Author Topic: Therminator Pellet Hops  (Read 2742 times)

Offline thcipriani

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Therminator Pellet Hops
« on: November 11, 2010, 02:58:19 PM »
I'm kind of itching to get a therminator, but before I drop $200 on one I'd like to know if it's going to clog with loose pellet hops - does anyone have experience using the therminator with loose pellet hops?

I use all loose pellet hops in my kettle and if that's going to clog the therminator then I won't get one.

Thanks all!
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO

Offline HydraulicSammich

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2010, 03:39:15 PM »
I have never had a problem with mine.  You can always put the pellets in a hop bag.  I think the most important thing is to clean it well and properly.  Cap off the water ports.  Back flow the wort port with clean water.  In flow with PBW.  Rinse the same way.  Sanitize when you are ready to use it again.  Don't let the sanitizer sit in the unit. 
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Offline tom

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2010, 06:56:19 PM »
I haven't had any problem. I always whirlpool the wort and let it settle for at least 15 minutes. And I have a Zymico Bazooka screen along the side.

I also would recommend spending the $ on a Shirron (or 2).

Brew on, Tom
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Offline thcipriani

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2010, 09:10:24 PM »
I'd really like to like the therminator and other plate chillers; however, the idea of having a clogged $200 piece of equipment just worries me too much. I think I'm going with the Heart's Homebrew Super Chiller just because it seems to fit better with the way in which I currently brew. I currently use the "Jamil-o-Chiller" method and it works OK but I'm stuck in an apartment and they shut off the outside water in the winter (sensibly) and I need a method that will use the least amount of water possible since I'm going to have to haul the chill water down 8 flights. Also, before anyone who is a thermodynamics expert chimes in, I realize that the heating of water will absorb the same amount of heat energy no matter what chilling method I use but recirculating luke warm water doesn't seem as adequate a chilling method as CFC the same amount of ice water. Obviously, I have a friend who knows thermodynamics and admonished me for thinking of buying a plate or counterflow chiller.
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2010, 11:25:04 PM »
Also, before anyone who is a thermodynamics expert chimes in, I realize that the heating of water will absorb the same amount of heat energy no matter what chilling method I use but recirculating luke warm water doesn't seem as adequate a chilling method as CFC the same amount of ice water. Obviously, I have a friend who knows thermodynamics and admonished me for thinking of buying a plate or counterflow chiller.
Sure the capacity of the water to absorb heat doesn't change, but there are other considerations.

The counterflow chiller maintains a greater temperature differential throughout the transfer, which dictates the cooling rate.  If you're recirculating your water through the IC then it's not a big deal, but if it runs down the driveway it will save water (unless you are constantly monitoring the flow rate of your IC to optimize cooling).

The advantage of the plate chiller is the greater surface area allows the heat to transfer faster.  So you can have a greater flow rate from your kettle and be done chilling sooner.

Yeah, if everything is optimized then it takes the same amount of water, but unless you either contantly monitor the system or build controllers to monitor temps and adjust flow rates on the fly, the CFC and plate chillers are better chillers IMO.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2010, 07:33:30 AM »
I'm kind of itching to get a therminator, but before I drop $200 on one I'd like to know if it's going to clog with loose pellet hops - does anyone have experience using the therminator with loose pellet hops?

I use all loose pellet hops in my kettle and if that's going to clog the therminator then I won't get one.

Thanks all!

I have the therminator and really like it.

As Tom has indicated, the wort can be chilled much faster with the PC as opposed to the IC which means less water running down the driveway. The PC can also save on water by recirculating through an ice bath. The PC is also a backsaver as my IC weighs much more than my PC and it's awkward getting the IC in and out of the kettle.

In regards to the hop pellets, I would either go with a hop blocker or some kind of a straining bag (muslin, paint strainer, etc...) because hop debris will tend to clog in the therminator as I am told.  It's inevitable that some hop debris will end up in the PC. This is okay as long as you properly flush and sanitize the chiller before and after each use.

The bottom line is that one must weigh out the pros and cons and choose the chiller that will work best for your situation.

Good Luck!
« Last Edit: November 12, 2010, 07:37:01 AM by bluesman »
Ron Price

Offline kerneldustjacket

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2010, 07:50:23 AM »
I own a Therminator.
Used it a few weeks back to cool a batch that had both whole leaf and pellets...the batch was done in a 26 gallon pot (not mine) which has no internal filter or screen or dam. I whirlpooled at the end of the boil, waited 15 minutes, then started running out to fermenters. I have an in-line trap with a screen that goes between the kettle and Therminator, and the only thing that showed up in the filter's bowl was hop seeds from the whole leaf hops! I think they "float" around easier than anything else in the pot because they are rather light, so they drifted to the outlet and got sucked out. My filter gadget has a bowl that can be unscrewed to clean off the filter screen, so I just stopped the flow from the kettle, dumped the seeds from the screen, and rocked on.

But...druing the entire run...I saw no pellet residue in the carboys or filter.

One caveat: The kettle I normally brew in has a false bottom and I most often use whole leaf hops...so after 10 minutes of settling after the boil I usually have a really good wort filter on the kettle bottom. This works really well for a CFC...but good luck finding an awesome variety of whole leaf hops to choose from! I'm working on a rotating pick-up tube to swap out with the false bottom when using mostly pellets. We never seem to have enough gadgets.

+1 on what Tom said regarding speed...I mainly find the time savings lie in the fact that I'm combining chilling with running off into the fermenters.
John Wilson
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Savannah, GA

Offline bluesssman

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2010, 09:14:56 PM »
I agree with Tom! I have a Shirron plate chiller and absolutely love how well it works cooling my ten gallon batches. I do use a hop bag. As fast as I can pump the wort from my boil kettle to my fermenter the temperature drops to 68 degrees. I cooling water is at a constant 55 degrees.

Gary

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2010, 10:47:23 AM »
I can give a plus one for plate chillers.  I have had a Therminator for over 5 years and have not had a problem with clogging nor infections.  I use a slotted pipe intake in my boil pot that is located along the periphery of the pot bottom so that most of the trub is left undisturbed in the center of the pot during the transfer to the chiller and fermenter. 

I like to use pellets almost exclusively since they are typically fresher.  I do like to add an ounce of whole or plug finishing hops when I've got a high amount of hops in the kettle to help bind the trub into a more solid mass.  I'm not sure that it really works, but I think it should.  Most brews just have pellets though. 

I also use a pump for the transfer, so I'm less susceptable to clogging.  I do perform a reverse flush of the chiller for cleaning and occasionally I do see hop debris come out. But, I recognize that those hop bits were only lightly stuck in the plates in the first place and they are easy to dislodge with the reversed flow.   

I'm not concerned with pellet hops and plate chillers.  Some 50 plus, uninfected and ribbon winning beers is ample evidence for me.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Therminator Pellet Hops
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 10:52:09 PM »
Have you checked out these Duda Diesel plate chillers? They are significantly less expensive than the therminator.

http://www.dudadiesel.com/heat_exchangers.php
« Last Edit: November 15, 2010, 10:53:58 PM by narcout »