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Counterflow or Plate chiller?

I don’t want to start a great debate, but planning on upping my game…going to all grain. I’m using an immersion chiller with a pre-chiller now. Do either or both of the alternatives chill much faster to warrant a heftier price?

The CFC chills while you transfer so its gonna be hard to beat for speed.

In addition to Greg’s comments, a CFC is less likely to clog with break and hop debris.

Do I need a pump or just siphon it?

I have a Chillzilla-type counterflow chiller and I like it a lot. I had a home made counterflow chiller and that was problematic to use.

The unit has a low flow restriction, so I don’t believe that a pump is required with the right gravity setup. You should probably have a valve on the kettle. However, a pump is extremely handy. I use the pump to cycle Star San through it before use, to whirlpool chill (sometimes), and to pump wort to the fermenter.

Gravity is good enough as long as you keep the bottom of the kettle above the top of the fermentor.

I’ve got a plate chiller that I love, but I did have to configure my kettle to keep hop bits and trub from going into the chiller.

I use a CFC and it works great. I have to use a pump as my kettle isn’t high enough off the floor. But the pump is nice for recirculating hot water and PBW.

[quote=“pkrone”]I use a CFC and it works great. I have to use a pump as my kettle isn’t high enough off the floor. But the pump is nice for recirculating hot water and PBW.[/quote]Same here. I love the clean in place on mine.

One thing I do tell brewers that want to make the switch is if you don’t like cleaning stick with a IC. It does take longer to clean a CFC.


I think it’s debatable that a CFC or plate chiller is a step up per se from an IC. I don’t think a chiller really improves the beer but it can make brewing easier. Long time brewer and researched wort cooling extensively. To me, each chiller has pros and cons and deciding which one is best for you is a balancing act of speed, water efficiency, and easy of use. As long as you are chilling and getting proper wort temps, even the bath tub works fine. The aussies love the no chiller method.

A plate chiller is the most water efficient and fastest in terms of wort cooling but when you consider sterilizing and cleaning it is not really a time saver. If I paid alot for tap water I would go that route.

From my research a CFC is a good compromise from the IC and plate. Faster temp reduction and less concern over matter inside, but then there is sterilizing and cleaning but should be easier and faster than the plate.

The ole IC is the least efficient and slowest in terms of wort cooling BUT is there is basically no prep and little to no cleaning.

A pre chiller with ice is like a turbo charger and could be greatly speed things up and reduce temps further of all of your options. I think this is mainly for folks in hotter climates.

To me, the actual brewing is basically labor that I look to minimize and most of my geek and enjoyment time is spent with recipes, pH, yeast, and water chemistry. I made a 50’ 1/2" IC and do not regret it. I used a 25’ 3/8" IC for the better part of 20 years and the new IC is far superior/faster. Still KISS… Throw it in the boil to sterilize and rinse it off when done. With a 5.5G batch I can get down to 80F in 10-15m in the summer and to 60F in 5-10m in the cooler months. In the summer or for lager brewing the carboy gets an overnight rest in a cold fridge to hit pitch temps the next am. From start to finish I am under 3 hours and closing in on 2 for typical ales.

The immersion chiller is really awesome. When i got mine I was in heaven at the ease and simplicity. My only complaint was that it screwed up my whirl pool and when i do a full boil it takes longer than I care for. My vote is for the CFC as when i built my brew stand, I adding one and I love it. It cools easily and it can handle all the hops i throw at it. WARNING, do not use whole cone hops without a muslin bag. You will be spending a lot of time unclogging pumps, water lines, and your chiller.

I would think the LOE to clean and sterilize a CFC and plate chiller are the same. For sterilizing, pump boiling wort through it for a few minutes (without the water on). For cleaning, flush with water after brewing.

The one concern about a plate chiller is that corrosion will occur over time if you use agents like PBW/OxiClean or if you leave standing water inside the unit after flushing with hard water. You can put it in the over after using to dry it out.

Great source for plate chillers: … 7Aod9C4AsQ

Same here. Love being able to clean in place!

[rant on]I see a lot of improper use between the word sterilize and sanitize. Doctors and nurses sterilize; homebrewers sanitize. [rant off]

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