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> Plate vs Immersion Chilling, For 15-20 gal batches
manplant
post Sep 23 2012, 08:50 AM
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Im currently running 15 gal batches in a 3 pot set-up chilling with 3-3/8" immersion chillers. I need to speed the chill process up. Ive considered going with additional 50' 1/2" immersions or going single pot and plate chiller method.

What are the pitfalls of the plate chiller system compared to immersion chillers?
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WillM
post Sep 23 2012, 03:51 PM
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QUOTE(manplant @ Sep 23 2012, 09:50 AM) *
Im currently running 15 gal batches in a 3 pot set-up chilling with 3-3/8" immersion chillers. I need to speed the chill process up. Ive considered going with additional 50' 1/2" immersions or going single pot and plate chiller method.

What are the pitfalls of the plate chiller system compared to immersion chillers?


According to what type of plate chiller you use. If you have one that can be taken apart then cleaning isn't so bad but if you get one that is brazened together that cannot be taken apart then it could be an issue if you run unfiltered wort through it. It can become clogged and you have to back flush them. Even with that there still may be some residue left behind that may grow nasty critters that no one wants in their beer. That said, if you choose a plate chiller then make sure you filter the wort prior to it going through it and clean completely with boiling water and in both directions immediately after each use. That is my suggestions.
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Montana
post Sep 23 2012, 09:56 PM
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QUOTE(WillM @ Sep 23 2012, 12:51 PM) *
According to what type of plate chiller you use. If you have one that can be taken apart then cleaning isn't so bad but if you get one that is brazened together that cannot be taken apart then it could be an issue if you run unfiltered wort through it. It can become clogged and you have to back flush them. Even with that there still may be some residue left behind that may grow nasty critters that no one wants in their beer. That said, if you choose a plate chiller then make sure you filter the wort prior to it going through it and clean completely with boiling water and in both directions immediately after each use. That is my suggestions.


Does anyone know where you can buy a plate chiller that you can take apart, that will work for home brewing?
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Felix
post Sep 24 2012, 04:49 AM
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QUOTE(Montana @ Sep 23 2012, 10:56 PM) *
Does anyone know where you can buy a plate chiller that you can take apart, that will work for home brewing?


Big +1!
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Thorhale
post Sep 24 2012, 05:25 AM
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Yes + 1 here too. I would love to have a chiller that you could dissasemble. My plate chiller has become a PITA since I have no pump to circulate hot pbw For an hour but I have heard it does the trick.
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manplant
post Sep 24 2012, 07:59 PM
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Immersion chiller it is!
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Felix
post Sep 24 2012, 09:03 PM
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QUOTE(manplant @ Sep 24 2012, 08:59 PM) *
Immersion chiller it is!


Following on is a pretty bloated explanation of my point of view, the opinions are poorly researched by a madman! In other words, these are only my observations.

I think the question you want to ask the group, (Insert cautionary statement regarding opinion here), is as follows:

"I like to brew 'X' style(s), what would be the most efficient, cost effective, method of chilling my wort to pitching temperature?"

The variables, there are quite a few that I don't touch on however, would be IBU usage, are you bitter to the bone, think APA, do you enjoy the nose of hops, leaning toward the continental pilsners (my personal favorite), or are you a flavor junkie? The way you clean is more a matter of preference. Even if you think you're 'lazy', that would be a misnomer. You would likely be looking for a hands off effective cleaning regime, i.e., circulating 165* PBW through a plate chiller, or a soak of the immersion chiller. These methods would allow you to focus on another part of the brew day, family commitments or watching that sad display of the Pats coach getting in that ref's face.

Good luck!

This post has been edited by Felix: Sep 24 2012, 09:06 PM
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manplant
post Sep 24 2012, 09:20 PM
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Good ideas. That hits the nail on the head. Im an analytical guy, but Im making 15 gallons at a time for a reason. I want a simple mistake proof process that will get the wort from boil to pitch in less than 30 min.

Im convinced the 35 min it takes to get down to 140 and 60 min to get to pitch currently is a big issue regardless of my style. For reference Im a 70 ibu APA guy but like to switch to wit or other lighter styles.

