Blichmann conical glycol jacket

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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby coolguywalt » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:55 am

The coils around the fermenter is exactly what I did. I notched out the legs on my Blichmann 14.5 Gal conical 1/4" x 2" so I could wrap 1/4" refridgerant copper around the conical and adhering the copper using thermal adhesive tape. I then pretty much followed the article in the BYO about using a window A/C unit with a 5 gallon picnic cooler and having the evaporater coil submerged in a glycol/water mix, using a small fountain pump to circulate the coolant full-time while another fountain pump circulates the glycol when the temperature controller kicks it on.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby TG » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:58 am

Welcome Coolguywalt. What parts are you from? :wink:
How did you notch out the legs and what in the heck is thermal adhesive tape?
See ya, Tom
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Wild Bill » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:16 am

Yeah give us some more info and a lead on the thermal tape.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby pclemon » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:21 am

http://www.surplussales.com/RF/ThermalC ... eTape.html

I've only ever seen it used between a CPU and a fan (draws heat away from the CPU) but this is an interesting application.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Wild Bill » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:35 am

Yeah I looked into thermal paste, didn't know about the tape. I rejected that idea because of the cost.
Didn't know if there was a lower cost alternative out there.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Hilltopbrewer » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:11 pm

Finally got around to just about finishing the cooling jacket around the blichmann. I did get the legs notched at a near by machine shop, he put a nice 1/2" X 5" long slot in each leg which still provides enough support. Wild Bill suggested 1/4" ID x 3/8 OD tubing to wrap the fermentor. I had some 3/8 ID x 1/2" OD laying around and I used that up. I got 9 wraps around the fermentor which equates to about 38' of tubing. I insulated with the reflex alum foil wrap and fired it up for a test. I got my glycol bath down to 28^ with no problem, I am using a becket M350 (max head 6')fountain pump, and my feed lines to the fermenter are 3/8 tubing (about 5' long). It took over 18 hrs to get 11 gal of water in the fermenter down to 40^ from 60 deg and I couldn't get it any lower than 39.5^. I was shooting for 38. I let it run for 2 days and 39.5 deg was the best it would do. I looked in the cooler with the glycol bath and the return flow was definately slower than at a warmer temp. If I switch from 3/8" ID tube to 1/4" ID tube I could fit 12 wraps which would be about 51' of copper instead of the 38' with the 3/8". Do you think this would make a difference? I also tried hooking my glycol up to an old immersion chiller (1/4" ID tube) that I had laying around to see how well the fountain pump pushed the glycol. It was less than half of that of when it was going through the 3/8" ID coil. Those of you that run 1/4" ID coils do you have a good flow through them. I noticed when I blew through the coil it really took alot. Not sure which way to go. leave the 3/8" ID coil and maybe try a bigger pump, or switch to 1/4" ID for the coil. The glycol unit I built is from a 6000 BTU air conditioner with a 28 qt bath. It seems to hold the temp really well. I took the glycol down to 25 deg and the coils started to ice up, and it really did not make a differance in getting the fermenter any lower.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Wild Bill » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:25 am

I have never really looked at my flow rate, but as long as it's moving ok it should do. I used the Fountain Tech FT-160 pump. It has a 5' head, max of 160 gpm, and pulls 12 watts. I purchased 60 foot coils of 3/8" OD copper and probably have about 50 to 55 feet in contact with the fermentor. Just like Backyard Brewer I used 12 gauge bare ground wire in between the coils to help fill the void and increase the surface area in contact with the stainless. I have heard that others have omitted the 12 gauge bare ground wire with acceptable results. When I first tested my glycol chiller I believe it's absolute limit was 13 degrees and at that point it was extremely iced up. In practice I never set mine below 25. With the chiller set at 25 I can keep two conicals at 36 degrees no problem. (I have been lazy and have had both of them sitting at 36 since Dec 21st) Ambient temp in my basement remains at 65 to 75 year round.

So the only questions I would ask are what is your ambient temps? How much insulation are you using? (I used two layers of reflectix where I could which was on the cone and around the coils) What temp range is your glycol chiller set at? Do you have a tiny pump recirculating glycol within the reservoir when the AC unit is cooling?

