Hey guys, this is my first post here. Chilling the wort down to lager pitching temp has always been a problem for me (sometimes my tap water is as warm as 30+degC / 90degF in the summer). Before my LODO days, I used to cool the wort down to the 20s degC / 70s degF with an immersion chiller and then let it seat in the fridge until the pitching temperature has been reached.
Since I started LODOing (and there was this huge pressure to rapidly cool the wort do pitching) I've been trying to find an effective and simple method that does not waste a lot of water. Eventualy I came up with the following:
1) After the whirlpool, I transfer the wort through a stainless counter-flow chiller to a purged 30 liter keg. If the tap water is too warm, I'll use a pre chiller, but as far the cooled wort comes out below 30 degC / 86 degF it's ok
2) After all the wort has been transferred, I hook a vaccum pump to the keg and let it run for a full hour
3) Then I'll just let the wort seat overnight (under vacuum) in the fridge
4) The next day I'll rack the wort out of the keg to the fermenter, pitch and aerate as normal. Sometimes I'll just ferment in the keg, but racking to another vessel allows me to get rid of some of the cold trub that has settled overnight.
I still cannot chill the wort rapidly down to 6 degC for pitching, but at least it will stay protected from oxygen damage during the overnight rest in the fridge. Here's a pic of my setup: http://imgur.com/a/RDOmy
Unfortunately this won't work with Cornies, as they cannot be vacuumed.
I didn't brewed many batches using this method yet, but so far so good.
Please let me know what do you think