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How do you use your Counter Flow Chiller (CFC) ?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by Dan Pratt, 20/7/14.

 

  1. Dan Pratt

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    Posted 20/7/14
    Im wondering how to use my CFC as a replacement chiller from the current Immersion Chiller that I have. Now one may think that is simple but what I have to find out from those that use a CFC, how do you control the trub.

    Here is my current process ( this is what works for me )

    End of boil - turn on immersion chiller ( this has already been in during the boil )
    When temp reaches below 30c - lift out immersion chiller
    Whirlpool - I get the wort spinning with a santized SS spoon.
    Replace lid and let that settle for 15mins - during this time I prepare the pre sanitized FV for transfer.

    When the 15mins is done the wort is crystal clear, all the trub, hops debris, hot/coldbreak have all settled out - the Whirlfloc tablet attributes to this.

    I can then transfer wort with little to no trub into the FV from the Kettle, this is my preference.

    If Im to use the CFC, how do I get that settle out of the wort, where does the cold break go ( not that it matters if it gets in the beer ) but at the end of the boil there is heaps of hops and debris/trub floating around that will have not had time to settle out??

    Do I just whirlpool and let it settle for 5 mins? Can I run the CFC and return line for 5 mins to chill the wort below 80c then let it settle....how do you use your CFC?
     
  2. mckenry

    Brummagem

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    Posted 20/7/14
    Flameout. Lid on.
    Wait 15mins for convection currents to stop.
    Whirlpool. Lid on.
    Wait 15 mins for trub to settle.
    Drain (I do mine through my march pump, which was sanitised with boiling wort) to the CFC
    When trub is getting sucked towards the pickup, I stop there.

    You will get cold break in your fermenter.
    Deal with it however you like. i.e. leave it, dump it out of your conical, rack to another FV.
    Most simply leave it.
     
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  3. Dan Pratt

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    Posted 20/7/14
    Thanks Mckenry, thats what I needed to read. Simple.

    Do you have a Temp Dial Gauge on your CFC with a 1/2 ball valve to control the flow?
     
  4. mckenry

    Brummagem

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    Posted 21/7/14
    No, no temp gauge or ball valve on the CFC. No temp gauge on the kettle either. The kettle has a ball valve, which I have fully open, running to the march pump and then into the CFC, then out to the fermenter. I don't know what the actual temp is coming out of the kettle and going into the CFC, but the fermenter has an STC attached and I usually get to around 24° with summer water supply and 15° with winter supply. I just let the temp come down using the fridge from 24 to 19, then pitch and oxygenate. Or when doing lager from 15 down to 12 (or 10) and pitch and oxygenate.
    You being in Springfield should have a pretty cold supply this time of year.
    As long as you're sanitised fermenter stays sealed I cant see too much danger in leaving until the temp is ready. Ive tried pitching warmer (i.e. at 24 straight after transfer) and bringing the ferment temp down ASAP and it worked OK, but I prefer the beers I make that are pitched at ferment temp, then ramped up towards the end.
    Thats the reason I do it that way.

    Anyway - to guess at what you're getting at - I reckon in summer I put the wort in at about 80° and with one pass, no pre chill ice or any other 'help' it gets down to 24°. In winter 80 down to 15°
     
  5. fraser_john

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    Posted 22/7/14
    Similar..

    Boil wort
    Flame (electric) out
    Whirlpool
    Drain kettle into FV via CFC (gravity feed)
    Cold trub stays there

    When I am doing a Pils or something I "might" settle for 24 hours and then open the dump valve in the conical to remove trub, but rarely.
     
  6. micblair

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    Posted 22/7/14
    1.Flameout;
    2.Whirlpool;
    3.15 minute hot stand, or until wort runs clear (whichever comes first);
    3. LID OFF (see note);
    4. Chill, and
    5. Pitch immediately.

