Wort chiller or plate chiller?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Kmcogar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,102
Reaction score
52
Location
Honolulu
I do 5 gallon batches as of right now. I might move to 10 gallon batches in the next well 8 months to a year. I have a good set up for 5 gallon and I just received a 15.5 gallon keg to convert into a keggle. I have a ...well.... Kind of crappy wort chiller(25ft 1/4 copper). It gets the job done in about 30 minutes. I would like to move it to 10.

So...plate chiller or wort chiller?
 

makomachine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
966
Reaction score
20
Location
Tuttle
Kmcogar said:
I do 5 gallon batches as of right now. I might move to 10 gallon batches in the next well 8 months to a year. I have a good set up for 5 gallon and I just received a 15.5 gallon keg to convert into a keggle. I have a ...well.... Kind of crappy wort chiller(25ft 1/4 copper). It gets the job done in about 30 minutes. I would like to move it to 10.

So...plate chiller or wort chiller?

Plate chiller = wort chiller.

Are you meaning immersion chiller? I've used an immersion chiller for years and moving to a plate chiller tomorrow. Gotta cut my brew day hours down and Oklahoma groundwater is HOT!
 
OP
Kmcogar

Kmcogar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,102
Reaction score
52
Location
Honolulu
My apologies. I meant immersion chiller. Yeah me too. I want to make my day shorter. What I I used a 1/2 inch 50ft immersion chiller. Would that make a big difference? Could I use my old chiller as a pre chiller and the cut my time in half or more?
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,105
Reaction score
619
Location
Living free in the 603
Even in summer time, my plate chiller does a solid job. Plus, I don't need to do anything but watch the temperature drop to get it to work well. Unlike with an IC, where you'll need to move it, or the hot wort, around in order to get better chill times. I've use both types (started with an IC, then graduated to a plate chiller).

One thing I will say, longer plate chillers kick ass. I went from a 'normal' length plate chiller (Rebel ChillHog 4000) to the long one from Duda Diesel (also 40 plates, but about half again as long) and chill times (in the heat of summer) were much better. I can hardly wait to use it in cooler months, or where ground water is of lower temperature.
 

MalFet

/bɪər nɜrd/
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
8,632
Reaction score
1,479
Location
NYC / Kathmandu
Immersion chillers can be very slow if used on their own, but with a proper whirlpool they're very quick. I have both an immersion chiller and a shiron plate chiller, but I haven't bothered to pull out the plate chiller in ages. I find it tedious to clean.
 

PondScum

Active Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
39
Reaction score
1
Location
St. Michael
Depends on the kettle. If you don't have a valve/spiggot on your kettle, a plate chiller won't be of much use. Once you have your keggle set up and are brewing larger batches, a plate chiller would make sense.

I'm thinking about making an immersion chiller for a 15 gallon kettle. I'd stick with 3/8" copper and just make it wider and more shallow. More copper surface area in the wort and not sticking out of it for faster cooling.

The problem is when I factor in the price of copper, fittings, and my time making it, I end up with the price of a plate chiller. The kettle has a ball valve so it would be easy to connect it to a plate chiller.

So I'll likely end up with a plate chiller vs another immersion chiller.
 

PondScum

Active Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
39
Reaction score
1
Location
St. Michael
Immersion chillers can be very slow if used on their own, but with a proper whirlpool they're very quick. I have both an immersion chiller and a shiron plate chiller, but I haven't bothered to pull out the plate chiller in ages. I find it tedious to clean.
Ah! Cleaning a plate chiller. I've heard this can be a pain.
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,105
Reaction score
619
Location
Living free in the 603
Ah! Cleaning a plate chiller. I've heard this can be a pain.
PBW makes short work of it. Especially if you back flush on brew day. It's easy to keep it clean, you just need to remember to do it. If you want, you could even recirculate hot PBW through the kettle/keggle and plate chiller until it's clean to your satisfaction.

Recirculating boiling hot wort (on brew day) will sterilize the chiller pretty fast. Just remember to leave the chill water feed off while you do it. :D :drunk:
 

chemman14

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
1,645
Reaction score
38
Location
Newbury Park
PBW makes short work of it. Especially if you back flush on brew day. It's easy to keep it clean, you just need to remember to do it. If you want, you could even recirculate hot PBW through the kettle/keggle and plate chiller until it's clean to your satisfaction.

Recirculating boiling hot wort (on brew day) will sterilize the chiller pretty fast. Just remember to leave the chill water feed off while you do it. :D :drunk:
May I ask how you know the last point? :ban::tank:
 
OP
Kmcogar

Kmcogar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,102
Reaction score
52
Location
Honolulu
After all these comments it seems like an easy choice. Especially since copper is so exspensive. I think a roll of 3/8x 50ft is $62 plus tax. I could just spend an extra $20 and get a plate chiller.

