I have a dilemma and would like to go fishing for opinions.
I am planning on putting together a keggle single-tier system this spring. I am lucky enough to have a SWMBO that gifted me two chugger pumps this last Christmas . Now I need to figure out how I'm going to chill and extract beautiful wort from the boil kettle.
Currently I am stove boiling and doing an ice bath in the tub, so pretty much anything I do will be an improvement. So far I feel that I'd like to either go with a fine filter (ala Kal and his electric brewing) as a hop blocker and then running through a plate chiller or have an immersion coil and see if I can pull of the whirlpooling that seems to be popular around here.
So to facilitate the river of opinions I'd like to wade through I have some questions to get started:
1. How long does it take to chill with either method? Is one much faster than the other? I've read that a good cold break will help with clarity. I'm not fussy, it would just be nice to serve a nice clear beer.
2. Has anyone experienced difficulties with clogging of the plate chiller? If it gets clogged is it done for? With the screen hop blocker method (which looks like a bugger to clean) do you run the risk of clogging?
3. When whirlpooling how much of the trub still gets sucked into the fermenter? Do you have to wait a significant amount of time to let all the suspended particulate settle or does it happen pretty quickly?
4. Can you whirlpool using the pump if the immersion chiller is still in the boil kettle? Or is it chill first, whirlpool later?