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Old 06-30-2011, 12:24 AM   #1
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Default Clean your plate chiller!!!!

Not sure if this should be in the equipment forum, but here goes......
Last Christmas my wife bought me a shirron plate chiller. I promptly used it and loved the results. My water usage was cut in half, and I was able to use it near my sink instead of using the runoff from my immersion chiller to fill rain barrells, water plants etc (i could have used the immersion chiller in the sink but didn't want to overburden my septic)... I whirlpooled in the kettle and was able to get crystal clear wort into the fermentor at pitchable temps whithin 10 minutes. I used it for 10 batches and everything was fine. After every use, I backflushed with hot water, back and forth till any hop bits were unperceivable. Then I would run starsan through, then air dry till next use. Before the next use I flushed with hot water, then a 20 minute soak in starsan (including all associated fittings). I also baked it twice at 400f for an hour twice. Then I had a run of 8...yes 8...infected batches. Wild yeast is what I believe to be the culprit (band-aid, plastic, over attenuated, undrinkable).

I replaced all my plastic, bleached heavily all that was glass, replaced my mash tun for fear of plastic leaching (gott 10 gal cooler to stainless), used a friends water that is good for brewing, changed grains, even cleaned my mill (geez....I know....I was desperate).....still infected.

I finally went back to my immersion chiller. I'm now happily drinking a pint from the keg of IPA that is free and clear of any off flavors. As well as a mixed berry wheat, and a Mt. hood amber.

I heated up a 3 gallon double dose of PBW to 150f and ran it through the plate chiller. The resulting fluid was the color of an amber ale with flecks of black vegetal matter (spent hops). Sour and moldy aromas were very apparent.

I still recomend a plate chiller to anyone.....but CLEAN THE CRAP OUT OF IT....literally. Dave



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Old 06-30-2011, 12:29 AM   #2
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I always flush my equipment with PBW after a brew day, but in particular with the plate chillers you can throw them in the oven on a low heat like 250-300 and just let it cook for a few hours.



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Old 06-30-2011, 12:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Clean your plate chiller!!!!
........... why would you not?
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:46 AM   #4
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That's the thing about plate chillers, you think they are clean and sometimes they can fool you. The best bet is to filter hops before they get in the chiller in the first place because once they get in they don't like to come out. I'd bet that you could do an acid soak/rinse of plate chillers that people thought were spotless and you'd get a load of crap coming out. Guilty - I flushed both ways, ran hot Oxiclean through it, baked it at high temps and stuff still came out. Before my last use I ran boiling water, hot Oxiclean, Straight A cleaner, Lye based drain cleaner, dishwasher powder, beer line cleaner and gallons of water through the damn thing and finally baked it. I am finally satisfied that it is clean and will only use it if the hops are bagged. Don't really think it is worth all that effort without bagging.

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Old 06-30-2011, 12:47 AM   #5
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Yeah...I hear ya. Of course clean it....I meant REALLY clean it. The directions that come with it say a backflush and air dry. I learned the hard way....

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Old 06-30-2011, 12:53 AM   #6
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Samc- the more I research the more I think that any plate chiller that can't be dissasembled is not worth it. When you consider all the effort to keep it spotless, and then it feels like a gamble everytime you brew. The cheapest one I found (that is good for a 3bbl system) costs 2,000.00.....yikes

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Old 06-30-2011, 01:07 AM   #7
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I have never had any issues... I have never baked my Blichmann. I circulate boiling wort through the chiller for 5 minutes before I use the hose water to cool It down with my pump.There is no way that there could be any living bacteria after that. If there were beasties..... They are flushed into the boil and boiled for an entire brew session.

I must also say that I flush the heck out of it with the hose after use. I also run oxiclean and starsan through after use.

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Old 06-30-2011, 01:21 AM   #8
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Yeah, do you guys make sure to send boiling wort through it for a few minutes (and back into kettle)? This is why I got a pump when I got my Therminator, even though it works fine with a gravity feed. I simply wouldn't trust it without using boiling temps to sanitize it immediately beforehand.

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Old 06-30-2011, 01:27 AM   #9
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Yes I too always circulate boiling wort through my chiller prior to flameout.

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Old 06-30-2011, 02:35 AM   #10
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After each use, I back flush for 10 min with hot PBW followed by a forward flush for 10 min. I then forward flush with a hot acid rinse for 10 min. I also have a very good method of filtering my hops. No problems here with plate chiller. If I did have issues, I would clean with hot caustic.



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