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Old 05-03-2012, 07:31 PM   #1
Jbatten22
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Default Wort chillers and mash tun

A friend and myself are making the jump from extract to all grain very soon and I just had a couple newbie questions.

We are looking at wort chillers and debating between a plate and a immersion chiller. What does everyone think works best and is easiest to use?

I am building a mash tun out of a 10 gallon insulated cooler (home depot kind). Of all the videos I have watched it seems easy enough but none mention anything about a false bottom which I have seen brought up on threads here. What is the purpose of the false bottom, and is it easy to install/build?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Cheers

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Old 05-03-2012, 07:45 PM   #2
Lennie
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Its easier and cheaper to use a braid than a false bottom in my opinion. Check out dennybrew.com for instructions.

As for a chiller, I think an IC is easier to use. Not a lot of cleanup, the only down side is you need to stir while its cooling to keep wort moving over the surface of the chiller. If I were to buy a CFC I think I'd get a counterflow not a plate chiller. The plate is mosts likely more efficient and slightly faster, but it brings issues of clogging and cleaning.

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Old 05-03-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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I made a few ICs before shifting over to a plate chiller. I now chill more wort faster than I ever could with an IC. It's also virtually zero work to chill with plate chiller. The only way to get thwt with an IC is to make it even more complicated.

Another benefit of plate chillers is how compact they are. Even the large ones from Duda Diesel are significantly smaller than even a small IC. You can run wort through a plate chiller via gravity feed. But it really comes into it's own when you use a pump.

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Old 05-03-2012, 08:24 PM   #4
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I've not used a plate chiller, but from what I hear they'll cool everything down much faster than an IC. Although when I upgrade I'll have to side with Lennie and go with a counterflow instead. I just know that I'd always be worried about clogging and cleaning the plate chiller. There are plenty of people that use plate chillers and they work just fine with little effort, but my OCD would get the best of me.

As far as the false bottom, you've got to have something in the mash tun to filter out all the grain material to keep it out of the boil kettle. The two big ones I've seen for the round coolers are the braid and false bottom. For another braid walk-through, check out Flyguy's build on HBT. A false bottom will work just as well, but will be a little more pricey. The best for you might depend on how you're planning on sparging. I've heard that the braids are a little less optimal for fly sparging (get more channeling) versus the false bottom, but that both should work just fine for batch sparging.

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Old 05-03-2012, 08:37 PM   #5
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I'll admit that I set up a whirlpool IC so I can walk away while its chilling. As long as you're not standing there stirring, it really doesn't matter if it takes 5min or 20. Once I"m done whirlpool chilling I let the wort settle the trub out and rack clean wort to the fermentor. You don't do this with a plate chiller unless you rack after chilling. And you don't put pellet hops in the wort loose with a plate chiller as I understand it. If you can live with those two constraints, I suppose a plate chiller is a viable option.

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Old 05-03-2012, 08:48 PM   #6
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Use a hop spider and you wont need to worry about getting clogs in the plate chiller. If you don't, and you go with a CFC, then you run the same risk for clogging.

Also, it's easy to backflush a plate chiller to clean it. You can also run PBW solution through it (I do every few batches) to really clean it. Running boiling wort through it (via a pump) sterilizes it easily. Just recirculate back into the kettle/keggle. I do a recirculation while chilling for about 5 minutes before sending the out tube to the fermenter. Got down to about 60F in about ten minutes. That was between 6.5 and 7 gallons of wort into fermenter. So 5 gallons would be even faster. This method works equally well in winter and summer months. As long as the ground/chill water is below (or eveb at) your targrt temp you can get there with a plate chiller.

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