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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: brewerbrown on July 26, 2011, 05:01:28 PM

Title: wort chillers
Post by: brewerbrown on July 26, 2011, 05:01:28 PM
How important is it to chill your wort as fast as possible?  I currently do not have a wort chiller and have been doing ice baths in a tub.  But I was considering letting the wort chill a little then putting it in a glass carboy then in the fridge to cool over night. Any suggestions are appreciated. 
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: ckpash88 on July 26, 2011, 05:12:37 PM
I would invest in a wort chiller you will be happy after you do. For the carboy idea DONT do that I tried that and the temperature difference shattered the glass and I burned my feet and spilled sticky mess everywhere.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: docmckee on July 26, 2011, 05:17:56 PM
I'd say that if you don't chill your wort to pitching temperature in less than 45 minutes you are asking for trouble.  Wild yeast and bacteria thrive at hot but not too hot temperatures.  Crashing the temperature as quickly as possible gets you out of that hot range that bacteria love, results in a better break, and allows you to pitch faster.  Faster pitching gives your brewing yeast a major advantage over wild yeast and bacteria.  To my way of thinking, it is one of the most important things you can do for the quality of your beer.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: richardt on July 26, 2011, 05:21:08 PM
There's the "no-chill" method:
http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/06/06/australian-no-chill-brewing-technique-tested/ (http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/06/06/australian-no-chill-brewing-technique-tested/)

Some people just put the lid on the kettle and let it cool (ambient temps if chilly outside) or in the fridge overnight.
Three potential problems:
1.)  DMS production, especially if using pils malt.  SMM continues to be produced until temps drop below 140F (I think).
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/DMS (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/DMS)
2.)  Time delay creates the potential for infection to get established prior to pitching an adequate number of yeast.  Bacteria reproduce every 20-30 minutes, while yeast reproduce every 3 hours.  You want to pitch the yeast as soon as possible to drive the pH of the wort low enough to be inhospitable to most bacteria.
3.)  Rapid chilling helps create more break material (hot break occurs in the kettle, cold break occurs during chilling)--creation and removal of break material helps improve beer stability and clarity (less likely to have chill haze, for example).
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: tschmidlin on July 27, 2011, 03:45:36 AM
How important is it to chill your wort as fast as possible?  I currently do not have a wort chiller and have been doing ice baths in a tub.  But I was considering letting the wort chill a little then putting it in a glass carboy then in the fridge to cool over night. Any suggestions are appreciated.  
You need to give some specifics.  What is "chill a little"?  I often chill the beer into the 70s, then put it in a carboy to further chill it in the fridge overnight until it gets to pitching temps.  If you can drop it under ~120F quickly and let it cool the rest of the way in the fridge it should be fine.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: brewerbrown on July 27, 2011, 03:16:15 PM
Thanks for the advice everybody...I went out and got a wort chiller last night and brewed up an IPA....Question...what is the best way to use the least amount of water while running the wort chiller?
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: Mark G on July 27, 2011, 03:47:16 PM
Thanks for the advice everybody...I went out and got a wort chiller last night and brewed up an IPA....Question...what is the best way to use the least amount of water while running the wort chiller?
Re-use the water for other purposes. I collect the hot water for cleaning. The colder water goes for garden irrigation.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: anday6 on July 27, 2011, 05:36:23 PM
Another low water use option is to re-circulate the cooling water with a small pump and use ice to keep the bucket cool.

I recently started using an immersion chiller and it's amazing how much less hot break makes it to the fermenter.  That and the time saved is well worth it.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on July 27, 2011, 06:24:20 PM
Thanks for the advice everybody...I went out and got a wort chiller last night and brewed up an IPA....Question...what is the best way to use the least amount of water while running the wort chiller?
I use tap water at first and collect the effluent and put it in my washing machine for laundry.  After I've dropped it to ~100* F I use a pond pump to circulate ice water, then use the remaining cool water (no longer has any ice) in the water bath for the carboy.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: Will's Swill on July 28, 2011, 01:35:26 AM
I run a lawn sprinkler off of mine, hot to cool.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: alikocho on July 28, 2011, 06:44:12 AM
I run some for cleanup and the into the water butt to be used for the garden when its cooled.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: dbarber on July 28, 2011, 12:41:27 PM
I run some for cleanup and the rest goes into the washing machine.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: euge on July 28, 2011, 06:06:40 PM
I water my lawn with the effluent until I switch over to the ice-water- which gets recirculated. I'm toying with the idea of using a counter-flow to finish off the cooling instead of switching the lines to the IC. So it'd be chill from boiling with the IC and house-water until 100 or so and then run the wort through the counterflow with ice-water recirculating. I get to buy/make another piece of equipment and solve implementation issues... :-\

Freezing bottles is a good option but takes longer than straight ice melting. They work best in water-bath chilling, which also work well if you want to go to bed and pitch in the morning.

My own experience is that leaving it overnight to finish chilling is ok but not optimal.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: jeffy on July 28, 2011, 06:20:19 PM
I water my lawn with the effluent until I switch over to the ice-water- which gets recirculated. I'm toying with the idea of using a counter-flow to finish off the cooling instead of switching the lines to the IC. So it'd be chill from boiling with the IC and house-water until 100 or so and then run the wort through the counterflow with ice-water recirculating. I get to buy/make another piece of equipment and solve implementation issues... :-\

Freezing bottles is a good option but takes longer than straight ice melting. They work best in water-bath chilling, which also work well if you want to go to bed and pitch in the morning.

