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Old 09-27-2012, 03:25 AM   #1
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Default Do plate chillers really suck this much?!

So here's the deal - I've had a 30 plate chiller for about 8-10am batches now, thinking I'd be upgrading from my IC. I can't see how this is better! How does anyone justify or even use these!?

Here are my main problems:

1. I have a pump and try to whirlpool with it. Problem is that I want to whirlpool to keep the debris out of the ch iller, but have to sanitize the chiller during the boil, leaving me with a clogged chiller with any APA or IPA amount of hops.

2. How do you clean them after? I've flushed with hot PBW for 20 min and still see stuff coming out.

3. It seems by design that cold break sets inside the chiller as the beet cools... Leading to - more clogs!

I'm about ready to sell this thing and go back to my immersion chiller if I can't figure it out. How do you guys use these things successfully? Any tips?


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Old 09-27-2012, 03:30 AM   #2
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I clean mine with acid. And pre-filter the hops with a rice hull loaded hopback.

Works for me and it chills in a single pass.


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Old 09-27-2012, 03:33 AM   #3
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I made a hop quesadilla to filter
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:37 AM   #4
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I made a hop quesadilla to filter
Don't you worry about getting tortilla bits clogging your chiller?
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:46 AM   #5
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I don't have a plate chiller (yet). We still use an immersion chiller and siphon beer out to the fermenter out of the kettle. But as I understand things, you have to either swap fittings or valve in the plate chiller once the whirlpool is done and *then* transfer to the fermenter, right? What would keep you from sanitizing the plate chiller with your sanitizer of choice, then hooking it up? If it stays wet inside with sanitizer, it's not going to suddenly become unclean.

If you *don't* have the ability to discharge out of your pump without going through the chiller, it sounds like time to do a little pipefitting and redo your system.

Lastly, if that's not a good option...what do you want for the chiller?

>1. I have a pump and try to whirlpool with it. Problem is that I want to whirlpool to keep the debris out of the chiller, but have to sanitize the chiller during the boil, leaving me with a clogged chiller with any APA or IPA amount of hops.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by OCBrewin View Post
So here's the deal - I've had a 30 plate chiller for about 8-10am batches now, thinking I'd be upgrading from my IC. I can't see how this is better! How does anyone justify or even use these!?

Here are my main problems:

1. I have a pump and try to whirlpool with it. Problem is that I want to whirlpool to keep the debris out of the ch iller, but have to sanitize the chiller during the boil, leaving me with a clogged chiller with any APA or IPA amount of hops.

2. How do you clean them after? I've flushed with hot PBW for 20 min and still see stuff coming out.

3. It seems by design that cold break sets inside the chiller as the beet cools... Leading to - more clogs!

I'm about ready to sell this thing and go back to my immersion chiller if I can't figure it out. How do you guys use these things successfully? Any tips?
Welcome to the wonderful world of plate chillers. I bought a blichman therminator 4 years ago, went through all you describe, then shelved it and built a double 50 imersion chiller from 5/8 copper. anyone want a therminator cheap just PM me.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OCBrewin
leaving me with a clogged chiller with any APA or IPA amount of hops.
Be glad you didn't try it with a pumpkin beer - if you think an IPA is bad, you ain't seen nothing.

I use a hop spider with the chiller and back flush with the hose - much higher pressure than the pump. That said, you're probably better off whirlpooling without it, connecting, running San star or boiling water through, then reconnecting.

It's amazing when you can chill a 10 g batch in 10-15 min, but I'm not sure the headaches are worth it.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:04 AM   #8
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I have had a Therminator for a couple years Actually, getting close to 3 years now. Cools my beer to the cooling water temp in a single pass. I've never had it clog. I do clean it with PBW solution after every brew day, and although I am sure there is still some material in there, I am just as sure that it has no effect on my beer because I recirculate it for 15 minutes before the end of the boil, and I haven't had any infections in my beer that I didn't put there deliberately. I use mesh bags for my hops or other spice/fruit/whatever additions, which you ought to do, but it sounds like you are not.

In short, you are doing it wrong.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:31 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. Weirdboy, what about the cold break forming in the chiller? That's what happened to me today. Seems if you're going from boiling to fermentation temps the cold break has to form in the plates.

Either way, it just seems like I made good, consistent beers with less hassle (bagging hops, worrying about utilization, switching fittings, etc...) With the IC... I don't want another step during brewday and don't want to complicate things.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by OCBrewin View Post
Thanks for all the replies. Weirdboy, what about the cold break forming in the chiller? That's what happened to me today. Seems if you're going from boiling to fermentation temps the cold break has to form in the plates.
I am dead positive I get cold break in the chiller, but I haven't ever had an issue with that causing a clog. My guess is that you got hop material in there as well, which can certainly cause a clog. I have had hops & cold break clog the 1/2" intake on my kettle before. That is why I always use hop bags now. Cold break by itself is a little sludgy but generally not viscous enough to be a problem. Cold break with hop material in there is sludgy and extremely viscous.


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