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Old 03-07-2010, 12:12 PM   #1
Ranger9913
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Default Shirron Plate Chiller......Fail!

I purchased the Shirron plate chiller back in September and have done about 6-7 brews with it. The first 3 worked like a charm. After every brew I back flush it immediately and then recirculate a PBW solution through it for 10-15 mins. The last 3 brews it has been a total fail in terms of the plate chiller. Each time I start my brew day by heating up 2 gal of water/PBW mix and I clean my kettles, pump, line, and plate chiller by letting it recirculate for 20-30 mins, then I rinse. This time I also ran BLC through everything for 30 mins.

Now in the cleaning stages the water/PBW solution was flowing great through the Shirron, no problems. And just like the last 3 brews days I got to recirculate the work in the last 15mins of the boil to sanatize and I got a trickle coming out the Shirron. I disconnect my hose from the Shirron and turn the pump valve on and I have full flow rate, hook it back up to shirron and I got nothing. After the brew I was done I clean out my kettles again with water and sure enough the Shirron is flowing again with just water.

So the only logical explanation is that the viscosity of the wort, mixed with the obvious sediment in more than the Shirron can handle?

I'm thinking of moving to a counter-flow chiller, it has got to be easier than this.

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Old 03-07-2010, 01:00 PM   #2
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Are you using clear hoses? Are you sure you're not getting cavitation (air/steam bubbles) into the pump when you're trying to recirculate boiling wort? Kill the heat first, then try puming it through the Shirron. There is no way in hell the viscosity difference of wort is going to stop flow. Try pumping the wort back into the kettle bypassing the chiller. I bet it would be a trickle too.

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Old 03-07-2010, 01:58 PM   #3
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I have clear hoses and quick disconnects. If I remove the hose from the PC it flows at full rate. (I have brew cloves and I've done this will boiling wort) as soon as I connect it back to the PT it comes out as a trickle. Like I said I have used this for 3 brews with great results. The only thing that has changes is the additions of quick disconnects from Mcmaster. I am going to bake the PT today for 2hrs at 400* and see if that helps dislodge something.


The frustrating part is that when start my brew day and I am recirculating my PBW/Water mix to clean everything, the PC works just fine with a stream of about 6-8" out of the Wort Out side. Run it with wort and it trickles.

I even hook a water hose up to it and I get a 12-15" stream coming out.

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Old 03-07-2010, 02:04 PM   #4
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It sounds like the new QD is letting in air. Make sure you're getting a solid seal when setting the QD.

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Old 03-07-2010, 02:17 PM   #5
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I would agree except it doesn't explain this:

"The frustrating part is that when start my brew day and I am recirculating my PBW/Water mix to clean everything, the PC works just fine with a stream of about 6-8" out of the Wort Out side. Run it with wort and it trickles."

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Old 03-07-2010, 02:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger9913 View Post
So the only logical explanation is that the viscosity of the wort, mixed with the obvious sediment in more than the Shirron can handle?
Just curious... what kind of hops are you using, and are you doing something to filter the hops out? I use a Shirron chiller, gravity fed, and works fine. Don't have a pump. I use a mix of whole and pellet hops, in fine-mesh hop bags. The viscosity of the wort isn't a problem... but organic material from hops will plug any plate chiller up. A false bottom isn't enough to stop pellet hops... you need a hop bag or hop stopper.
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Old 03-07-2010, 02:56 PM   #7
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I use mostly pellet hops, and I do not filter through my dip tube. However, last brew I used whole leaf with a hop bag and still had the same problem. In fact last brew I was able to able to get a good flow rate while recirculating the last 15 mins of the boil but once I brought the wort chiller down it's spot on the brew rig I got much less. Last brew I was able to still use the PC but it took 45 mins. This time however it would have taken hours I'm sure. I'm going to invest in a hop screen or something similar and see if that helps.

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Old 03-07-2010, 03:12 PM   #8
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I use mostly pellet hops, and I do not filter through my dip tube.
Your plate chiller is plugged with hops. One of the downsides of the Shirron chiller is fewer channels = more susceptible to plugging. But ALL plate chillers have this problem. That is why the professional brewery plate chillers can be disassembled and cleaned, but the Shirron and Therminator are welded closed. It is also why many brewers on this site prefer immersion or homemade counterflow chillers.

You need to backflow with some serious pressure, flush/soak repeatedly with a cleaner like PBW/Oxyclean, then try an acid wash. I know some friends who have baked their chillers in hot oven for several hours to turn the hops into ash, but I worry about the residue that might be left. But if you can't get it out with methods above... it may be your last-resort. Search "plate chiller cleaning" on this site for several threads that might help.

Good luck!
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:37 PM   #9
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I am baking right now for 2hrs and then I am going to flush it with PBW see how that works.

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Old 03-11-2010, 05:12 AM   #10
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I am baking right now for 2hrs and then I am going to flush it with PBW see how that works.
How did it come out?
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