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Thread: Two issues that I can't work out. Help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Two issues that I can't work out. Help!

    At the moment, I just finished fermentation on my fourth 4bbl batch. I have a couple of issues I am trying to address. Forgive me if this is not in the right spot.

    Issue #1 - General glycol chiller performance. We just can't seem to get our brite tank to do a good crash. Best we have achieved is 38F on the brite. That being said, I cannot get my fermenter to cool below about 40F either. After some adjustments to our tubing, our glycol maintains 23 to 24 degrees with no problem. As an additional note, we seem to lose 10 degrees going to the brite tank, even though the line run is only 12 feet or so--17 if you include the run of line up the wall to the ceiling and the lines are insulated. Our chiller is 5,500 BTU running two fermenters and a brite tank.

    Issue #2 - Beer will not clear. My beers are a soupy-milkshake looking mess that would make an NEIPA fan salivate. Moving from the home level (where my beers would clear with no problem at 66F), I knew I would have to cold crash--but this lack of flocculation is ridiculous. Similar to my brite tank issue above, I can only get fermenters down to about 40--I just expected better settling. Most recent beer that won't clear is using nottingham.

    Can someone give me a hand here?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    102
    you could have icing inside tank from glycol being too cold, try 26-28 degrees

    cheers

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooh View Post
    you could have icing inside tank from glycol being too cold, try 26-28 degrees

    cheers
    Thanks Rooh. A thought I had is that our glycol loop flows too freely and needs some back pressure.

  4. #4
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    Louisville, KY
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    That is a very small chiller. That size is generally used for long run draft line cooling, not tanks. Looks like most have under a 20 gallon reservoir. The highest work load times on your chiller are going to be chilling water for a CLT, and crashing tanks. I would turn off everything but one tank and see if that chiller can even handle that.

    You are going to have to look at the floc rate of the yeast you are using. Also as you know getting down to 32f would help a lot.
    Joel Halbleib
    Partner / Zymurgist
    Hive and Barrel Meadery
    6302 Old La Grange Rd
    Crestwood, KY
    www.hiveandbarrel.com

  5. #5
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    I don't think it's the chiller. As long as you're not chilling every tank at once, it should handle the load. I had a similar size chiller handling two 10BBL tanks just fine. I'd second checking the icing and running back pressure. You should do both. Our glycol is throttled on the return with a ball valve to produce about 10 psi in the lines, and we run our chiller at 26F.

    But what has me intrigued is the lack of flocculation. We typically crash at 40F when we BioFine, and at that point, it's hazy, but not milky. Do these fermentors have two separate jackets? If so, only one could be working efficiently. If the top one is chilling, and the bottom one isn't, not only would your overall temp be higher than expected, but it could cause periodic thermal inversions inside the tank that could stir the yeast up. I'd detach the glycol and try pumping water through each jacket with a March pump or something, and see if one flows better than the other. That's if there are multiple jackets, of course. Our 3BBL fermentors have two each, but I think that's uncommon. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Possibly-silly question, but, are you using any finings to help that yeast flocculate? Beer clears differently on the commercial scale for the rather ridiculous reason that, in a much larger tank, the yeast have a lot farther to fall, several feet versus maybe a foot and a half, max, in your carboy or brewing bucket. If you've got glass carboys, you've probably seen this in action; you won't see the whole thing getting gradually clearer, so much as a clear layer forming on top then gradually working its way down. As spetrovits implied, a little BioFine (or other finings) will go a long way towards helping those yeast clump up and make a quicker trip to the bottom of your 4BBL tank.

    To be clear, a proper 30° cold crash will help, too; there are lots of ways to skin this cat, and you'll wanna use a few at once if you want it skinned quickly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Fort Wayne, Indiana
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    I think you just need to be a bit more patient. As said, the big tanks have a lot more distance for everything to settle. Also look into your yeast strain for flocculating temperature. Some like to have an increase to 75 degrees for properly flocculation, then you cold crash to settle everything else out.

  8. #8
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    Wow...OK, some good comments.

    BrewinLou - I am aware that it is a small chiller, but it is maintaining it's glycol temp, and according to all of the heat load information that I can pull up, we still have plenty of 'room' left in the chilling capacity. At the moment it only has one fermenter and the brite tank running. The other fermenter has the glycol shut off.

    spetrovits - We are trying to resolve the back pressure issue...or apparent lack of it. I am not sure how to check icing though. I am all ears! The brite tank does have two jackets and with our current batch size, it is not a full capacity....so maybe shut off the upper jacket....maybe restrict flow?

    feinbera - I hit the beer with 160 ml of biofine at racking.

    AmbrosiaOrchard - I am trying to be patient. But it is so tough when it just feels like I am beating my head against the wall.


    As an additional note: when I bottled up sample to send for alcohol analysis, they cleared like a champ....

  9. #9
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    An additional note: Send a note to Lallemand to ask what a good flocculation temp.

  10. #10
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    Ok you guys proved me wrong. I would check to make sure you have enough glycol in your reservoir. If there is a bunch of splashing in the reservoir the bubbles can get sucked into the supply pump and sent back into the loop causing chill efficiency loss.
    Joel Halbleib
    Partner / Zymurgist
    Hive and Barrel Meadery
    6302 Old La Grange Rd
    Crestwood, KY
    www.hiveandbarrel.com

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrewinLou View Post
    If there is a bunch of splashing in the reservoir the bubbles can get sucked into the supply pump and sent back into the loop causing chill efficiency loss.
    That is the first thing I would suspect. Having seen clear glycol tubing, I have seen bubbles in glycol. While glycol solutions take away the heat, the air bubbles are insulators and restrict temperature drop.

  12. #12
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    I am almost 100% certain we do not have a bubbles in the system. There are a couple of sections of clear reinforced vinyl and we see an occasional bubble, but nothing excessive.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2018
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    Fort Wayne, Indiana
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    This is a good read from Wyeast

    http://www.wyeastlab.com/clarificationflocculation

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    west coast
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    Check your glycol ratio. Glycol doesnt tranfer heat worth a damn, its only there for antifreeze properties. We had a setup with reservoir in a walkin cooler in semi open container, and we didn’t realize the water evaporated. Glycol ratio got to like 40 something percent and we were stressing the system. Just thought our chiller was slowly dying on us.

    Also check for air bubbles in jackets.

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