Any plate chiller suggestions?
 

jclucca

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
70
Reaction score
2
Location
Jersey City
One thing I will say, longer plate chillers kick ass. I went from a 'normal' length plate chiller (Rebel ChillHog 4000) to the long one from Duda Diesel (also 40 plates, but about half again as long) and chill times (in the heat of summer) were much better. I can hardly wait to use it in cooler months, or where ground water is of lower temperature.
This. Get a Duda Diesel, by far the best deal IMHO. I ordered one a few months back and it has blown me away with how well it chills. I got the longer 20 plate version and it brings my temps down to virtually ground water temp in about 5 minutes for a 6 gallon batch.
 
OP
Kmcogar

Kmcogar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,102
Reaction score
52
Location
Honolulu
Why is the longer 20 plate more expensive then the shorter 30 plate?
 

jCOSbrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
606
Reaction score
37
Location
Colorado Springs
I use the long 20 plate chiller from duda diesel. Chills down to pitching temps at a rate of 1 gal / minute with my low CO hose water temps (70 deg F). Uses about 20 gallons of water in the process which I reuse for cleaning and the swamp cooler method of fermentation. Add a dial thermometer to the output and some cam locks for a great setup. I have used this successfully with gravity feed from the kettle but having a small pump makes it easier to clean the plate chiller and allows you to sanitize with boiling wort.
 

bostonbrewin

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
15
Reaction score
1
Location
South Shore
Probably a stupid question but I'm not really up on how the plate chillers work...I can see how it would be easier if one had a boil pot with spigot but should you just siphon the wort out to the plate chiller in? I'm looking to upgrade to a plate from an immersion (took me almost 60 gallons - two trash barrels- worth of water to cool 5 gallons of wort, maybe i'm doing it wrong). Thanks!
 

loud1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2012
Messages
62
Reaction score
5
Location
Saint Peters
If you don't have the money for a plate chiller you could always build a 20+ foot counterflow chiller. That was my route, not as efficient as a plate chiller but cheaper and far better than an immersion chiller. I just like to build stuff, that was my reasoning behind my chiller.

Louis
 

MalFet

/bɪər nɜrd/
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
8,632
Reaction score
1,479
Location
NYC / Kathmandu
bostonbrewin said:
Probably a stupid question but I'm not really up on how the plate chillers work...I can see how it would be easier if one had a boil pot with spigot but should you just siphon the wort out to the plate chiller in? I'm looking to upgrade to a plate from an immersion (took me almost 60 gallons - two trash barrels- worth of water to cool 5 gallons of wort, maybe i'm doing it wrong). Thanks!
You can calculate the volume of water you'd need to chill your beer with perfect heat transfer, and then evaluate the efficiency of your system from there.

Vg = Vb * (212 - Tp) / (Tp - Tg)

Vg = chilling water needed (theoretical)
Vb = batch size
Tp = pitching temp
Tg = ground water temp

If your ground water is warm and you're trying to pitch cool, unfortunately, 60gal might not be that far off the mark.
 

TopherM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
3,973
Reaction score
458
Location
St. Petersburg
Probably a stupid question but I'm not really up on how the plate chillers work...I can see how it would be easier if one had a boil pot with spigot but should you just siphon the wort out to the plate chiller in? I'm looking to upgrade to a plate from an immersion (took me almost 60 gallons - two trash barrels- worth of water to cool 5 gallons of wort, maybe i'm doing it wrong).
Yeah, you really don't want to use a plate chiller if you don't have a ball valve. I guess you could theoretically siphon into the plate chiller, but that's a PITA. You either gravity feed your wort through a ball valve or ideally feed it through a pump.

Anyway, the way it works is the SAME way as your trashcan/water scenerio. It's all about heat transfer. The basic idea is that one gallon of water at 50 degrees with 100% heat transfer to one gallon of water at 100 degrees will leave both gallons of water at 75 degrees. The plate chiller has one channel of water flow stacked on top of one channel of wort flow. The water and wort never touch, but the channels zig zag back and forth (20 plates = 20 layers of channels). The more surface area, the more efficient heat/cold transfer you get.

A 20 plate chiller with a flow rate of 0.65 gallons/minute will cool 10 gallons of 212F wort to 75F in 15 minutes assuming 68 degree water input. So, assuming these variables, it does take a total of 77 gallons of water to acheive the full cooldown.

You can see all the data here: http://www.dudadiesel.com/files/beerwortchart.pdf

Your trash can works the same way. The surface area of the water touching the pot, the temperture of the water, the thermal resistance of the pot metal, etc. all factor in to the amount of time it takes to cool the wort. Your 60 gallons of water means that your system has much more surface area than a 20 plate chiller, but also a much lower efficiency of heat transfer. If you want to increase the efficiency of your cooling system and use less water, you need to either have more surface area, less thermal resistance, or colder water.

Make sense???
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,105
Reaction score
619
Location
Living free in the 603
There's a chart available from Duda Diesel that shows how much water it takes to chill 10 gallons of wort to their target temp. Depending on the plate chiller size and the gpm of the chill water (and its temp) you might do better, or worse, than the chart.
 

bostonbrewin

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2009
Messages
15
Reaction score
1
Location
South Shore
Thanks for the replies, definitely makes sense and even answered questions i didn't know i had. This place rules. Thanks!
 
Top