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Old 05-01-2008, 01:33 PM   #1
Yorg
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Default Plate Chiller with pellets

I'm thinking of buying a plate chiller, and I use pellet hops. I hear you need to pre-filter with a stainless steel scrubby or get a block chiller every time. Kind of sounds like it might be more of a problem than a solution.
Anyone using one of these and happy with how it works?
How do you use it to ensure no blockage, and is cleaning it a real problem?

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Old 05-01-2008, 01:44 PM   #2
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I personally use a HopStopper filter, but a lot of people here make their own variation on it. You definitely need something to filter, and I don't think a SS scrubby is fine enought to capture pellet hops.

I love the cooling times with a plate chiller, and I have a pretty simple cleaning routine of backflushing, flushing, and sanitizing. There are some really great threads about cleaning plate chillers that really go into detail about the most effective methods , too. (mine is def. not the most effective)

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Old 05-01-2008, 05:35 PM   #3
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I have never tried using my plate chiller without the homemade hopstopper, but can imagine it would be a real mess. I have since installing my hopstopper always used at least a combination of leaf and pellet hops. There have been reports here that even a large area hopstopper will plug with a large load of pellet only hops. I tried one of the copper scrubbies early on with little success. As Jester mentioned, it is not fine enough an just doesn't have enough surface area to be effective. If you are siphoning (with a metallic siphon), the paint strainer trick posted around here looks like a great solution. The plate chiller cleaning with a backflush setup is pretty straightforward.

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Old 05-01-2008, 06:33 PM   #4
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My first solution when I got a plate chiller was to buy a sure screen and I put a 90 degree bend in the bottom couple inches of a SS racking cane so the sure screen laid parallel to the bottom of the kettle. This worked great for whole hops but pellets clogged it up completely. Since then I've additionally been using hop straining bags. I would recommend going with the paint

Oh, and remember that you will need high-temp tubing and SS racking cane if you are siphoning to the chiller.

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Old 05-02-2008, 03:27 PM   #5
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I'm a huge fan of plate chillers because they are so efficient and convenient. But their achilles heel is definitely pellet hop debris. Even a small amount of debris will bring a plate chiller to it's knees. Some kind of screen is absolutely necessary.

Regarding pellet hops and the Hop Stopper: The Hop Stopper is guaranteed not to clog. I use pellet hops only with my CFC, and have for years. Even with as much as 7 oz of pellets it has never clogged. There have been some issues with the cold break generated by immersion chillers, but of the hundreds of Hop Stoppers sold, there have been only a handful that have actually been returned.

All questions/inquries welcome.

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Old 05-02-2008, 03:36 PM   #6
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You could also use Biermunchers hop bag concept.

Honestly, I have never had a problem with my plate chiller clogging and I am also a generic hop stopper user.

Here's the thing. IMO, it's a PITA to clean when using pellet hops. So, I for one expect I'll be doubling up. Put the hops in the sack and let the HS catch any break material it can, although the latter hasn't been an issue.

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