Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby McMullan » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:45 pm

perdido wrote:
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 .


I’m talking about reducing the flow rate ‘a little’. It remains turbulent enough to remove any theoretical bubbles trapped in a system this small. Even those that might evolve by heat expansion at the start of the cooling process.
A relatively low flow rate when the temperature gradient is highest sounds a little counterintuitive. Surely as we begin wort cooling the flow rate of cold tap water in the IC is the limiting factor? I could be wrong. I might be talking bollocks.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby perdido » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:43 pm

Not slow, not fast. Just right.
Increase water flow rate until the outlet temperature doesn't go any lower. This is not necessarily a slow flow rate.

I do tend to go slow at first because I like to collect hot water for cleaning the bm afterwards.

Once the water coming out isn't scolding hot, I use the outlet as a hose to rinse and clean the malt pipe, screens, hop spider, etc.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby kahobro » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:20 pm

I start with the fastest flow when the wort is still hot (as said the heat transfer is fast because of the big temperature difference) and slow the cooling water once the wort is cooling (< 40 °C ). With a high or a low flow the last part of the cooling always takes some time.

This is optimising for water use, not for speed. Optimising for speed would be all-out cooling all the way.

In my opinion starting with a low water flow when the wort is hot doesn't make much sense, the heat transfer is so fast in the beginning that it will result in a faster cooling with hardly an increased water use. It is assumed you don't use ridiculously high flows off course.

So before deciding on a flow profile you should decide what priority you have:
Save water or fast cooling.

Hans
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:55 pm

OK!

(Fast cooling is a priority but I don't want to be wasteful...)
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby McMullan » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:21 pm

3LB wrote:OK!

(Fast cooling is a priority but I don't want to be wasteful...)


2/3 of the planet is cover in water, cycling around and around without waste. Turn that tap on :D
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:15 pm

Haha, very true, however I was brought up (in the '70s) with the slogan "Elk druppie kost een duppie" - every drop of water (ie from a leaking tap) will cost you a dime: be frugal, with water too ;)

I guess the indoctrination has stuck...

But I'll try to get over it by next brew day! :D
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby HopSong » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:56 pm

McMullan wrote:
3LB wrote:OK!

(Fast cooling is a priority but I don't want to be wasteful...)


2/3 of the planet is cover in water, cycling around and around without waste. Turn that tap on :D


True for the oceans.. but, we are having a drought in California..
Cheers, Bill
Santa Rosa, CA
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby Nesto » Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:26 pm

HbgBill wrote:
McMullan wrote:
3LB wrote:OK!

(Fast cooling is a priority but I don't want to be wasteful...)


2/3 of the planet is cover in water, cycling around and around without waste. Turn that tap on :D


True for the oceans.. but, we are having a drought in California..

Quite true! When I say I don't water my lawn, I'm quite literal. This last summer the only water my front lawn ever saw was while chilling! So about 20 mins of watering a month. 40 mins on a good month.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:11 pm

At least you have a front lawn ;)

But 20 minutes to chill a brew... That's quite something & definitely proof I've been doing it wrong.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby McMullan » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:49 pm

HbgBill and Nesto, sad to hear about the drought in California. The California watershed was never that great. And then you two started brewing! Hope things get better :wink:
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby Broham1 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:11 pm

After reading the tips on this page, I've be able to cut my chilling times drastically.
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:55 am

Last brew it took 25 minutes to cool ~23l from boiling to 22°C, I think that's acceptable.

I guess my chiller just isn't quite in the same league as the Hydra...
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby janox » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:25 am

I get 20(ish) liters down to 18 within 20 minutes during the winter (guessing about 5 minutes longer in summer)
But my tapwater is about 2 degrees c (except in summer where it stays at ~5 c)
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:29 am

Hi 3LB,

Good experience with your IC?
Is the 20 liter IC from Brewferm/Browland?
cheers
luis
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Re: Immersion chiller: how fast should water run?

Unread postby 3LB » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:02 am

Hi Luis,

Yes, the past 2 brews have been fine: ~23 liters cooled to 21°C in 20-25 minutes. I just keep the water flow running quite high.

Yes, the IC is the Brouwland one.

Best regards,
John
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