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Thread: when it rains it pours

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    186

    when it rains it pours

    Well, now I have a real dilemma. A few months back I posted a glycol system problem. Had the system filled, checked, etc. and everything seemed fine. Over Memorial Day weekend, I had the pleasure of calling in a tech (for a nominal fee of double the normal charge) to refill the system again (3.5 weeks after it had been filled before). I can't seem to pinpoint a leak, HOWEVER:

    I have 3 FV's.. FV3 is about 18 feet away from FV1 and 2. On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, I brewed, and knocked out into FV3. When I discovered my temps were on the fritz, I turned off all fans, pumps, etc.. I heard something alarming. A loud gurgling coming from FV3. I opened the man-way. No bubbles, no krausen, just completely still wort, fresh out of the HE. I turned the glycol off, and it still gurgled. The sound appears to be happening within the jacket of the uni-tank. There is no indication that glycol is getting into the beer, but there is no evidence of it leaking externally. I plan to transfer this beer in 2 weeks (if in fact it is not tainted).
    Should I have the tank pressure tested, and let the refrigeration tech confirm my theory? Once we confirm there is a leak within the jacket, who should be called in to fix the problem? A sanitary welder? DME (the manufacturers of my system who are located in Canada)? My refrigeration guy, AND a welder together? I am located in Maryland. I am posting this thread so I can show my boss I did some preliminary research before taking him to the cleaners on this job. I already feel bad about the 9-1-1 charge he ate for Memorial Day weekend. Also, does anyone know where my glycol might be going?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    673

    Return of the glycol.

    Sounds like glycol is leaking out of the jacket in between the inner and outer shells of FV3. How many gallons of glycol does your res hold? You could drill or file a small hole at the very bottom of the outer shell near the weld where the inner and outer come together, too see if a lot of glycol drains out. One of our fermenters has caulk around the manway and over time leaked water and condensation down in the space between. I noticed a small leak when I CIPed, the rapid change in temp forced liquid out a small crack in the vessel weld down near the bottom, so I filed the crack out larger to drain the waste water. That was some very stinky poodle chew I tell you.
    For a welder you most likely can find a local welder who works with stainless. Depending on your area.
    Last edited by BrewinLou; 06-06-2007 at 12:31 PM.
    Joel Halbleib
    CBO "Chief Brewing Officer" / Zymurgist
    Bluegrass Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    www.bluegrassbrewing.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Alpine,Texas USA
    Posts
    32
    Hello MR . Jay,well I had our system out too and it turned out it had a needel fine hole right when it left the pump.My welder told me with the pump going on and off, that is a week point. When you lost your Glycol did your system freeze up ? If so, there could something be blown up. It 's hard to believe at you would have inside your fermenter a leak as big so you can hear it bubble,what you probably hear is all the air in your system because of low fillage.But you never know ,It's a pain in the b....but it need's to be fixed .Good luck. Harry Oh, my welder is a SS-welder working on BMW Motorcyceles
    Last edited by hmois; 06-06-2007 at 05:36 PM.
    Harald Mois

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    32
    Mr. Jay -

    To rule out a leaking glycol jacket fermenter you can disconnect the glycol hoses to the Fermenter you suspect, and hook up a CO2 line and pressure guage and clamp everything tight - pressurize to 5-10 psi, turn off the CO2, and wait and see see if the pressure drops. It may take seconds or minutes depending on the size of the hole. Listen for gurgling or hissing, as well.

    I've had leaks at the brass threaded fittings where the fitting had a hair line crack where is it cast together. You just have to check everywhere in the glycol system loop.

    Good luck!

    I have a great sanitary TIG welder in Maryland if you need one. PM me if you want his name.

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