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Counterflow chiller, will this work?

I’m thinking about finally switching from using from immersion chillers ( first one goes through an ice bath to the second one that is in my kettle ) to a counterflow chiller. Currently I put my immersion chiller in the last 15 minutes of the boil to sanitize it and run my pump the last 15 minutes as well and circulated boiling wort back through a whirlpool arm I have attached to my chiller.
So if I do away with my kettle immersion chiller, I would place a whirlpool port/arm into the bottom of my kettle. And here’s what I’m thinking: The last 15 minutes of the boil I will run boiling wort from my kettle to my pump and through the CFC and then back through the whirlpool port in the kettle to sanitize everything. I will have a three-way valve coming out of the CFC so after flameout and after whirlpooling step when I’m ready to fill my fermenter, I just turn of the three-way valve the other way and fill the fermenter.

Question is:

  1. I’m worried that running boiling wort through my pump, the CFC, and back will dissipate so much heat that I will have a hard time keeping the boil up. I do use natural gas though. Does anyone do this and have any experience?
  2. I often use a large amount of pellet hops especially in whirlpool. I usually just throw the hops right into the kettle and do not use a spider or bag. Has anyone had any major problems with the CFC clogging?
  3. Any other better ideas for my system or anyone have a great way to do all this?


Yes, that’s exactly how I sanitize my pump and CFC. You’ll lose the boil for a minute or two, but you’ll stay above hop isomerization temperature. I haven’t had an issue with the CFC getting plugged, but I use a bazooka tube over the inlet when I have a lot of kettle hops.

I too do it exactly how you describe. I will start cranking the heat up right before I open the valve to start the recirculation so it will return to a boil faster.

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