Glycol chiller success

General brewery equipment discussions.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Glycol chiller success

Postby MedTech » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:47 pm

I've been reading many posts about homemade glycol chillers made from a/c units and coolers. I knew I had to make one but had to justify why. I do use a conical that someday I will wrap with copper and chill with the glycol but for now the freezer is way easier. I ended up using it to chill my wort.

I use an IC/whirlpool to chill my beer now, but had a cfc sitting around. I plumbed the glycol chiller to the cfc and hooked the cfc inline with the recirc. I used a 8000btu a/c unit and 9 gallons of propylene glycol.

Here are the numbers:
12 gallons of wort at boil
cold water (48F) through IC for initial knock down
wort to 100F in 6 minutes, used 40 gallons water at 1.2cents/gallon=48cents
glycol chiller took 40 mintues to get from 65f to 10f (done during boil)
wort from 100F to 67F in 5 minutes, glycol went up to 40f
glycol chiller a/c and pump used a total of .75kwh at .15/kwh=11cents
total 11 minutes to chill, 59cents

before I would use 100 gallons of water to chill at a cost of $1.20 not to mention the waste of water, with the 40 gallons I save most of it to clean up. It also would take roughly 25 minutes to chill. It was always the last 30-40 degrees that took forever.

I am very happy with the results. I don't think it'd be possible to chill much quicker or cheaper without alot of effort. It has justified the $25 I spent on glycol, I already had the cooler and pump and found the a/c for free on craigslist.
Currently working on HERMS setup.

Check out http://tophatbrewery.com
User avatar
MedTech
Corny Keg (500 posts)
 
Posts: 633
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:48 am
Location: Mass

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby pclemon » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:54 am

It sounds like this was a good solution for you since you already had the cooler and pump - but what would those cost to purchase?

I too do 12 gallon batches and use an IC. Using a pump/whirlpool attachment I can get from boiling to 68 degrees in about 15 minutes (less in the dead of winter, more at the peak of summer). I've never looked too much into the amount of water I use to chill but know that my water bill doesn't change substantially from quarter to quarter.

You saved yourself $0.60/brew session so will take 40 batches just to make up for the cost of the $25 gallons of glycol. This sounds like the cape wind project...

Not putting you down - if you like tinkering and such, it's great (to some extent that's one reason almost all of us like this hobby) but to suggest that you're saving $, energy, or other I think is misguided.
Pete
pclemon
Micro Brewery (2500 posts)
 
Posts: 4169
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:13 pm
Location: Marlborough, MA

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby MedTech » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:09 am

The time savings will be huge when I need to chill down to lager temps.

If I had to buy them the cooler would be $15 and the pump $30.

I have to admit I'm not the greenest of people but felt kinda bad wasting so much water, now it's less than half.

I do want to add some more fermenters and plan on using the glycol to chill them.

Oh, and by the way, thanks for ruining my happy moment. I think you're just jealous. :mrgreen:
Currently working on HERMS setup.

Check out http://tophatbrewery.com
User avatar
MedTech
Corny Keg (500 posts)
 
Posts: 633
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:48 am
Location: Mass

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby ValonaBrewingCo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:55 am

I use my homemade chiller to both ferment and chill wort. I use two cfc's, the first one circulates water from a 55 gal drum with a pump. The second is hooked up to the glycol. 12 gallons from boiling to 50° in 10 minutes regardless of season. It really is a huge time, water, and energy saver.

I've got an evil plan to move the chiller outside and plumb a chill water loop through the wall. I'll try to document the process and put it on the web.
Crockett, don't knock it!

Hand Pump- Out of service :(
Taps- Krappy Kolsch
Fermenting- Wit
Next Brew- ???
User avatar
ValonaBrewingCo
6 Pack (200 posts)
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:58 pm
Location: Crockett, CA

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby pclemon » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:43 am

MedTech wrote:The time savings will be huge when I need to chill down to lager temps.

If I had to buy them the cooler would be $15 and the pump $30.

I have to admit I'm not the greenest of people but felt kinda bad wasting so much water, now it's less than half.

