I have a fairly standard Electric Brewery setup with 20gal SS Brewtech kettles, the original hop stopper, and a chillzilla CFC. I really like my hop stopper but my chiller leaves much to be desired. I have to run my water at full speed and my beer at a trickle to get it to come out around 80F. I even opted to add an inline ground water chiller using an old immersion chiller and a bucket of ice, to no avail. I use TONS of water and, being frugal and wanting to save water, I plan on adding a whirlpool port to my kettle and running my wort faster to better utilize my cooling water. To do this I would have to forgo the use of my original hop stopper because it will clog with the cold break. Also, I like to use whole hops and would have to switch to pellets to avoid clogging my pump.
Can I switch to the hop stopper 2.0, add a whirlpool port to recirculate while chilling, and continue to use whole hops? (Of course, less than the recommended 1GPM)
I like my process, which derived mostly from this site, and I am reluctant to change much. This solution, if it worked, would make my workflow the same or better, and save some water and a little time.
Joined: 27 Nov 2018 Posts: 5 Location: Connecticut
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Link Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:02 am Post subject:
You could recirculate through an ice bath rather than flow water nonstop. Itíll get the temp down much quicker too. I find three bags of ice with water recirculated in a five gallon bucket gets five gallons of wort down to pitching temp in one pass through my counterflow chiller. _________________ Scott
Link Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:10 pm Post subject:
That's not a bad idea. I brew 10 gallons at a time, so unless I start freezing my own ice, that would be an additional 12 bucks or so per batch. With my groundwater pre-chiller my water gets down pretty cold already, 35-38F. Even with water that cold my chiller is still largely ineffective at such a slow transfer speed. The water comes out pretty cool still. The chillzilla needs a fair amount of speed so the convolutions in the inner coil can help with heat exchange.
I currently have the water side hard plumbed so I don't have to mess with setting it up every time. If I end up being able to whirlpool and get rid of my groundwater pre-chiller I may look into using a recirc method with ice.
Does anyone out there have any experience whirlpooling with the new hop stopper 2.0?
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10895 Location: Ottawa, Canada
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Link Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:22 pm Post subject:
Hi and welcome to the forum!
I have a chillzilla CFC. I have to run my water at full speed and my beer at a trickle to get it to come out around 80F.
What's the temperature of the chilling water? Are you sure you're passing the water and wort in opposite directions through your CFC? 80F sounds really high given your location. EDIT: Missed your 35-38F comment with the pre-chiller. With water that cold you should be able to chill your wort single pass into the mid to high 40's at a fairly quick pace. So something is definitely not right with the chiller. Before making any changes to your setup to account for your poor chilling, I'd fix the problems at the source.
I've also asked the Hop Stopper manufacturer to chime in here as well as they have the most experience with the product of course - stay tuned!
Link Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:38 pm Post subject:
Dennis Collins here from Innovative Homebrew Solutions, manufacturer of the Hop Stopper. The thing that really puzzles me here is that your counterflow chiller is so ineffective. I have seen this brand of chiller in action before and thought it to be a pretty good one. Virtually any chiller (certainly a commercially made one) should be able to flow wort at a brisk pace with 38 F chill water. In my own brewery, I have a homemade CFC (3/8" copper inside a garden hose, about 30 ft) and our groundwater here in Knoxville gets to about 50 F in the winter. Under these conditions my water flow is barely above a trickle to keep from overchilling and it comes out steaming hot. In short, I think there is something wrong with your chiller.
With this in mind, I think your chiller is the real problem and would recommend not building a new process around something that doesn't work very well. I would seriously think about replacing the chiller. The Therminator works very well along with other various plate type chillers. In any event, I would refrain from implementing a whirlpool if you can help it. The whirlpool takes extra time and does put an extra strain on the Hop Stopper. The Hop Stopper 2.0 is certainly better suited for a set-up like you are proposing, but I think you can stay with a single pass (especially now with winter ground water temps) and a simpler process with a better chiller.
Link Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:46 pm Post subject:
Thanks for the responses! I just double checked my configuration and I have the water in the outside coil flowing bottom to top, and the beer in the inside coil flowing top to bottom. It certainly does chill the beer, just not nearly enough. Looks like I'll see about getting something else for a chilling solution. It's too bad I've had this thing for too long to return it. Maybe I'll reach out to the manufacturer to see what they may be able to do for me.
I have a thermometer tee'd into the beer output. Maybe I'll make sure that thing is reading the correct temperature on the output. I'm pretty sure I verified that a long time ago. I think I would have realized by now if I were overchilling.
I still may pick up the new hop stopper, as I like the idea of not slowing down at the end.
Thanks a bunch! I'll update the thread as I make the changes.
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