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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: jjflash on May 06, 2013, 12:01:55 AM

Title: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: jjflash on May 06, 2013, 12:01:55 AM
Been using this Blickmann Therminator for a couple years now.  I run 5 gallons of PBW at 140+ degrees then 5 gallons rinse water via pump to clean, then back flush till clear.  I thought all this time I was giving this plate chiller a really good cleaning out. Finished brewing last week and cleaned the plate chiller as usual.  Unplugged the unit and set it in the sink to drain. Everyday this week I have run the back flush hose and I am getting quite a bit of grain bits/whole cone hop debris.  I think I must have never, really cleaned this chiller out completely!

I am trying to come up with a good way to totally clean this plate chiller out spotless.  I have heard of brewers putting these in the oven and literally baking the thing.  Seems to me this would only burn the debris to the plates.  Thought about using caustic.....

Anyone got a great, sure fire, total clean method for plate chillers like mine that must be encrusted with barnacles of brew kettle debris? 
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: Jeff M on May 06, 2013, 02:04:36 AM
I can see baking it for a few hours on high to get all the gunk carbonized so it will  just flush out. id contact blichman if i where you.  keep in mind that as long as you boil it now and then, nothings growing in it.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: jjflash on May 07, 2013, 01:09:13 AM
Thought about using Five Star Acid Cleaner No. 5 ....

Then send an email to Dan Blichmann, here is his response:

Do not use the Acid cleaner. This could damage your Therminator. I would try and bake it if you are not getting the Therminator as clean as you would like. You can bake it in your oven at 300 degrees for a couple hours. Following the bake you should flush it clean. We have had great luck with getting the debris out.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dan
Blichmann Engineering, LLC
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: micsager on May 07, 2013, 08:59:34 PM
Been using this Blickmann Therminator for a couple years now.  I run 5 gallons of PBW at 140+ degrees then 5 gallons rinse water via pump to clean, then back flush till clear.  I thought all this time I was giving this plate chiller a really good cleaning out. Finished brewing last week and cleaned the plate chiller as usual.  Unplugged the unit and set it in the sink to drain. Everyday this week I have run the back flush hose and I am getting quite a bit of grain bits/whole cone hop debris.  I think I must have never, really cleaned this chiller out completely!

I am trying to come up with a good way to totally clean this plate chiller out spotless.  I have heard of brewers putting these in the oven and literally baking the thing.  Seems to me this would only burn the debris to the plates.  Thought about using caustic.....

Anyone got a great, sure fire, total clean method for plate chillers like mine that must be encrusted with barnacles of brew kettle debris?

You are having a different experience than myself.  I too have been using the therminator for a few years.  I fill my buckets, and seal them, the immidiatly back flush with hot water/PBW/hot water. 

That has always worked fine.

what kind of screen or such do you use in your boil pot?  Did a hole develop?

hmmmmm. 
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: troybinso on May 08, 2013, 01:39:42 AM
According to John Palmer in How to Brew, 335 F for one hour is enough to sterilize a plate chiller. I do this with my Shirron plate chiller and it seems to work every time. I flush it with sanitizer right before I use it.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: smkranz on May 08, 2013, 01:40:38 AM
Been using this Blickmann Therminator for a couple years now.  I run 5 gallons of PBW at 140+ degrees then 5 gallons rinse water via pump to clean, then back flush till clear.  I thought all this time I was giving this plate chiller a really good cleaning out. Finished brewing last week and cleaned the plate chiller as usual.  Unplugged the unit and set it in the sink to drain. Everyday this week I have run the back flush hose and I am getting quite a bit of grain bits/whole cone hop debris.  I think I must have never, really cleaned this chiller out completely!

I am trying to come up with a good way to totally clean this plate chiller out spotless.  I have heard of brewers putting these in the oven and literally baking the thing.  Seems to me this would only burn the debris to the plates.  Thought about using caustic.....

Anyone got a great, sure fire, total clean method for plate chillers like mine that must be encrusted with barnacles of brew kettle debris?

My Therminator is used with a BoilerMaker kettle and a Blichmann boil screen installed.  The screen is pretty clutch to the Therminator's happiness.  No way you should ever let grains, let alone whole hop cones, get in there.

As soon as I'm done pumping wort through the Therminator, all solid debris is hosed out of the kettle.  Fresh water heated to 120+ degrees, mix in a pretty rich PBW solution, and recirculate the hot PBW through the Therminator for 20-30 minutes with the valve on the output of the pump opened all the way to get lots of movement through the chiller.  If I remember, I'll switch the hoses to reverse the flow for awhile, but that almost never happens.  Then hook up a garden hose, flush both ways through the chiller for a little while.

Never have I seen debris come out of the chiller.  That said, I can't see inside the thing, and do wish that Blichmann (or someone else) would produce an efficient plate chiller which homebrewers could (1) afford and (2) take apart to clean.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: jjflash on May 12, 2013, 10:45:35 PM
do wish that Blichmann (or someone else) would produce an efficient plate chiller which homebrewers could (1) afford and (2) take apart to clean.

+1 there.

I use a commercial homebrew hopback. It lets this hop debris get into the Therminator. Tried the oven heating trick to clean the Therminator. Works somewhat, but still not great. I think a good pre Therminator screen will be required to stop this problem.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: dean_palmer on May 15, 2013, 02:52:35 PM
I have used the Blichmann chillers for many years, and sometimes two of them in series. No matter what you would normally want to do, and regardless of what filter you buy, there will always be debris in the process that will get into them. Taking that into consideration I consider the end of the brew process the first step in making sure they never have issues. (notice I didn't say they were ever perfectly clean)

1. Before use I flush with regular tap water. It's amazing what comes out after the unit has sat for weeks and you swear you clean the hell out of it last time it was used. (my sanitation is hot wort circulation in the last part of the brew process, nothing else)

2. Flush with water, swap the input and output a few times and burst the water off and on both ways until minimal debris is coming out. I use a white bucket for the water coming out to see what is coming out.

