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Old 01-09-2013, 08:18 PM   #1
buzzno
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Default Plate chiller or new immersion?

So for my last 3 brews I have stepped up my system to 10 gallons but the problem I'm running into is my copper immersion chiller which worked ok for 5gal batches takes forever on my 10gal batches. Like an hour or more! I'm even recirculating ice water with a pump through the chiller and still takes that long. It's not that big of a chiller, maybe 25' x 3/8".

This obviously adds a lot of time to my brew day because I'm otherwise quite efficient. So I've been reading a lot about the plate chillers and it looks like I would need a pump for the brew end. I'm on a budget and pretty handy so I'm considering buying 1/2" x 50' soft copper and making my own immersion but I'm wondering if I should just go the plate chiller route and how much would that set me back?

What's your experience when jumping up to 10gal and how do you handle the cooling? What do you guys suggest?

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Old 01-09-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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I too just jumped to 10gal batches. I anticipated this being an issue so I use my old immersion chiller (IC) as a prechiller for my 50ft chiller. I get my 10gal batches down to pitch temps quicker than i could get the 5gal batches down.

So if you want to make use of what you already have that what i did. though you can do the same thing with a plate or cfc.

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Old 01-09-2013, 08:56 PM   #3
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Are you using a water pump? If so, where in line is it? What diameter is your tubing?

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Old 01-10-2013, 02:42 PM   #4
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I was thinking of getting one of these one day but I picture cleaning being a pita.

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Old 01-10-2013, 02:53 PM   #5
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I use one of these chillers to get my ~7-10 gallon batches chilled quickly (and easily). Using colder water for the chill helps, but in Washington (state) you should be fine. You could go with the 20 or 30 plate version if you want to go cheaper, just know that the chill time will be a bit longer. You can also use the chart from Duda to see what chiller would match your system best. Just keep in mind it's actually listing only chilling to 75F, which is above what most of us aim for. I typically see no more than 12 minutes to chill ~7 gallons of boiling hot wort to about 60F (sometimes even cooler). I do a recirculation chill first (via a March pump of course) then run it to the fermenting vessel once I hit a good point (through the chiller one final time on it's way).

Cleaning my DD chiller hasn't been an issue either. Just back-flush a few times (go in both directions) and drain. You can also fill with PBW solution, or pump that through it (hot) to get it very clean.

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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A way to cool the wort is what's stopping me from jumping up to 10 gallon batches. For now with my 5 gallon batches I rest my 8 gallon pot in the big sink in my garage and change the cold water 2-3 times. My water bills during the summer were RIDICULOUS. Paying $200 watering my lawn trying to keep it green. After the first high bill I just let it die. So I need to figure out some way to cool 10 gallons efficiently so I don't pay so much in the long run. I thought about reusing my water. Maybe pumping it into a rain barrel and adding ice every time. But then I need to buy a pump. Maybe a counter flow chiller? That may be a little more efficient water wise.

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clearcut23 View Post
A way to cool the wort is what's stopping me from jumping up to 10 gallon batches. For now with my 5 gallon batches I rest my 8 gallon pot in the big sink in my garage and change the cold water 2-3 times. My water bills during the summer were RIDICULOUS. Paying $200 watering my lawn trying to keep it green. After the first high bill I just let it die. So I need to figure out some way to cool 10 gallons efficiently so I don't pay so much in the long run. I thought about reusing my water. Maybe pumping it into a rain barrel and adding ice every time. But then I need to buy a pump. Maybe a counter flow chiller? That may be a little more efficient water wise.
Really depends on the temperature of your ground water. You could try using the large barrel to recirculate the chill water, with a ton of ice to cool it down. You'll need a sump pump to run the chill water into the wort chiller as well as a wort pump (March or chugger) to run the wort through the chiller. IMO, a recirculation system would probably be your best bet. Recirculate the wort through the kettle/keggle until it's at a good point. Recirculate the chill water adding ice as you do. IMO, it's going to be a lot more work with the ice, but if your ground water is too warm, then you need to do what will work.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:22 PM   #8
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I started out with a Blichmann Plate Chiller. It does a great job, but it's a pain to clean so I recently bought a stainless immersion chiller and I love this thing.

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Old 01-10-2013, 03:26 PM   #9
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Gravity feeding a plate chiller:


This is what I am planning to do next week... will see how it turns out!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
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I started out with a Blichmann Plate Chiller. It does a great job, but it's a pain to clean so I recently bought a stainless immersion chiller and I love this thing.
IME, the Rebel Brewer ChillHog 4000 (another short 40 plate chiller, akin to the Blichmann) was significantly harder to clean than the Duda Diesel chiller. I really like how compact it is. Even with my additional fittings installed (for getting the temperature reading of the wort running through it and such) it's more compact than an IC (or CFC) of the same chilling power. That's the other thing, plate chillers are very efficient at chilling wort. Provided you know how to use one. NO extra physical work is needed to get the maximum chilling efficiency. Unlike with an IC where you need to either move it in the wort, or get the wort to move around it, in order to get decent chill speeds.

Something else, the chiller I linked to from Duda Diesel is about 50% larger than the Blichmann for less money.

I seriously doubt I'll ever use a different type of chiller. I can easily clean my current one, and to sanitize is a snap. I have at least 2-3 options there. I could bake it in the oven. I could fill it with Star San for a few minutes before using, then drain. Or I can simply run the boiling wort through it for a few seconds to sanitize it. I usually run it through until the chiller hits above 200F and hold it there for 30-60 seconds. More than enough time to kill off anything that could be in there.

Use what you like, just know that there are at least three different chiller categories. Not all within each category being equal. Your ground water temp and how you're going to get the chill water cool enough to use should be at least one of the things you take into account. Also, how much work do you really want to go through in order to chill the wort??
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