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Old 07-25-2013, 02:23 PM   #1
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Default Best plate chiller for the money?

This summer is the breaking point with my immersion chiller.... I've brewed nearly every weekend and its taking me somewhere around 45 min-1 hr to chill my wort to about 78... then I can't get it to drop any lower. I've tried multiple ways to get the tap water down in temp: adding a 25ft coil that runs through a bucket of ice water before the water hits my IC, also, having a cooler of ice water and using a sump pump to pull it out.... no magic fix with either.

With that said, I like the idea that most plate chillers use: something like 58 degree water, pumping thru at 5gpm will drop 5 gal of wort from boiling to 70 degrees. This seems like something I can control more easily with a sump pump and I won't feel like I'm wasting a ridiculous amount of water.

Ideas on the best plate chiller for the money? I'm looking at effective, easy clean up, and cost. I'm willing to spend a little more if the others benefit. Any suggestions are appreciated.



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Old 07-25-2013, 02:27 PM   #2
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They will all work well, just look for total surface area, that will be the best bet for you to cool quickly. They are all a pain to clean, and pellet hops gunk them up real good, but there are tons of threads on here with cleaning regimens listed, so you'll be fine. Personally, I have the Keg Cowboy 30 plate, and I love it!



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Old 07-25-2013, 03:05 PM   #3
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I've had both an IC (22 ft of 1/2" ID copper) and my current plate (30-plate Duda) chiller on the E-BIAB rig.

For both, I've used hose water (water out goes to the yard) as far as it will go. This time of year in Texas, that's mid-80's. I then pump recirculated ice water from a cooler. 30# of ice will get a lager wort down from 85*F to 44*F.

Recirculating wort through the plate is a little faster than my old IC, but not amazingly so. Don't expect any huge changes.

If you plan to use iced water from the beginning of the chill, plan on having a large amount of ice on hand.

Finally, do you stir your wort when using the IC? That makes a huge difference.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:29 PM   #4
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I use one from dudda diesel, they've got them listed on a price to chilling power ratio. It was a little tough to get used to cleaning it right, but now I've got it to a system, I put SS camlocks on it from BobbyM at brewhardware.com, so now I have a hose that screws onto my garden hose on one side and connects to the camlock on the other side. Switch that between each side of the chiller and it works wonders.

I've had problems with hop material clogging it, but not since I made a hop spider. When I did I would just stop the beer flow, switch the in and the out sides and start it again, it would push out any clog and only waste a couple ounces of wort.

Mine's all gravity, so a pump might make it even easier.

I've been thinking about making a air hose to camlock connector to get all the water out of it before I store it. Not sure what kind of pressure it would take though. My thought is that 10psi would be enough to dry it, and no where near enough to damage anything.

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Old 07-25-2013, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFloyd View Post
I've had both an IC (22 ft of 1/2" ID copper) and my current plate (30-plate Duda) chiller on the E-BIAB rig.

For both, I've used hose water (water out goes to the yard) as far as it will go. This time of year in Texas, that's mid-80's. I then pump recirculated ice water from a cooler. 30# of ice will get a lager wort down from 85*F to 44*F.

Recirculating wort through the plate is a little faster than my old IC, but not amazingly so. Don't expect any huge changes.

If you plan to use iced water from the beginning of the chill, plan on having a large amount of ice on hand.

Finally, do you stir your wort when using the IC? That makes a huge difference.
I usually use tap to get it down to around 100, then pump the ice water. I'm using a really small sump pump, what GPM pump do you use? And is it a sump or just a regular pump and you hook up a hose from your cooler? And yes, I frequently stir the wort during chilling. Maybe I'm pumping too slow and the heat exchange happens in the first couple ft of coil, making the rest of the coil ineffective? Is there a target GPM when pumping ice water?
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carsonwarstler View Post
I usually use tap to get it down to around 100, then pump the ice water. I'm using a really small sump pump, what GPM pump do you use? And is it a sump or just a regular pump and you hook up a hose from your cooler? And yes, I frequently stir the wort during chilling. Maybe I'm pumping too slow and the heat exchange happens in the first couple ft of coil, making the rest of the coil ineffective? Is there a target GPM when pumping ice water?
I use the $39 (on sale often) 1268 gph submersible pump from Northern Tool.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt3989 View Post
I use one from dudda diesel, they've got them listed on a price to chilling power ratio. It was a little tough to get used to cleaning it right, but now I've got it to a system, I put SS camlocks on it from BobbyM at brewhardware.com, so now I have a hose that screws onto my garden hose on one side and connects to the camlock on the other side. Switch that between each side of the chiller and it works wonders.

I've had problems with hop material clogging it, but not since I made a hop spider. When I did I would just stop the beer flow, switch the in and the out sides and start it again, it would push out any clog and only waste a couple ounces of wort.

Mine's all gravity, so a pump might make it even easier.

I've been thinking about making a air hose to camlock connector to get all the water out of it before I store it. Not sure what kind of pressure it would take though. My thought is that 10psi would be enough to dry it, and no where near enough to damage anything.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll take a look at them. If I do go plate chiller, definitely using air to dry out before storage. This summer has been brutally humid... had to bleach and pressure wash the driveway because it turned green...already turning back to green. Its wild
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyNameIsPaul View Post
They will all work well, just look for total surface area, that will be the best bet for you to cool quickly. They are all a pain to clean, and pellet hops gunk them up real good, but there are tons of threads on here with cleaning regimens listed, so you'll be fine. Personally, I have the Keg Cowboy 30 plate, and I love it!
Thanks. I'll check out the cowboy 30.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFloyd View Post

I use the $39 (on sale often) 1268 gph submersible pump from Northern Tool.
Ohhh ya I was way under shooting the flow. I want to say I have a really small pump from harbor freight and it was like 260 gph. I'll make the switch, much cheaper than a new plate chiller and the needed fittings. Guess well see how it goes.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:29 PM   #10
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Duda Diesel supplies about 80% of the online brew shops. DD wholesales it, then the online brew shop brands it with their own name and sticker. You save about 15-20% by buying direct from DD.

I have a 30 plate Duda Deisel that cost me $85.00 that gets me from 212F to 70F in about 16 minutes in the winter, 25 minutes in the FL summer for a 5 gallon batch.



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