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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: drmario47 on July 26, 2011, 10:38:13 AM

Title: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: drmario47 on July 26, 2011, 10:38:13 AM
I would like to shorten my brewing day and have a more efficient way to chill my wort. Anyone recommend the shirron plate chiller? It looks like the best option for the money. I am using a immersion chiller right now and it's just too slow. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: Jimmy K on July 26, 2011, 10:53:35 AM
My friend has a shirron chiller and it is speedy as hell, he uses it with a pump.

Do you stir while chilling? Stirring will even out temperature gradients and help chill faster.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: bluesman on July 26, 2011, 11:38:56 AM
I use a Blichmann Therminator. I can chill  an 11 gallon batch of beer down to 62F in about 15 min using 62F groundwater. It's an amazing piece of brewing equipment. I used to use an IC, which works really well, but invested in a plate chiller that works just as well but is easier to work with IMO.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: Kit B on July 26, 2011, 01:30:48 PM
My wish list includes this:

http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=HX1220BWC
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: tom on July 26, 2011, 01:51:39 PM
I've never seen that version!  Sweet!
Only 59$ and more chilling area than a Shirron.
Wish I had seen that when I ordered mine.  I got 1/2" MPT all around.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: mabrungard on July 26, 2011, 02:18:21 PM
The selection of a wort chiller should be based on the typical temperature of the cooling water source.  If you're up in the Great White North, then you can probably get by very well with a small chiller like the Shirron.  If you're in a hot climate, you are better off getting the largest chiller you can afford.  I bought my Therminator when I was in Tallahassee and it performed well.  Now that I'm in Indiana, its more than adequate and I have to throttle the cooling water in order to avoid overchilling ale wort.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: tom on July 26, 2011, 02:57:56 PM
Martin has 2 great points.  I started with a Therminator when they first came out, but it can't cool the wort any colder than your tap water.  So in the Summers, when I brew lagers, I got a Duda 20-plate chiller that I put in-line.  The first chiller gets tap water and the second gets ice water pumped through it with a little sump pump.  Works like a charm.

And I highly recommend placing a thermometer on the wort output and use valves on both the water and the wort so you dial in the wort temperature.

So if you live in the Great White North, I would recommend one of the 20-plate chillers.  If you brew sometimes when your tap water is warmer than you want the wort, get a second 20-plate chiller.  It's still a lot cheaper than a Therminator or a Chillzilla.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: drmario47 on July 26, 2011, 03:31:08 PM
My wish list includes this:

http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=HX1220BWC


That wort chiller looks great for the price ( I might just order it right now). Also thanks everyone for all the input, I live in Connecticut so my tap water is generally cold so I doubt i will have a problem with this. Thanks again
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: darvyle on July 27, 2011, 08:22:50 AM
If money is a concern I'd go with another immersion chiller inline with your current one and plunk it in a bucket of ice water, I call it my pre-chiller.   What i do is the night before a brew day i take an old retired fermenting bucket and fill it with water and put it in the fridge.  When my wort gets down to about 100-120 i get the bucket of now ~40F water out of the fridge and put the pre-chiller immersion chiller in the cold bath of water.  I find it helps on the really hot brew days and was cost effective for me.

Here is a diagram to if anything i wrote above is confusing

Spigot ----> Pre-chiller in bucket of cold water -----> Regular immersion chiller in Warm Wart ------> Waste water.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: Kit B on July 27, 2011, 08:32:23 AM
If you already know the Shirron won't be adequate, there's the bigger Duda...
This is the one I meant to post, earlier...This is my actual wish list item.

http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=HX2330BWC
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: JKL on July 27, 2011, 09:55:09 AM
If you already know the Shirron won't be adequate, there's the bigger Duda...
This is the one I meant to post, earlier...This is my actual wish list item.

http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=HX2330BWC


So which of these Duda Chillers is going to perform better in a hot environment?  The Larger 30 plate (12") or the shorter 40 plate (7.5") ?
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: dee on July 27, 2011, 10:32:36 AM
I bought this model on sale when I outgrew my immersion chiller and I'm quite pleased.  I'm able to get 20 gallons down to 65 within 15 minutes by pumping ice water through the chiller with a fountain pump.

