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Plate Chiller Question

Hi All,

I’m considering acquiring a plate chiller and wanted to pose a couple questions for those in the know. Down here in the spirit crushing heat, water coming from the garden hose is not going to get me to the low 60’s while running through the plates.

  1. Do you think it’s feasible to set up a pond pump in a big cooler filled with ice and water and use that pump to move water through the chiller and then either re-circulate it back into the cooler or run it off into the pool or garden etc?
  2. Do you think a pond pump could do the trick rather than the garden hose coming from the tap?
  3. Would GPM be something I need to consider with the pond pump?
  4. Will gravity be enough to drain the kettle through the chiller and into the fermenter assuming I have my equipment in a waterfall type set up?
  5. Per #4 would a pump be best?

Any input would be much appreciated.
Mike

I’m WAY north of you and don’t have this issue but due to an opposite issue (so cold out I didn’t want to run my ‘waste’ cooling water outside since I didn’t want an ice rink) I’ve actually done this method. It will work, you need a lot of ice to bring the entire batch down to temp though. I just used the small pond pump out of the ‘Mark’s Keg Washer’ setup which worked fine. I’ve also fed my plate chiller wort via gravity, works just fine if you’ve got an appropriate amount of drop.

To clean the plate chiller I’d just use the same pump, hot water and PBW to recirculate cleaner through the chiller.

Thanks. So the pond pump allows for a sufficient amount of pumping water for the chiller to be efficient? Do you recall the gpm of the pump?

Thanks, Mike

I wish I had a photo of my set up. I have a CFC instead of a plate chiller but I use a small pond pump in the bottom of a cooler. I add 3 large and 3 small frozen water bottles and a gallon of water and start the pump a few minutes before I start cooling (primarily to check leaks).

I generally buy one 5-8 pound bag of ice and add to the top in addition to what is in our two freezer icemakers. Sometimes I buy two bags.

Basically I go from boiling to 58* in 15 to 20 minutes. You have to carefully watch the flow to get the proper temp and you have to keep stirring the ice bath to make sure that the water stays cold as pockets will develop.

This system works very well.

Great advice. I try and stir up my kettle and IC every 5 minutes or so. I’m thinking my IC process just needs to be tweaked.

I don’t, will try to remember to check it next time I’m by it. It isn’t a very large pump at all.

EDIT: Looked it up and the pump is about 9 GPM.

You might want to consider a March (style) pump to recirculate the wort running through the chiller back to the boil pot. Then use your pool water for initial chilling (what’s it’s temp?). Then move to an ice batch circulating.

Summer time pool in the 80’s. Enough to get me below 100. Then I’ll use ice. My system doesn’t suck, it’s just that it’s efficiency sucks based on the time of the year. I’m having GAS this week, that’s why I was thinking about a chiller plate. But now I’m thinking my $$ might be better spent on a mill. So it goes…

GAS; gear acquisition syndrome.

I like my plate chiller but if I were choosing I’d MUCH rather have my mill. The plate chiller is just nice because I can cool large batches quickly.

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