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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > The Therminator - love it hate it
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:02 PM   #1
bierzwinski
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Default The Therminator - love it hate it

Does anyone have a love/hate relationship with their Therminator? I love this thing, but last night when we were chilling it got clogged right away. So we finished cooling enough for one carboy and then disconnected it to flush it out. If you have one of these and you use pellet hops you know that they are a pain to clean and require multiple multiple flushings. I am thorough with this thing because I have read and heard some bad stories about Therminators ruining batches because they are not clean. Anyhow, we also forgot to whirlpool our first kettle which of course caused more hops to run through the Therminator than should have run through. (I brew 3 kettle kegs at the same time so i need this piece of equipment so I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour.)

Anyhow, I'm at the sink flushing out my Therminator and a freaking large BUG washes out of it!!! ONe might think "Well you didn't clean it enough!"... I assure you all that I flushed this thing at least 20 times after i used it last time, each time letting it sit in hot PBW for 15-30 and then flushed it and did that over and over again. Then, before we brewed yesterday I soaked it in PBW and flushed it two more time and then flushed it with clean water. Then, before i turn on the garden hose to chill i run wort straight from the kettle into the therminator and let that hot liquor sit in there to kill things even further before running it all off...

Anyhow - the Therminator works great, but it is a pain in my arse... and I cannot believe that bug was in there. I should have taken a pic.

Anyone got any suggestions on how to make life with this awesome piece of equipment easier and safer?

Thanks

Matt

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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i've heard of folks baking them in the oven. i use a cfc and it works well, but sometimes pisses me off with how slowly it runs. although there was a bug in your chiller, i bet it was sanitary after the boiling hot wort hit it for a few minutes. g'luck

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:25 PM   #3
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I bake mine. Stick it in the toaster oven @ 350 for a 1/2 hour while the mash is... mashing. Then by the time I need to use it, it has cooled down enough to pick up with my hands.

You could also bake it whenever you're using the oven for actual food in the event that you're a cheap bastard. Just cover up the holes so bugs don't crawl inside.

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:35 PM   #4
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I LOVE mine!!

The thing is, you have to use a filter such as this before running it thru the chiller:

http://www.brewershardware.com/FILTER1.html

There is a little more prep to use plate chillers but the water and time saved to cool my wort is well worth the extra time.

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
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I LOVE mine!!

The thing is, you have to use a filter such as this before running it thru the chiller:

http://www.brewershardware.com/FILTER1.html

There is a little more prep to use plate chillers but the water and time saved to cool my wort is well worth the extra time.

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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You need to keep ALL hop pellet material out of it, otherwise you'll cuss at it like a sailor.

I recirculate the hot wort for a few minutes before turning on the water. I get the exiting wort near 200F. Once it has run for a 2-3 minutes, I turn on the water and keep recirculating until the exiting wort gets down to my desired (pitching) temp, at which point I direct the flow to the fermenter.

Recirc:


After:



... and if anyone is wondering, what's hooked up to the T1 is the sensor for the temperature of the water going in.

MC

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:16 PM   #7
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yeah... I think we are going to go to the HopRocket as an inline filter. Do any of you guys use that? I realize now that keeping hops out of that thing is key.

Thanks for the input guys. I'll try some of these methods. I don't have a pump so i don't have an easy way to recirculate the wort, but i guess i could run it into a pot and dump it back in the hot wort. Probably our key to a better relationship with this thing is the inline filter to keep the hops out.

@NMG318 - that filter looks cool, but for the price i could get the HopRocket which seems pretty cool and gives us more h'options (that was dumb but i couldn't resist).

Thanks guys. I'm putting the caps on my therminator from now on!!!

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:30 PM   #8
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Check out the pellet hop gunk thread. I use the 300 micron filter and hVe no probs withy chiller

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:35 PM   #9
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Mine has never clogged. I don't use an inline filter, but I do put my hops in a bag in the kettle.

No matter what you do to keep hops out of it, though, you're never going to keep from getting cold break inside the chiller. I flush mine after brew day, and I recirculate hot wort through it 15 minutes before the end of the boil to sanitize.


And I too have flushed the heck out of my chiller, and baked it and then flushed it again, etc. and it still has little bits in it that come out every time I flush, ever since my first brew with it. However I have never had an infection issue, so I don't really have a problem with it. If I were just a tiny bit more anal retentive, though, I'd probably have to stop using it.

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bierzwinski View Post
yeah... I think we are going to go to the HopRocket as an inline filter. Do any of you guys use that? I realize now that keeping hops out of that thing is key.

Thanks for the input guys. I'll try some of these methods. I don't have a pump so i don't have an easy way to recirculate the wort, but i guess i could run it into a pot and dump it back in the hot wort. Probably our key to a better relationship with this thing is the inline filter to keep the hops out.

@NMG318 - that filter looks cool, but for the price i could get the HopRocket which seems pretty cool and gives us more h'options (that was dumb but i couldn't resist).

Thanks guys. I'm putting the caps on my therminator from now on!!!
I don't have any experience with the hop rocket but I believe it works as a filter and would give you more options. Maybe someone who has both could provide comparison.
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