I outfitted it with cam-lock quick disconnects from bargainfittings.com and have a high volume, easy to clean and easy to assemble chilling system for under $150.  That's priceless when brewing in the Georgia heat.

http://www.homebrewstuff.com/brewing-equipment-1/wort-chillers/chill-out-tm-40-plate-wort-chiller.html (http://www.homebrewstuff.com/brewing-equipment-1/wort-chillers/chill-out-tm-40-plate-wort-chiller.html)
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: Kit B on July 27, 2011, 10:35:30 AM
If you already know the Shirron won't be adequate, there's the bigger Duda...
This is the one I meant to post, earlier...This is my actual wish list item.

http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=HX2330BWC


So which of these Duda Chillers is going to perform better in a hot environment?  The Larger 30 plate (12") or the shorter 40 plate (7.5") ?

I think this may shed some light.
http://www.dudadiesel.com/files/beerwortchart.pdf

Looks like 40 is better, to me.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: tom on July 27, 2011, 12:29:44 PM
I would still buy two 20 plate chillers if it were me.  Less money too.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: JKL on July 27, 2011, 01:00:25 PM
If you already know the Shirron won't be adequate, there's the bigger Duda...
This is the one I meant to post, earlier...This is my actual wish list item.

http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=HX2330BWC


So which of these Duda Chillers is going to perform better in a hot environment?  The Larger 30 plate (12") or the shorter 40 plate (7.5") ?

I think this may shed some light.
http://www.dudadiesel.com/files/beerwortchart.pdf

Looks like 40 is better, to me.

Thanks for the link.  To me it looks like the B3-23a30 (Larger 30 plate) is much more efficient.  If I'm reading that right at the same water flow and at a higher Wort flow rate you can achieve the same results as the smaller 40 plate using less water and in a shorter time period.  Gotta get 1!  I've been whilpooling to get to 130F then into carboys around 90F.  This takes about 30 minutes with my CFC.  From there its another 4-6 hrs to get to pitching temps in my freezer.
-J.K.L.\m/
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: jallen on August 28, 2012, 09:41:56 PM
Martin has 2 great points.  I started with a Therminator when they first came out, but it can't cool the wort any colder than your tap water.  So in the Summers, when I brew lagers, I got a Duda 20-plate chiller that I put in-line.  The first chiller gets tap water and the second gets ice water pumped through it with a little sump pump.  Works like a charm.

And I highly recommend placing a thermometer on the wort output and use valves on both the water and the wort so you dial in the wort temperature.

So if you live in the Great White North, I would recommend one of the 20-plate chillers.  If you brew sometimes when your tap water is warmer than you want the wort, get a second 20-plate chiller.  It's still a lot cheaper than a Therminator or a Chillzilla.
Tom,
I am wondering if the 20-plate chiller is easier to clean than the 30-plate chiller. The more plates involved worries me about getting trub, break material, and hops trapped w/in the unit. Have you had any problems cleaning the unit with PBW and/or back flush setup? I also live in the Denver area and would like to buy only one chiller. I am thinking about getting the B3-23A 20 Plate Beer Wort Garden Hose Chiller with 1/2" male NPT so I can add quick disconnects.
Thanks!
James
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: tom on August 29, 2012, 08:15:36 AM
They will both require the same cleaning and sanitizing.
I backflush with the water hose and then pump hot PBW backwards through it for 30 minutes.  I sanitize either with StarSan or the oven (285F for 3 hours).

The 20 plate will be fine in the Winter, but in the Summer you can't chill any lower than the ground water temperature without using an ice bath.  In the Summer I set them up in series with the first getting ground water and the second getting ice water pumped with a sump pump.

