Author Topic: Plate Chiller and Hops  (Read 1011 times)

Offline Teetsy

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Plate Chiller and Hops
« on: January 10, 2014, 05:15:24 AM »
I have been brewing for a couple years now and I finally stepped my game up and bought a plate chiller. My question is how do you guys that have one filter your hops out to go through the chiller. I do use the pellet hops any information you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 06:20:38 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

The simple answer (and this will create some debate, to be sure) is that IME, having used a IC, CFC and plate chiller all at different times of the game nothing really beats an IC. First off, it can't be easier to clean and sanitize. You can inspect visually to see if it is clean, or to see if any patina needs removed with an acid (vinegar works) soak. And you plop it in your BK last 20 minutes to sanitize. If you have a pump you can recirc your wort back into itself to create a whirlpool like the pros do and chill rapidly.

Plate chillers have a tendency to clog. You have to boil them or bake them in your over to really be sure they are sanitary - and gosh they are expensive. And IMO an inferior option.

That said, you could bag your hops (and suffer utilization losses) or construct a diverter plate in front of your pick up to minimize clogging.
Keith Y.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 06:22:10 AM »
I have been brewing for a couple years now and I finally stepped my game up and bought a plate chiller. My question is how do you guys that have one filter your hops out to go through the chiller. I do use the pellet hops any information you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated.

I have been having issues with this as well.  Last brew I used a hop spider and although I don't think I get the same utilization as "free" hops, at least the chiller didn't clog.
I am going to make a grant.  The hot wort gets drained through a colander into the grant and then pumped from the bottom through the chiller and back to the kettle.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 06:23:36 AM »
+1 to the IC.
Jon H.

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 06:32:56 AM »
I have been brewing for a couple years now and I finally stepped my game up and bought a plate chiller. My question is how do you guys that have one filter your hops out to go through the chiller. I do use the pellet hops any information you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated.
What size batches do you brew? 10 gallons or less and I'd say keep it simple and stick with the IC.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 06:47:50 AM »
I have been brewing for a couple years now and I finally stepped my game up and bought a plate chiller. My question is how do you guys that have one filter your hops out to go through the chiller. I do use the pellet hops any information you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated.

I have been having issues with this as well.  Last brew I used a hop spider and although I don't think I get the same utilization as "free" hops, at least the chiller didn't clog.
I am going to make a grant.  The hot wort gets drained through a colander into the grant and then pumped from the bottom through the chiller and back to the kettle.

I now have a grant. The main use is to break the vacuum that can be on the false bottom when pumping. I also will try having the grant on a burner, so that I can heat when transferring to the kettle and get to the boil faster. I also will use it to bump temperatures in a step mash.


You just gave me a boil/post boil application, Jeff.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 06:49:21 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline redzim

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 06:58:05 AM »
First off, it can't be easier to clean and sanitize. You can inspect visually to see if it is clean, or to see if any patina needs removed with an acid (vinegar works) soak.

I use 50' of 1/2" ID copper as an IC; I can get 11 gallons from boiling to 60F in about 7 minutes right now (my groundwater temp is 46F here in the Hudson Valley). [Takes longer in the summer, of course]

Anyway I love the IC for the reasons Major mentioned but I do have trouble with cleaning it. After 6-8 batches the copper does pick up a brownish patina from all the boiling, and so far I have been soaking it in a PBW solution for a few hours, which removes most of that BUT then the PBW leaves a chalky residue which I have found very difficult to remove, I basically have to manually scrub the entire coil with an abrasive green 3M scratchy pad thing. PITA of course.  Very interested if vinegar is going to do a better job. Would you soak in pure 5% vinegar? Or dilute? And hot, or cold? Any info appreciated.

-red

Offline BP79

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 07:46:33 AM »
I'm in the same boat as you - I picked up a Therminator for Christmas after using an IC for about 3 years/15 brews.  Given I don't plan on going back to an IC any time soon since I just dropped a lot of coin, I ended up using hops bags from Northern Brewer for my first brew and had no issues with clogging whatsoever.  In fact, I overchilled my wort to about 57 degrees in 5 minutes.  You can also wrap a small screen/filter around the valve inside the kettle to catch any additional floaters. 

 

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 08:15:58 AM »
First off, it can't be easier to clean and sanitize. You can inspect visually to see if it is clean, or to see if any patina needs removed with an acid (vinegar works) soak.

