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Plate chiller blues?

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khannon

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So,
I have a brew setup I mostly like. 3V keggle system, electric, 240V, mostly 10G batches, etc.. I've dialed it in pretty well, but every time I brew a hoppier beer(more than 2-3oz of 60min hops), I run into issues with my plate chiller. It tends to clog up.

I'm not running QC hoses, just 1/2" silicon with barbs. They tend to pop off when things back up(bad).

I'm not sure whether I'm better off going CFC or a filter before the chiller. Thoughts? Pros/Cons?

The cost seems similar, though with the CFC I suppose I could deep clean and resell th plate chiller(though I probably won't, I know I think I'd use it then it would sit unused and add to my kids' inheritance).
 

day_trippr

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Being frank, I have pretty much switched from using my (excellent DD 30-long) PC in favor of my SS IC because 80% of what I've been brewing the last three years is majorly hoppy (neipa jag :)) and I have yet to find an effective way to keep pellet debris out of the PC. The difference in cleaning time is ridiculously in favor of the IC, so that's how I've been rolling...

Cheers!
 
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khannon

khannon

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Being frank, I have pretty much switched from using my (excellent DD 30-long) PC in favor of my SS IC because 80% of what I've been brewing the last three years is majorly hoppy (neipa jag :)) and I have yet to find an effective way to keep pellet debris out of the PC. The difference in cleaning time is ridiculously in favor of the IC, so that's how I've been rolling...

Cheers!
You know, when we return to the "before times", I'm going to drive out and buy you a beer and get to know some of my home brew "neighbors". I know I'm further west than than the map of MA extends. I know that there is a chasm after 128, and another after 290, but there is life beyond that..

I'm not sure I want to go IC, I was thinking CFC only because there are some decent 1/2" ones out there, and that seemed pretty easy to clean and I have all the stuff to recirc ice-water and whirlpool at the same time. I also went electric recently and cleaning the IC seems a lot like cleaning the heating element, and that seems like work?

Kevin
 

day_trippr

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It would be my pleasure - seriously, outside of my kids and grands we've been holed up here void of human contact since March 6 and I gotta say it's getting older than I am :)

Anyway, fwiw, my IC is 50 feet of 1/2" SS tubing and take about 3 minutes to spray clean in my brewery sink. It's gets cooked on the next boil so I don't bother sanitizing.

I have no experience with CFCs so I'll leave that to others to comment wrt high hop loading. My issue (same as my PC) is one can't tell how clean they really are so the choice is to do a rigid cleaning regimen or cross fingers...

Cheers!
 

BrewZer

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I agree with you that any chiller where I don't have to worry about cleaning spots I can't physically access is better. The IC solves that problem, and being able to swish it around in the pot really speeds cooling time. My homebuilt copper IC takes about 10 minutes to go from 185 to 85.
 

seatazzz

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Since you seem to like to just dump your hops into the boil, sans bag, this is obviously your issue; I do understand the concept that letting the hops "roam free" in the boil instead of being cooped up in a bag can impart better bitterness/flavor/aroma. I use bigger mesh bags for mine. For seriously hoppy beers I use a 24x26 bag in the boil kettle (aka my mash bag, after dumping the grain and rinsing out), weighted down with marbles to keep it down. This lets the hops hit more of the wort without letting the debris get into the plate chiller. Easy cleanup too, and less green goo in the yeast if you want to save it. I also bake my plate chiller every 5 brews or so to burn up anything that might be gunking it up, and rinse it out both ways after each brewday.
 

Jag75

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I use a cfc . It came with the Grainfather. I had issues at first with stuff clogging the ball and spring . I ended up taking it out and I also added a false bottom . I brew hoopy beers and haven't had any issues with clogging since .

As for cleaning its easy . Its harder getting all the water out more then anything.
 

drgonzo2k2

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Hey there! I've been using a plate chiller for quite some time now across a few different brewing configurations. Over 60+ batches since I've been using it, I have never had a clogged chiller, and I have brewed some insanely hoppy beers including NEIPAs, etc.

The main thing is ensuring that you do everything you can to keep as many hops as possible out of the chiller. I've never had any problems with hot break, etc. causing issues with the plate chiller. On my old 3-vessel and 2-vessel systems I had a false bottom in my brew kettle that helped immensely. It was a "level 3" style bottom from NorCal Brewing solutions, and it worked like a champ.

Since moving to an all-in-one unit I've been using a hop spider, and it also works quite well. I still brew the same hoppy brews I used to, and I've not noticed any difference in the quality due to the hops not floating around freely in the brew.

The next thing is to make sure you keep it as clean as possible, and I recommend cleaning it ASAP after your brew day. Mine is the first thing I tend to when I'm done brewing. I start by backflushing it with hot tap water until it runs clear. As that's happening I'm heating up the waste water from my chiller in the brewing vessel until boiling (I just let the steam clean my brew vessel), and then I run that the normal way through the chiller. Then I sanitize it with StarSan for a couple of minutes and then blow it out with CO2.
 

NewJersey

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I briefly had a PC and ditched it quickly. I started with an IC and it was ok, but then I went eBIAB and didn't wanna sit my IC on the element and didn't like how much less of it contacted the wort. I also thought this slow the chill and slightly impede the whirlpool.
I have a SS cfc and no amount of hops have clogged it including large whirlpools of hops and I just throw em right in.
Using a PC or CFC is, at first, a lil fiddly. As you get used to it, it's pretty easy. Just a bunch more hoses and stuff. My CFC is worlds faster than my IC if that matters to you.
GL
 

IslandLizard

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I contain my hops in 2 large (9x22") fine mesh hop bags weighed down with a handful of glass marbles.
Each can easily hold 4 oz of pellets with ample room left after expansion.
Bags get massaged or drained regularly, every 3-5 minutes.
Both me and the plate chiller are much happier now. I can recirculate/whirlpool/chill at full bore.
 
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