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Cleaning A Counterflow Chiller

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Trough Lolly

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Had a quick search and didn't find an all encompassing answer so here goes...

I have a brand new Counterflow chiller that I hope to fire up in anger later this week! :D It's a copper pipe wort inner with nylex hose outer (bought it at Grumpies yonks ago).

I need to get cold water hose fittings (I'll use reinforced hose with SS clamps for the wort transfer), but of more concern is how should I clean the wort pipe before use? I have Brewiser Bottle wash salts, Neo Pink cleaner/steriliser, Sod Met, Iodophor and Oxonia as well as a pack of homebrand Bleach in the brewery.

I want to make sure that the copper wort tube is inert and clean (there is a blue coloured dribble mark on the outside of the wort tube - been there since I bought it - probably got there when they tested it) so what should I run through this to make sure that the copper colour in the beer is from the grains and not the chiller!? :ph34r:

And finally - is it true that you connect the water in at the opposite end of the wort in (is that what the counterflow is all about)???

Cheers,
TL
 

pint of lager

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You are right, the cooling water flows in the opposite direction to the hot wort. This gives the greatest efficiency cooling wise. It means the cooling water at it's coldest as it comes out the tap is chilling the cooled wort almost to tap temperature. If your wort is still a bit warm, slow down the wort flow rate by shutting the tap from the boiler.

I suggest you mix up some neopink, let that run through, once it is running, plug the wort output, let the neopink sit for a few minutes, then flush thoroughly. This is what I do, except I use napisan. Then it gets a 10 min soak with some idophor prior to use. The first bit of beer gets chucked that flushes the last of the idophor.

After use, clean and rinse it straight away, let it drain and put away.
 

AndrewQLD

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Water goes in opposite end to wort.

Boil up some water in your boiler and run that through the chiller add some neo pink if it makes you feel safer, but the hot water should do. Then sanitize prior to your first wort transfer.
 

Tim

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If it hasnt been used before, I recommend running some dilute vinegar through it followed by boiling water. This will clean all the copper oxides from the coil so you know the copper colour will be from the grains!
 

Trough Lolly

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Thanks everyone for the good tips and info - I will give it a good flush and I'll use the dilute vinegar trick as well.

Should I expect any discolouration on the copper pipe from the pH of the wort?

Cheers,
TL
 

Tim

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You will find that the pipe will be clean after wort has run through it, as wort is slightly acidic and dissolves the surface oxides.
You may have observed that the colour of an immersion chiller is different (ie cleaner) when you pull it out of the cooled wort. Counterflow is the same.
 

Batz

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You have it sorted I see

One thing never use bleach on copper

Cheers Batz
 

JasonY

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Hmm I just circ hot water from the HLT through it for 15mins before I run the wort through. Can't see in the pipe ... but 15mins at 95+deg should kill most of the greeblies.

Never tried the vinegar, idophor etc, call me lazy.
 

Darren

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Something that hasn't been mentioned yet is probably the most important.
Push some fresh water (I use the mains water and hose) through the CFC AS SOON as you are finished with it. For me it is the first thing I clean. As you probably know dried sugar is a bugger to get off.
I always clean my chiller the night before I brew too. This is because if small amounts of water remain in the chiller for a few weeks it can grow "slime"
I know this because once I had "seaweed" recirculating into my boiler.
I use 1/2 a dishwasher tablet in hot water and recirculate it through the chiller for about 10 mins. Sometimes nothing comes out, sometimes I get all sorts of stuff like small bits of hop flowers.

The best policy though is to flush it immediately after you have finished with it.
cheers
Darren
 

Doc

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Darren said:
The best policy though is to flush it immediately after you have finished with it.
[post="69493"][/post]​
I agree. And I flush it in both directions just to be sure. Every now and again I get a hop flower in it and doing the reverse flush gets it out.

Beers,
Doc
 

Trough Lolly

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More good info - thanks guys!

TL
 

MAH

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I'm with Darren, the CFC is the first piece of equipment I clean, which involves backflushing like Doc said.

CFC's are pretty simple to keep clean. It's just like any piece of brew gear, a little attention straight after use goes a long way.

Cheers
MAH
 

Trough Lolly

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Agreed MAH - the fun part too is keeping the hop crud down to a minimum during racking to the fermenter. I plan on whirlpooling and using a small bent arm attached to the inside that will suck in the hot wort from the edge of the keg, er, kettle and hopefully not slurp down too much of the hot break and hop pellet sludge. I have a 2m braided hose but apparently its no good for pellet hops?

Cheers,
TL
 

Effect

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Firstly, sorry for bringing up such an old thread.

I have a counter flow chiller that I am wanting to use on Saturday. I have never used it before and thus have never cleaned it.

Firstly I don't have a pump so I can only gravity feed - which won't be a problem - apart for the cleaning part.

Would it be wise to feed some boiling water (from my kettle prior to brewing) through the chiller? Would that be good enough or am I going to have to hit it with some chemicals. If so, would the diluted vinegar solution be sufficient?

Unfortunately the only sanitizer I have is Starsan. I use bleach for my fermenters but just read bleach doesn't play nice with copper.

Thanks for your responses.

PS: Is having a counterflow chiller without a pump possible?
 

Hopsta

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Before you use it, run the starsan solution through it, then run enough hot water through it to wash out the starsan. After your brew is finished and youve chilled the wort, rinse out the kettle, fill it with hot water and starsan scrub up the kettle so its nice and clean then drain it through the chiller. After that put the hose through the chiller to wash out the starsan.

Thats what i do, seems to keep everything clean.

Edit: you dont have to have a pump with a CFC. I have a CFC and a pump, i gravity feed the CFC. Before chilling the wort i run about a schooners worth of boiling wort through the chiller and throw it away, the boiling wort will kill any nasties that survived the rest of the process.
 

fraser_john

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I also gravity feed through my CFC without any issues. Make sure you thoroughly clean it first before sanitising, some PBW or napisan in boiling water, have the CFC upright and pour the solution through until it comes out, close the end off and shake and let any bubbles filter up to the inlet, then top up, continue until you KNOW its full of solution, let it sit for an hour or two and repeat a few times. Sanitising does not help if its not clean first.

To clean mine I pump napisan or caustic soda solution through it after chilling whilst I am cleaning the rest of the RIMS system. Then I sterilize with my steam generator.
 

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