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Counter Flow Sanitization Question

Intermediate Brewer Here:

Is it harmful to just leave a counter flow chiller in a bucket with Star San solution?

I think my last batch was contaminated from the counter flow chiller so I’m throwing this idea out there. I would feel more confident eliminating this possible source of contamination.

My 5 gallon batches have been coming out great until recent so I’m a little concerned about this issue.

Thanks

I use a plate chiller and run star san through it then run almost boiling wert through it without water and pour it back into the kettle. then after a few minutes start the water and transfer/chill. I figure after the star sand and the hot wert I have killed off the nasties and have not had an infection yet…but I have only done this for 4 batches. hope this helps.

Soaking may be ok if all surfaces are sanitized. This is what I do. From the beginning of brew day to cleanup.

(The following procedure has already sanitized my CFC from the last brew day.)

Once my HLT is available and my sparge waters have moved on, I heat a couple of gallons to boiling and run water through the system.

As my boil kettle has fired up and I have a good rolling boil I will set my CFC up and begin running boiling wart through the system. (Of course, I do not have any water running through the CFC.)

Post boil, and after I have cooled my wart I again attach my CFC to my HLT and run boiling water through it again. (Thus, it is samit9ized for the next brew day.)

Given that, I also would ask our community if there are any other steps that should be considered>

Working with a plate chiller, we back flush it and circulate PBW through it after brewing.

On brew day, boil and circulate water for 10 minutes. Then pump this water into the MT, about 2 gallons. After the boil is done run the wort through it.

Clean and repeat.

I dunk my CFC in a bucket of PBW once in a while then run a trumpet brush (think that is what they call it) through. It is a small brush with a long handle. My LHBS sells them. You may have to go from both ends to get the entire inside. The gunk that came out was kind of disturbing the first time I did this. Never had an infection though.

On brew day I dunk it in a bucket of no rinse sanitizer then let boiling hot wort run through before turning on the water. After just rinse it out, dunk it in the bucket again and let it drain.

What kind of counterflow chiller?

If it is all metal you can sterilize it in the oven or a pressure cooker.

After I’m finished knocking out, I’ll boil a small amount of water in my kettle and pump it through the CFC in both the process and anti-process directions. Then blow air through it to make sure it’s as dry as possible for storage. I don’t bother with sanitizing because it will have near-boiling wort pumped through it for 10 min during the whirlpool the next time I brew.

Every fourth or fifth time, I’ll add some CMC to the boiling water flush, then rinse with hot water and drain.

Ahh, recirc after the boil, genius. Whenever I try to recirc during the boil it cavitates.

I have a Therminator. Prior to chilling, I soak it in star san for 15 minutes.

Aside from keeping the wort feeding it free of hops, all I’ve done to keep it clean is use the backflush assembly at full water pressure immediately after chilling. That’s it, nothing else. My beers have been consistently free of contamination.

I don’t think it needs to be more complicated than that.

[quote=“HD4Mark”]I dunk my CFC in a bucket of PBW once in a while then run a trumpet brush (think that is what they call it) through. It is a small brush with a long handle. My LHBS sells them. You may have to go from both ends to get the entire inside. The gunk that came out was kind of disturbing the first time I did this. Never had an infection though.

On brew day I dunk it in a bucket of no rinse sanitizer then let boiling hot wort run through before turning on the water. After just rinse it out, dunk it in the bucket again and let it drain.[/quote]I think that brush is meant for dip tubes. I’d be a little nervous about the metal part of the brush scratching the insides of the CFC.

[quote=“brewkid167”]I have a Therminator. Prior to chilling, I soak it in star san for 15 minutes.

Aside from keeping the wort feeding it free of hops, all I’ve done to keep it clean is use the backflush assembly at full water pressure immediately after chilling. That’s it, nothing else. My beers have been consistently free of contamination.

I don’t think it needs to be more complicated than that.[/quote]
It actually does have to be a bit more complicated than that. I’ve been using a Therminator for 3 years and using the exact same process as you, with the same infection-free results. But about a year ago I decided to run some PBW through, and was amazed at how much gunk came out. So every few months, I’ll do the PBW clean in addition to my normal process.

[quote=“MullerBrau”][quote=“HD4Mark”]I dunk my CFC in a bucket of PBW once in a while then run a trumpet brush (think that is what they call it) through. It is a small brush with a long handle. My LHBS sells them. You may have to go from both ends to get the entire inside. The gunk that came out was kind of disturbing the first time I did this. Never had an infection though.

On brew day I dunk it in a bucket of no rinse sanitizer then let boiling hot wort run through before turning on the water. After just rinse it out, dunk it in the bucket again and let it drain.[/quote]I think that brush is meant for dip tubes. I’d be a little nervous about the metal part of the brush scratching the insides of the CFC.[/quote]
Never gave that a thought Greg. Maybe I will stick to just PBW from now on.

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