Friday, June 8, 2012

Brewing (At Least a Little) Smarter

Sometimes it's the little things. On brew day, there's not much going on if you're not heating or cooling something liquid. Whether you're using an immersion chiller or a counter-flow chiller, there will be cold water running into it, and hot water running out. Why waste hot water?

As you're chilling the wort, capture the hot water running off, and use it for cleanup. This works especially well with an efficient counter-flow chiller that produces higher temperature runoff. I also got a pump not too long ago, and that lets me run CIP (Clean In Place) Cycles with PBW. The PBW needs hot water to dissolve, and the extra time needed to heat the water has long been a disincentive for me to clean thoroughly on brew day.

Instead, I've usually started cleaning most of the system at the start of brew day. I heat the strike water, and once the mash is started I heat the cleaning water, and then the sparge water. It all fits in the hour used for mashing, but makes for a busy time at the start of things. Now that I started capturing hot water at the end of the brew day it does make the day a bit longer, but I have the hot water, and I feel better about putting away clean gear rather than mostly clean gear.

Waste not, want not. It's better than watching steaming-hot water run down the driveway, which I've been doing for too long.

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