I use 50' of 1/2" ID copper as an IC; I can get 11 gallons from boiling to 60F in about 7 minutes right now (my groundwater temp is 46F here in the Hudson Valley). [Takes longer in the summer, of course]

Anyway I love the IC for the reasons Major mentioned but I do have trouble with cleaning it. After 6-8 batches the copper does pick up a brownish patina from all the boiling, and so far I have been soaking it in a PBW solution for a few hours, which removes most of that BUT then the PBW leaves a chalky residue which I have found very difficult to remove, I basically have to manually scrub the entire coil with an abrasive green 3M scratchy pad thing. PITA of course.  Very interested if vinegar is going to do a better job. Would you soak in pure 5% vinegar? Or dilute? And hot, or cold? Any info appreciated.

-red
Red, PBW will remove organics, use acids such as vinegar or a Star San solution to remove the dark patina and make it shiny new.
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 08:27:11 AM »
Like most tools I think each type of common chiller has it's place and folks are going to have their own preferences and application of technique.
IC- elegant simplicity and ease of use. I mostly use mine to pre-chill my tap water that runs through my counterflow. Super easy to clean and sanitize.
Counterflow coil- This is my workhorse year-round as it is effective and not prone to clogging. Relatively easy to clean with a little backflush after transfers are complete. Pellet hops i'll just toss in, whole hops i'll either bag or use a false bottom in the BK.
Plate Chiller- Most efficient use of chilling water because it has the greatest surface area for heat exchange. Also the most time consuming to clean and can clog if you don't take measures to prevent it. Mostly use mine to when I make lagers in the summer. I'll add it as a second stage after the counterflow chiller and recirculate ice water from a bucket.  Very effective but not much fun to set up and take down. Pellets and whole hops go in socks when I use the plate chiller.
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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 08:28:01 AM »
+1 to vinegar for the IC coils.
Jon H.

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 09:15:21 AM »
First off, it can't be easier to clean and sanitize. You can inspect visually to see if it is clean, or to see if any patina needs removed with an acid (vinegar works) soak.

I use 50' of 1/2" ID copper as an IC; I can get 11 gallons from boiling to 60F in about 7 minutes right now (my groundwater temp is 46F here in the Hudson Valley). [Takes longer in the summer, of course]

Anyway I love the IC for the reasons Major mentioned but I do have trouble with cleaning it. After 6-8 batches the copper does pick up a brownish patina from all the boiling, and so far I have been soaking it in a PBW solution for a few hours, which removes most of that BUT then the PBW leaves a chalky residue which I have found very difficult to remove, I basically have to manually scrub the entire coil with an abrasive green 3M scratchy pad thing. PITA of course.  Very interested if vinegar is going to do a better job. Would you soak in pure 5% vinegar? Or dilute? And hot, or cold? Any info appreciated.

-red

I don't bother for the most part. I spray off the large chunks with a hose, go at it quickly with a cotton or nylon hops bag and call it good. I figure it prevents too much leaching of copper into the wort that way. like passivation of your boil kettle
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline sparkleberry

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 09:24:04 AM »
yesterday i brewed at my buddy's place. he has a plate chiller. we haven't brewed in a couple months and even though he sent hot water and pbw through the system last brew day, lots of gunk came out after running more hot water. he has a heck of a time cleaning it. but, it does seem to work pretty well with his system.

i use a 50' ½" dia ic. i love it.

i mix my star san with distilled water so i have a 5 gallon bucket full for a few brew days. instead of boiling to sanitize i just leave it in the star san for 10 minutes and then drop into the boil kettle. after chilling i spray with a hose and scrub with a little sponge with soapy water. it still shines to this day.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 09:28:16 AM by sparkleberry »
cheers.

rpl
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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 09:37:04 AM »
I haven't ever felt the need to go with a plate chiller so I'm help there.

I will give my 50' IC a 15 minute soak in my bucket of StarSan just before I throw out the current mix and make new.  This is maybe twice a year.  Other than that, I only rinse off the coils after each use.  The soak in StarSan does produce a less than nice flavor/aroma so I don't think I would go straight into a beer with it.

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Offline factory

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Re: Plate Chiller and Hops
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 10:04:59 AM »
I have a Blichmann Therminator plate chiller.  It works very well for me as I can cool wort down much more quickly than I could with the IC.  I put a bazooka screen in the boil kettle to keep a large majority of the gunk out of the plate chiller.  After use I immediately run PBW through the plate chiller for about 15 minutes and then back back flush with PBW for another 15.  Then I repeat the process with hot water and then run sanitizer through it.

I read somewhere recommendations for baking the plate chiller in 350F oven for an hour and then flushing and back flushing if you start to get build-up.  So far, I haven't had to do this with my set-up as it stays clean with the cleaning process that I use.