I clean my pump and hoses every brew, so adding the plate chiller in-line is almost zero extra work.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: Alewyfe on August 29, 2012, 09:19:55 AM
For me, it's always a matter of what on the wish list is going to give the most bang for the buck. I've wanted plate chillers and pumps. I opted for one pump first. That lessened my chill time significantly and aided in moving stuff around without lifting. Second benefit is that I just use a 5 gal pail with ice water and run a short hose from that to my IC. In the warm summer months using my tap water I get down to around 80 with the IC in the wort. Then hook up the pump to the IC, pumping ice water through the chiller, I can get it down to where I need it for pitching either lager or ale yeast.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: morticaixavier on August 29, 2012, 10:00:23 AM
A friend had a good idea. He held one of those flexible ice packs wrapped around the input side of the IC above where it goes in the wort. seemed to help a bit. maybe knocked 5 minutes off chilling.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: weithman5 on August 29, 2012, 10:07:02 AM
i am in the process of building a cross flow heat exchanger. i have a 2 gallon bucket with an inlet in the lid and outlet near the bottom. this i circulate ice water through via a submersible pump.  inside the bucket is about 20 feet of copper tubing that protrudes (both ends) through the sides. this i can pump the wort through. it will be getting a final test this weekend and if it works will add pictures.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: AmandaK on August 29, 2012, 11:22:57 AM
How are you guys keeping little hop debris out of your plate chillers?

I only use pellet hops with a Hop Stopper, but I still feel like it would clog a plate chiller. I'm currently running a CFC, so I'm just curious.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: PSUhomebrewer on August 29, 2012, 12:05:35 PM
Hop backs work great for filters for plate chillers. I'm pluming one in after my pump before the chiller (the standard for pumps atleast). Depending on what one you use you can use rice hull instead of hops to filter the wort when you do non hoppy beers.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: majorvices on August 30, 2012, 04:59:55 AM
I have had all the chillers out there just about, from a homemade IC to a chillzilla to a plate chiller. And the homemade IC is best bang for the buck by far. Much, much easier to clean and sanitize (just drop it in the boil for last 20 minutes, hose off before and after each brew). Costs about $40 to build, takes all of 5 minutes to construct.

Yes, in the summer you will not be able to chill below your water temp, and mine is in the 80's here in the deep south. I always have just be certain my fermenter is sanitized properly, run off my wort into fermenter and put in whatever temp controlled fermentation controller I am using and chill down to proper pitching temps next morning. A lot less stress, too, at end of long brew day.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: weithman5 on August 30, 2012, 06:04:34 AM
fwiw, you are never able to cool below your cooling source temperature
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: AmandaK on August 30, 2012, 06:52:44 AM
Hop backs work great for filters for plate chillers. I'm pluming one in after my pump before the chiller (the standard for pumps atleast). Depending on what one you use you can use rice hull instead of hops to filter the wort when you do non hoppy beers.

Yes, but you need whole hops for a hop back, no?

Also, rice hulls are not as efficient as hops for a filter medium. So I would be slightly concerned with debris getting in.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: tcanova on August 30, 2012, 07:46:35 AM
i am in the process of building a cross flow heat exchanger. i have a 2 gallon bucket with an inlet in the lid and outlet near the bottom. this i circulate ice water through via a submersible pump.  inside the bucket is about 20 feet of copper tubing that protrudes (both ends) through the sides. this i can pump the wort through. it will be getting a final test this weekend and if it works will add pictures.

A friend of mine in our club built one of these and it works quite well.

I use my RIMS to recirculate ice water through my submersion chiller and whirlpool and I can cool 10 gallons down in about 15 minutes.
Title: Re: Best wort chiller for the money?
Post by: PSUhomebrewer on August 31, 2012, 03:24:48 AM
Hop backs work great for filters for plate chillers. I'm pluming one in after my pump before the chiller (the standard for pumps atleast). Depending on what one you use you can use rice hull instead of hops to filter the wort when you do non hoppy beers.

Yes, but you need whole hops for a hop back, no?

Also, rice hulls are not as efficient as hops for a filter medium. So I would be slightly concerned with debris getting in.


Yes you do need to use leaf hops for it. Rice hulls also get bagged when being used as a filter medium to prevent them from flowing out of the hop back. Also you can use more(by weight) rice hulls than hoos to increase the filtering capability of them. It was the most suggested way when I was looking at how to prevent stuff from going into the chiller.