3. Sometimes I may place some PBW in one of the vessels and pump warm PBW through the chiller(s) for a while (after the above water flushing). This is done every once in a while when I have spare time but not every time. Rinse with water as above after the PBW.

4. Blow out excess water and store.

I have used everything from a Bazooka screen (fail), to false bottom(best), to Brewer's Hardware filter canister (fail), but all filtration seems to have its limit and has caused issues at one time or another. I have started whirlpooling and picking up from the edge of the bottom, but frankly there is still a ton of debris in suspension that goes through the chillers this way. Regardless of the huge debris load, no issues.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: blatz on May 15, 2013, 05:13:46 PM
I can attest dean's process is the best way i found as well. That said, i got pretty fed up with plate chillers and gave up on them because of the work involved with them, but what he described above is about the only way i found comfortable.  YMMV.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: micsager on May 15, 2013, 05:57:30 PM
After reading all of these posts, I wonder why I don't have problems. 

I rince my thermonator with hot tap water immidiately after filling fermenters.  First thing.  Even before oxygenating and puting airlocks on the fermenters.  I let that run for about 5 minutes, full blast. 

I drain the water, and place in a freezer, so nothing will "grow."  Sanitize with StarSan just before next use. 

Now, I generally use whole leaf hops, but did have to get some pellets a couple months ago. 

Still, no problems. 

hmmmmmmmmm   
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: denny on May 15, 2013, 06:00:15 PM
After reading all of these posts, I wonder why I don't have problems. 
hmmmmmmmmm   

Clean living, Mic.  Wait, what?  ;)
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: blatz on May 15, 2013, 06:00:57 PM
After reading all of these posts, I wonder why I don't have problems. 

I rince my thermonator with hot tap water immidiately after filling fermenters.  First thing.  Even before oxygenating and puting airlocks on the fermenters.  I let that run for about 5 minutes, full blast. 

I drain the water, and place in a freezer, so nothing will "grow."  Sanitize with StarSan just before next use. 

Now, I generally use whole leaf hops, but did have to get some pellets a couple months ago. 

Still, no problems. 

hmmmmmmmmm   

I never had problems (i.e. clogging or infection) but i did notice I always had particulate in there that I no amount of backflushing could rid and thus I never felt comfortable with. I use a double ganged CFC now and it works for me.  YMMV.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: tschmidlin on May 15, 2013, 09:44:21 PM
After use I immediately flush with hot water, then back flush with caustic, then rinse with hot water.  No issues so far.  I really need to come up with something to keep the hops out though.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: narvin on May 16, 2013, 04:03:58 AM
I'll post this awesome display of hop stopping one more time  :)

(http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-uG5ca79xU2Q/UZRaLNGu0yI/AAAAAAAAIUM/VluzHp9lt8Y/w1156-h692-no/IMAG1485.jpg)
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: blatz on May 16, 2013, 02:04:17 PM
man that looks more like the morning after a night of heavy drinking and chicken wings. 
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: jjflash on June 27, 2013, 04:15:35 AM
After researching this issue I have a couple suggestions for cleaning the Therminator.

First of all I am convinced it is impossible to really clean the Therminator thoroughly due to the design of sealed plate chillers.  Since the chiller can never be taken apart there will always be trapped particles in the plate system.  I have run hot PBW, backwashed, baked in the oven, more PBW, more backwash and thought I had my Therminator reasonably clean. Was I wrong.  I saw this new caustic cleaner called TM Desenamax at Williams Brewing. Cool cleaner that is purple when clean, blue when dirty, and yellow when very dirty.  I ran two batches thru my Therminator and I was totally shocked all the debris that came out! I know Blichmann does not recommend caustic cleaners but this cleaner was fantastic.
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v676/JJFlash/A36_zps3dd50528.jpg) (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/JJFlash/media/A36_zps3dd50528.jpg.html)
Second, the only way to prevent reoccurrences is to prevent debris from entering the Therminator.  I use the Beer3 hopback just before my Therminator with the concept it would act as a filter when filled with whole hops.  The problem with this hopback is that the false bottom has 1/8 inch holes that allow too much whole hops to enter the Therminator.  My solution to that problem was to place a 400 micron canister filter in the hopback.  Mine came from Arbor Fabricating - Chad the owner/fabricator is awesome to work with and his products are the best quality.
 (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v676/JJFlash/02_zps11bc4b76.jpg) (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/JJFlash/media/02_zps11bc4b76.jpg.html)
  (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v676/JJFlash/01_zps6f7e6e75.jpg) (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/JJFlash/media/01_zps6f7e6e75.jpg.html)
 (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v676/JJFlash/04_zps75d310c4.jpg) (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/JJFlash/media/04_zps75d310c4.jpg.html)
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 27, 2013, 01:24:12 PM
man that looks more like the morning after a night of heavy drinking and chicken wings.
Ha ha.
Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: ccfoo242 on June 27, 2013, 04:32:07 PM
Seems like more trouble than it's worth.

Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

Title: Re: need tips how to really clean out a Blickmann Therminator
Post by: In The Sand on June 27, 2013, 06:45:43 PM
I'll post this awesome display of hop stopping one more time  :)

(http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-uG5ca79xU2Q/UZRaLNGu0yI/AAAAAAAAIUM/VluzHp9lt8Y/w1156-h692-no/IMAG1485.jpg)

What did you use here?