Has anyone tried running wort THROUGH an immersion chiller?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    Title says it all, if I gravity fed wort directly from the brew kettle through a 25' stainless coil submerged in ice water, then to my fermenter via a brew pump, what would the main drawback be?

    I grew up on a dairy farm, cleaning/sanitizing stainless line IS in my wheelhouse, I have been cleaning stainless milk line for the better part of my 44 years.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    As long as the chiller can be sanitized, why not? Be careful of corners where the hose joins the pipe and you should be fine.
     
  3. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    #3 thunderwagn, Aug 30, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    A counter flow is more or less the same thing so I don't see why not.
     
  4. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    #4 Head First, Aug 31, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
    No reason it wouldn't work. Would need to work on how fast to run through coil same as a counterflow. The caustics you cleaned milk lines with would spiff it right clean I'm sure. I helped neighbors with milking. They used glass lines too.
     
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  5. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    And I just finished a leak test. Gravity flow from mash tun to kettle, OK. From kettle through chiller coil to fermenter, OK. No leaks, now I'll sanitize and be ready to brew on Monday morning. Total flow of nine gallons in fermentor from kettle(about 1/2 gallon lost) was 9:04.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Best way to really be confident that it's sterile for your finished wort is to be sure that all your hoses, fittings and seals will handle boiling temp and recirculate your wort for the last 15 minutes of the boil. A lot of brewers run finished wort through a plate chiller so your immersion coil will work fine.
    You'll want to want to get a ton of ice for it, though. You have to transfer a LOT of thermal mass. If you just submerge it in water, that'll heat up in no time and you'll be transferring very hot wort.
     
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  7. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I think the problem is, like JA mentioned, thermal mass. Counter flow chillers do the very same thing in a way, the difference is that fresh cold/cool water is always introduced into the chiller. You would go through a lot of ice and I’m not sure it would be better.

    I tried a new method yesterday when I brewed, I cooled the wort down with an immersion chiller to 60F with straight ground water. Since it’s a lager, it has to get to 48F before pitching, that’s below the ground water temp.

    So I put a small sump pump in a 5 gallon bucket, filled it half way with water and filled the rest with ice. Top it off with more water and pumped the ice water directly into the immersion chiller. The output from the chiller returns to the top of the bucket. Since it’s a sump pump, it pulls from the very bottom of the pail below the floating ice. It chilled the wort faster than any other method I tried before, I think I could get the wort into the 30’s without much trouble.

    But this method only works if the wort was pre-cooled with ground water. If I relied on an ice bath only, it would have to be larger than the wort being chilled.
     
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  8. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    The 6 gallon bucket was just for the test run, I've got a 17 gallon stock tank, that I plan to use to cool the wort with, was using it with 30 pounds of ice to cool my extract boil. Without the kettle in it, I could go to 40 pounds and add a cup of salt. that should drop the temp to the range I'm looking for. If I come up short, I can always recirculate the wort though the coil back into the fermenter. I've got a pump for that.
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Do the math...17 gallons of water even at 32 degrees with ice melting the whole time is going to be hard pressed to absorb the heat from 9 gallons at 212. I'm not certain that I've got all your parameters right but you might get to about 80 degrees if you run the exact perfect flow rate.
     
  10. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Like using an immersion chiller in the normal way, stirring the ice water, preferably with the chiller, would greatly speed the cooling process. Without circulating the ice water, warm pockets would form around the chiller coils and the heat transfer efficiency would suffer. Also, being able to adjust the flow rate to regulate the wort output temperature would be a big plus.
     
  11. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    So, do you think it would work better if I recirculated the wort through the chiller and back to the kettle until I hit pitching temp?
     
