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Old 11-04-2013, 12:43 PM   #1
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Default Counter flow,plate or both?

Well over the past year of brewing i have nailed down my process pretty well and can time everything pretty much to the exact last minute.The one issue that still is a PITA is cooling my wort down to pitching temps in a timely fashion.Currently i have a 20' pre chiller and 25' IC,sometimes i can get down to 65 degrees in 30 min and sometimes its an hour process.

Over the winter i will be building a single tier RIMS system and while i am building i may as well upgrade.Question is what is the most practical upgrade in every ones opinion?pairing a CF and PC or just using one option?Not trying to start a war here guys just want some good advice based on what is cost efficient and time efficient.

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Old 11-04-2013, 12:57 PM   #2
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A plate chiller is a type of counterflow chiller. To do both wouldn't be much different than getting a PC with more plates or a CFC with more length. I would just get the largest plate chiller you can afford and run the wort trough it slowly. I like my PC because it's small enough to mount to the single tier frame out of the way and it works easily. Cleaning isn't as bad as I had thought it would be either. It's all up to your preference though.

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:02 PM   #3
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I would recommend using just one of the options; either one should cool the wort to ground water temperatures in the amount of time it takes to run the wort through it, about 1 gallon per minute for a 40-plate PC like the Therminator when combined with a pump system, or about 10 minutes gravity fed. The main concern is the water temperature; if your tap water is above 70F, you might want to repurpose your existing IC as a pre-chiller, feeding the water through a bucket of ice water before pumping it into the actual chiller.

I recently purchased a Therminator, and I love it, though it took a bit of tweaking to get the hose connections right. The one thing about it that you might want to consider is cost: in addition to the $200 price tag for the unit itself, you can expect to pay another $200 for a high-temperature food grade pump, and $100-150 in hoses and connections (the quick-connects for the Therminator are around $20 each, and you'll need at least four of them). Worth the price if you can afford it, but it's a lot to lay out up front. Other PCs would cost maybe $50-100 less, but the pump and hoses would cost about the same.

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanH View Post
A plate chiller is a type of counterflow chiller. To do both wouldn't be much different than getting a PC with more plates or a CFC with more length. I would just get the largest plate chiller you can afford and run the wort trough it slowly. I like my PC because it's small enough to mount to the single tier frame out of the way and it works easily. Cleaning isn't as bad as I had thought it would be either. It's all up to your preference though.
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Keep in mind that the temperature of the cooling water source is the determining factor as to how quickly and how low your chilled temp will be. In the winter the ground water is much colder so things will go faster and lower but in the summer you will need to restrict the flow in and not get as low due to the higher temp.

For example, I use a CFC gravity system, in the summer when ground water is around 70 it takes me about 30 minutes to drain 6 gallons to 70 degrees but in the winter it takes me 10 minutes to drain 6 gallons to 57 degrees.

The only way to equalize things in the summer is to use a pre-chiller for the water source which would involve another vessel packed with ice water. You can then use an IC chiller in the ice and run the wort through that first and then to the plate chiller. It all depends on how much you want to set up and deal with.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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Hmmm..I will have two pumps on my rig so even though i will have it set up as a rims i could maybe set up my HLT with a recirculation coil attached to a lid.Then if i decide to switch things up later i could plumb it in to the HLT as opposed to the lid.

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