I've got three partial boil extract batches under my belt and I'm ready to move on to all grain brewing. I'm planning 4-5 gallon batches BIAB style for now. So far, I've got a nine gallon pot, and I'm working on a fermentation chamber. I'm working on different options for heat, but my main question is around chiling. Since I'll be moving to full boils, I would like some sort of chiller to get my wort down to yeast temperature in a normal time. I've got a couple different ideas and wanted to get some thoughts from others that may have been in this spot before. I'm trying to keep cost as reasonable as I can and upgrade as I go, my monthly play money is tight.
1. Plate chiller, ~$100
Pros: Good for chilling, I should be able to gravity feed it for a while until I get a pump.
Cons: When I get to the point of a 2 or 3 vessel system, I'm going to need a separate RIMS or HERMS system to maintain mash temp or step boils, that may be in a year or two or futher down the road.
2. HERMS coil built in kettle, ~$100
Pros: I'll be able to use the coil in the future for HERMS
Cons: With the coil fixed, chilling will be slow, I'll need to spend an extra $150 on a pump to get good chilling by recirculating.
I'm not planning on immersion chiller as it seems kind of pointless as it will only chill a little better than an HERMS coil and the cost for the HERMS is similar. I'm not planning on the CFC as cost is comparable to plate chiller and has similar pros and cons.
Anyone been in a similar spot? Which way did you go?