  12. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    #12 J A, Sep 1, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
    It's more about the volume of water and ice that you have available to do accept the thermal energy. If you can chill partway with ground water and then use the ice bath to take it down the rest of the way, that'll work great. I've done the same as @HighVoltageMan! above and it works great. Recirculate through the tank with water running through it if you can until the wort reaches maybe 120-130F then drain it and add ice to run into the fermenter. My ground water isn't particularly cold, especially in the summer so I'm limited using that method but you can easily get the temp quite low that way if you want. The problem with recirculating is that you have to cool your vessel down, too so it's a little less efficient.
    You could try your set up as is if you could re-run from the fermenter in the event that you didn't reach your desired temp.
    One way or another, seems like you have some options to get you where you want to be. ;)
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Another problem: As the wort gets cooler, the heat sink is getting warmer. The more I think about this the worse it looks. You would be better getting a cheap pond pump and cycling chilled water through the chiller. Lower risk and more effective.
     
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  14. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I do something similar but on a herms system, I cool through my hlt coils but the difference is I whirlpool at 170f so the starting wort is cooler to begin with, I also freeze a 5 gallon bucket of ice which goes inside the coils, I have used bagged ice but it runs me $12 a batch so I prefer my free block , what I've found is the ice needs to set for 15 or so minutes to cool the outside water and you cannot fill the water above the coil level, the ice will rise above the coils and lose its cooling power, another thing you need to run the flow very slow, I only use the pump to start the flow then let gravity take over and that slows the flow down far enough to cool the wort, and as mentioned after 50% is finished the kettle gets hotter and the ice melts bringing the temperature up but that's fine it equals out to around 60f for me if my ice water is around 40f to start with
     
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  15. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I chill a big tub of water using an AC unit, then I tie in a Jaded Hydra to the chiller to chill. It works pretty well but the heat transfer is pretty steep.
    upload_2019-9-2_15-22-27.png
     
  16. 56 Firedome

    56 Firedome Active Member

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    I circulate the wort through my ice tank & back to the kettle through a dip tube & whrilpool. Out the kettle drain into pump out of pump into 20 ft copper immersion coil in 20 gal galvanized tub & back to top of kettle.
    I steep 15 min after boil then circ. 6 gallons from 190 f to 65 & Whirlpool at the same time. I will try the 5 gal ice bucket inside coil. My current ice source is medical freeze packs. The freezer of my kegerator is full of them.
    Works for me. Go ahead & let it rip.
     
  17. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    Got down to 98 degrees gravity feeding it. Ice bathed the fermentor to get pitch temp. Next time I'll just put the chiller in the kettle. Was worth a shot anyway.
     
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  18. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    That'd be enough if using kviek sounds like a great option for summer stone brews where wort chilling can be a problem.
     
  19. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

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    Well the next one NEEDS to be at temp before it goes into the bucket, going to re-use the 34/70 and make my "Sticky Blonde".
     
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  20. 56 Firedome

    56 Firedome Active Member

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    So, after our conversation about circulating wort through the ice water instead of ice water through the wort, I realized I had not recorded the results of a typical cycle.
    I just finished a brew session yesterday & recorded the time/temp for my hypothesis.
    I started my time/temp record after a 15 minute steep @ 195 deg. I used City Water for the 1st 30 minutes @ 65 deg, I recorded temps at 5 min intervals. I got 82 deg drop in 30 min without changing the water.
    I dumped the warm City Water & refreshed with Ice Water. My start temp was 110 & after 60 min the temp was down to 64, pitching temp.
    All in all, 131 deg temp drop in 90 minutes & Whirlpooled at the same time. Since I haven't run the water through the Wort in a long time, I don't have a baseline. I don't know how Wort circulation through Ice Water compares to Ice Water circulation through Wort.
    So, I'm looking for a comparable set of time/temp records. Immersion Coil &/or Counter Flow from 195 to 64 deg with water through Wort.
    City Water showed unexpected temp reduction per minute.
    1 other thing, I was able to redirect the return hose into the Fermenter instead of hoisting the cooled Kettle to 4 ft high so I could drain it by Gravity into the Fermenter. A big plus for me.
    What started this idea in the 1st place was the Coil gets in the way of the Whirlpool.
    Further, cleaning & sanitizing the Hoses, Coil & Pump by putting PBW in the Kettle & heating it with the Burner. Followed by Star San. Also called Clean In Place, CIP in food processing.
    Thanks for any input on an interesting question.
     

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