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chilling 20 or 30 gal batch, delayed yeast pitch


Thinking about doing some 20 or 30 gal batches instead of 10gal. I have an immersion chiller than handles 10 gal fine but thinking about trying a plate chiller for larger batches. I have 45F water in the winter but 65F in the summer. What is the best practice if I'm trying to make a lager in this weather? Obviously a plate chiller can't get colder than the feed water, so could I chill as much as I can, then let the wort sit in the fermenter under temp control for 24 hours or whatever it takes until I can get it down to 48-50F, then pitch yeast? Or am I asking for infection trouble?

A second question would be how I might need to adjust my hopping schedule... I am getting 10 gal below 100F in the first 4 minutes of chill time, usually... but with a larger boil and with a plate chiller, I will have much of the wort at a much higher temp for longer. What will that do to my various hop additions?


Jeff M:
In my 20-30g Batches i use  therminator.  Takes about 15 minutes to get the batch down to temp.  Usually gets to within 5f of the source water depending on how fast i flow the wort threw the chiller.  The biggest problem with plate chillers is making sure the gunk doesnt go in it, so i use a hop rocket as a grant and use either whole leaf hops, rice hulls, ore SS scrubbies as a filter bed depending on what im doing.

If you are Chilling a Lager you want to recirc the chilled wort into the kettle instead of go direc tot fermenter to keep as many DMS Precursers out of the lager as possible.  I would chill to about 70f and use my ferm control to get to lager ferm temps.


Holding off on pitching is NBD as long as your sanitation is good.

In the summer, I can never get my 5-10 gallon batches down to temp on brewday. I usually shoot for 80-90F (or higher if its REALLY hot), whirlpool, transfer into my fermentor, set the temp controller, and pitch the next morning.

Plate / counterflow chiller is key if you're going to do > 10 gal batches. That gets to be one big ass, convoluded, expensive immersion chiller. The Therminator is a beautiful machine.

I built a closed chilling system with a Chugger pump and 3 hoses.  Attach one to the pump inlet from an ice bath, one from the outlet to the IC and one out the IC back to the ice bath.  Bring the wort below 100F with tap water and this gets it down to <50F in about 15-20 minutes. 

It was cheap since the Chugger guy got hammered and sold pumps for $50 at the 2013 NHC... ;)


Edit:  Red, letting it sit overnight is not an issue.

I use a CFC and recirculate into the kettle.  During the summer, I can get the wort down to about 90 (hot Texas ground water).  After everything settles, I pump it over to the keg fermenter, seal it up, and let the chest freezer take it down to pitching temp.  With good sanitation practices, this has never been a problem. 

I have a pond pump and have recirculated ice water through the chiller once I get it down as low as I can go with the groundwater.  This works great, but it is a lot of extra work.  By that point in the day, I'm ready to be done, and it's just to easy to seal up the keg fermenter and let the chest freezer do the work. 


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