View Full Version : Glycol "tree" set-up help flow to new fermentor?

02-14-2016, 10:59 AM
Greetings friends. Was hoping for some advice, stories, experience, etc. We recently added a new 15 bbl fermentor to our expanding brewpub in Argentina. In total we now have two 15bbl fermentor, two 7bbl fermentor, and six 7bbl brites. We have a Pro Refridgeration CHiller we purchased with a premier stainless system in 2009. I seem to remember ordering a chiller that could handle more tanks but am having issue chilling the new fermentor.

To get an idea of our set-up. The brewery is located in the basement of the brewpub. The chiller is downstairs (no room outside) directly under ventilation fan exit to deal with heat exhaust. We have cross ventilation and fresh air is pushed in from the opposite side of the brewery. We originally had the brite tanks closer to the chiller but have moved them closer to the fermentors in the back part of the brewery past the BH. Essentially our glycol header runs the diameter of the basement. Starting from the chiller, goes over our walk-in, along the wall infront of the BH, passing the fermentors first to the back wall and then wraps around connecting the brites before returning. All the tanks togeather make a beautiful stainless U in the back essentially. In total the full loop of the glycol leaving the chiller to its return is over 65 meters....yes meters (200+ feet).

Our new fermentor was placed at the end of this set-up. While the Brite tanks can maintain cold just fine, this new fermenter takes days to cool. It took three days filled with water to go from 85* down to 50* before I gave up on it crashing. The last day I even left all tanks closed for 7 hours and didnt seem to have much effect. I am think the draw is just too long to get proper flow through tank. Aside from completely moving our brewery, a quick fix I had thought of was simply moving the fermenter to be the first tank in line to receive glycol rather than the last. This would require I move all my fermentors a foot or two in order to make room for the new one but its a possibility. Otherwise it would semi-block my mash tun. The second option considered is leave all the tanks where they are. Then rather than having the glycol header run around the diameter, along the walls behind the tanks, I would instead run it down the middle between the tanks. One main feed header and a return header running down the middle with "branches" coming off for each tank making a "tree" type set-up. Probably have some sort of bypass valve at the end of each "branch". I imagine this would improve the flow to the new fermentor but could cause problems for other tanks. I thought maybe decreasing the diameter of pipe for the "branches" could help but really not sure how well it would all work out.

I hope I have explained this properly as Im having a hard time attaching some drawings I made showing it better. I sent an email with the chillers specs and everything to pro-refridgeration but got no response. I intend to call tomorrow but any input would be appreciated. Anyone out there use or heard of someone using a set-up like I described? Suggestions, questions, concerns?

02-15-2016, 08:18 AM
So you have your send and return loops running the perimeter of the basement? How is the header pressure? It other tanks are cooling I would take a look at the valves on the new tank. Check to see if they are all installed with the proper flow direction and they are functioning correctly. Also contact the new tank manufacturer and let them know you are having the issue.