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Plate Chiller Questions

HI All -

I’ve been homebrewing now going on 3 years. I still have my original immersion chiller I bought when i bought my entire setup. I’ve upgraded quite a few things over the years, but not that. I’ve been paging through the latest NB catalog wondering what my next HB equipment purchase would be and I’ve been pondering plate chillers. One would definately cut down on my brew session time.

But…i have several questions on them.

1 - do you need a pump or does gravity work as well/fast.
2 - do you need to filter to filter out trub/hops?
3 - do they ever get clogged with trub? How much of a pain is that?

Thanks for any feedback.

Alan

My advice since I’ve had them all stay with your IC chiller it maybe a little slower but in my opinion it is still the best.

It may take 5 or 10 min more time to cool a batch but it’s easy to clean easy to sanitize if you want to spend money get the biggest one you can a 1/2 in 50 footer.

You’ll “want” a pump, but gravity will do in a pinch. Now that I think about it, just get a pump and forget about the plate chiller.

Yep, a bunch of the stuff that goes in, don’t come out.

Quite the pain. More from the doubting in sanitation. I switched to a counterflow and I’m super happy.

Why, you’re welcome

1 - do you need a pump or does gravity work as well/fast.
Nope, I’ve done probably 30 batches with the shirron and gravity works just fine.

2 - do you need to filter to filter out trub/hops?
You can get a boil screen for the bottom and this works fine with at least 3ozs of hops, otherwise just use a bag to hold the hops while boiling.

3 - do they ever get clogged with trub? How much of a pain is that?

I’ve only had it clog once, the first time I used it. I think it was the irish moss that stuck to the hops that got caught in the plate chiller. I just tried a batch and whirlpooled the boil kettle at the end and no clogging problems.

I have the boil kettle about 6 feet off the ground, plate chiller about 6 inches underneath and the carboy on the ground.

Also I never used an immersion chiller until after I used the plate chiller for several months. There is so much waste water! The plate chiller works in less that 5 minutes, the immersion I used took almost 20-25 with the tap going wide open.

I agree with wals0248. I’ve done 50+ batches with my plate chiller, no pump, no screen. The only time I had a clog was when I brewed a beer with spices. My set up works better with pellet hops than it does with whole hops, but it works for both. I use a hop bag occasionally, but not on every batch. I switched from Irish Moss to Whirfloc as a precaution, and haven’t had any problems. Having a pump and screen would be an upgrade, but I haven’t found them necessary yet.

:shock: That is the scariest thing I have heard in a LONG while.

:shock: That is the scariest thing I have heard in a LONG while.[/quote]

I thought the same thing!

:shock: That is the scariest thing I have heard in a LONG while.[/quote]

I thought the same thing![/quote]

Its far from ideal but it works so far. Its probably closer to 5 than 6 feet I guess.

I picked up a plate chiller from Dudadiesel
http://www.dudadiesel.com/search.php?query=%2Bbeer+%2Bwort+%2Bchiller&i=beerchillers
this summer. If you’re going to get one, these can’t be beat for the price. I went with the B3-23A model. From what I had read, total surface area is more important than the number of plates.

I did a bunch of testing and used gravity on a few batches, but in the end I picked up a pump and I’m very glad I did. A pump is a versatile tool that can be used in multiple ways in your brewhouse. It has transformed my brew day.

No, you do not need a pump as long as you can elevate your kettle adequately.

If you use a hop spider, you should be just fine as far as clogging is concerned.

Check out this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=110892. The biggest issues for me were losing my siphon with about 1/5 to 1/6 of the wort left in the kettle and I did not feel comfortable with my kettle elevated.

I’ve got the therminator and I only use gravity. My boil kettle isn’t that high up, bottom of it is ~4" higher than the top of a carboy. Gravity works well for me, I’ve got a blichman boil kettle and use a Hop Blocker to keep hops and trub from clogging the Therminator which has worked.

One thing I have found with my setup though is that just back flushing the Therminator with cold water from a hose doesn’t do a great job keeping it clean. Every couple of brews I use a cheap water fountain pump to cycle warm PBW solution through it which does a good job cleaning it up.

I’ve often thought about getting a pump but since my current gravity fed setup works well I have a hard time justifying spending money on it.

I’ve always used backflushing, front flushing?, backflushing etc… over and over to make sure I get all the crud out to clean with no problems so far. However, the other night I did this and just for fun threw the plate chiller in the kettle with PBW and tried flushing once more and a ton of green fluid came out. I figured I was spending enough time flushing it to get everything out but evidently not, definitely throw some pbw through your plate chiller when done. I usually bake it in the oven for 25 minutes afterwards to make sure I get it completely dry.

[quote=“chuck”]My advice since I’ve had them all stay with your IC chiller it maybe a little slower but in my opinion it is still the best.

It may take 5 or 10 min more time to cool a batch but it’s easy to clean easy to sanitize if you want to spend money get the biggest one you can a 1/2 in 50 footer.[/quote]

I agree. I bought a plate chiller a few years ago and used it for a while. It is a pain to use and keep clean. I went pack to my IC. So much easier, just hose it off when you are done.

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