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Author Topic: Wort chilling  (Read 2795 times)

Offline Bad Brewer

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Wort chilling
« on: February 06, 2011, 07:00:54 pm »
Here is my problem.  My tap water in winter is still 75F, except on the few days outdoor ambient temp is sub 40F.  My tap water stinks for immersion and counterflow chilling.  Takes about 20-25 minutes to get 10 gallons to pitching temp with my immersion chiller.  My solution has been to add a few extra feet (about 10) of hose between the faucet and the chiller, and drop that into a bucket of ice water.  This works fine, gets my time down to 15ish min.  It is a bit of a pain though.

I am going to move to a slightly more automated solution for chilling wort.  What I have in mind is this:  A large bucket with 50 or so feet of copper tubing coiled inside, fill the bucket with an ice water slurry (maybe make it supercooled), then pump the wort directly from my kettle through the inside of the copper tubing, and back into the kettle.  With a large enough surface area submerged in 15 gallons of 4degreeC (or colder) water I think I can get the boil-to-pitching time under 5 minutes for 10 gallons. 

The flow diagram would be-

kettle-->submerged copper coils-->pump-->kettle

The chiller could be cleaned and sanitized by placing the hose ends in a bucket of starsan and letting it circulate for several minutes and then soak.  Rinse with distilled or boiled water a few minutes before the end of the boil.

Anyone have any experience with hybrid or automated chillers? 

Offline cheba420

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2011, 07:51:47 pm »
I would just make an in line pre chiller. Seems like it would be easier. I'm in Phoenix and without a pre chiller, its impossible to get wort down to pitching temp.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2011, 08:19:47 pm »
Chill to 90 or so with your tap water.  You can do that. 

1. Get a prechiller in line before the imersion.

2. Buy a pond pump so that you can send ice water through the imersion once you are at 90 or so.

I now do option 2, used to do option 1.   There are some guidelines in here.

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Offline Bad Brewer

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2011, 09:35:30 pm »
Primarily what I want to do is decrease the time it takes to chill my wort.  Secondary to that is my desire to make less of a mess.  I brew indoors with an all electric system and the immersion chiller always makes a nice mess.  The thing I use now is sort of a pre-chilled imersion chiller, it works ok...  but scrubbing wort of my kitchen floor is getting old!  Here in FL if you leave any trace of sugar (or anything biodegradable for that matter) on your floor the local insect population considers themselves invited to the party. 

A sealed system that moves the hot wort through a cooling device (no running water required), then into my fermentor, by connecting some quick connects and  flicking a switch, is what I want to build.

Offline BarleynYeast

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2011, 11:02:54 pm »
I live in Vegas and deal with 85 deg tap water in the summer. I have not found a faster or better way to chill than Jamil uses. Here is an article he has on Mr Malty that explains it better than I can. 
When it is really hot I use the bucket of Ice and a separate pump method ( ) that Jamil explains at the end of the article to get the wort temp below about 10 deg of the ground water temp it works great! 

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 12:50:21 am »
The Jamil system is awesome when combined with the super cold switchover bath.

For those of use with CFCs, you could use a prechiller to drive down the water temp or you could do what I do.

I go from my kettle -> pump -> my CFC (a Heart's Homebrew Maxichiller) -> IC stuck in an ice bath -> inline oxygenator/ thermo

With that setup I can usually rapidly drive an 11 gallon chill into the mid 60's straight into the fermenters during the height of a SoCal summer.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 05:43:42 am »
I'm also in a region where the ground water doesn't get colder than about 70F.  I pump the wort out of the kettle, through a Heart's counter-flow chiller cooled at first with hose water and back to the kettle until the wort is about 90F.  This takes about 20 minutes, but I use that time as a whirlpool, since the outlet back to the kettle is at an angle into the wort.  I then switch from hose water to ice water with another pump. 
I'm thinking of getting a more efficient counter flow chiller, perhaps a plate style chiller to speed this process up.  Right now it takes at least 40 minutes to get to the 50F mark.  I use that time to clean everything up with the hot water I collected from the initial heat exchange.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 06:30:20 am »
Thermodynamically, it is best to get the bulk of the heat content out of the wort the way Jeff Gladish does it.  The tap water has plenty of temperature differential from the hot wort to remove a bunch of heat. 

After the wort is cooled to the ~100F range, then switch to the ice cooled chilling.  You will see a substantial reduction in the volume of ice used and the wort will be chilled almost as fast. 
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Wort chilling
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 07:48:14 am »
I chill my wort down to 55F+/- using a CFC (Therminator) and a pump. My ground water is about 55F right now. In the summer when my ground water is in the 60's I can get the wort down to about 65F+/-. I have used IC's with a pre-chiller which is a great way to get your wort really cold but it's just not necessary for me at this point.
Ron Price