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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: ckpash88 on October 12, 2011, 04:02:01 PM

Title: Plate chiller
Post by: ckpash88 on October 12, 2011, 04:02:01 PM
So I was looking to pick up a shirron plate chiller for around a 100 bucks does anyone has experience with them? Are they worth the investment?

I currently have a homemade counterflow wort chiller but it's big and clunky and I want to upgrade.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: micsager on October 12, 2011, 04:29:21 PM
So I was looking to pick up a shirron plate chiller for around a 100 bucks does anyone has experience with them? Are they worth the investment?

I currently have a homemade counterflow wort chiller but it's big and clunky and I want to upgrade.

Not sure about the shirron, but the one from Blichmann rocks.  I get wort down to 65 degrees with valves fully open. 
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: Pinski on October 12, 2011, 04:51:18 PM
Very, very happy with my Therminator.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: Jimmy K on October 12, 2011, 04:52:18 PM
I have a homemade copper tube counterflow chiller and my friend has a shirron plate chiller. I'm always amazed by the Shirron chillers speed.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: mabrungard on October 12, 2011, 04:58:13 PM
You don't mention where you are.  If you're distant from the equator, then the Shirron may be suitable since it has less surface area and the colder water supply temperatures may make up for that lack of surface area.  If your water supply temperature is warmer (ie. closer to the equator), then the reduced surface area may limit the degree to which you can cool your wort.  Moving to a larger plate chiller helps cool the wort more when higher water supply temperatures are prevalent.  Blichmann's Therminator (or other large plate chillers) are preferrable to the Shirron in this case.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: blatz on October 12, 2011, 05:35:28 PM
I've had both a Therminator and Shirron over the years.  I sold both of them - was never happy with cleaning them - the small channels and dozens of bends leave plenty of places for debris to collect.  I backflushed once iwth over 100gal of water (blast on/blast off) and was still unable to get the Therminator fully clean.  I went back to a large diameter IC for my current rig, but in my new electric system, I am planning on a double ganged CFC (one with hose water, one with recirculating icewater).

Looks like you live in MN so you should have great performance with either unit.

I would recommend spending the coin on some SS QDs - those 4 connections can be a pain sometimes, especially if you've been doing other things and forgot to hook up the chiller!
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: ckpash88 on October 12, 2011, 07:37:01 PM
Yeah I live in MN and my tap water is quite cold. So by the sounds of them they are pretty efficient units
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: bluesman on October 12, 2011, 08:00:21 PM
I have the Blichmann Therminator and I'm very happy with it's performance. I recommend boiling the chiller or running near boiling water through it prior to use.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: Gribble on October 13, 2011, 04:10:20 AM
When most brewers clean these out they use PBW, which is great but the real trick to keeping these things clean is running an Acid #5 wash through it.  It really helps to have a grant though that you can use to recirculate your acid wash.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: dhacker on October 13, 2011, 11:42:06 AM
I bought a Therminator several years ago and it cools as advertised. What you want to do when using any plate chiller is stir your wort enough after flame out to create a small vortex, (similar to a stir plate) then let it sit for about 5 minutes to form a neat little mound of trub in the center of the BK's bottom. This will help keep 'some' of the debris from entering the plates.

The only thing you will note with a plate chiller is all the cold break ends up in the fermentor. Maybe not a biggie, just be prepared for it . . .
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: morticaixavier on October 13, 2011, 02:41:45 PM
The only thing you will note with a plate chiller is all the cold break ends up in the fermentor. Maybe not a biggie, just be prepared for it . . .

Putting a sanitized nylon grain bag between the output from the chiller and the fermenter can keep nearly all the cold break and other trub from getting into the fermenter for what that is worth.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: narcout on October 15, 2011, 01:44:38 AM
Check these out: http://www.dudadiesel.com/heat_exchangers.php
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: narvin on October 15, 2011, 02:39:52 AM
Search for hop stopper.  You can build a simple screen to keep your plate chiller clean.
Title: Re: Plate chiller
Post by: boapiu on October 15, 2011, 01:45:23 PM
2 cents - if you are wanting to upgrade I would go all the way to the top. The therminator sounds like the one to get. I recently switched from a counter flow to an immersion for several reasons. Peace of mind concerning sanitation, no need for a pump (may or may not be an issue for your equipment but I had trouble getting the flow through my counter flow chiller with gravity alone), I can use a two stage cooling process using ground water initially until the temperature stalls around 100 then incorporating a pre-chiller in an ice bucket to get down to pitching temp, and chilling in the boil kettle allows me to leave more trub out of the fermentor. I am in Miami so chilling my boil is one of my biggest hurdles.