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  • SSBrewtech 1BBL Unitank Cooling Problems

    I realize there was an older thread from 019 but there didn't seem to be a solution.

    Here's the setup.
    SS Brewtech 1BBL UNJACKETED Unitank with neoprene cover
    BrewBuilt™ IceMaster Max 2 Glycol Chiller 1700btu 4.5 Gal. Tank - 30% glycol solution
    1/2" Silicon lines running from Chiller to Unitank coils (10')

    I put 30 gallons of water in the unitank.
    I set the glycol chiller to -2C (coils NEVER freeze over)
    I set the glycol pump to 33F (lines that run to/from unitank coil)

    With this setup, I cannot get the liquid in the tank to drop below 41-42F. I have tried this when the ambient temperature was 79F and 65F. No difference. Still sweats like crazy.

    Here are the pump times for 1 GALLON:

    1) The volume as listed, is at 1 minute 18 seconds.
    2) Taking the coil out and connecting it directly to the chiller put it at 1 minute 8 seconds.
    3) Disconnecting everything and putting a lineout from the chiller into my gallon pitcher, put the time at 24 seconds.

    Now I have everything the SS Brewtech support has asked me to but nothing is chilling this thing down below 41. Now, because the entire process of "solving the problem" has taken so long, I am stuck with this thing.

    MY THEORY is that living here in Florida REQUIRES at jacketed Unitank. SS Brewtech disagrees, but cannot manage to solve this little dilemma. I believe that I am fighting physics and that unless I have a larger coil, there cannot be enough glycol passing through to cool the liquid fast enough before it draws heat from the environment.

    Thoughts? I'd really appreciate any help you guys could give.

    Jim

  • #2
    I strongly suspect it is related to the increased viscosity of the glycol compared to water. 30% glycol is, if I have understood the figures correctly, over twice as viscous as water, so if the flow rate calculations have been made on water, you will need bigger pipe diameter and or a bigger pump. You need someone who can calculate these out properly though. The shorter pipeline lengths of your trials mean there is less overall resistance to the flow - so will run somewhat faster
    dick

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    • #3
      Sounds about right. This is very similar results that I get with my 1 bbl Spike setup. My chiller output pump is set at 1C (34F) and my Conical never gets below 5C (42F). I use a 10% glycol solution. I have not run the calculations, but I'm betting that there isn't enough surface area in the chilling coil inside the conical to drop the temperature more. They just are not that efficient. The setup is basically a liquid to liquid heat exchanger and they can never have 100% "heat" transfer. Especially with a small diameter stainless steel tube and essentially non moving wort/beer (except during vigorous fermentation), it is really a poor condition for heat transfer.
      Six Sigma Master Blackbelt - Lean manufacturing expert. Beer production is food manufacturing. Why not do it efficiently!

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      • #4
        dick murton, all my calculations have been made with 30% glycol (SS Brewtech's engineer wanted that and even wanted me to go as high as 35% (I have NO idea why but in the interest of fixing my dilemma, I did it.) If you note the calculations for flow, the largest restriction is the coil. Hooking it directly to the out on the chiller shows the restriction time. (note: the only pure water is IN the unitank)

        plh, agreed. Although you can never have 100% heat transfer, you should be able to set the temperature in the glycol unit low enough that the heat it's pulling from the unitank gets it to 34 degrees.
        So my question then is, how do you cold crash? You can't crash at 42. I use cold crashing to clarify my beer and have used it for years with great results.

        Finally, I assume people simply have jacketed tanks to avoid this issue?

        Comment


        • #5
          Have you tried dropping the glycol temperature further? Like 26 to 27F at the pump out? 30% glycol has a 7F freezing point, beer shouldn't freeze on the chilling coil until around 28F, so you shouldn't get any ice buildup at that temperature. Need around a 6F temperature differential between the circulating glycol and the expected temperature of the beer in the conical. Once anything freezes on the cooling coil, there will be negative returns to temperature lowering as the ice on it acts like a bit of an insulator. If you are testing with straight water, this will be an issue. mix in some everclear to get to 5% ABV in your test "water".
          Six Sigma Master Blackbelt - Lean manufacturing expert. Beer production is food manufacturing. Why not do it efficiently!

