I'm upgrading my brewery this year. One of the two "big" things on the list is a counterflow chiller. Something easy to clean & sanitize is at the top of my feature list. Which is the best to get?
Also, I've heard you need high temp hoses to handle the hot wort... what do I want to look for?
I hardly consider going to a CFC an "upgrade" from an IC for several reasons:
• A CFC is not easier to clean than a IC. With an IC you simply hose it off and plop it in the kettle 10-15 min. before the end of the boil. You can soak it in a vinegar solution to remove patina or a cleanser solution to remove trub/stone. Who the hell knows if the inside of a CFC is clean?
• Using an IC you can start cooling immediately after the boil is over. With the CFC you really need to wait at least 10-15 minutes before cooling to let break/hops settle. During this time SMM, the precursor to DMS can still being formed at hot temps but can;t be driven off. Also, hop utilization is still taking place, loosing aroma and gaining bitterness.
• With an IC you can leave most of the hot AND cold break behind in the kettle.
• With a CFC you can sometimes have a clog in the copper due to the length of tubing, depending on the ID.
I used a CFC for years and I prefer an IC much better. Way easier all around and big benefits on the quality of beer IMO. If you really want to upgrade consider getting a pump (you will need one for your CFC to work properly anyway) and try using Jamil's Whirlpool Chiller - http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php
Or, simply keep a sanitzied spoon handy and Whirlpool it yourself from time to time. But personally I wouldn't recommend a CFC over an IC.