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-   -   Clogged plate chiller... (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/clogged-plate-chiller-367130/)

Deuce 11-12-2012 02:14 AM

Clogged plate chiller...
My Shirron plate chiller performed great the first 5 batches of 10 gallons. Fast forward onto batch 13, and this thing flows like a slug. I have soaked it in PBW for over 24 hours, flushed, and used, same result. This weekend I decided to put it in the over at 400 degrees for an hour. My house smelled like burnt sugar, I then soaked in PBW again, flushed, and on today's brewday, my flow was slower than ever. I am at the point now where I'm about to scrap this thing and go with a counterflow chiller. Some specs for people:

1) Boil kettle is about 1.5 feet above plate chiller AND CHILLER AND PUMP

2) Only about 12" of tubing between pump and chiller

3) fermenters are lower than both pump, chiller, and boil kettle.

What can I do at this point to clear this thing out to where it flows like it did when it was new. Granted, I'm getting great cooling results, but wasting an @$$ ton of water, eg, 15 gallon batch, 40 minutes from boil kettle to fermentors.

inhousebrew 11-12-2012 02:28 AM

That sucks and is worrisome because that is what I use to chill. Have yet to have any issues here so I can't answer you're question but am curious to see if others have any suggestions.

Deuce 11-12-2012 02:42 AM

The worrisome part for me is after every brewday I flush with hot PBW. When I baked it, black sugars game bubbling out, and it smelled like a candy factory gone wrong. The hard part with these things is you can't see what's clean or not clean inside them. I am especially clean with everything else, but this, the thing I can't see gave me the biggest surprise. Now how to clean it before I beat it flat!

bja 11-12-2012 03:15 PM

Since you've already baked it, I don't know if you'll ever get it clean.

passedpawn 11-12-2012 03:19 PM

Drain cleaner? I'd make a strong lye solution but most people don't have lye (NaOH) sitting around.

Monster Mash 11-12-2012 03:20 PM


Originally Posted by bja (Post 4581764)
Since you've already baked it, I don't know if you'll ever get it clean.

That is my fear also. Did you flush it in both directions using boiling hot PBW?

Homercidal 11-12-2012 04:01 PM


Originally Posted by passedpawn (Post 4581782)
Drain cleaner? I'd make a strong lye solution but most people don't have lye (NaOH) sitting around.

I was going to suggest that. Or suggest the OP swap me his PC for my CFC... :D

I believe that model PC is stainless and should be able to handle a lot of different cleaners and high temps. There is surely a cleaner that will eat that burnt wort and rinse out.

From what I've read, it takes a bit of flushing and back flushing to completely clean the wort from a PC. Some people even blow them out with compressed air the help get all of the water out of them.

mavrick1903 11-12-2012 04:23 PM

This wont help the OP, (sorry for that) my experience is with a Blingman. I clogged when my hop bag failed and lost hops and coriander into the brew.

I back flushed (this is mid boil of course) and was able to work out the problem. I back flush till clean, and usually do hot PBW as brew day prep as well.

Lye or something else that will break down the burnt sugar is likely the only option. I'm thinking run hot PBW (HOT HOT HOT) for an hour or so?

P-J 11-12-2012 04:43 PM

IMHO - You need to put it back in the oven and set it for about 500 degrees. Then leave it there for several hours. What you are trying to do with this process is to turn all of the debris inside of it to ashes. The ash can be washed out easily. Anything else - no so easy.

AndrewD 11-12-2012 04:49 PM

I don't know that nuking it with dry heat is the best choice. If I had a skillet with dried sugar stuck to it, I wouldn't put it in the oven, I would probably put water in it and boil it away to hydrate and soften the matter. Is it plausible to boil the chiller in a pot? Also, look into the method for stripping old cast iron by running a current through it while it is in a bucket of water, usually using a battery charger.

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