My own experience is that leaving it overnight to finish chilling is ok but not optimal.
I've been using a counter flow chiller and pumping the wort back to the kettle at an angle to form a whirlpool.  I use the hottest water for cleaning the brew area and then water trees with the rest.  I use ground water to get below 90F and then switch to ice water, which is recirculated to the (formerly hot) liquor tank.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: blatz on July 28, 2011, 06:37:25 PM
jeffy - how long does it take you to get to 60df with your method?  I do the same exact thing, but with an IC in the kettle instead of a CFC.  It takes me about 45min in the summer, maybe 35-40 in the fall/winter months.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: brewerbrown on July 28, 2011, 06:59:31 PM
Thanks for all the great advice.  I got some good ideas from everyone. Truly appreciated.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: jeffy on July 28, 2011, 07:23:11 PM
jeffy - how long does it take you to get to 60df with your method?  I do the same exact thing, but with an IC in the kettle instead of a CFC.  It takes me about 45min in the summer, maybe 35-40 in the fall/winter months.
Longer than I'd like - at least 45 minutes, probably longer for 10 gallons.  I need to upgrade my chiller to get faster.  I'm using an old Hearts Super Chiller and want to buy a plate chiller.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: euge on July 28, 2011, 10:22:52 PM
I've read that one can cool the wort in one pass with a CFC. Is this possible?
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: blatz on July 28, 2011, 10:33:25 PM
I've read that one can cool the wort in one pass with a CFC. Is this possible?

Well, yeah but not when you have 80df groundwater like Jeff and I do
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: euge on July 28, 2011, 11:35:34 PM
Yeah. Mine's like 88...
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: dbeechum on July 29, 2011, 12:02:50 AM
For those with the CFC and high ground water issues (I also use a heart's) - you can try doing what I do. I pump hot wort into CFC with ground water for cooling. The wort passes into a 15' IC sitting in an ice bath and out through a thrumometer into the fermenter.

With that setup and the usual 80+ ground water I can drag an 11 gallon batch to 60-65F in 15 minutes. I just have to remember to shake the IC every minute or so to break up thermal jacketing.

During the spring I'll run about 9lbs of ice, the height of summer about 20.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: andrew on July 29, 2011, 01:14:07 AM
For those with the CFC and high ground water issues (I also use a heart's) - you can try doing what I do. I pump hot wort into CFC with ground water for cooling. The wort passes into a 15' IC sitting in an ice bath and out through a thrumometer into the fermenter.

With that setup and the usual 80+ ground water I can drag an 11 gallon batch to 60-65F in 15 minutes. I just have to remember to shake the IC every minute or so to break up thermal jacketing.

During the spring I'll run about 9lbs of ice, the height of summer about 20.

Same deal here. Tap through an IC in ice the through a plate chiller. The tap was 82 on brew day this past weekend and I cooled my wort to 68 in 15 to 20 min.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: bluesman on July 29, 2011, 01:28:10 AM
I can chill my beer down to ground water temp using a Therminator in about 15 minutes.

I like to chill immediately upon flameout. My groundwater temp varies from 56-64 degrees depending on the time of year. My CFC chills fast and is easy to use and I find that it's also easy to clean.

I do recommend boiling the chiller prior to each use, as some very small hop particles and trub can get trapped in the chiller no matter how well you attempt to clean it out. Boiling the CFC for 20 min will kill any residual bacteria that is in the chiller.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: phillamb168 on July 29, 2011, 12:06:57 PM
I can chill my beer down to ground water temp using a Therminator in about 15 minutes.

I like to chill immediately upon flameout. My groundwater temp varies from 56-64 degrees depending on the time of year. My CFC chills fast and is easy to use and I find that it's also easy to clean.

I do recommend boiling the chiller prior to each use, as some very small hop particles and trub can get trapped in the chiller no matter how well you attempt to clean it out. Boiling the CFC for 20 min will kill any residual bacteria that is in the chiller.

I stick mine in a 250 deg C ~500 F oven for an hour. That seems to do me right.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: tom on July 30, 2011, 02:38:17 AM
John Palmer has a good chapter in his book How To Brew with various sanitizing methods.  There is a chart which has oven heat X time to sterilize equipment  http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-3.html .  I usually cover the openings with aluminum foil and time-bake over night at 285F for 3 hours.  By morning it's sterile and cooled.

When the tap water is hotter than I want my wort to be, I put a 2nd plate chiller in series.  The first gets tap water and the 2nd gets ice water pumped through it with a sump pump.  I need to do that for lagers in the Summer.  It takes about 10# of ice per 5 gallons.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: captkirkles on July 30, 2011, 10:48:47 AM
How strong of a pond pump is needed?  My kettle is only a couple feet off the ground on the burner.  The first pump I bought doesn't turn the water over fast enough.
Title: Re: wort chillers
Post by: tom on July 30, 2011, 02:44:19 PM
I use an old pump that looks like this:  http://www.pexuniverse.com/little-giant-utility-pumps  It was old when we bought the house 13 years ago.  It looks like the output is 1" rather than the pond pumps 1/4".