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Old 03-31-2012, 01:40 PM   #1
bmbigda
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Default Plate Chiller Technique?

I have brewed 5 batches now with my plate chiller and although I've learned some things, I don't think I've quite mastered it yet.

Some specifics:
- 40 plate chiller from DudaDiesel
- 10 gallon batches
- March Pump with output ball valve
- Town well water that fluctuates with the seasons, but has been 58 degrees the last few times I brewed.

This is my cooling process as of my last brewday:
- Plate chiller stands up on its side, long way is vertical. Wort-in is on the bottom, Water-in is on the top.
- Start out by recirculating back into the kettle, with a whirlpool. I let it run for a minute or so to sanitize, then turn on cold water. Ball valve is 100% open during recirc. In about 6-7 minutes the wort is down to 120.
- Now I drain into ferment buckets. I would say I need the ball valve about 33% open to get the 68 degrees I'm looking for. This takes another 10-12 minutes to fill 2 buckets, for a total cooling time of 15-20min.

I'm happy with that cooling time for a 10 gallon batch, but I don't have any brewing buddies that use plate chillers, so I wanted to compare notes just in case. The only variable I'm really not sure about is hose water flowrate.

Thanks,
Bryan

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Old 03-31-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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What is the temperature of the wort coming out of the chiller?
If the temperature is already at pitching temperature, then recirculating is self defeating.
Why take cooled wort and warm it back up again?

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Old 03-31-2012, 06:15 PM   #3
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I dont own a plate chiller, but my thoughts would be similar to OneHoppyGuy's comment..

After your 1 minute of full throttle sanitizing, why not try throttling the wort to 33% or less, and see what the temp is exiting the plate chiller.. if its in the 70deg range, just go right into the fermenter..

I guess the key would be, look at the temp at the output of the plate chiller, and not the total volume temperature in the kettle.

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Old 03-31-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneHoppyGuy
What is the temperature of the wort coming out of the chiller?
If the temperature is already at pitching temperature, then recirculating is self defeating.
Why take cooled wort and warm it back up again?
I'm a little confused by your question. At flameout, I start recirculating. So the 212 degree wort is being pumped out of the kettle, thru the chiller, and back into the kettle. This is mainly to whirlpool, but it gives the plate chiller a head start for the final chill into the fermenter. I found that if I try to run near-boiling wort thru the chiller, and right into the fermenter, its very hard to control the final temperature, and it has to drain veeeeeery slow.

Again, I'd love to hear other techniques because I don't doubt I'm doing something wrong
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquenne
I dont own a plate chiller, but my thoughts would be similar to OneHoppyGuy's comment..

After your 1 minute of full throttle sanitizing, why not try throttling the wort to 33% or less, and see what the temp is exiting the plate chiller.. if its in the 70deg range, just go right into the fermenter..

I guess the key would be, look at the temp at the output of the plate chiller, and not the total volume temperature in the kettle.
yes sorry, i left out that going from boiling to 70 wasn't working out for me...see above
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:52 PM   #6
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We were experiencing a drop to 110 degrees with 60 degree water. That's why developed this system:

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Old 03-31-2012, 09:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneHoppyGuy
We were experiencing a drop to 110 degrees with 60 degree water. That's why developed this system:
so you're sensing output temp rather than batch temp and can dial it right in?
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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yup
Temp out is the only thing that matters. The goal is to drop the temperature as rapidly as possible.

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Old 03-31-2012, 11:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneHoppyGuy
yup
Temp out is the only thing that matters. The goal is to drop the temperature as rapidly as possible.
and you dont batch cool/recirculate at all? just go from boiling, thru chiller, into fermenters?
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:27 PM   #10
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Here is a direct quote from John Palmer's 'How to Brew'

7.4 Cooling the Wort

At the end of the boil, it is important to cool the wort quickly. While it is still hot, (above 140°F) bacteria and wild yeasts are inhibited. But it is very susceptible to oxidation damage as it cools. There are also the previously mentioned sulfur compounds that evolve from the wort while it is hot. If the wort is cooled slowly, dimethyl sulfide will continue to be produced in the wort without being boiled off; causing off-flavors in the finished beer. The objective is to rapidly cool the wort to below 80°F before oxidation or contamination can occur.

Rapid cooling also forms the Cold Break. This is composed of another group of proteins that need to be thermally shocked into precipitating out of the wort. Slow cooling will not affect them. Cold break, or rather the lack of it, is the cause of Chill Haze. When a beer is chilled for drinking, these proteins partially precipitate forming a haze. As the beer warms up, the proteins re-dissolve. Only by rapid chilling from near-boiling to room temperature will the Cold Break proteins permanently precipitate and not cause Chill Haze. Chill haze is usually regarded as a cosmetic problem. You cannot taste it. However, chill haze indicates that there is an appreciable level of cold-break-type protein in the beer, which has been linked to long-term stability problems. Hazy beer tends to become stale sooner than non-hazy beer. The following are a few preferred methods for cooling the wort.

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