          Comment


          • #6
            These are all good ideas and plh is on the right track. At 30% solution you should be able to drop your coil temp. There will always be a little frost on the outside of the chilled system in humid Florida but 30% is enough to keep it from freezing far below -2C. I would think SS Brewtech would have pointed this out first. Maybe try 26F in the morning and monitor it throughout the day to be sure it's not freezing. Have you felt the return line with your hand while crashing? If it doesn't start to warm up a bit during a hard crash you're not getting a great exchange. You can also monitor the glycol tank temperature during a hard crash for the same reason. It should go up in a short amount of time and kick on the pump to bring it back down to 26F fairly quickly.
            Cheers!
            -Zambo

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, understand that there is zero "frost" on either the unitank or the chiller. The only "frost" that I have is in the form of condensation, and lots of it. I have been running at -2C for the chiller but the engineer seems to think there is icing that I don't see... Can't see how but he wants me to change it to 0C. I am doing that, just for the sake of getting rid of that idea, but my guess is that it will remain the same.

              When the pump kicks on, the temp definitely rises in the reservoir over time, then begins going back down. The liquid in the unitank, however, just drops down eventually to 41-42 and pretty much just holds there... Chiller never stops, temp never drops below 41-42.

              Thoughts? Mine is that an unjacketed unitank will simply never drop below 42 because it there is simply not enough surface area around the coil to drop 30 gallons of liquid below 42 (yes, I tried with just 15g, then 20g of liquid and it's all the same) as it cannot cool the liquid faster than it is wicking heat from the surrounding air.

              Slainte,
              Jim

              Comment


              • #8
                A couple takeaways from these posts:
                1. Have you actually measured the temperature of the glycol within the chiller? Is the glycol truly at the temp that the chiller says it is?
                2. What is the temperature of the glycol right at the fermenter? If you are running smaller tubing (`1/2" or so), it wouldn't take much time to allow the glycol within the hoses to warm up. If possible, I'd add a tee fitting with a thermometer at the inlet of the fermenter to read the inline temp of the glycol.

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                • #9
                  I have the same unitanks from SSB. I run 30% glycol at 27F. My 1/2BBL's I get to 38F, my 1BBL's I get to 38-40F. I invested in air conditioning to maintain 68F in the room. Still no different SSB will tell you SURE they work or Reverse your supply and return on the coil..... I get the same results no matter what I change.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BrokenPaddleInstalls View Post
                    A couple takeaways from these posts:
                    1. Have you actually measured the temperature of the glycol within the chiller? Is the glycol truly at the temp that the chiller says it is?
                    Yes. I used a old fashioned mercury thermo to check the temperature of both the liquid in the tank and the chiller reservoir temp.

                    Originally posted by BrokenPaddleInstalls View Post
                    2. What is the temperature of the glycol right at the fermenter? If you are running smaller tubing (`1/2" or so), it wouldn't take much time to allow the glycol within the hoses to warm up. If possible, I'd add a tee fitting with a thermometer at the inlet of the fermenter to read the inline temp of the glycol.
                    The tubing is only 10' long and insulated. I sincerely doubt there would be much change in temperature. I also tried changing out the hosing for larger volume but there was no change. (none was expected but wanted to cross that off).


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by skwieland View Post
                      I have the same unitanks from SSB. I run 30% glycol at 27F. My 1/2BBL's I get to 38F, my 1BBL's I get to 38-40F. I invested in air conditioning to maintain 68F in the room. Still no different SSB will tell you SURE they work or Reverse your supply and return on the coil..... I get the same results no matter what I change.
                      I can definitely see being able to drop 1/2 the volume easier (it's just math) than 1bbl. SSB tells me they have these all over and no one has complained. I've been complaining and trying their suggestions for so long, it's been over a YEAR. I still haven't used the tank for brewing because I know full well I cannot cold crash.

                      I believe that physics is my issue (and apparently yours). You cannot chill the liquid in the tank fast enough before it leaks that cold past the steel in the tank. I've thought about putting the tank in an old fridge... More money to spend on an issue SSB SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT UP, BUT REFUSES TO ADMIT.

                      I challenge SSB to PROVE me wrong. Instead I will get more "I don't know"s and "we have lots of customers" and "we don't know of any issues"... complaint v.s. actual understanding and a desire to find and fix the issue...

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