    Note:
    The benefit of lid off is three-fold:
    a) Allows any remaining DMS to continue to evaporate
    b) assists in dropping the temperature faster slowing hop isomerisation/whirlpool utilisation
    c) Allows for a slower flow of cold liquor (saving water) as you dropped the temperature a few extra degrees in the step above.
     
  7. Dan Pratt

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    Posted 29/9/14
    Used the CFC today.

    - end of boil open kettle ball valve
    - open cfc ball valve
    - start pump
    - watch whirlpool return pipe start spinning wort
    - add whirlpool hops and WP for 10mins
    - end of WP, turn off pump
    - close both ball valves
    - allow wort to settle for 10mins (prepare FV)
    - start water for cfc on full pelt
    - open kettle ball valve and start pump
    - commence transfer of wort to FV

    Got from boil to 23c.....used a heap of water, way more than what the IC uses but was 10c cooler. Took less than an hour to chill to 18c in my commercial glass door fridge.

    not sure it's better....got way more cold break and hop debris than what I used to get using the IC......not that it matters but I would really prefer a clean no trub or cold break transfer.
     
  8. IsonAd

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    Posted 29/9/14
    I recently took my cfc for its maiden voyage. Did similar to above. Gravity fed.
    Flameout
    Wait 10 mins
    Whirlpool
    Chill

    Had hose on pretty fast but not full and slowed wort exit ball valve to about half. Got it down to only about 34. Water was cold Canberra August water so not sure what I did wrong. Used about 80-100l of Water I'd say.
     
  9. dave81

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    Posted 29/9/14
    I am also switching to cfc when I get my new system up and running and have ponderd these same questions, I was going to feed into fv through a strainer just to clear up a little bit more.and probably start recirculation via whorlpool port on the kettle within the last 5-10 mins of the boil.???
     
  10. IsonAd

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    Posted 29/9/14
    I have to say that despite seeing quite a bit of trube going into the fv, there was remarkably little at the end of fermentation compared to other similar batches I either no chilled or ice bathed.
     
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  11. fraser_john

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    Posted 30/9/14
    Cold break is often quite "fluffy" as it comes out of a CFC, fermentation compacts it into tight groups that often look like crumbly yeast as part of the yeast cake. I use glass carboys or conical to ferment in and have watched the fluffy cold break compress overnight and then get kicked up with fermentation and compress into the crumbly type stuff.
     
  12. HalfWit

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    Posted 30/9/14
    I run the wort through the CFC back into the kettle for 10 min, than whirlpool for 10 min than into the fermentor. Is this method okay?
     
  13. Dan Pratt

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    Posted 30/9/14
    Halfwit, I was thinking that maybe I can run the return line/whirlpool back into the kettle for 10mins with the cold water running on the cfc to chill the wort from boil to say 50c....then let that settle for 10-15mins and that cold break will settle out.....then start transfer to the FV = less cold break into the fermenter.
     
  14. Hawko777

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    Posted 14/10/14
    Flameout
    Plate chiller sterilised from pumping hot wort back to boiler -15 min
    with pump still going I now turn on cold water
    Keep whirlpooling until temp gets to around 30 Deg C in boiler
    Temp gauge on Plate chiller outlet monitored until I can easily pump 22-24 Deg C to fermenter
    Temp gauge on Plate chiller is good to monitor if you are running it off too quick or not(Too quick=no heat transfer)
    Cold break in boiler.
    Good large filter on dip tube in boiler to catch everything.
    No blockages yet.

    Sometimes in the middle of summer its hard to get the temp down so I will run through plate chiller to an immersion chiller bathed in iced water then into fermenter. Only needed to do this a couple of times in Perth.

