Counterflow Chiller

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General Information

Usable by all members

Equipment Owned By CHAOS
Model Number Model or link to manufacturer
Date of Purchase Best guess on purchase
Estimated Value Cost per item

Description of the equipment. Maybe just a quick description of what it is and what we use it for.

Rules and Instructions

Overview and Rules

The counterflow chiller works by running cold water and and hot wort through tubing inside the coils, transferring the heat from the wort to the water and cooling the wort to the optimum temperature to pitch your yeast.  There are four important aspects of using the chiller that brewers need to understand:

  • the controls and hook up
  • priming and operating the pump (you must properly prime or risk burning out the pump)
  • cleaning and sanitizing the chiller (you must properly clean and sanitize or risk ruining your and other brewers' batches)
    • clean with PBW
    • rinse with water
    • sanitize with StarSan
    • chill wort
    • clean with PBW
  • controlling the temperature by controlling the flow.


Before Usage

Controls and Hook Ups

Here are the key controls and hook ups you need to know:

  • the intake (where the liquid flows into the chiller) is near the bottom of the cart, going into the pump from the left as you look at the pump

  • The flow valve is on the right side of the pump, and can be turned from completely open, allowing for maximum flow, to completely closed

  • the pump on/off switch is a lever on the grey utility box above the pump

  • the cold water valve is on the floor and colored green

  • the outflow tube is near the top of the cart, coming out of the thermometer

Priming and Operating the Pump

The pump needs to be primed before its turned on, to avoid burning it out.  To do so, take an autosiphon and tubing and hook the tubing into the intake of the chiller.  Make sure the outflow tube is pointed towards the drain.  Adjust the flow valve so it is completely open. Pump the autosiphon until the PBW (or rinse water or StarSan, depending on which step you are on) goes through the pump, the coil, and back out the outflow tube.  At that point, leave the autosiphon in the tub of PBW/water/StarSan and turn on the pump.  Watch to make sure that the liquid is flowing through the autosiphon/tubing into the pump and out the outflow tube.  If it is not, turn the pump off and try again, from the beginning.  

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Because this is a brewhouse shared by scores of brewers, this step is critical.   Due to the design of a counterflow chiller, we cannot visually inspect the cleanliness of the chiller.  This means that every brewer who uses the chiller must effectively clean, sanitize and clean again (after running their beer through the chiller) every time they use it, or create a risk of infection for the brewers who use the chiller next.  

The fundamental of brewing sanitation (in this order, everytime) is:  

  • Clean with PBW
  • Rinse with water
  • Sanitize with StarSan
  • Use
  • Clean with PBW

To clean, use PBW.  StarSan is not a cleanser, you must use PBW to effectively clean.  After using PBW, rinse with warm water.  After cleaning, sanitize using StarSan.    Do not rinse after using StarSan, it is a no-rinse sanitizer that is safe to use at the appropriate dilution.  

According to the Five Star Chemical website, the appropriate dilution rate for mixing the PBW is 1-3 ounces (by weight) per gallon of 130-180F water (     For StarSan, use 1 fluid ounce per five gallons of cold or room temperature water, per the instructions on the bottle.  Two tablespoons volume equals one fluid ounce.     

Use the tubs to mix up these solutions towards the beginning of your brew day.  Run PBW through the pump, letting the initial outflow go down the drain, until you can confirm visually that no major debris is coming out of the chiller.  Then put the outflow tube back into the PBW tub, so that the PBW is re-circulating through the pump, a process that you can let go for as long as you want while you are brewing. Afterwards, run warm water through the chiller to rinse out the PBW.   

When you are ready to sanitize, use the same process but with StarSan.  Recirculate for as long as you wish, and at least five minutes (according to the Five Star Chemical website).  

After you have sanitized the chiller, you are ready to chill your wort.

Controlling the Flow to Control the Temperature

After cleaning and sanitizing the chiller, you are ready to chill your wort.  Turn on the cold water (the green lever on the tubing on the floor) all the way open. Hook silicone tubing from your brew kettle to the intake of the chiller’s pump.  Open your brew kettle value all the way and control the speed and volume of the flow of your wort through the chiller by adjusting the flow valve on the right side of the pump.  

A slow flow of wort through the chiller will lower the temperature of the wort coming out of the chiller, a faster flow will raise it.  Keep track of the temperatures on the thermometer strip on the top of the chiller and adjust the flow valve accordingly.  Common wisdom is to pitch ale yeast at a temperature from 60-65F, lager yeast from 50-55F.  


After Usage

After chilling your wort, you are not done:  clean the chiller again by running PBW through it, as described above.  If you are the last brewer of the day, when you are done running PBW through it, please run some clean water through the pump to rinse out of the PBW.  


Service and Upkeep

The following users have knowledge of how to fix this device:

  • User 1
  • User 2


In the event you have an issue, you might try doing the following, or you might try not doing anything and whining