Author Topic: Chilling plastic conical fermenter  (Read 954 times)

Offline troybinso

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Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« on: January 20, 2014, 04:46:27 PM »
I've got a plastic conical fermenter that is sitting next to my chest freezer. I rigged up a stainless steel immersion chiller to attach to the lid of the fermenter with the coils in the beer. I have been running water through the coils to control the fermentaion temperature from a bucket of water in the chest freezer. It works well for cooling down to about 58 degrees, but I can't get much colder than that because the bucket of water warms up too fast and the chest freezer won't cool it down fast enough. Can anyone give some advice as to how I can crash cool the beer?

Online Steve in TX

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 04:52:53 PM »
If your conical is large, you will need a larger source of cold water. Try a rubbermaid tote full of ice water.

Offline james

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 05:17:06 PM »
Use glycol instead of water and get your chest freezer down to around 20 degrees

Offline troybinso

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 06:23:59 PM »
Both good ideas. I can definitely get a bigger bucket in there, but I am still not sure it will cool fast enough with the discharge water going in. I would like to try the glycol solution, but it is also my long term beer storage fridge. I suppose I can move the beer out for a few days and get the freezer really cold so I can chill the fermenting beer.

I am surprised how long it takes for about 7 gallons of water to go from 54 degrees to 40 degrees in a chest freezer that is set for 33 degrees. It takes maybe 7 hours.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 08:55:08 PM »
Is your fermenter insulated?

I run insulated plastic fermenters with SS coil inside (like yours) and glycol chiller set to 28F.
I can not go lower then 42F.
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Offline troybinso

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 08:52:27 AM »
I have aluminum insulation (reflectix) around the fermenter and it stays in my 65 degree basement.

Thirsty Monk - Are you using a dedicated glycol chiller? That would definitely be the way to go because you have on demand cooling, I think I will try a much bigger reservoir to see if I can get it to drop a little lower next time. Maybe toss in some ice cubes.

Offline euge

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2014, 09:42:22 AM »
Try adding couple frozen 1-2L PET bottles in your reservoir. You might have to switch out periodically but it would definitely help.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline troybinso

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2014, 10:47:13 AM »
Great idea with the frozen bottles - if I am good at keeping up with changing them it should make a big difference.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2014, 07:12:36 PM »
I have aluminum insulation (reflectix) around the fermenter and it stays in my 65 degree basement.

Thirsty Monk - Are you using a dedicated glycol chiller? That would definitely be the way to go because you have on demand cooling, I think I will try a much bigger reservoir to see if I can get it to drop a little lower next time. Maybe toss in some ice cubes.
Yes I have dedicated Glycol chiller now.
Before I had just the same size tank in walking cooler.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2014, 08:20:50 PM »
could you make a strong salt brine and use that as your chilling liquid? you should be able to get that down below freezing which I would think would make a big difference. I don't know what it would do to the SS coil after time though.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline troybinso

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2014, 09:43:11 AM »
I could also get some glycol in the solution too to bring the temp down, the problem is that I use the chest freezer for storing beer, yeast and hops too, so I can't really afford to get below freezing.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2014, 01:41:57 PM »
could you make a strong salt brine and use that as your chilling liquid? you should be able to get that down below freezing which I would think would make a big difference. I don't know what it would do to the SS coil after time though.
Yes you could but issue is that salt brine is very aggressive. If you need to replace your pump every year, it is cheaper just to get glycol.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2014, 02:40:11 PM »
could you make a strong salt brine and use that as your chilling liquid? you should be able to get that down below freezing which I would think would make a big difference. I don't know what it would do to the SS coil after time though.
Yes you could but issue is that salt brine is very aggressive. If you need to replace your pump every year, it is cheaper just to get glycol.

makes sense.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline euge

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2014, 02:43:43 PM »
Glycol... So just get some antifreeze at autozone or walmart.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline majorvices

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Re: Chilling plastic conical fermenter
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2014, 03:33:15 PM »
Glycol... So just get some antifreeze at autozone or walmart.

I would'nt do that. If you have a leak, it could kill you.

Don't over look the obvious. I had a plastic conical that fit in a used upright freezer I got for a few bucks at a used appliance store.
Keith Y.
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