Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

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Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:27 pm

Silly question (maybe) but I've been wondering and I can't get a clear answer by searching:

How fast should the water flow through the chiller when cooling?

Fast at first, then gradually decrease the flow of the water as the temperature drops (to allow for a longer heat exchange time between wort and chiller)?

Or just "full blast all the way"?

I'm asking because last Saturday it took close to 60 minutes to get 22l of wort down to pitching temp, even with the pump running <80 degrees. Needs to be improved!

(The tap water I used was 10 degrees, by the way.)

Thanks!
John
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby BrauTim » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:57 pm

I'm no mathematician, but I guess there's a few equations involved in this one! Number of coils, diameter of pipe, temp of water, wort flow around chiller, ambient temp......
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:35 pm

Thanks Tim.

I can answer some of these:

10 mm tubing

11 coils, 8 meters length total

cooling water temp 10 degrees

By the way, it's this one and they claim it cools up to 25 liters of wort in 20 minutes...

So how long does it take you guys to cool to pitching temperature? (If your cooling water temp is about the same as mine.)
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby Nesto » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:04 pm

3LB wrote:Silly question (maybe) but I've been wondering and I can't get a clear answer by searching:

How fast should the water flow through the chiller when cooling?

Fast at first, then gradually decrease the flow of the water as the temperature drops (to allow for a longer heat exchange time between wort and chiller)?

Or just "full blast all the way"?

I'm asking because last Saturday it took close to 60 minutes to get 22l of wort down to pitching temp, even with the pump running <80 degrees. Needs to be improved!

(The tap water I used was 10 degrees, by the way.)

Thanks!
John

I've seen some fun debates about this topic on other boards ;)

The basic equation is: the faster the flow, the faster the cooling AND the faster the flow, the more water "wasted." So if you want to save water, you can slow the flow. I know many people who run full bore for the first few minutes and then start slowing the flow as the wort temp drops. This will increase the amount of time required. Wicked smart fluid dynamics guys might be able to tell you by how much, but it seems most of their answers I've read are, "well, it depends." Some folks check the water temp of their chiller output and adjust flow so that the chiller output temp is "warm, but not hot." This also increases time.

I have this chiller from MoreBeer and a BM20. I run the BM pump once the chiller goes in (so wort has already dropped temp a bit. Most recent brew, ground water temp was 13C. I dropped from boiling to 15C in just under 20 minutes running full open the whole time. For me, I run a little sprinkler from the chiller output and the only time my front lawn is ever watered is when I brew, so I don't worry about "wasting water." Without running the pump, my chill times were 45 - 60 minutes.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby Dicko » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:26 pm

I tend not to be over concerned how much water I use as I can fill a large sink for clean up water with the first runnings from my immersion chiller.
I call this first runnings because I use tap water to chill the wort to around 30deg c then I use a pump with a 60 litre fermenter full of chilled water from a fridge to chill quite easily and quickly to ale pitching temps. If I want lager temps I use some ice in the same water and can easily get wort to around 9 or 10 deg.
I actually got to 7 deg last Sunday with no effort.

I know this has not really answered your question and in real terms there is probably no real definitive answer but what I tend to do is the reverse of Nesto where I start of with the tap water running slowly to chill the wort and then increase the flow from the tap as the wort gets lower in temperature. When I am using my pump and chilled water I dont throttle the flow but jest let it flow at pump speed.

Your time of an hour to chill seems to be a long time given your tap water temperature.
Was your pump blocked with hops? As I find that the use of the pump below around 75 deg really speeds up the chilling process.

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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:49 pm

OK thanks guys, this helps!

Next time I brew I'll definitely try increasing the flow, last Saturday the water was running quite slowly, it wasn't a trickle but not running hard either.

I'll have an empty FV by that time to collect the first of the (hot) water in so I can use it for cleaning.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:52 pm

Sorry, one additional question:

Does it make a lot of difference if you take the thermal jacket off when you start cooling?

(I do hope it's not necessary as it's a bit fiddly to put it back on again nicely.)
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby BrauTim » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:42 pm

3LB wrote:Sorry, one additional question:

Does it make a lot of difference if you take the thermal jacket off when you start cooling?

(I do hope it's not necessary as it's a bit fiddly to put it back on again nicely.)


Well I guess it must have some effect otherwise there would be no point in having it in the first place, not sure how you measure that one though :lol:

I use a camping mat which is dead easy to put on and remove and remove it when cooling.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby Nesto » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:33 pm

3LB wrote:Sorry, one additional question:

Does it make a lot of difference if you take the thermal jacket off when you start cooling?

(I do hope it's not necessary as it's a bit fiddly to put it back on again nicely.)

I have no idea how much difference it makes, but I am sure it makes a difference. Left it on once by accident and wondered, "why the hell is this taking so long." Use gloves taking it off, the BM is hot, but definitely take it off. You can rinse it a bit while it's off. I actually keep if off my BM in between brews. I would be worried that some water or wort would get in between the jacket and the kettle and start some mold or something growing.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:20 am

OK, that sounds like a good idea.

The "problem" with the original Speidel jacket is that it fits a bit too well. ;)
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby perdido » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:19 am

3LB wrote:Silly question (maybe) but I've been wondering and I can't get a clear answer by searching:

How fast should the water flow through the chiller when cooling?

Fast at first, then gradually decrease the flow of the water as the temperature drops (to allow for a longer heat exchange time between wort and chiller)?

Or just "full blast all the way"?

I'm asking because last Saturday it took close to 60 minutes to get 22l of wort down to pitching temp, even with the pump running <80 degrees. Needs to be improved!

