Author Topic: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool  (Read 5313 times)

Offline thebigbaker

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Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« on: June 23, 2012, 07:00:24 PM »
I've been doing 3 gallon batches, but I'm moving towards doing 5 gallon batches and getting the equipment to do so  (Got a larger brew pot w/ ball valve & thermometor and burner).  I have been cooling my three gallon boils in an ice bath and using my basic wort chiller to cool down, but w/ the new brew pot, setting it in an ice bath is not possible. 

So what cooling methods do you prefer?  Plate chiller or whirlpool?  I've already got a wort chiller and it would be cheap and easy to make/get the whirlpool attachment.  Yet, if the plate chiller is best, then I'll go that route.  I'll be getting a pump soon to complete the setup.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 05:36:42 AM by thebigbaker »
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Offline harbicide

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2012, 07:46:51 PM »
Both have their benes and detractions.  I have both although my CFC is a Chillzilla.  For late addition hops the goal is to cool to below about 120F as soon as possible to preserve hop flavor/aroma.  A CFC does not provide bulk cooling like an IC does.
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Offline boapiu

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 04:55:47 AM »
I use the 50 ft immersion chiller with a 10 gal batch size. My pump recirculates the wort thru the boil kettle. I run ground water from the faucet thru the IC until the temp is nearing 100-110 then pump ice water thru the IC using a pond pump submerged in a deep sink full of ice water. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on the set up but I reach 70 deg in about 25-30 min. The ground water at my house is rarely less than 80 deg so without some means to cool it, ice water, I could never get wort below 80. As to your question, prior to using a pump to recirculate the wort my chilling time was around an hour. A submersible pond pump is fairly inexpensive. Mine was left over from a previous project and this was just a way to put it to use. A secondary immersion chiller could provide the same results, I suppose.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 09:50:14 AM »
I went with IC and whirlpool.  I use my copper whirlpool line to pump mash water into the tun and cooled wort into carboys, so its a multi-tool.

I like to catch the hot water from the early chill run for washing afterwards.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 10:12:25 AM »
For a 5 - 10 gallon batch I think the IC chiller works best. Much easier to sanitize (just drop in boil last 10-20 minutes), and you can start cooling immediately at flame out.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 10:13:04 AM »
Plus you can make one yourself at the hardware store this afternoon.
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Offline jimrod

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 12:16:17 AM »
I also cool 12 gal batches in 15 min. using a 2 stage method. The wort is first run through 18- 1/4'' x 24'' SS tubes which are mounted inside a 4'' diameter SS pipe with sanitary fittings on each end. The tubes are cooled with hose water. ( it's just a gravity fed modified IC mounted in a 2 ft. x 4 in. pipe)

Then the wort is pumped to the Hot TL which I converted into a Cold LT ice bath using as much ice as I can get. I pump the hot wort through the 1/2''- 50' copper submerged in ice water and then directly into the conical. It's a cool 60*-65*, one shot, one way, no return.

I've tried it the other way and I wasn't satisfied.....pumping ice water through hot wort is not as effective as pumping hot wort through ice water. Also a small fountain pump to whirlpool the ice water really helps eliminate any warm spots.


« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 12:25:00 AM by jimrod »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 07:45:09 AM »
I like my 50' IC and a sanitized silicon spatula. It takes me about 20 minutes to get down to ~80. I then stick it in the fridge over night till it hits ~62 and pitch.

Plus you can make one yourself at the hardware store this afternoon.

+1 to this, 50' 1/2" flexible copper, already coiled as it was a 50' box. 2 compression fittings, two garden hose attachements and Robert is Your Mothers Brother! I think it cost about $45 total
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 12:27:35 PM »
For a 5 - 10 gallon batch I think the IC chiller works best. Much easier to sanitize (just drop in boil last 10-20 minutes), and you can start cooling immediately at flame out.

+1

My LHBS owner actually talked me out of a plate chiller because she said it was more hassle than improvement for batches < 10 gal.

I do 5-10 gal batches with a homemade IC on an ice water loop (submersible pond pump in an mash tun of ice water). This will get me to pitch temps in ~ 40 min. I'll run tap water through until I get to ~ 110F and then switch over to chilled water. I use the warm outlet tap water to wash down my equipment.

I can cut this time in half if I recirc the wort with my March pump, but its not necessary.
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 01:11:34 PM »
So with the advice on this board and from others I've spoken with, I am going to stick w/ my current IC and make a second IC that I will have sitting in an ice bath to cool down the water going to the wort chiller.  It's been crazy hot here in Denver w/ temps getting into the 100s the past week.  My tap water temp is now up near 80.  I never thought about putting my wort in the fridge to cool down, I just may have to give this a try if I'm having issues getting my temps down. 
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 06:28:23 AM »
Just to give another data point.  I use a plate chiller for both 5 and 10 gallon batches.  I used to use an IC, but I have found the plate chiller does a better job of cooing the wort to ale pitching temps, quicker.  I use well water for the chilling counter flow.  It stays cold year round (300 ft. deep).  If your tap water warms during the summer an IC with an ice bath may work better.  YMMV
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Offline onthekeg

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 08:06:09 AM »
I use a CFC and it enables me to cool the wort to pitching temp quickly as well as not having the tiny passages to catch hops or trub and plug as easily.
I do a hop stand at the end of the boil for about 20 minutes to get some goodness out of the 0 min hop additions, then run through the chiller.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 09:30:07 AM »
I use a CFC and it enables me to cool the wort to pitching temp quickly as well as not having the tiny passages to catch hops or trub and plug as easily.
I do a hop stand at the end of the boil for about 20 minutes to get some goodness out of the 0 min hop additions, then run through the chiller.

I was thinking about this: http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?cPath=178_33_145&products_id=10458.  I thought about building my own, but after the price of getting the parts (copper isn't as cheap as it used to be), it's about the same price.  Same thing w/ buiding your own IC.  How well do these CFCs work gravity fed?  I'm holding off on getting a pump and seeing if I can find one on CL before I buy a new one (of course, the day I buy a new one, a used one will be up on CL the same day!).

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Offline onthekeg

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 09:48:33 AM »
That is pretty much what I have for a CFC.  I haven't used it with gravity though, so I can't answer that question.  My CFC is low, so I need a pump to push the wort out and into my buckets.  Maybe someone else will chime in that uses it with gravity.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Plate Chiller or Whirlpool
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2012, 07:36:25 AM »
I am going to stick w/ my current IC and make a second IC that I will have sitting in an ice bath to cool down the water going to the wort chiller.

I tried this first and found the second IC chiller really decreased the flowrate and didnt really cool the water all that much. Plus its still wasting a lot of water.

Buying the Pond Pump at lowes along with the hose and hose fittings was cheaper than buying another IC. I traded my two 3/8" ID ICs in for one homemade 1/2" IC. That also helped a lot.

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