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Old 04-22-2012, 04:50 PM   #1
MacGruber
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Default Plate Chiller or new immersion

Hi everyone,

I need a more efficient chiller. I made my old immersion chiller out 25ft of 3/8 in copper tubing. I'm not very good at building things. It works but I really need something more efficient. I do 5 gallon full boil batches. Would you recommend a plate chiller or a new immersion chiller of 50ft of 1/2 in copper tubing and why? Thanks for any input you can give!

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Old 04-22-2012, 07:57 PM   #2
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I went with the 50' x 1/2" after reading Jamil's article at Mr Malty.com and am completely satisfied with the decision. I used Bobbie M's instructions on YouTube.

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Old 04-22-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
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Plate chiller can't be beat for locking in hop flavor/aroma.

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Old 04-22-2012, 10:21 PM   #4
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It also depends on what you define as "efficient". Plate chillers are a heck of a lot more efficient at transferring heat (much more surface area) and using less water in the process. So in those terms - a lot more efficient than an immersion chiller.

Aside from that: copper is pretty expensive these days. Most of the time it's cheaper to buy an immersion chiller than make one.

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Old 04-22-2012, 10:26 PM   #5
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Plate chiller... Faster chill times, far less work (you don't need to move it like you do an IC to get better chill times) and far more compact. I chill 6.5-7 gallons of boiling hot wort fast. That's even with a ~5 minute recirculation while still boiling (to sterilize the chiller's insides). I recirculate the chilling wort back into the keggle for the first 5 minutes (currently) before sending it into the fermenter. I easily hit 55-60F into primary this way. I'm using the ChillHog 4000 from Rebel Brewer currently, but have my eyes on a larger 30-60 plate chiller from Duda Diesel... The longer chiller should seriously shorten my chill times for all my batches.

If you do get a plate chiller, I would plan on getting a pump ASAP. Unless you already have one, or have planned to get one at the same time.

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Old 04-22-2012, 11:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Plate chiller... Faster chill times, far less work (you don't need to move it like you do an IC to get better chill times) and far more compact. I chill 6.5-7 gallons of boiling hot wort fast. That's even with a ~5 minute recirculation while still boiling (to sterilize the chiller's insides). I recirculate the chilling wort back into the keggle for the first 5 minutes (currently) before sending it into the fermenter. I easily hit 55-60F into primary this way. I'm using the ChillHog 4000 from Rebel Brewer currently, but have my eyes on a larger 30-60 plate chiller from Duda Diesel... The longer chiller should seriously shorten my chill times for all my batches.

If you do get a plate chiller, I would plan on getting a pump ASAP. Unless you already have one, or have planned to get one at the same time.
right on. i use gravity with my plate chiller but i have to make sure to use hop bags or it does slow down near the end.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:50 AM   #7
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I use a hop spider (stainless steel of course) to keep the hop matter out of my plate chiller. The bag I use is large enough that the hops have really good wort flow. Utilization is exactly as I expect/wish from the batches so I have no issues there. I just have to make sure the bag is long enough to reach deep enough in the keggle so that it works as I designed it. Basically, I have three different hop bags now. One custom made, one from William's (14" long bag I believe) and another that's normally use to hold grain in buckets for BIAB. With the worm clamp holding the bag to the ring, it's easy to set the depth. I just make sure the bag won't touch the bottom of the keggle/kettle during the boil.

With the spider, I don't have any flow issues at any point. I also use gravity (for the most part) once I'm done recirculating. I do have to pulse the pump once every so often to make sure the wort doesn't get chilled too far.

BTW, I've upgraded the impeller in my 809 pumps to the one in the 815 model...

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Old 04-24-2012, 02:27 AM   #8
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I ended up buying a heavy duty 1/2'' by 50' immersion chiller. It's more than double what I have now and I'm only doing 5 gallon batches. I don't have the cash for a pump at this time and wanted something simple to use/clean. I'll stick with the immersions for now. Thanks for the advice!

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Old 04-24-2012, 04:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MacGruber View Post
I ended up buying a heavy duty 1/2'' by 50' immersion chiller. It's more than double what I have now and I'm only doing 5 gallon batches. I don't have the cash for a pump at this time and wanted something simple to use/clean. I'll stick with the immersions for now. Thanks for the advice!
good choice, i have one of those in addition a plate chiler and it's good for 10 gallon batches too. i have pretty cold tap water and i could get 10 gallons down to pitching temps in 15-25 min depending on how hard i stirred.
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:39 AM   #10
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I have been facing a similar decision when my last chiller broke. After reading the Mr Malty article, and knowing a few people who have had issues with their plate chillers I decided to stay with an immersion chiller as well.

I am planning on building a 50' whirlpool IC... like this one!

http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

of course it helps that during my prime brew months, the chill water comes out of my well at about 45 degrees!

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