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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Plate Chillers
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:53 PM   #1
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OUTDOOR WOOD FURNACE , BRAZED PLATE HEAT EXCHANGER 50S - eBay (item 170253295457 end time Aug-30-08 10:43:05 PDT)

Anyone have any opinions on a plate chiller of this size?

I am about 97% done with building my AG rig and the only peice of equiment I have left to buy has to do with chilling. I have an immersion chiller that's not going to cut it for my rig. I doubt I'll do them often but I'll have the capacity to do 20 gallon batches and will probably do 10's and 15's often given there's a number of brew-club buddies that live close so we'll share batches.

Anyway... I'm trying to figure out the best way to chill 10-15 gallon batches. I've been able to get my hands on a lot of parts for short money and while I'm not looking to light money on fire, I'm not horribly opposed to spending in the nieghborhood of this chiller if it's going to work well.

i was thinking I would plumb it into a kettle that I would fill with ice water... I have a pump that would circulate the water through the chiller and a pump already plumbed into my boild kettle for circulating through a chiller and whirlpooling.

... any thoughts??
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:23 PM   #2
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i was thinking I would plumb it into a kettle that I would fill with ice water... I have a pump that would circulate the water through the chiller and a pump already plumbed into my boild kettle for circulating through a chiller and whirlpooling.

... any thoughts??
My experience with plate chillers is limited to the Shirron I have. I've been very happy with it and very happy with using a plate chiller in general, despite the anecdotal warnings to the contrary. IMHO, recirculating ice water through it would be effective in terms of heat transfer but it just doesn't seem cost-effective (especially since you're trying to save money) with the extra pump, plumbing, etc. If your tap water isn't too warm, you could recirculate the wort from the kettle to the chiller back to the kettle. Produces better hop aroma/flavor retention, and quicker overall cooling of wort below 140° (SMM - DMS threshhold).

Looks good though. Would be nice if they could supply you with more than just one pic.

Good luck!
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:28 PM   #3
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Isn't that basically a discounted therminator?

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Old 08-29-2008, 04:37 PM   #4
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I think it is basically the exact same thing as a therminator... but I don't have any real experience with that either.

I have a Shirron already and it's plumbed in as the heat exchanger between my HLT and MLT.

I already have all of the pumps and plumbing so it's not as if I would be spending more money on that stuff.... I'm really just curious how effective something like this large plate chiller would be versus 15 gallons of boiling wort.

... and I would circulate the wort from the kettle, through the chiller, back to the kettle (whilpooling it on the return) and back through again.

I was thinking, for the "cold water side" of the chiller, I would recirculate ice water from an extra keggle or pot.

... again... i have all the pumps and everything so that's not a problem.

I'm curious what success folks have had doing it this way and am curious about "Yeah, I bet you would get a boiling wort down to 70 degree in XX minutes doing it that way... but why not just do it this way... it would be quicker"

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Old 08-29-2008, 04:37 PM   #5
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Isn't that basically a discounted therminator?
Similar, but for being a 50-plate chiller for what it's listed for compared to others, it seems like a good price. Blichmann probably buys from a similar supplier, slaps a Therminator sticker on it and resells it.

Cape, if you do get it, please post pictures and review.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:07 PM   #6
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I have contemplated buying an exchanger like that from ebay, but the big question I have about the ebay plate chillers compared to the shirron or a therminator would be how many flow paths are inside the unit. Most auctions don't say and the one's that do only seem to list 2 flow paths. The therminator has 18 and the shirron only has 4. The fewer flow paths the better chance of clogging. I have a shirron and have been very happy with it so far. Here is some info I found interesting.
ChillOut MKIII - MashMaster Specialised Brewing Equipment

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Old 08-31-2008, 12:16 AM   #7
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I thought real hard about getting that very chiller. My thinking is that 50 plates is overkill and just way too many plates to worry about cleaning. You'd have to hope that your cleaners and the turbulence of your cleaning water would actually do a decent job of reaching and effectively cleaning the last few plates. I think you should just get another shirron if you're happy with that.....most people have been really happy with them, even for 10 gal batches.

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Old 08-31-2008, 02:01 AM   #8
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I have had that heat exchanger bookmarked for several months, and plan on it one day. the drawbacks that I have seen are it is 3/4" and all our plumbing is 1/2 or 3/8. and no fittings come with it. On the positive it is made by the best known heat exchanger manufacturer, has 10 more plates than the therminator, and due to it being 3/4 vs the therminator 1/2 should flow faster and deliver the same temps (or lower temps at the same flow rates) this is assuming the you have cold enough tap water that you don't max the cooling capacity of the cooling water you are using. I say go for it and let me know what I'm missing.

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Old 08-31-2008, 05:22 PM   #9
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I don't think it would be a bad decision by a longshot. I mean, this thing is even bigger than the therminator and it's cheaper! It's also covered by *warrantee* so if you put it in the oven and have problems, get your money back. The truth is, these things are designed to cool huge amounts of liquid for long periods of time. 10-15 gal batches every few weeks isn't even going to touch this thing. Just make you are religious about cleaning it and do so immediately after chilling with it.

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Old 09-02-2008, 03:14 PM   #10
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You have all talked me into it... I'm going to pull the trigger and I'll certainly report back what the results are once I get it plumbed in and the rig itself working.

... Rig is just about done... just need this chiller for the last piece and then my father to come up and install my burners (he's a "heating/air conditioning guy" and has two burners hooked up with pilots and gas valves that'll be controlled by a PID and a switch.

In terms of cleaning... my rig is all hard-plumbed in with unions ALL OVER the place so I CAN take it all apart if I want to but I'm going to just go with bringing a number of gallons up to a boil in my HLT and then just pumping the boiling water through the whole thing to clean. When I'm ready to brew again, I'll pump boiling water through, some warm water with Iodifor, and then boiling water again... I think that'll take care of cleaning.

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