Anyone here have a separate whirlpool chiller?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by leedorham, May 30, 2013.

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  1. leedorham

    leedorham Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I'm probably going to be doing some upgrades to the brewhouse and one of the things I'm considering doing is having a dedicated chilling vessel - meaning the beer would go from the boil kettle to another vessel where it would whirlpool around an immersion chiller.

    The reason I'm considering this is I like the idea of an immersion chiller/whirlpool combination, and I already own an immersion chiller. However, a lot of the chilling you do with an immersion chiller goes to cooling down the kettle. Transferring the wort to an already cool vessel would shorten the chilling time.

    So I'm thinking my old kettle + immersion chiller + tangential inlet of some sort and I have a nice effective chilling rig. You could also pre-chill the vessel with cold or ice-water and take advantage of the thermal mass a bit.

    The only downsides I can think of are it's another vessel to clean, sanitize, and store, but I think the advantages outweigh this. If I moved to a plate or CF chiller, I'd be cleaning those too.

  2. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Maven (1,365) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    SS is not real good at holding heat, so chilling the kettle is not a big deal in this context. I'd be surprised if you could transfer the wort to the chilling vessel in less time than it takes to chill the boil kettle, itself. I use what is essentially Jamil's design for a whirlpool attachment on my IC. With it, I can chill ten gallons of wort, including the kettle, from boil to pitching temp in 10-20 minutes, depending on the water temp, ambient temp, and the wind.

    IMO, you're designing a solution for which there is no problem.
  3. leedorham

    leedorham Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I lack the math or science skills to know who is right here. However, I do know that my (Aluminum) kettle and burner are still above the temp of the chilling wort well into chilling, meaning they are working against the process almost the entire time. I also like the idea of pre-chilling the vessel, which I imagine would give you a pretty good jump on the process.

    I suppose the solution is to test the setup in a less than permanent manner and see if it saves any time.
  4. GRBrew

    GRBrew Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2009 Michigan

    I used an old immersion chiller to make a pre-chiller for a counterflow. I can chill in 6 minutes while also transferring to a fermenter.
  5. leedorham

    leedorham Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    Congratulations. Speed isn't the only goal here. There are other reasons to whirlpool.
  6. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Maven (1,365) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    My point is that it only takes 10-20 minutes to chill the wort, including the kettle. That's not problematic. It would take at least a couple of minutes to move ten gallons of wort to another vessel. Imagine spraying down a hot, empty kettle with your garden hose. While I haven't tried it, I suspect it would cool down to near the water temp in well under the two minutes it would take to move the wort (Yes, that would be a valid demonstration. I can't explain the Physics involved. It's that 'Conservation of Energy' thing) . Then there's the additional time spent cleaning and sanitizing both the extra kettle and the chiller (the chiller doesn't need to be sanitized separately if you drop it in the boil kettle a few minutes before flameout). Granted, this could be done during the boil, so it doesn't add any time, but it's extra work, which I'm allergic to :wink:. Then there's yet another window of opportunity for infections to creep in.

    An intriguing idea, to be sure. I just don't think it would yield any benefit.
  7. GRBrew

    GRBrew Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2009 Michigan

    The issues of hop aroma and DMS are also solved if you are chilling quickly. My entire volume gets to 70 degrees in minutes. Cold break is the only issue.
  8. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I use both...a small immersion chiller (in the boil kettle though) with whirlpooler and a counterflow chiller. It seems to cool well enough and as for the hops, just wait awhile before adding aroma/KO hops if you are worried about further isomerization. DMS should be a non-issue. I now wait to fire up my hot liquor tank for cleaning/recircing until the wort is in the fermentors, this added heat next to my boil kettle was slowing the cooling way down.
  9. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Grand Pooh-Bah (3,084) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I did the same thing. Works like a champ. Not that this is any reason NOT to whirlpool, but if time is the primary concern, a pre-chiller makes all the difference in the world. It's also an absolute necessity, at least for me*.

    *in the TX summer tap water would never be cool enough to get the wort below 70F, so the pre-chiller is also a necessity.
  10. GeckoPunk

    GeckoPunk Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2012 Connecticut

    Instead of investing in an whirlpool chiller, I'd probably upgrade to a stainless steel kettle with an Aluminum false bottom... Just my $0.02.
  11. Hoozierdaddy

    Hoozierdaddy Initiate (0) Apr 24, 2009 Illinois

    Your aluminum pot isn't keeping your wort warmer than it should, it's your wort that's keeping your aluminum pot hot. Rather than another vessel, I would either upgrade your current pot, or purchase a pump and get the whirlpool jamil-o-chiller up an running.
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