(The tap water I used was 10 degrees, by the way.)

Thanks!
John

Measure the outlet water temperature. Start with a low flow rate, the temperature will be quite high. Increase the flow rate slowly and keep measuring the outlet temp. Stop when the outlet temp stops going down.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby McMullan » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:37 am

3LB wrote:Silly question (maybe) but I've been wondering and I can't get a clear answer by searching:

How fast should the water flow through the chiller when cooling?

Fast at first, then gradually decrease the flow of the water as the temperature drops (to allow for a longer heat exchange time between wort and chiller)?

Or just "full blast all the way"?

I'm asking because last Saturday it took close to 60 minutes to get 22l of wort down to pitching temp, even with the pump running <80 degrees. Needs to be improved!

(The tap water I used was 10 degrees, by the way.)

Thanks!
John


That’s not a silly question, 3LB. I gave it consideration after the first few brews on my 20L BM. I start with full pressure running through the IC and reduce a little as wort temperature drops. My ‘logic’ is that as the temperature difference between wort and IC water reduces so does the heat exchange capacity of the system, at full pressure/speed, where IC water isn’t given enough time to collect heat? Here’s another ‘silly’ question. Does it matter how the IC is connected up? IC water running down or up through the coils? I run it down. My ‘logic’ here is that it sets up a temperature gradient where it is warmer below, and heat rises, apparently. I get to 20C in about 10 min at the moment, since our tap water is 6C this time of year. In the hot summer months I link a second chiller in a bucket of water stored in the deep freezer overnight. If your tap water is 10C your wort should be reaching 20C a lot sooner than 60 min. I’m going to hazard a guess that you used a lot of hops in a hop bag that covered (and insulated) your temp probe when it sank. This happened to me when I made a Punk IPA and added shed loads of hops in bags. The probe was detecting about 35C after 40 min or so. I drained a little wort to double check its temperature and it was actually about 15C.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby BrauTim » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:31 am

McMullan wrote: I’m going to hazard a guess that you used a lot of hops in a hop bag that covered (and insulated) your temp probe when it sank. This happened to me when I made a Punk IPA and added shed loads of hops in bags. The probe was detecting about 35C after 40 min or so. I drained a little wort to double check its temperature and it was actually about 15C.


I have similar experience, I use loose leaf hops all the time and on quite a few brews I have gone beyond my target temp of 21-24C when the BM has been reading around 30C (and appears stuck there). When I dropped the wort into the fermentor the temp has been as low as 17C.

I can't say I've noticed this on a single batch but I have noticed this on a split batch, there can be a temp difference between fermenter 1 and fermenter 2 (around 5 degrees difference), which indicates that there is a temp gradient in the BM (I don't whirlpool yet), so fermenter 1 gets the first drop of wort and fermenter 2 the remaining wort, I haven't paid enough attention to which way around these go, will do next time, although I could be whirlpooling by then!
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby perdido » Tue Jan 20, 2015 11:09 am

McMullan wrote:
3LB wrote:Silly question (maybe) but I've been wondering and I can't get a clear answer by searching:

How fast should the water flow through the chiller when cooling?

Fast at first, then gradually decrease the flow of the water as the temperature drops (to allow for a longer heat exchange time between wort and chiller)?

Or just "full blast all the way"?

I'm asking because last Saturday it took close to 60 minutes to get 22l of wort down to pitching temp, even with the pump running <80 degrees. Needs to be improved!

(The tap water I used was 10 degrees, by the way.)

Thanks!
John


That’s not a silly question, 3LB. I gave it consideration after the first few brews on my 20L BM. I start with full pressure running through the IC and reduce a little as wort temperature drops. My ‘logic’ is that as the temperature difference between wort and IC water reduces so does the heat exchange capacity of the system, at full pressure/speed, where IC water isn’t given enough time to collect heat? Here’s another ‘silly’ question. Does it matter how the IC is connected up? IC water running down or up through the coils? I run it down. My ‘logic’ here is that it sets up a temperature gradient where it is warmer below, and heat rises, apparently. I get to 20C in about 10 min at the moment, since our tap water is 6C this time of year. In the hot summer months I link a second chiller in a bucket of water stored in the deep freezer overnight. If your tap water is 10C your wort should be reaching 20C a lot sooner than 60 min. I’m going to hazard a guess that you used a lot of hops in a hop bag that covered (and insulated) your temp probe when it sank. This happened to me when I made a Punk IPA and added shed loads of hops in bags. The probe was detecting about 35C after 40 min or so. I drained a little wort to double check its temperature and it was actually about 15C.

I run the flow upwards through the IC. This way you avoid bubbles entrapped, which reduces heat transfer dramatically.
It makes more sense to start with a low flow rate at first and increase it as the temp of the wort goes down.
The temperature gradient at first is so high that it ensures good heat transfer. When the wort cools down some, temp gradient is reduced. At this point if you increase flow rate you will also increase turbulence. Higher turbulence will promote heat transfer as well.

Also it helps to stir the wort using the ic itself. Just grab it and move up and down a bit .
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:43 pm

Great, more useful tips!

I use hop cones in hop bags which I fish out before starting cooling process because I'd read about the temp probe being blocked indeed.

During the last brew (only my second AG and second with the BM) it just was my friend's incorrect advice of running the water slowly during the whole cooling process, I think... My expectations for the brown abbey beer are now slightly less optimistic...

On 1 Feb I'll be brewing again, probably, so I'll be able to put these tips into practice. Will follow up. Thanks for everybody's helpful advice!
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