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Old 12-02-2008, 03:29 PM   #1
UselessBrewing
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Default Counter Flow Chiller vs Plate chiller

I currently use an Immersion chiller, but had some questions about the Counter flow Chiller.
When using the counter flow chiller do you run the water opposite the way the wort is flowing. So the coldest portion of the water is hits the wort last? What do you think about using a combination Immersion/counter flow design where you pre-chill the water using an ice bath with an immersion chiller then hit the counterflow chiller.

I am planning on making a prechiller, but was unsure if I wanted to connect it to another immersion chiller, counter flow, or a plate chiller. I would make the assumption that the Plate chiller would work best, but I don't know that for a fact.

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Old 12-02-2008, 03:57 PM   #2
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First off a plate chiller is a counter-flow chiller, just a certain kind that utilizes surface area. But yes, you do run the water in the opposite direction of the wort, hence the name. You could probably use your immersion chiller as the pre chiller as long as you have a bucket it would fit in, just fill it up with ice water.

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info

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Preston

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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Without actually seeing what plate chiller versus what CFC you're refering to, it's hard to say which would perform better. I know with my 25' CFC, I can get my wort temp down to within a couple degrees of my tap water ( I don't know for sure because my tap water is always too cold for this) which is more than adequate for me. If read that the smaller passasges on plate chillers may clog with trub, not really a great selling point. Also, if you make your own CFC, I'm pretty sure it'll run you less than a plate chiller sized to work as effectively.

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:25 PM   #5
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On my last brew, I had to slow the water way down, and my fermenter still ended up being 62. Of course it was cold as hell out there!

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrr81765 View Post
On my last brew, I had to slow the water way down, and my fermenter still ended up being 62. Of course it was cold as hell out there!
Slower is better! You actually want the water coming out to be warm- If it is cold, the water is flowing too fast for the heat to dissipate effectively.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:56 PM   #7
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I like my copper-coil counter-flow chiller since I can send a (new) earplug through it with water pressure to somewhat scrub the inside. Doesn't seem as easy to clean a plate chiller. On the other hand you can throw a plate chiller in the oven for a few hours to sterilize it.

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Old 11-21-2009, 07:04 PM   #8
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I'm bumping this thread because I was recently stressing out about this very topic. I ended up buying everything I'd need to set up a 25' counterflow hose chiller. A simple design, re-using the hose ends came to $103 dollars. If I made two, the price would have been just over $150 for both. I had to buy 50' of 3/8 OD copper and that came to $40 alone. This didn't include buying hose to get to and from the chiller from the kitchen faucet.

I sat there with my receipts thinking about the soldering I was going to have to do, and the cost of another propane bottle for my torch when I searched plate chillers. I found a 15 plate chiller with 1/2" NPT on DudaDiesel for $62 shipped (to my door in 3 days). I spent another $65 on all the hoses I'd need to chill, this includes a section of 1/2" ID high-temp hose, and connectors. I used 3/4" vinyl tubing for my sink and drain water connectors with hose fittings with 1/2" ID and a 3/8" ID cold wort outlet. I also left enough room on my water drain hose to fill another pot to start a second batch with pre-heated water.

With the 15 plate chiller, and the winter 55F water on full, I chilled boiling wort to <60F. I had to turn the water nearly off to get the wort out at 70F. My next step is to change the cold wort outlet to 1/2" ID. I was concerned that the chiller would be too small to handle the chilling and had a 1/4" outlet on standby to slow the wort even more, but I was pleasantly suprised that I won't be needing it. With all the fiddling I did, it took 10 minutes. I think I can get it down to 5.

Those are my costs for the whole chilling shebang. I can also use the hoses for siphoning, etc (can't wait to drain a carboy with 3/4" ID). I'm pretty satisfied with the little chiller. I boiled it for about 30 minutes to sanitize, and blew water through the wort side to clean it by swapping the water in to wort out. I also used very fine mesh hop bags, and noticed very little sediment in the pot. Ultimately the cost of the plate chiller setup was nearly identical to what I would have spent on a counterflow chiller, packs up much smaller, and is easier to sanitize.

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Old 11-21-2009, 07:11 PM   #9
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Nice prices on heat exchangers at DudaDiesel. i'll have to remember that

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Old 11-22-2009, 01:29 AM   #10
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Update: for my second batch I went to a 1/2" fitting on the cold wort outlet. At full bore from a boiling pot, I got 80F wort. I slowed the flow by kinking the hose and was able to hit 75F in 7 minutes from a boiling pot.

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