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Old 06-30-2007, 01:02 AM   #1
Sea
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I'm interested to hear all of your opinions on immersion vs counterflow wort chillers. Asside from the obvious better performance, is the counterflow worth the added expense, and extra hassle of cleaning and sanitizing? My free time is very limited and I'm interested in making great beer, not having the trickest system. Also, I wouldn't be using a pump, so it would be a gravity fed counterflow.\

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Old 06-30-2007, 01:24 AM   #2
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If you are concerned about time, then I think that you may be more happy with an immersion chiller. Both will give you good results, but all the IM needs is to be put into the boil for the last 15 minutes to sanitize. After the boil, a quick rinse to get off the hop particles is all that is necessary. The counter flow will require a lot more attention than that.
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:24 AM   #3
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I've used both. Here's what I can say...

The CFC gets the job done faster - period. It takes the wort from boiling to almost ground water temp in just a few seconds, and 5 gals only takes 15-20 mins. I noticed more cold break when I made the switch and I think the beers have been clearer without the chill haze problems I had before. All of the cold break goes into the fermenter, but I haven't seen any ill effects.

The CFC is definately more work to sanitize and maintain. I bought one that has vinyl tubing on the outside and it's really been a pain. The tubing has slipped off when it was cold and it constricted. One of the solder points has also broken that I had to fix.

The other thing is a CFC takes more attention to get the temp right in the fermenter. This assumes you're not recirculating the output back into the kettle. If you are, then most of the points I made are moot.

One of my next purchases will be a plate chiller. A shirron is only a little more than a cheap CFC and cheaper than some of the all copper CFCs like the Chillzilla. Plus, you can throw a plate chiller in the oven to sanitize - way easier than having to drain sanitizer through a CFC and then trying to drain it all out!


 
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:33 AM   #4
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I just recently purchased a Therminator and March pump. After doing just one batch with them, I'm sold!
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Old 06-30-2007, 03:48 AM   #5
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I'd say get youself one of these:

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ID:	1985

Seriously though. I like the immersion because I also use it to filter by beer out of the keggle and end up with very clear wort.

 
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Old 06-30-2007, 03:53 AM   #6
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I use a bastard CFC.. Take an old cooler, fill it with ice water, and just put your looped copper tubing into it. Gravity is a B10TCH though. I use CO2 and a corny to move mine through, about 2 psi takes 10 min to get to 70 f

 
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:42 AM   #7
Sea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher
I'd say get youself one of these:

Attachment 1985

Seriously though. I like the immersion because I also use it to filter by beer out of the keggle and end up with very clear wort.
I may be a bit daft, but how exactly do you use the immersion chiller to filter the wort out of the keggle?

 
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil' Sparky
I've used both. Here's what I can say...

The CFC gets the job done faster - period. It takes the wort from boiling to almost ground water temp in just a few seconds, and 5 gals only takes 15-20 mins. I noticed more cold break when I made the switch and I think the beers have been clearer without the chill haze problems I had before. All of the cold break goes into the fermenter, but I haven't seen any ill effects.

The CFC is definately more work to sanitize and maintain. I bought one that has vinyl tubing on the outside and it's really been a pain. The tubing has slipped off when it was cold and it constricted. One of the solder points has also broken that I had to fix.

The other thing is a CFC takes more attention to get the temp right in the fermenter. This assumes you're not recirculating the output back into the kettle. If you are, then most of the points I made are moot.

One of my next purchases will be a plate chiller. A shirron is only a little more than a cheap CFC and cheaper than some of the all copper CFCs like the Chillzilla. Plus, you can throw a plate chiller in the oven to sanitize - way easier than having to drain sanitizer through a CFC and then trying to drain it all out!
I couldn't have said this any better, and I agree 1000%.

Sea, your beers will be better with a CFC, and the amount of time you spend waiting for your IC to chill your wort, you would be long done chilling and cleaning your CFC. I've used a CFC using strictly gravity, so I know it can work. A wort wizard will make it even easier.
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Old 06-30-2007, 11:50 AM   #9
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I like the immersion better, remember it is very important to go from boil to below 140f as fast as possible so DMS does not form. With the CFC you still have hot wort waiting to be run through and sitting above 140
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:23 PM   #10
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This is a reasonable arguement which is why I personally suggest that any CFC or plate chiller is fully exploited only with a March pump and recirculation. You can chill a 5 gallon batch pretty quickly with an IC as long as you get the wort whirlpooling.

You can see how equipment upgrades is a slippery slope. One may argue that one chiller is better than another, but then you're buying a pump too. Oh the pump is great, but now you want a hopstopper to filter out hops so it doesn't clog up the works. You like the CFC but it's too big and now you want a plate chiller. Ground water too warm? Oh, just another pump and a bucket of icewater.
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