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Old 02-28-2010, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default Therminator versus Counterflow chillers

There doesn't seem to be much difference in cost between a Therminator and the Convoluted counterflow chillers. Is the Blichman really harder to clean? It looks like it could be sterilized by baking as easily as the the counterflow could be sanitized by pumping star-san through it. Since the Therminator has been out for awhile, has any one looked at it from a standpoint of weight gain over time? I would think that any significant build-up of garbage would be detectable, whether sterilized or not. Or maybe the capacity in ML of water or the time it takes to cool from say 200 to 100 degrees would change as crud built up inside. Anyway - I'd sure like to hear about it if a Therminator owner has torn an old one down to check it out.

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Old 02-28-2010, 04:21 PM   #2
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First, let me say, I think any CFC is much easier to make sure it's clean after use. The passage ways in a plate chiller are just so small, and if you get lazy, you might end up with problems. But that's not to say you can't keep a plate chiller clean, just that it may require a little more attention/work.

To answer your other question, I doubt anyone's sacrificed a well taken care of $200+ therminator to see what's inside. I think it all depends on how well you clean a plate chiller after use as to what it's going to build up over time. If you counter flush it and then stick it in the oven after every use, I doubt you'll ever have any build up. You're turning anything that might be stuck into soot, right? The oven obviously isn't necessary, since a lot of brewers don't do it to their plate chillers. I like to simply for the extra peace of mind.

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Old 02-28-2010, 04:31 PM   #3
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Post #5 shows what the inside looks like when sliced open, lots of places for particles to get trapped. Commercial heat exchangers have gaskets between the plates and can be taken apart and cleaned, which you can't do with this one.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/plate-chiller-139151/

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Old 02-28-2010, 04:42 PM   #4
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Baking isn't going to get rid of beerstone so running some kind of acid followed by PBW is probably a good routine every 10 batches or so. I know I wouldn't be willing to bake my chiller before every batch. I'm being "good" if I actually clean my boil kettle out between batches.

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Old 02-28-2010, 05:23 PM   #5
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I wouldn't bake the chiller. So what if you are turning everything to soot. Are you getting everything out the next time you flush it? If not what good did baking in an oven do?

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Old 02-28-2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, and especially for the cut-away view. I'm convinced that a plate chiller can be cleaned well if a hop filter is used, so now all that's left is to agonize over Therminator/Duda. If they do equally well then I can't see where the price difference comes in.

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Old 02-28-2010, 08:13 PM   #7
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I wouldn't bake the chiller. So what if you are turning everything to soot. Are you getting everything out the next time you flush it? If not what good did baking in an oven do?
I think soot is probably a lot easier to flush out than sugary, sticky, solid particles.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Baking isn't going to get rid of beerstone so running some kind of acid followed by PBW is probably a good routine every 10 batches or so. I know I wouldn't be willing to bake my chiller before every batch. I'm being "good" if I actually clean my boil kettle out between batches.
I think a flush with a caustic every once in a while is definitely a good idea.

It's also much more important IMO to be pickier about cleaning your CFC/plate chiller than your BK. I bet there's a lot more infections that come from improperly cleaned/sanitized chillers than kettles.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Baking isn't going to get rid of beerstone so running some kind of acid followed by PBW is probably a good routine every 10 batches or so. I know I wouldn't be willing to bake my chiller before every batch. I'm being "good" if I actually clean my boil kettle out between batches.
I dunno, we roast a chicken almost every week. The plate chiller could go for the ride.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:28 PM   #10
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It's like anything in life. If you don't take care of it it will eventually turn to chit.

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