36 degrees is about the bottom end for me. I might be able to take it a bit lower but the glycol chiller would be running way too frequently. As it is with two 12 gal conicals at 36 it will kick on every hour or two for about 10 to 15 minutes) So you will have to ask yourself if the last few degrees is worth it for you if you could eek them out. If I had to guess I would say that it's the contact area.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Hilltopbrewer » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:54 am

My ambient temp in my basement is around 74 - 78 deg. I used one layer of reflex insulation. I can double that up. When you were wrapping the tubing did you lay in the 12 ga copper wire as you were going? With the bigger 3/8" ID tubing there is definitely a lot more air space between coils and it was real difficult to get it tight to the fermenter. some spots it has relaxed and moved away some. I took the reflex off last night to re-evaluate it.

I have my glycol set at 28 deg with a 3 deg differential. When the compressor kicks in it doesn't take long to get down to 28 and shut off. After it shuts off it continues to drop to 26 before it bottoms out. I do have a small pump sitting in the cooler to recirculate but I don't know if its strong enough. or maybe I should move it closer to the coil. At 28 its just starting to ice up alittle, when I went to 25 it was considerably more.

My keg serving temp that I like is 38 deg and that is what I was aiming for in conditioning at 38 deg. with the fermenter.

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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Wild Bill » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:40 am

Your ambient is in line as well as your glycol temp and chiller operation. I would look at the contact between your coils and the conical.

Image

I you have not seen them I have a fairly detailed writeup of how I assembled everything on Flickr linked below. In this pic you see how I used wood blocks at the bottom to properly place the coils. You see the ratchet straps that I used as temporary attachment points. I would wire the copper to the ratchet strap and then TIGHTLY wrap the copper tubing around the vessel making sure that it made good contact. When you get to the end you take the second ratchet strap and wire the other end of the tubing to that so it stays tight. THEN I took the copper wire and forced it in between the tubing. After that was in there and tied off I took clamps and pulled the coils as close together as I could and then wired them all together.

If you think you could get some of the slack out of your current coil it may be worth trying that first. If you could find something to place in between the coils it may also help the transfer. Then insulate it well. You could switch from the Reflectix to Armaflex like B3 uses, I'm sure it has a much better R value.

But then you're already 35 degrees below ambient which is pretty darn good and you only have about a 10 degree differential between your glycol and the beer. So we're getting pretty close. That being said you could youse an antifreeze that goes to a lower temp. Something with a higher propylene glycol content or switch over to ethylene glycol.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby pclemon » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:31 am

I don't have a conical and wouldn't be attempting such a project but all the discussion around contact between the pipe and the conical got me to thinking about the limitations of using a round item when clearly a rectangular item would work so much better. Not sure where it would be sourced in this country but I easily found the following using google:

http://www.shanghaimetal.com/Flat_copper_tube.htm

It would seem this would be way more ideal than round copper. Even if the raw material were significantly more expensive I'd expect the efficiency gain would pay that back.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Wild Bill » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:01 pm

Wow that would be great. Thinking about that I bet you could make it yourself if you could get or fabricate the equipment. Basically run the tubing through two rollers a flat one on the bottom and a semi-circle on top. It would crush the bottom of the copper tube and flatten it. Where is Lehr?!?!
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby usmcruz » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:46 pm

Why use the copper on the outside of the conical, why not run the copper coils inside the conical, and then foam insulate the outside of the conical. It just seems like your swimming against the current by putting the coils on the outside of the conical. Thats just me though :wink: .
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Chopper » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:58 pm

cleaning and sanitation would be the BIG drawbacks to putting the coils inside.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Wild Bill » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:39 pm

I always read / heard that due to the increased acidity of fermenting / fermented beer and the extended contact time it would have the beer should not contact copper after the start of fermentation. That leaves copper interior coils out even if sanitation were not an issue. A stainless coil or other type of heat exchanger would be a possibility.

Image

A guy in my homebrew club has a conical with this thing sitting inside it for a heat exchanger
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby usmcruz » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:47 pm

Chopper wrote:cleaning and sanitation would be the BIG drawbacks to putting the coils inside.



Not if your fittings are at the top, and if your gonna build something like that, then weld tri-clover fittings in so that you can take out the exchanger after the fermentation is over. I can see the acidity and copper being a problem, and Im willing to bet that the stainless steel heat exchanger would be pretty efficient, and probably cheaper compared to copper. I still think that the coils on the inside would be the quickest, and most accurate way of regulating temps. Problem would be getting a good tig welder to do the work for you, but once its done, you'll have a sweet a$$ fermenter :) .
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