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 Post subject: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:11 pm
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How do you keep the cold break out of the fermenter when using a plate chiller? Dump it after the transfer if you have a conical? I currently use an immersion chiller and I understand how to use it with my system. But I'm thinking of ordering a brew sculpture and am undecided if I want another immersion, or a plate (therminator) chiller.


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 Post subject: Re: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:51 pm 
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I like this question....I too would like to know...


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 Post subject: Re: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:17 am
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Location: Singapore
I have not used a plate chiller, but am considering moving onto one to replace my immersion chiller (for speed reasons mostly).

Assuming you have a pump, wouldn't you just recirc the wort out of the kettle spiggot, through the pump, on through the plate chiller and back up into the top of the kettle. Do this till the temps down to pitching temp and then leave it (optionally wirlpool) to allow break to setting to bottom of kettle as you would have done anyway if using an immersion chiller ?


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 Post subject: Re: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:06 am 
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Location: Lynnwood, WA
I use a Shirron plate chiller. I also use whole hops with a boil kettle that has a bazooka screen. I think this setup does pretty well with keeping most of the hot break and hop matter out the fermenter (carboys for me). With ales I don't worry too much about the large amount of cold break we get in the fermenter from using the plate chiller. With lagers I used to take the extra step of allowing the cold break to settle in the fermenter over night at 48-50 F and then racking as much clear wort (no yeast yet) as possible to another fermenter. You lose a lot of wort with this method and introduce the possibility of contamination. For the past 3-4 lagers, I have abandoned the extra racking step and have not noticed a significant difference in the final product - nice clarity, no off-flavors... We recently took 2nd Place BOS with a Bohemian Pilsener that was made this way.

I'm more concerned about having hop matter contaminating the plate chiller, so we take great care in circulating the wort until it runs clear before we send it through the chiller. We aslo boil the chiller for 15 minutes before we use it, and back flush it with near boiling water right after using it.

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Fermenting: Maibock, Old Ale
On Tap: Oatmeal Stout, Russian Imperial Stout, Schwarzbier, Rye IPA, Northern English Brown Ale, Weizenbock, Flanders Red Ale, German Pilsner
Next on Tap: Munich Helles
Next to Brew: English Spring Ale


Last edited by MikeB on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:11 pm
Posts: 18
craigevo wrote:
I have not used a plate chiller, but am considering moving onto one to replace my immersion chiller (for speed reasons mostly).

Assuming you have a pump, wouldn't you just recirc the wort out of the kettle spiggot, through the pump, on through the plate chiller and back up into the top of the kettle. Do this till the temps down to pitching temp and then leave it (optionally wirlpool) to allow break to setting to bottom of kettle as you would have done anyway if using an immersion chiller ?


Yes, I'll have a pump. But doing a recirc seems to defeat the purpopse of a plate chiller. (if you recirc thru the chiller) I mean, you usually cool to pitch temp once thru with a plate chiller, the you'd re-heat the wort when it goes back into the boil kettle again... right? Plus I imagine you risk plugging your plate chiller.

I thought I read Tasty has the Therminator... anyone know what he does? How do the pro's do it?

It would be cool to learn any tricks that would save room in the carboy for wort, not cold break/trub!


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 Post subject: Re: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:17 am 
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saltydawg wrote:

Yes, I'll have a pump. But doing a recirc seems to defeat the purpopse of a plate chiller. (if you recirc thru the chiller) I mean, you usually cool to pitch temp once thru with a plate chiller, the you'd re-heat the wort when it goes back into the boil kettle again... right? Plus I imagine you risk plugging your plate chiller.

I thought I read Tasty has the Therminator... anyone know what he does? How do the pro's do it?

It would be cool to learn any tricks that would save room in the carboy for wort, not cold break/trub!


I also recirculate through a Shirron plate chiller. The reason for this is because it brings the total temperature of the wort (of which I'm brewing 10 gallons) down together, rather than just a bit at a time. This way, I have 10 gallons under 140dF quickly rather than slowly. It probably isn't such a big deal to worry about in the long run, but it just makes me feel a little bit better inside. Also, for uses when ground temperature is high, you can recirculate to ground water temps, then place your Shirron in an ice bath for the final run to the kettle to drop to pitching temp.

This recirculation also acts as a rather decent whirlpool, but I need to finagle my damn diptube for it to be rather effective (right now it goes into the center of the kettle, but I want to cut it so it goes to the side, out of the way of the break and trub matter).


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 Post subject: Re: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:01 am
Posts: 786
Location: Beautiful Lovely Downtown New Jersey
I was all excited about getting a plate type heat exchanger.
It took me a while, but eventually I concluded that there is only one reason to use them: Size.

That's it. There is no other compelling reason to use them. There are oodles of other kinds of Heat Echangers (HEX) out there and many are lots cheaper and very efficient.

Hobby brewers are unique in their adoption of the kind of plate HEX that can not be taken apart for cleaning. No other food or lab application that I've found will use such a thing. Every other brazed Plate HEX I've seen out there is either for some kind of non food application where clogging or contamination is irrelevant. All other applications (where plate HEXs are found) that I've encountered where cleanliness and sanitation are important all use the kind that comes apart for cleaning.

The reasons why brewers gravitated to the brazed type plat HEX is I think all about money first and then the cool factor they just look cool. The brazed ones are cheap the disassemble-able kind are very expensive.

Are they faster than an immersion chiller?
If they are, I don't think they are fast enough to matter.
They do look cool though.

In my build I'm using an integral chiller. it's more work, but cheaper and should be terribly fast. I'll have almost a hundred feet of 1/2" SST thinwall tubing in my BK. It's two 50' coils each fed individually with coolant.
The coils serve two functions.
1.) They will chill the wort.
2.) They raise the column if fluid in the BK by taking up space. The kettle is a 20 gallon NSF stock pot and is (IMO), a tad wider than I'd like for beer so the tubing occupies space and raises the water column.

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 Post subject: Re: Immersion vs. Plate chiller
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:17 am
Posts: 30
Location: Singapore
saltydawg - I must be missing something - why would recircing risk blocking the plate chiller any more than just running the boiling wort through the chiller and straight into your fermenter ?

I mean, you will get break material going through the chiller either way since its cooling it down - or are you suggesting a whirlpool and wait a while step before running it out the kettle ? If so how do you avoid dms before starting to chill.

Another reason I would want to recirc cool is so that I know what temp i'm gonna end up at before running straight (not via chiller) into my fermenter. So I would be at pitching temps in the kettle and dont have to guess how much more the chiller will cool it if I had it in series.whilst draining into the fermenter.

I've also read that chilling on the way to the fermenter will result in getting substantial amounts of break into the fermenter since cold break is occuring in the chiller and not in the kettle (as it would be using an immersion) .

I must be missing something here since most posts I have read recently on plate chillers dont mention anything about recircing. Anyone know a good reason ? would it really block the chiller or is there another reason ?


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