Views: 32 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-11-15 Origin: Site
Most people know glycol as an ingredient in antifreeze. But what many don’t know is that glycol is also used as a refrigerant in beer chillers. In this post, we’ll take a look at what glycol is and how it’s used in a chiller. We’ll also discuss some of the benefits of using glycol for chilling your beer. So, if you’re curious about glycol and how it can help improve your brewing process, keep reading!
What is Glycol?
Glycol is a colorless, odorless, and sweet-tasting (but non-caloric) fluid. It’s most familiar to people as an ingredient in antifreeze for automotive engines and mechanical cooling systems. Glycol has the ability to absorb and release large amounts of heat without changing its temperature. This makes it ideal for use in refrigeration applications such as beverage chillers.
Glycol is an important heat transfer fluid in industrial chiller applications. In addition to offering excellent heat transfer parameters, ethylene glycol tends to discourage algae growth in heat transfer equipment. Many homebrewers utilize glycol chillers in their home breweries allowing them to successfully make top-quality ales and lagers year-round. But what exactly is a glycol chiller, how is it used it in the brewery industry and why would you want one?
What is a Glycol Beer Chiller?
A glycol beer chiller is a device that cools the hot wort (water extract from mashing barley malt) exiting the brew kettle, and then transfers it to fermenters for yeast propagation.
Brewery chillers are typically composed of two coils: copper tubing for transferring heat away from the boiled wort, and plastic tubing for carrying cooled liquid back to the chilled water source. Glycol fluid is pumped through both coils in order to exchange heat with its surroundings as it travels back and forth between the two coils.
Glycol chillers are invaluable tools in commercial breweries because they allow brewers to rapidly move lots of beer through their processing pipelines without worrying about even the smallest temperature increase.
But for homebrewers, glycol chillers are all about precise temperature control. Being able to adjust the temp of the wort (the term for unfermented beer) in steps that range in 5 degrees or less means you can control fermentation temps with much greater accuracy. This is very useful when making styles like lager which require precise, controlled temperatures throughout fermentation and lagering (cold storage).
How is Glycol Used in a Chiller?
Glycol chillers allow homebrewers to rapidly cool their worts below boiling temps to complete water condensation and convert starch into sugar; chilling also slows down yeast activity allowing time for accurate pitch rates and preventing possible off-flavors caused by over-pitching.
Additionally, glycol chillers let you take the heat out of your beer-in-progress rapidly enough to prevent potential wort caramelization (burning). This is especially important during runoff when hot wort first hits the counterflow chiller. It can also be helpful for bringing down wort temperatures at the end of a long brew day in order to pitch yeast without having to wait several hours – glycol chillers help brewers save time and water! Glycol chillers are also convenient because they allow you to cool your beer outdoors or indoors with no need for ice baths or messy “swamp coolers”.
Key Points About Using Glycol
Getting the ratio of water to glycol right is crucial to maintaining your chiller at peak performance. Getting the glycol concentration ratio correct ensures that the freezing point is lowered enough and works smoothly in your system. That ratio will depend on several factors and should be hashed out with an expert on your machine. Once you have the ratio right, your machine will work smoothly for a long time.
It’s also important to use the right type of glycol for your chiller. Substituting automobile antifreeze or other random chemicals can clog the heat exchanger and interfere with the proper working of the chiller.