HOMEBREW Digest #5234 Thu 27 September 2007

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  Cleaning counterflow chillers/More on sugar ("A.J deLange")
  Still More on Sugar ("A.J deLange")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 12:27:32 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Cleaning counterflow chillers/More on sugar It dawned on me one day that a very simple way to clean my counterflow chiller would be to clean it in exactly the same way that I clean beer lines using the same equipment which consists of a gear pump with a pressure gauge and pressure regulating valve (between inlet and outlet) and some hoses which adapt to beer shanks. This rig was purchased as a unit but obviously the typically ingenious home brewer could put something together (and probably should since recirculating cleaning fluid is much more effective than just pushing the cleaner through beer lines once with CO2 or air). The only extra piece of equipment needed is an adapter between the inlet/outlet of the wort chiller and beer shank adapters. Given that the plumbing can be arranged one then simply pumps beer line cleaner round and round through the chiller. Most of these are alkalai based (i.e. KOH or NaOH). I use Micromatic's line cleaner but there are certainly many others available. You will be surprised (and quite possibly apalled) at the color of what comes out. After recirculating the alkalai a sencond pass with an acid beer line cleaner will be required to keep beerstone under control. For this application I also use a Micromatic product and in this case I don't know of any other. Beer stone is typically targeted with a solution of 1% phosphoric and 1% nitric acids. Skip the nitric for a copper chiller as nitric acid attacks copper. I believe the Micromatic product contains only phosphoric but to be sure with it or any other acid cleaner you can simply drop a bright penny in a working strength solution and leave it for 15 minutes or so (i.e. about the length of time you would circulate the cleaner). If the penny isn't attacked then your copper coil won't be either. If there is a beer stone buildup the treatment just described won't get it out. Alkalai followed by acid will keep things clear by preventing the buildup of beerstone but once it has been deposited it requires a lot of scrubbing to remove. Micromatic (and others I'm sure) sell little sponge balls which you put into beer lines and which are pushed by the pump through the lines. I don't think they make them as big as the copper tubing typically used in wort chillers but you might check the website or you could make something yourself by cutting up a kitchen sponge. The big risk here is that one of them will get jammed in the chiller somehow and that you won't be able to get it out. Another approach is to use a brush attached to the end of a fishing line (one used to be able to buy these things at HB supply stores and this may still be the case). A small sinker is attached to one end of the line and used to coax it through the chiller. The brush end can then be pulled through. It will take many passes to dislodge and remove beerstone (and it needs to be wet with acid). The real problem here is that you can't see what's going on inside the chiller unless you have a borescope of some sort. So I'd just run the alkalai for say a half hour each (maybe replacing the alkalai if it gets really filthy) and do that after each brew a few times to see if things improve. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * RE: The increase in volume when sucrose is added to water in particular >>Have you measured it? I sure would like to know what you find.<< No, but the fellows at the Normaleichungskomission did in the early part of the last century. They made soultions of controlled strength (degrees Plato) and measured their specific gravities to 6 decimal places (and I think I have a lousy job). The result is the Plato tables which have been transformed into the ASBC tables used in the USA today. Within them is the desired information and that was the main point of my post of yesterday. One hundred grams of wort of strength P contains P grams of sugar and 100 - P grams of water which has volume (100 - P)/.998203 at 20C. The volume of 100 grams of wort is 100/(SG*.998203). In summary: if you have the Plato value and the specific gravity you know everything there is to know about how the volume of wort relates to the volume of water it contains. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 14:33:12 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Still More on Sugar The discussion of volume kept rattling about in my head on the drive into work this morning leading to the question "What would be the relationship between strength and specific gravity if there were no increase in volume?" The answer is quite simple: 100 grams of wort would have to have the same volume as the 100 - P grams of water used to make it i.e. 100/S = 100 - P (the density of water apears on each side and so is cancelled out). Thus S = 100/(100 - P). 10P wort would have specific gravity of 1.1111 and 20P wort 1.250 and so on. Common sense tells us that if there were no volume increase wort would have to be denser than it is so this is consistent (real 10P wort has an SG of about 1.040). Interesting, huh? Certainly more interesting than tail lights and license plates. A.J. Return to table of contents
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