I do want to add some more fermenters and plan on using the glycol to chill them.

Oh, and by the way, thanks for ruining my happy moment. I think you're just jealous. :mrgreen:


I'm not the greenest of people either... hence what may be a stupid question - other than the energy used by my water treatment station to treat water that I'm going to return to the water table, what is "not green" about it? Hook the output of the chiller up to a water sprinkler and water your lawn at the same time as chilling your wort.

A little jealous from the "coolness factor" - I'm a tinkerer too - but not from saving $0.40 per brew.. :D
Pete
pclemon
Micro Brewery (2500 posts)
 
Posts: 4169
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:13 pm
Location: Marlborough, MA

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby BrewBum » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:49 am

100% of the water does not return to the water table, at least I can only assume that.
Nate
Guess what... I got a fever and the only prescription... is more cowbell!
http://www.Nebraskabeerblog.com
User avatar
BrewBum
Moderator
 
Posts: 13041
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:59 am
Location: In the Sandhills of Nebraska

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby ValonaBrewingCo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:57 am

Out here our water comes from the Sierra Nevada, not wells. We get nasty letters threatening to double our rates if we continually use too much.
Crockett, don't knock it!

Hand Pump- Out of service :(
Taps- Krappy Kolsch
Fermenting- Wit
Next Brew- ???
User avatar
ValonaBrewingCo
6 Pack (200 posts)
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:58 pm
Location: Crockett, CA

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby MedTech » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:41 am

I have city water and there is always a water ban during the summer. I'm not too worried about that but now I can say I try.

ValonaBrewingCo wrote:I use my homemade chiller to both ferment and chill wort. I use two cfc's, the first one circulates water from a 55 gal drum with a pump. The second is hooked up to the glycol. 12 gallons from boiling to 50° in 10 minutes regardless of season. It really is a huge time, water, and energy saver.

I've got an evil plan to move the chiller outside and plumb a chill water loop through the wall. I'll try to document the process and put it on the web.


How much glycol, what temp when you start, what size a/c, what cfc? Your setup seems to be chilling alot faster than mine. It took me 11 minutes to get to 67. 50F in 10 minutes would be great!
Currently working on HERMS setup.

Check out http://tophatbrewery.com
User avatar
MedTech
Corny Keg (500 posts)
 
Posts: 633
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 6:48 am
Location: Mass

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby speed » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:56 am

BrewBum wrote:100% of the water does not return to the water table, at least I can only assume that.

i'll bet out here in the sandhills most of it does :wink:
What will be will be.
Jane Hodges
User avatar
speed
Barrel (1000 posts)
 
Posts: 2261
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:22 am
Location: thedford nebraska

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby ValonaBrewingCo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:06 am

I built my own plant that uses a 1/3 hp compressor, I don't know exactly what the BTU rating is but I estimate that it is somewhere in the range of 5-6000 BTU/hr based on the factory data sheet. It draws 500W while running, so you can compare that to yours. I have it set to turn off at 20° and on at 25°. I have 4 gallons of propylene glycol in the ice chest, and I use a miniature heat exchanger for the evaporator with a fountain pump circulating the glycol through it.

When I cool wort, I connect from the kettle, to a pump, to the primary CFC which knocks it down to ~75° on a typical day. Then it goes through the secondary CFC (an old shirron chiller) that I hook the glycol up to. Finally, it goes through a Thru-momoter and into the conical. My assistant brewer adjusts the glycol flow to maintain my specified fermentation temperature during the process while I manage the pumping and primary cooling. The chiller can't quite keep up with the wort, so the temperature does rise to about 40° by the end of the transfer. I'm sure someone on here is going to give me some $#it for being too complicated, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Should be even better when I get that thing out of my kitchen because it is pretty noisy.
Crockett, don't knock it!

