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Plate chiller question

I just used my new setup of a plate chiller and march pump on my first 10 gallon batch. The chiller is a duda diesel, I forgot the model # but it’s one of the larger ones on their site. It’s about the size of the Shirron but thicker. Anyway, it didn’t chill as quick as I thought because my source water is warm (Florida sucks for brewing!) and my prechiller of my old immersion chiller in a bucket melted all the ice I had in about 5 minutes! Anyways… on to my question:

Rather than pump directly into the fermentor, does anyone recirculate back into the kettle? I figure I could run the pump more wide open this way rather than at a trickle to come out at 80 degrees. This combined with a few extra bags of ice should help next time. What’s the most efficient way to use a plate chiller? Wide open or something slower? How about for the chill water?


Chill water should run just fast enough to come out fairly hot at first, any less and you’re wasting water although the faster you run it the faster the chilling. Wort should run only as fast as it can go and still come out cool. If you’re recircing (and many people do this) you will probably want to pump fast enough to create a nice whirlpool, that will bring the trub into the center of the kettle and help prevent clogging of the plate chiller. You’ll definitely want to bag your hops, these can plug a plate chiller.

Also, I wouldn’t use a prechiller at first, let the tap water carry away the majority of the heat. Then go to the ice once the temp gets down closer to the chill water temp.

I think this was on a brewing TV episode where someone would get a bottling bucket or two with a bunch of ice water and use that to run through their chiller to make sure that it got cold faster. That would be a bit of a pain but if your water ain’t cutting it and you need to ice the carboy anyways it might be worth a try. I’ve definitely noticed warmer temps on ours transitioning into springtime here. We used to be able to let it flow as fast as possible and get good results, now if we do that we’re ending up in the 80s.

I’ve dealt with Florida water temps for years now, and when using the plate chiller I recirculate back to the kettle until the temps are down to around 100 using a strong flow of tap water. After that temp is reached I switch to a submersible pump in some ice water and then pump to the fermenter.

Here is my page for that

Dean you’ve tried most of the chilling options haven’t you. Good synopsis. I’m going to stick with a whirlpool and IC. I do need to make a bigger IC though.

I still believe the best option overall is the immersion chillers and a whirlpool. They are simple and the same tap and ice water pump sources and methods can be used. I’m actually going to build a new IC when I change to an even bigger kettle that will allow a real nice whirlpool, and not have all that lost wort in the plate chillers and plumbing.

Great stuff guys, thanks…

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