Plate Chiller Technique?

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bmbigda

bmbigda

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3Card said:
Easiest way I've found to monitor the temps is with a thrumometer (check northern brewer or more beer sites) attached inline to the wort output hose between the chiller and fermenter. Very quick temp readings, easy to clean, and hooks right into the line (3/8" ID) without any effort. Ball valve between pump and chiller controls wort flow ( though post chiller is better to maintain back pressure and keep chiller full), and second valve at water inlet to slow water flow as needed on the fly to dial in the temp. Takes me less than 10 min to transfer 10 gallons into fermenters this way with 58 deg water. You can always use an old IC coil submerged in an ice bath prechiller if your water temp is too warm....
how many plates is your chiller? what brand is it?
 

HangLoose

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I can't see the harm in recirculating. My thinking is that the temperature shock is happening in the plate chiller, then the wort is pumped back into the kettle to cool the rest of the wort (and be rewarmed in the process). Cold break should be forming in the plate chiller. Immersion chillers get good cold break and this wouldn't be any slower so this seems like a non issue to me. Even doing this for a few minutes should cool the wort 20 degrees or more, making it easier to cool to pitching temperature. Since you will be cooling the kettle too, recirculating should take a little longer. If you can do it in one pass recirculating is probably be a waste of time.

This said, I have a 40 plate chiller too (duda diesel) and even with cold water I'd like the wort temp into the tormenter to be as low a possible so I will probably try recirculating for five min or so just to drive that temp as low as I can get it. I have a well too so water usage is less of a concern to me.
 
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HangLoose said:
I can't see the harm in recirculating. My thinking is that the temperature shock is happening in the plate chiller, then the wort is pumped back into the kettle to cool the rest of the wort (and be rewarmed in the process). Cold break should be forming in the plate chiller. Immersion chillers get good cold break and this wouldn't be any slower so this seems like a non issue to me. Even doing this for a few minutes should cool the wort 20 degrees or more, making it easier to cool to pitching temperature. Since you will be cooling the kettle too, recirculating should take a little longer. If you can do it in one pass recirculating is probably be a waste of time.

This said, I have a 40 plate chiller too (duda diesel) and even with cold water I'd like the wort temp into the tormenter to be as low a possible so I will probably try recirculating for five min or so just to drive that temp as low as I can get it. I have a well too so water usage is less of a concern to me.
yea, i agree with your logic. what kind of cool times are you seeing?
 

HangLoose

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I don't really have any numbers, seems my pickup gets clogged every time and I fight like hell to pump any wort out!:( I guess it takes something like 10 or 15 min to chill 10 or 12 gal down to the high 60's when all goes well. My water is close to 52 degrees.
I now have a huge filter in my kettle that should keep everything out (I hope!).
 

bandt9299

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I thought my setup was the norm, until. We'll, I have a ball valve on the out post of my march pump, I open and close that valve which is before my Shirron plate chiller, to get the desired temperature out of the chiller, doesn't get easier than this. I have an inline thermometer that goes near the end of my tubing to tell me how to adjust. My local brew pub uses this exact same procedure in his 7 barrel system. He always runs the water to the chiller full blast and slow down or speed up the flow of wort to the chiller. Recirculating with a plate chiller seems silly unless your ground water is way too hot or you live on the sun. Or unless your short on dough and can't afford an inline thermometer.
 

ekjohns

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Usually you would recirculate to get a nice whirl pool to remove the hops and and break material. You would have to cool the batch first to get the cold break, therefore recirculate. I do not have a plate chiller yet but this is what I plan to do. I am not worried about the break material giving me any off flavors but more to get cleaner yeast for washing and reusing, making a 4L lager starter suuuuuckksss
 
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yea. i ordered a thrumometer. the addition of output temp monitoring will keep me from fiddling with the ball valve so much, and lead to faster cooling times. if you only measure output batch temperature, you might be a little high, like 75*, then by the time you know it, you've got to dial back on the ball valve to cool back down.

i'm eager to see how it goes next time.
 
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Posting a follow up for anyone who comes across this thread searching for plate chiller advice...

I brewed last night for the first time using an inline, output temperature sensor (in my case, Blichmann Thrumometer). This is opposed to having a thermometer in the bucket, sesning the output temperature of the entire batch. It's a total game changer. The thrumometer allowed me to start the flow very slow, and open the ball valve slowwwwwwly until I saw the appropriate temperature (68 deg).

I only brewed 5 gallons last night, but was cooled and transferred in 8 minutes. The first 4 minutes were spent recirculating thru the plate chiller, and I got the batch down to 100 deg, then the next 4 min were spent flowing thru the plate chiller, into the bucket. I think it would have gone faster had I not spent so much time recirculating down to 100, but it was going so damn fast that I didn't even realize it got down that far.

So, after my first 6 batches with the plate chiller, I've landed on a technique I'm happy with, and would recommend a thrumometer or the like to anyone using as plate chiller.
 
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