Hand Pump- Out of service :(
Taps- Krappy Kolsch
Fermenting- Wit
Next Brew- ???
User avatar
ValonaBrewingCo
6 Pack (200 posts)
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:58 pm
Location: Crockett, CA

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby pclemon » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:05 am

ValonaBrewingCo wrote:When I cool wort, I connect from the kettle, to a pump, to the primary CFC which knocks it down to ~75° on a typical day. Then it goes through the secondary CFC (an old shirron chiller) that I hook the glycol up to. Finally, it goes through a Thru-momoter and into the conical. My assistant brewer adjusts the glycol flow to maintain my specified fermentation temperature during the process while I manage the pumping and primary cooling. The chiller can't quite keep up with the wort, so the temperature does rise to about 40° by the end of the transfer. I'm sure someone on here is going to give me some $#it for being too complicated, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Should be even better when I get that thing out of my kitchen because it is pretty noisy.


Sounds just complicated enough... :shock:

I assume the temperature rises by the end of the transfer because you're recycling the water back to the holding tank (so it's going from something I assume is ~65 degrees to ~100 degrees). Would it make more sense to have a second holding container so that you were drawing cool water off one and putting warm water into the other?
Pete
pclemon
Micro Brewery (2500 posts)
 
Posts: 4169
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:13 pm
Location: Marlborough, MA

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby ValonaBrewingCo » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:37 am

pclemon wrote:
ValonaBrewingCo wrote:When I cool wort, I connect from the kettle, to a pump, to the primary CFC which knocks it down to ~75° on a typical day. Then it goes through the secondary CFC (an old shirron chiller) that I hook the glycol up to. Finally, it goes through a Thru-momoter and into the conical. My assistant brewer adjusts the glycol flow to maintain my specified fermentation temperature during the process while I manage the pumping and primary cooling. The chiller can't quite keep up with the wort, so the temperature does rise to about 40° by the end of the transfer. I'm sure someone on here is going to give me some $#it for being too complicated, but I'm pretty happy with the results. Should be even better when I get that thing out of my kitchen because it is pretty noisy.


Sounds just complicated enough... :shock:

I assume the temperature rises by the end of the transfer because you're recycling the water back to the holding tank (so it's going from something I assume is ~65 degrees to ~100 degrees). Would it make more sense to have a second holding container so that you were drawing cool water off one and putting warm water into the other?


Yeah, I left that part out. I actually have two barrels. I just pump from one to the other on alternate brews.
Crockett, don't knock it!

Hand Pump- Out of service :(
Taps- Krappy Kolsch
Fermenting- Wit
Next Brew- ???
User avatar
ValonaBrewingCo
6 Pack (200 posts)
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:58 pm
Location: Crockett, CA

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby krizwit » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:42 pm

Great post medtech. I like to see the numbers.

I use a utility pump in ice water after I get down to 90 or so and get down to 68 in about 15 min. I have the hose water goign full blast for the first 15g and then I slow the water rate down significantly. I generally use 30g or less of water with the help of the ice recirc.

FYI - I brew 12g and pitch in the low 60's for ales and in the mid 40's for lagers. It takes me about 45 min to chill down to the mid 40's with ambient temps near 50. I have given up on 12g lager batches in the summer when it is 95 outside, that is where your glycol comes in handy...
User avatar
krizwit
Barrel (1000 posts)
 
Posts: 1359
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:41 pm
Location: Northville, Michigan

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby BrewinProf » Tue May 04, 2010 12:50 pm

So what are you guys using as a glycol pump?
BrewinProf
Pint Glass (25 posts)
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 11:21 pm

Re: Glycol chiller success

Postby ValonaBrewingCo » Wed May 05, 2010 8:36 am

BrewinProf wrote:So what are you guys using as a glycol pump?


https://fountainmountain.com/product_desc.php?prodid=105

It works OK for the most part. The only problem is that pumping through 50' of tubing on the fermenter is a high head, low flow job for which centrifugal pumps are really inefficient so I only get a slow trickle. My next design is going to use a positive displacement pump with a variable speed motor.
Crockett, don't knock it!

Hand Pump- Out of service :(
Taps- Krappy Kolsch
Fermenting- Wit
Next Brew- ???
User avatar
ValonaBrewingCo
6 Pack (200 posts)
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:58 pm
Location: Crockett, CA

Next

Return to Brewing Equipment

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 3 guests

cron