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Thorhale
post Sep 25 2012, 12:35 AM
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QUOTE(manplant @ Sep 24 2012, 05:59 PM) *
Immersion chiller it is!


I woud like to suggest building an oversized unit to support future upgrades and to better accommodate summer brewing. Not sure where you are but cold water isn't always a luxury here.
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RunDownHouse
post Sep 25 2012, 05:02 PM
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With an immersion chiller and mid-south water temps, I get tap water going through my 50' coil and then head to the Walgreens just down the road for ice. When I get back, the wort is around 100F and I fill a bucket with containing a pond pump, dump the ice in, and then recirc ice water. I'd say 20-30 pounds of ice is enough to get to 60F, 30-40 pounds down to 45F. To get down to low ale temps, like 60-62, takes 30m total, at the worst, down to 44-46 probably another 20 minutes, at worst.

In general I've got 12g in the kettle at knockout. With an immersion chiller, I just don't think you can get to pitch temps in a short amount of time without a pump or other supply of seriously cold water. An alternative that I don't see mentioned often for some reason is a plate chiller with a cold liquor tank. I've got a 25g mash tun that I could, after cleaning, use as cold liquor, and then pump that through a plate chiller, and I suspect that if I had that filled with ice water, I could probably get ale temps in 15 minutes or less. But I'm still buying the ice, etc, and I'm happy with my set up.
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RunDownHouse
post Sep 25 2012, 05:05 PM
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I've also read that, for protein stability, forming good break, and hop utilization purposes, getting under that 140 ASAP is the most important part. Everything else between that and pitch is about wort stability, ie keeping bugs out.
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manplant
post Sep 25 2012, 08:24 PM
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QUOTE(RunDownHouse @ Sep 25 2012, 06:05 PM) *
I've also read that, for protein stability, forming good break, and hop utilization purposes, getting under that 140 ASAP is the most important part. Everything else between that and pitch is about wort stability, ie keeping bugs out.



Great stuff. Im targeting a 50' 5/8 OD from morebeer.com along with a 1300 gph pump from harbor freight. Its cheaper to buy them than to make them.
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RunDownHouse
post Sep 26 2012, 03:09 PM
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My pump is a 1/2hp, and it is probably on the verge of overkill, I'll bet you can save some money by getting a less powerful pump.
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WillM
post Oct 1 2012, 06:31 AM
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QUOTE(Montana @ Sep 23 2012, 10:56 PM) *
Does anyone know where you can buy a plate chiller that you can take apart, that will work for home brewing?


Not so sure myself as this is what I have always been told but with no answer on the where. Best I could come up with is http://www.muel.com/productDivisions/Heat_...tExchangers.cfm which might make one small enough and affordable enough if one wanted to contact and ask.

I myself have a Duda-Diesel 40 plate brazed and will have a set-up where I can chill 15gal in 120 seconds.
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Dean Palmer
post Feb 27 2013, 04:26 PM
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QUOTE(RunDownHouse @ Sep 26 2012, 04:09 PM) *
My pump is a 1/2hp, and it is probably on the verge of overkill, I'll bet you can save some money by getting a less powerful pump.


Nope, actually I would hate to suggest anything under 1/3hp as the biggest problem with the setups I see is the resistance to flow, and you need volume of flow, and those smaller hobby pond pumps don't let you use even the cooling capacity of a 25' immersion chiller. Been there, done it :-)

I regularly use both immersion coils for teaching, and plate chillers for my main system. Immersion coils are probably the best method as long as there is water flow and stirring, and you still have the ability to use an ice water pump after the temps are down to about 100f.

As for plate chillers, they are clearly the most efficient. There currently isn't one that you can take apart. If you have some sort of basic filter that keeps the largest chunks in the kettle you won't have an issue. You also don't need to recirculate hot PBW endlessly after the session. Seems a lot of folks create solutions where there isn't really a problem. Backflush and flush thoroughly and maybe sometimes run PBW or similar when convenient. You'll always get some color and debris, but that doesn't affect anything.

Although I love my plate units, I can get similar times out of a good 1/2" immersion coil, proper stirring, and an ice water pump.
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