frozen 2 liter bottles are a good idea, but I strongly suggest you save up and get yourself an immersion chiller.  You can usually find one for around $50 or less. 

HERE (http://www.nybrewsupply.com/products/wort-chiller-copper-immersion.php) is one for $33.99
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: Hokerer on April 19, 2011, 04:05:58 PM
Several good ideas above . . . but my question is, how do you control your fermentation temp?  However you do that can also be done to cool your wort.

Exactly.  Answer that question and you got your answer to your first question.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: Beer Monger on April 19, 2011, 04:09:31 PM
Several good ideas above . . . but my question is, how do you control your fermentation temp?  However you do that can also be done to cool your wort.

Exactly.  Answer that question and you got your answer to your first question.

Not necessarily.  I use a tub of water and an aquarium heater to control my fermenter temperatures (here in the Northwest - our issue is keeping the fermnters warm enough - not cold enough).  But I can't use that method to cool my wort after the boil.  Even if it would work, how could I lift my boiling hot kettle into the tub of water? 

That's why I suggested he invest in an immersion chiller. 
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: Hokerer on April 19, 2011, 04:24:15 PM
Not necessarily.  I use a tub of water and an aquarium heater to control my fermenter temperatures (here in the Northwest - our issue is keeping the fermnters warm enough - not cold enough).  But I can't use that method to cool my wort after the boil.  Even if it would work, how could I lift my boiling hot kettle into the tub of water? 

That's why I suggested he invest in an immersion chiller. 

Good point if your fermentation temp control is to warm rather than chill.  If it chills though, just use whatever method you want to get it as cool as you can, transfer to fermenter, and use the fermentation temp control to chill the rest of the way to pitch temp.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 19, 2011, 04:42:09 PM
Yeah, but the OP is in SE Asia with ground water at 80F - I doubt the problem is fermenting warm enough.  And by doubt I mean there's no way in hell. ;)

In our case monger, our chilling method this time of year can simply be leaving it alone until it is cold enough.  I'm not saying an immersion chiller is a bad idea, but the OP said he already has one and uses it in combination with an ice bath.  The only thing that has to change if doing a full boil is adding chilled water to bring the temp the rest of the way down.  To get that last little bit, whatever method is used to control fermentation temps should be sufficient.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: bluesman on April 19, 2011, 04:42:36 PM
I use a CFC to chill down to pitching temps or as close as I can get it. For ales it's no problem except during the peak of summer when my tap water reaches 70 degrees, but for lagers I chill as low as my ground water will allow.

My basement runs 58-71F depending on the time of year, so for most of the year I can ferment ales. During the peak summer months I use a Keezer and a digital temp controller to ferment ales and for lagers I use the keezer all of the time.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: Beer Monger on April 19, 2011, 04:43:26 PM
Yeah, but the OP is in SE Asia with ground water at 80F - I doubt the problem is fermenting warm enough.  And by doubt I mean there's no way in hell. ;)

In our case monger, our chilling method this time of year can simply be leaving it alone until it is cold enough.  I'm not saying an immersion chiller is a bad idea, but the OP said he already has one and uses it in combination with an ice bath.  The only thing that has to change if doing a full boil is adding chilled water to bring the temp the rest of the way down.  To get that last little bit, whatever method is used to control fermentation temps should be sufficient.

My bad for not reading the whole 1st post.  Sorry.

If he has no way to run cold water through the chiller then...... well, yeah.  That's a difficult situation. 
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: tschmidlin on April 19, 2011, 04:51:42 PM
It sounds like what the OP does is put the IC in an ice bath, then run the wort through the IC, as opposed to putting the IC in the hot wort and running the water through the IC.

Here's a thought:
Step 1: put the IC in the wort at knockout, then run tap water through it to get it down under 100F
Step 2: run sanitizer through the IC
Step 3: put the IC in an ice bath and run the wort through the IC into a fermenter

That should get it plenty cold enough and doesn't require any additional equipment.  You'll have to play with the flow rate and how far below 100F (if at all) it needs to be before you run it through the ice bath to get the temp that you want for pitching.  You can do a trial run with water first so you can be in the ballpark your first time through.

I still want to know how you control fermentation temps though. :)
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: weazletoe on April 19, 2011, 11:37:50 PM
I still want to know how you control fermentation temps though. :)

Maybe he just sticks to Belgians.  ;D
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: KLbrewer on April 19, 2011, 11:45:10 PM
Tom,  

To control the fermentation temps I use a swamp cooler with an ice bath to keep the fermenter cool - approx 65F.  The swamp cooler isn't all that effective due to the high humidity here in S.E. Asia, but the ice bath helps, and I keep it all in our guest room with the A/C cranked.  So, I think I'll set the carboy in the ice bath (after using the IC to drop the temps to at or below 100), and pitch when the temp is down to below 68F.  I'll see how long that takes, then maybe for the next batch I'll purchase a pond/utility pump, per hopfenundmalz's suggestion.  

Thanks to all for helping out a brewer a long way from home!
KLB
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: a10t2 on April 20, 2011, 12:39:30 AM
Ice is a really effective (and quick) way to chill the wort if you're doing a partial boil, too. Or even if you normally wouldn't be, but are willing to cut your boil volume slightly. If you can chill 4.75 gal to 95°F using the IC and then add 0.75 gal of (pre-made sanitary) ice, it'll stabilize at about 63°F.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: Hokerer on April 20, 2011, 12:42:51 AM
To control the fermentation temps I use a swamp cooler with an ice bath to keep the fermenter cool - approx 65F.  The swamp cooler isn't all that effective due to the high humidity here in S.E. Asia, but the ice bath helps, and I keep it all in our guest room with the A/C cranked.  So, I think I'll set the carboy in the ice bath (after using the IC to drop the temps to at or below 100), and pitch when the temp is down to below 68F.  I'll see how long that takes, then maybe for the next batch I'll purchase a pond/utility pump, per hopfenundmalz's suggestion.  

Sounds like a plan!  The one thing you might want to consider is to cool it closer to 60F before pitching.  Pitching colder and letting the temp rise slightly is generally accepted as a better process.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: KLbrewer on April 20, 2011, 11:39:06 PM
Great advice, as always.  Thanks guys.
Title: Re: Transition to all grain?
Post by: oscarvan on April 21, 2011, 02:38:02 PM
Tom,  

To control the fermentation temps I use a swamp cooler with an ice bath to keep the fermenter cool - approx 65F.  The swamp cooler isn't all that effective due to the high humidity here in S.E. Asia, but the ice bath helps, and I keep it all in our guest room with the A/C cranked.  So, I think I'll set the carboy in the ice bath (after using the IC to drop the temps to at or below 100), and pitch when the temp is down to below 68F.  I'll see how long that takes, then maybe for the next batch I'll purchase a pond/utility pump, per hopfenundmalz's suggestion.  

Thanks to all for helping out a brewer a long way from home!
KLB

Sounds like you would benefit from a small used fridge with an external controller....... in fact, if you keep it clean and sanitized it would be a perfect place to park the brew kettle for a while after you get it down to 100º.... A lot less hassle, and better control.