Hlt As Cooler

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sam

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Wortgames said something which made me think in a recent post:

Wortgames said:
Circulating wort has a few advantages.

...

I use my HLT as a counterflow chiller after the boil so I pump through that, and I can direct the outflow straight into fermenters without having to lift the fermenters afterwards.

[post="88488"][/post]​

So at flameout, recirculate through the HLT filled with water and ice?

Does this chill sufficently?

Could save some stuffing about with a CFC. That said, I do have access to a plate chiller.

Cheers
 

Darren

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Sam,
I think you will still need a chiller. Could use that set-up to chill your water coming into the chiller. Especially good in summer when ambient water temps are high.
cheers
Darren
 

sam

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Yeah, even just using it as a chiller for the water is a good idea. Might try and adapt the rig to it. Especially in summer, as you say.

Cheers
 

Wortgames

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If your ground water is cool enough this works a treat. It's basically a counterflow chiller in itself.

My HLT has a float valve with a bit of tubing which delivers water to the bottom, and an 'overflow' outlet at the top with a ball valve.

Towards the end of the boil I start to circulate boiling wort through the coil in the empty HLT to sanitise. At flame-out I fill the HLT and regulate the overflow with the ball valve. It actually creates a kind of syphon. The float valve regulates the cold water input.

The hot wort enters at the top of the coil, and exits at the bottom where the incoming water is coldest.

The overflowing cooling water is extremely hot, and the exiting wort is close to tapwater temp, so it's very efficient.

It almost runs itself and it seems like a no-brainer to me.
 

Darren

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WG,
Do you add ice? Ground water here would be 28 in summer. The ice melts pretty quickly too dealing with boiling wort. What temps are you getting your wort down to compared to your water temps?
 

Wortgames

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Sorry Darren, I edited my post while you posted.

It's pretty close, probably only a degree or so difference. I've got about 20 metres of 3/8" copper coil in the HLT (my avatar is a top view of my HLT. It's messy on purpose).

In Melbourne our ground water is not that warm. I've actually never measured the temp, because I've always circulated the cooled wort back into the kettle. My theory behind this was to bring the whole volume down as quickly as possible, but I have thought about this lately and I've decided from now on I will direct the outflow directly into my fermenters. It is probably better for the remainder of the wort to sit at near boiling temps for 20 mins, rather than all of it slowly cooling over that time.

If you had real problems with your groundwater temp you might be better to circulate back into the kettle as I described, and add a load of ice to the HLT once it has cooled to about 30 degrees to chill it down further.
 

Darren

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Wortgames,
I would be interested to hear how low it gets first pass through the HLT/chiller. Could be you are getting additional cooling the second time around.
BTW, how did you coil the copper like that?
 

Wortgames

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Actually I've realised I am getting reduced efficiency by recirculating. It's just been one of those dumb things you do the same way every time without questioning it.

Firstly, the greater the temperature difference, the faster the temperature drop. So the first few minutes I have near boiling wort and cold water going in, and cold wort and hot water coming out. Very efficient. This cooled wort is returning to the kettle and has a cooling effect on the kettle. After a while I have, let's say, 60 degree wort going into the 'HLT'. It still spends the same amount of time in there, and it still comes out at the same temp, but it has lost less heat and the exiting cooling water is not so hot - so my cooling efficiency has dropped.

If you couple this with a certain amount of thermal 'channeling' in the kettle (ie, some of the returning cooled wort will head directly down to the outlet again and not affect the rest of the wort in the kettle) then I think I could make serious gains by doing a single pass straight into the fermenter. I reckon I could chill the whole 50L batch in about 15 mins rather than around 40mins at the moment. I would also produce a much smaller amount of much hotter water, which is both more environmentally responsible and more useful for cleaning up.

I'm kicking myself that I've only thought about this recently.

:angry:

The copper tubing came as a coil, and I just tightened the coils by hand until I had the right kind of mess. I wanted to avoid neat coils, as neat coils encourage insulating thermal channeling and vertical eddies. Messy coils means turbulence, and turbulence is your friend when it comes to heat exchange.

:beer:
 

vlbaby

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Wortgames,
does this system also double as a HERMS?

vlbaby.
 

BrissyBrew

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I am building a system and plan to use the coil for herms and also a counter flow. I am thinking of putting ice water in it as the tap water in brissy is pushing 30 in summer. Wortgames you think with a slow flow a single keg/hlt full of ice water would work? I was thinking about recirculating back into the kettle but I dont want to mix hot and cold current in my kettle and hend up with the cost stuff sinking to the bottom and disturbing the hot break. Although if I ran it all back in I could probably whirlpool after it is cool say tap temp 30*C then have one last pass though the coil with chilled water then into the fermentor.

I need to make something to whirlpool with so I can do it withou opening the lid.
 

Wortgames

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vlbaby - yep it is a herms, the HLT is electric (2400w) and thermostatically controlled. I circulate constantly during the mash, the HLT stays a couple of degrees warmer than the mash and replaces any losses from the stainless mash tun. I do steps by adjusting the HLT temp and directly firing the tun.

BrissyBrew - I doubt a single HLT fill would adequately chill a brew, especially if you recirculate. I reckon it would probably take 2-3 kegs full of cold tap water to chill a 50L batch. If you've got warm groundwater it's worth considering a postchiller coil in an ice bath.

If you are pumping you could run your cooled wort into a holding vessel, then run that through the HLT again with some ice. You might be able to do it with 2 fills of the HLT if it is efficient enough.

I'll take some notes next time I brew (don't hold your breath) and report back with volumes, temps and times.
 

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