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Author Topic: Plate of Counterflow?  (Read 2596 times)

Offline shallow

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Plate of Counterflow?
« on: April 15, 2016, 02:20:15 PM »
Hey Guys - I'm in line to pull the trigger on a new pump/chiller system. I'm stuck in the age old debate of plate vs. counterflow. There's a lot of info out there about the pros and cons of each, but I wanted to check with the club to see if anyone can shed some light on their own experience and preference in terms of performance, ease of use/cleaning etc.

Offline Roger

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2016, 05:05:45 PM »
I'm not trying to give you more options but I feel that an immersion chiller is best. I can visualy see it's clean and I can get the entire batch of wort down in temperature instead of just what's going through the chiller. This way you have less chance of DMS, chill haze and infection. If you have a pump and whirlpool at the same time it's almost as fast as a plate or counterflow. Faster if you have a Hydra immersion from JaDeD. Which is one of my next purchases...
That's only my opinion though.
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Offline Jake

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2016, 09:14:44 AM »
Agree with Roger on this one. Plate chillers seem great on the surface, but I never feel confident that the chiller is 100% clean - assuming the same with a counter flow. TrailWay uses a plate chiller and any time that we save from a shorter chill, we spend an equal amount of time cleaning the thing afterwards ... for a 1BBL system though it's our only option. Immersion chiller is a quick spray down and store away.Those immersion chillers with the whirlpool are a pretty good option and I hear they can chill faster than the other options. Check this out:

http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php

When I get back to homebrewing, I plan to have a 50 foot immersion chiller and hook up a whirlpool arm on the kettle and just constantly re-circulate through the whirlpool arm during the chill
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Offline Scott

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 09:26:44 AM »
I use a counter flow chiller, as for speed its pretty good, it will chill about 16 or 17 gallons in 15 to 20 minutes. I pump PBW through it after for 10 or so minutes. But I agree, never fell 100% confident that is getting cleaned well. I used to use an immersion chiller on 5 gallon batches. It was pretty obvious if it was clean.

Offline Two Wheeler

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2016, 10:14:55 AM »
I use a plate chiller and pump and am happy with that set up. I use a hop spider to prevent clogs and keep the thing a bit cleaner. Then I recirculate wort for the the last 15 mins of the boil to ensure it's clean. I'm happy with this set up. When recirculating back into the kettle, I can get the entire temp down to 100 in 5 mins, then I do a final transfer into the fermenter. All told, 10 minutes to get from boiling to 62 degrees.

If I were setting up something new, it would likely be the Jaded chiller with recirculation.
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Offline blisster

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2016, 12:48:08 PM »
How big of a system are you using?

My recommendation is to stick to an immersion chiller for anything 15Gal or less. It's cheaper, less work, easier to use/clean, does the job as quick and, most importantly, it won't clog  :rock:


This sums up my thoughts perfectly:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/12/19/wort-chiller-challenge-elbow-grease-vs-automation-xbmt-results/

I don't have a pump to recirculate the wort but I can bring a 10-12Gal batch from boil to pitching temp in approximately 15 minutes with some manual stirring. Adding pump/whirlpool arm might speed it up a bit more and would def. help with getting clearer wort into the fermenter/less trub loss (thanks to the magic of physics) but it would mean another expense and more setup/cleaning time so I'm on the fence about the pump.

Immersion chillers also gives you scorching hot water you can use to wash all your equipment after.
Give a man a beer and he'll waste an hour, teach him how to brew beer and he'll waste a lifetime.

Offline Roger

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2016, 04:55:01 PM »
So today I actually timed how long the chilling of my wort took with my 50' immersion chiller with whirlpool arm.
Under 140 in 4 min. using 10 gallons of water.
Under 100 in 6 min.
85 after 10 min.
Under 70 in 15 min.
So 12 gallons of wort to pitch temp in about 15 min.

Offline shallow

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2016, 07:39:52 PM »
Thanks for all the great info gents! I'm currently working with a 25' immersion chiller and 5 gal batches. Dreaming of an eventual single tier 10-15 gallon system and just assumed that a plate or counter flow were the only solid options. My biggest issue with my current setup is having to stand there and stir the chiller - but I never considered recirculating the wort in that kind of setup before.

Cheaper option as well it seems.


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Offline Jake

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Re: Plate of Counterflow?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2016, 08:46:06 AM »
I'm not sure at what point a plate or counterflow becomes the better option ... if you're talking 15 gallon batches you may want the plate chiller (or counterflow ... i've never used counterflow). I know for our 35+ gallons it's the only option. On our beers we can chill 37 gallons of beer down to pitch temp in about 17 minutes using under 35 gallons of water ... while on some of our super hoppy beers (DIPA, IPA, etc,) it's more like 32 gallons of beer in 25+ minutes (beers with over a KG of flameout hops) ... the thing i hate about a plate chiller is that the hops slow it down considerably and we have clogged it before, which can create some chaos in the brewery. We use the duda diesel plate chiller and we're happy with it - i can send you the model number if you'd like ... but we literally spend an additional 20 minutes at end of brew day cleaning/recirculating through it, which probably wont change whether you're doing 5 gallons vs 37 gallons. To me, if you can get away with a 50 or 75ft immersion chiller, i would personally go this route.
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