Friday, December 13, 2019

Anvil Stainless Bucket Fermenter with Cooling System (Part 2)

So ... remember Anvil Stainless Bucket Fermenter with Cooling System (Part 1)?

Just a quick recap ... I bought Anvil Cooling System for Bucket Fermenter along with an Anvil Stainless Bucket Fermenter.

The idea behind this system is to control fermentation temperature by circulating cold water through tubing inside the beer. My hope was to be able to keep my fermentation in the lower to mid-50's for lagers.

I was running ice water, which worked great until the ice ran out (and the circulating water warmed up). To maintain this cooling system, I had to re-supply ice every day or two.

This works better than my old system of cooling. But, still not ideal. For my newest lager "What the Helles", I decided to try something.

The instructions for this cooling system say use ice water or a a glycol chiller. A glycol chiller is fairly expensive. But I thought maybe I could put glycol in a bucket stored in my chest freezer and pump that through the system.

So ... I bought Propylene Glycol - Food Grade USP - 1 Gallon from Amazon.

I put enough of that into a plastic container to cover up the pump. And placed the container into the my chest freezer.

Then, I ran the tubing out the top of the chest freezer and connected it to the fermentor.

I turned on the pump.

And.... nope.

Propylene Glycol is too viscous for the pump. Bummer.

So .... genius me ... I figured I'd dilute the Propylene Glycol with water. I didn't really measure at all. In fact, I put the pump in water, sucked on the tube to get the Glycol cleared out, and left the solution there.

And ... that worked fairly well for awhile. My fermentation temperature stayed very close to 55 degrees all day Sunday. It lasted all night and into Monday. All day Monday.

Sometime Monday night ... my glycol / water solution froze (really water with just a touch of glycol at this point). And, my pump stopped pumping. And, my fermentation temperature made it up to 62 degrees.

Well, that was a bummer. But, I thawed out the pump. Luckily it still worked after thawing.

I increased my glycol in the solution so that it was about 1 part glycol to about 3 parts water. (4.5 cups water to 1.5 cups glycol).

And, I set my controller to 62 degrees to maintain the temperature that the beer had gotten to.

A few hours later, I noticed that the beer temp was rising again. I looked at the container and noticed that the liquid was frozen in the tubes closest to the pump.

So, I thawed things out, and added another cup of glycol to the solution. The pump quickly got the beer temperature back down to 62 degrees.

That seemed to work. For awhile.

I added more glycol one more time. After a day or two, the glycol was frozen again. Well ... slushy enough that the pump didn't work.

So ... apparently my chest freezer is too cold for the coolant to work with this system.

I'll have to figure out something else.

I'll let you know when I decide to try something else ... stay tuned at Sheppy's Blog: Anvil.

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