    Good Luck mate
     
  15. Dan Pratt

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    Posted 20/10/14
    An update on how I have got my CFC running after 3 brews with the new equipment:

    Preparing the CFC for use.
    • night before brew add 25lts of water and PBW to kettle and bring up to 75c
    • re-circulate this through the kettle, hoses, pump and CFC for 20mins
    • close off kettle valve and CFC valve and leave pbw to soak in hoses, pump and cfc overnight
    • wash out kettle and fill with 25lts of water, next morning, hook up hoses and drain 25lts through the system, flushing out the PBW.
    Using the CFC
    • at 5 mins to go for the boil I hook up all the hoses for the wort and water
    • at flameout/boil finish, open valve in kettle and valve on CFC outlet/wort return
    • start pump and whirlpool commences, add whirlpool hops if required
    • allow to run for 5mins ( or longer for whirlpool hops ) with >95c wort ( the lid is on and it stays at about 97c)
    • When whirlpool finishes, close valves, turn off pump and let settle for 10mins
    • Prepare FV for transfer, remove whirlpool fitting and clean/sanitize transfer hose
    • after 10mins ( or however long it takes to get FV rinsed and sanitized ) turn water on, the CFC gets very cold quickly.
    • Open kettle valve and start the pump
    • open the outlet valve just enough to start transfer, basically a trickle ( rate is about 1litre per minute )
    I tilt the BM to get the final amounts stopping before trub goes through the outlet port and with current tap water temps at 18c I get wort at <25c. I get that to pitching temps (for me is17c) I would require to run a prechiller with my old IC. I have considered re-circulating back to the kettle to about 60c to reduce the cold break/hop debris intot the FV and will try it just to see how it goes.

    WP_20141019_009.jpg
     
  16. Goose

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    Posted 20/10/14
    All looks sound to me.

    I also use a prechiller with tapwater to waste before a second stage, however by doing this you will find the thermal mass of the second chiller doubling and you may have to watch the temperature in the combined system to make sure its at a temperature to kill any lurking spores. I am informed this is above 90 deg C but it still makes me feel uneasy.

    If you want to save some time and you prefer to leave the lid off (benefits mentioned above), an alternative you may wish to consider is to instead recirculate starsan for 10 mins through your CFC and hoses prior to transfer. Then get chill water flowing, hookup hose to boiler, crack the valve from the boiler and allow gravity to flush the starsan out to waste. When you see wort come through, connect to fermenter and commence transfer.

    I've tried both methods and now run with the latter.
     
  17. Dan Pratt

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    Posted 20/10/14
    Thanks Goose, I have a question..

    Starsan is a sanitizer, not a cleaner right? The cfc should be cleaned before use, which is why I do a PBW soak overnight.

    See I flush the system with water after use but then the CFC will sit for over 7days before brewing again and brewers should not rely on boiling wort to clean and sanitize the internals. In the past with other equipment I used to just soak in starsan but after reading more about the topic, I learnt that cleaning is required before sanitizing, no one thing can do both. No doubt it has worked for you and Im not knocking your technique, just sharing why I dont do that, it certainly was an option when I was reading/learning how to use the equipment.

    edit - its possible I may of misinterpreted what your saying...I whirlpool for 3 reasons - whirlpool hop additions, trub/cone formation at base of kettle for transfer and to sanitize the cfc and lines.
     
  18. HalfWit

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    Posted 20/10/14
    I store my CFC filled in a solution of Starsan and distilled water.
     
  19. Goose

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    Posted 20/10/14
    I wouldn't. Not if your CFC is copper. Copper and acid don't like each other for long. Finish everything with PBW then a water rinse and leave to drain as best possible then leave open to air.
     
  20. Goose

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    Posted 20/10/14
    You are dead right. Starsan is a sanitiser not a cleaner. PBW on the other hand, is a CIP cleaner. Therefore it follows that after each brew if you properly flush and CIP with PBW then before your next brew you should only need to sanitise. Hence finish with PBW, start with Starsan.

    Of course if you have left your CFC and hoses for a long time and fear something may have grown or crawled in there then a run with PBW prior to Starsan wont hurt, but if you are a few weeks between brews I would not be concerned.
     
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