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Old 11-04-2013, 04:19 PM   #1
dipole
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Default Therminator money pit

I have a therminator and it worked well until it got clogged once during a transfer. That sucked. I then bought a trub strainer to keep gunk out of the chiller.
(This is the one I bought. http://www.brewershardware.com/FILTER1.html.)

I was brewing an IPA with pellet hops last weekend and well, that somehow clogged the trub filter and it was hell finishing the transfer. I typically whirlpool but sometimes there is just a lot of junk at the bottom of the kettle that seems to make it's way through. I realize that this was probably a one off occurrence but now I have this worry/anxiety of having a stuck transfer and scrambling to save my batch.

So now I am considering adding on a hop spider and the thought occurred to me, when is enough enough? Just to use a plate chiller that is a bear to clean I will probably spend another $200 just to be able to use it.

I am thinking about just getting a nice whirlpool immersion chiller and being done with it.

Just wondering if anyone else traveled this road before and what you did.

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Old 11-04-2013, 04:58 PM   #2
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i built a hop spider for maybe 10 bucks worth of parts. Knock on wood, I've never plugged this thing in 2 years time and well over 400 gal worth of beer pushed through it. I have never just thrown pellets in the boil though, always used the hop spider.

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Old 11-04-2013, 05:05 PM   #3
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I don't have a plate chiller as I have a CFC. But leaf (whole) hops will clog up my diptube, my pump, and my CFC, so I either need to use a bazooka tube (probably like your strainer but even more easily clogged by pellets) to keep leaf hops out of the CFC. However, pellet hops clog that bazooka tube!

The answer for me is to either bag the leaf hops, as pellets don't clog up the works, OR use the bazooka tube and bag the pellets. If I'm using a ton of leaf hops, I use the bazooka tube. If I"m using mostly pellets, I use the bags/spider for the leaf hops and use the regular diptube. There doesn't seem to be a way to simply strain both through the works!

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Old 11-04-2013, 05:19 PM   #4
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How about you drain your wort through a paint strainer into another vessel,then simply lift the strainer out then run through the plate chiller.

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Old 11-04-2013, 06:00 PM   #5
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I've tried most of the chilling methods (Plate, CFC, immersion, bucket o' ice, etc.) and I settled on immersion as my favorite.

I have a home made 50' 3/8" (OD) immersion chiller with a whirlpool pipe added to it. I chill the boil from 212 to 100 with tap water and then switch to a sump pump in a bucket with ice water to get it down the rest of the way.

Yesterday with 70 degree tap water and 20 lbs of ice I got a Kolsch from 212F to 60F in 12 minutes. The key to this is the whirlpool and pumping ice water through the IC. In the past I used a second IC (pre-chiller) in a bucket of ice/water, but the sump pump method is much faster and uses less water.

The IC cleans up easily. Pellet hops don't bother the pump (I've never tried whole leaf hops). I get the added benefit of having the whirlpool drop all the hops and break material in the middle of the pot, so the wort going into the fermenter is pretty clear.

I can also do whirlpool hop additions, which I've found I really like for preserving hop aroma.

Also, I don't have to wonder about what I might not have gotten cleaned out of a plate or CFC chiller (It would drive me crazy that I can't see in there).

I think going to a robust IC solution would solve most of your issues. If you like whole hops you'd probably still need to bag/spider them or something similar. That's my .02 anyway.

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Old 11-04-2013, 06:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney7 View Post
... immersion chiller with a whirlpool pipe added to it.

... The key to this is the whirlpool
Would you expand on the whirlpool pipe? Maybe add some pictures? I've always wondered how to whirlpool with an immersion chiller in the brew kettle.

Thanks
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarter View Post
Would you expand on the whirlpool pipe? Maybe add some pictures? I've always wondered how to whirlpool with an immersion chiller in the brew kettle.

Thanks
http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney7 View Post
I've tried most of the chilling methods (Plate, CFC, immersion, bucket o' ice, etc.) and I settled on immersion as my favorite.

I have a home made 50' 3/8" (OD) immersion chiller with a whirlpool pipe added to it. I chill the boil from 212 to 100 with tap water and then switch to a sump pump in a bucket with ice water to get it down the rest of the way.

Yesterday with 70 degree tap water and 20 lbs of ice I got a Kolsch from 212F to 60F in 12 minutes. The key to this is the whirlpool and pumping ice water through the IC. In the past I used a second IC (pre-chiller) in a bucket of ice/water, but the sump pump method is much faster and uses less water.

The IC cleans up easily. Pellet hops don't bother the pump (I've never tried whole leaf hops). I get the added benefit of having the whirlpool drop all the hops and break material in the middle of the pot, so the wort going into the fermenter is pretty clear.

I can also do whirlpool hop additions, which I've found I really like for preserving hop aroma.

Also, I don't have to wonder about what I might not have gotten cleaned out of a plate or CFC chiller (It would drive me crazy that I can't see in there).

I think going to a robust IC solution would solve most of your issues. If you like whole hops you'd probably still need to bag/spider them or something similar. That's my .02 anyway.
I am leaning toward doing just that, like I said, I can keep throwing money at a solution that may or may not prevent clogging in my plate and adding another 20 min to post brew cleaning, or go back to basics and throw the IC in the boil.

I thought the trub filter would work and it does to a degree but you can't push too much through it without clogging it! It's like you need a filter to filter your filter.
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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After much consideration on the topic the issues brought up in this thread is EXACTLY why I have avoided plate chillers and to a lesser degree CFC's.


I just have a beefy whirlpool chiller which a recirculation arm, like this one. http://morebeer.com/products/wort-ch...rculation.html

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Old 11-04-2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Xpertskir View Post
After much consideration on the topic the issues brought up in this thread is EXACTLY why I have avoided plate chillers and to a lesser degree CFC's.


I just have a beefy whirlpool chiller which a recirculation arm, like this one. http://morebeer.com/products/wort-ch...rculation.html
Preface: I'm not trying to talk you into a plate chiller, and everyone's opinion varies. That said, I have yet to have an issue with mine.

To the OP, all you need is a 4" PVC coupler, a 4" hose clamp, 5 gal paint strainer, and double hook coat hook. Hang the spider off the side of the pot. Like I said, less than 10 bucks. If you want to get rid of the chiller, that's fine too. But it doesn't take much to make this thing work well. My cleaning regimen pushes PBW through it in both directions, then rinse and cap off the ends with camlock caps. Works every time, and again, knock on wood, no infections in 2+ years of use.
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