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BPotts
09/28/08 10:45 AM  
Wort Chillers
I'm looking into purchasing a wort chiller and I noticed on the Midwestern Homebrew Supply website that now they have a stainless version. What are peoples thoughts on stainless vs. copper for a wort chiller? I've read copper can contribute off flavors to beer, and once my friend had a copper chiller burst when running water through it - leaking tap water into his beer. For these reasons it seems like stainless might be better, although I know copper transfers the heat more efficiently.

????

mtc
09/28/08 11:28 AM  
Re: Wort Chillers
I use a copper immersion chiller/pump combo to cool my wort based on Jamil's set-up. Here is a link to his discussion and pictures of his set-up: http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

This method is extremely efficient, easy to clean, and when used with a bucket of cooled, recirculated water, fairly non-wasteful.

I have never noticed any off-flavors from my copper chiller, and mine has been very durable. But damn if that ss chiller doesn't look cool.

BPotts
09/28/08 11:45 AM  
Re: Wort Chillers
What do you use to clean the copper?
mtc
09/28/08 11:53 AM  
Re: Wort Chillers
Immediately after use I recirculate the water from my bucket through the chiller, then I run some Saniclean through the system, and then rinse with the 2nd bucket. That water is eventually used to do a load of laundry.

The outside of the chiller I clean with PBW when I clean my kettle, mash tun, etc.

In the end, the pump does most of the work.

BPotts
09/28/08 12:14 PM  
Re: Wort Chillers
It's weird - I'm reading the tech sheet from star san on saniclean and it say "It is not recommended to use SANICLEAN on soft metals because of the acid nature of this product." But then goes on to talk about using it to CIP fermentors and serving tanks, and to let them air dry... that doesn't make sense to me. If it's not recommended for use with ss then why do they have instructions for its use with it? Is it ok with SS or not?
mtc
09/28/08 01:09 PM  
Re: Wort Chillers
As far as I understand, the product is fine to use with SS, but should be rinsed. I think with all cleaning/sanitizing products we need to do a little reading between the lines because of the regulations on these products. I have never noticed any damage to my SS, copper, etc. with use of five star. Of course I am no expert.
BPotts
09/28/08 05:44 PM  
Re: Wort Chillers
Ok, thanks for your tips.
tankdeer
09/29/08 12:51 PM  
Re: Wort Chillers
Copper should not give any off flavors to your beer. People have been using copper boil kettles for hundreds of years and small amounts of dissolved copper are good for yeast health. Now using copper parts with finished/fermenting beer is probably not a good idea, as the pH is much lower than that of wort. Copper is also much more efficient at heat transfer than stainless, so it will chill faster. As for cleaning, I simply rinse it off after it comes out of the boil (Immersion chiller) and hit any stubborn spots with a sponge. Then let it air dry. No real need to do much else. I don't care about the inside because that water doesn't touch my wort. The only times I've heard of people having water leaking into their wort is from lose or undone hose connections, never burst copper. My connections hang off the side of the kettle so even if I develop a leak it will not drip in my wort.

As for saniclean, since it's just a foam-less version of StarSan, it's safe on the same materials. It is fine for SS although you don't want to let it soak for long periods of time as it will pit the stainless. And you don't want to rinse as that will undo all your sanittaion. Just let it air dry as suggested or fill your stainless fermenters, etc while it's still wet. Same rules as StarSan.

tankdeer
09/29/08 01:32 PM  
Re: Wort Chillers
Hey Ben, I just saw this. The latest episode of Brew Strong is covering metals in brewing. They haven't released it for download yet, but it should be sometime today. Might be worth checking out.

http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong/Brew-Strong-09-29-08-Metals-that-Affect-Your-Beer

petec
09/29/08 02:37 PM  
Re: Wort Chillers
BPotts-

I don't think SS is considered a soft metal. Copper certainly is.

petec

BPotts
09/29/08 06:53 PM  
Re: Wort Chillers
Pete -

I don't remember too much from my honors chemistry class from 11th grade, but I read this on the five star site, which is the only reason I considered SS a soft metal:

"P.B.W. is a buffered alkaline detergent that has been proven to be more than an effective substitute for caustic soda cleaners. Because of its unique formulation of buffers and mild alkalis, it is safe on skin as well as soft metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, and on plastics. P.B.W. uses active oxygen to penetrate carbon or protein soils and is not effected by hard water. The oxygen also helps in reducing B.O.D. and C.O.D. in wastewater, which is an added environmental benefit."

So I don't know whether it really is or not but I assumed so after reading that on the PBW tech sheet.

 
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