Plate Chiller

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by TreyAD, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. TreyAD

    TreyAD Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2016 Italy

    I ran into an issue while trying to chill my last batch in my bath tub and swore that I was going to use a more efficient method next time. I have done a bit of research and found that a lot of people are recommending plate chillers over immersion/counterflow wort chillers.

    I currently brew 5 gallon batches and I am looking at purchasing the Duda Diesel B3-12A 30 Plate Beer Wort Chiller.

    My plan is to buy a 25' SS immersion wort chiller, submerge that in a cooler full of ice, run silicon hosing from my tap to the immersion wort chiller and then to the plate chiller from there (I live in a very hot climate so my ground water is a bit less than optimal cooling temperature). I will be doing a gravity fed system at first with only 1 pass through the plate chiller but I will eventually upgrade to the in-line pump recirculation method.

    I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with this method and could give me some advice. Also, maybe you know of a better plate chiller on the market than the one I am currently looking at.

    Much thanks in advance!
  2. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,340) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Why buy two chillers? Just pump ice water through your plate chiller instead. Also, if you like hoppy beers I would stick with an immersion chiller. All it takes is some hop debris to plug up your plate chiller.

    P.S. I use a fountain pump in a 10gallon cooler full of ice water to chill my immersion chiller. Works great.
  3. wspscott

    wspscott Champion (884) May 25, 2006 Kentucky

    No need for a plate chiller. Lot's of people have them, even fewer use them :slight_smile:

    I also do the pond pump and immersion chiller, works great if you use regular tap water first to lower the temperature to the low 100s range before switching to the pump and ice water.
  4. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,340) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I have two 10 gallon coolers that are retired mash tuns / hlt, I use one with tap and switch to ice when temps hit stasis. I've been toying with tying them together, putting the pump in one and the return in the other just to see how that goes.
  5. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (449) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Don't listen to @wspscott or @SFACRKnight , they're talking crazy :grimacing: . I've had both IC and Plate Chiller . . . the PC kicks some serious ass. I cut my chilling time in half when I donated the old IC to the museum. But you're looking at the wrong model, you want a longer chiller . . . I have B3-23a/20 plate (12"), if money is no object get the 18" model. For maximum heat transfer you want longer plates, more plates is to minimize fluid pressure drop which isn't a real player here. This is all explained on Duda's website. Pay careful attention to the type fittings when you order, no do-over here. If you configure with quick disconnects(hot side) you get to keep the skin on your fingertips.

    Pre-chilling your inlet water doesn't work well 'cause it doesn't spend much time in the coil. Listen to what @wspscott and @SFACRKnight say :wink: , ditch the pre-chiller coil and run your ice-water straight through the chiller. I have 90 degree inlet water in the summer and it drops the wort to 120'ish, then turn on the ice slurry for the mid 60s (this is re-circulating).

    It all works best when you re-circulate (and you don't need an expensive pump) . . . never a problem whirlpooling hops with a PC/pump/hop-spider. There's some effort in clean-up but less time than wasted with an old fashioned IC. LTB - BTL
    telejunkie and InVinoVeritas like this.
  6. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,340) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Didn't you see where I filled my chugger with hops? I would annihilate a plate chiller. IC is for me.
    Edit, I would put a hydra against a plate chiller any day.
  7. corbmoster

    corbmoster Initiate (184) Dec 15, 2014 Texas

    Personally I wouldn't get a plate cooler out of fear of clogging those tiny channels. It would just be too easy. My municipal water never gets cold. Like sfarc, I use an immersion chiller with tap water. Once I get it down to 80-90, I switch it over to a pond pump sitting in ice water in an ice chest. Takes me below pitching temp of I'm not watching it. Plate chillers are faster, and will only get as cold as the ground water. I just don't trust them since I can't take apart the thing my wort is flowing through.
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  8. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Devotee (441) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I have both and prefer the immersion chiller. As already stated, if your making hoppy beers using pellets the immersion chiller shines cause it wont clog on hop residue. However, if you are not using lots of hop pellets and your producing super clear wort a plate chiller is worth investigating. I have spring water which runs cold all year so the immersion is my go to.
  9. Scope4Beer

    Scope4Beer Devotee (421) Sep 28, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I have never used an IC. I have used a Blichmann Therminator plate chiller for several years. I love it and have had no significant issues with it. It is a gravity system, no pump. My kettle is about 3 feet above the chiller set on a small stool on the floor. With hoppy beers I have a hopback in-line before the chiller and similarly there are no flow issues with gravity. The hopback works as a nice filter too. Even when I don't use the hopback, I have little in the way of hop debris or trub in the chiller, although I do use a filter in the kettle around the dip tube. The chiller has never clogged. And it works amazingly well. I'll open the ball valve on my kettle and it will chill 5 gal of wort down to pitching temp within 5 min (and the wort's already in the fermenter then too).

    The only hassle is with cleaning. I pre-clean it with a soak in PBW for 20 min and flush it with water during the boil. I'll then sanitize it before hooking it up. I flush it immediately after use, meaning that as soon as the wort is in the fermenter I disconnect the lines and start flushing the chiller with hot water for several minutes even before I aerate the wort or pitch the yeast. Then I'll soak it in PBW for 20-30 min and flush again before I set it aside to dry.
  10. TreyAD

    TreyAD Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2016 Italy

    I am not really a fan of super hoppy beers...I'm more of a stout and sour kinda guy. I also use nylon mesh bags whenever I do my hop additions.

    What hardware do you use on your PC? I would like to do gravity but I do not have a spigot on my boil kettle and would rather not try to manually siphon out boiling wort. I could install a spigot with the conversion kits they sell online but I have thought about just buying an inline pump (more expensive, I know).

    oh, and I am looking at the B3-36 20 Plate chiller by Duda Diesel (18" model).
  11. Duda_Energy

    Duda_Energy Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2014

    This is the correct answer. For a home brew setup, 20 plates is all that is ever needed. While the 12" or 18" 20 plate units are better than what you are looking at, its actually even better per dollar to step down to the 8" 20 plate then to go with the 30.

    If you let me know your water temp, water flowrate, desired pitch temp, and batch size I can calculate for you the amount of time and water needed with each model so you can use that info to decide
    donspublic and InVinoVeritas like this.
  12. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (449) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Thanks DudaE, I got my chiller-smarts from your website. Interestingly, before I sprang for my PC I called your company for some tech data. The lady who answered the phone apologized that all the engineers were out of the office, then gave a very thorough rundown on flow rates, surface areas, temp differentials, etc . . . I bet she's a beer drinker too.

    Well, I think the "Godzilla" Duda-chiller would force the Hydra back into the sea. But that's just me talking. For the MODS: how 'bout sponsoring a "chill-off" with the Hydra vs Godzilla? If BA will spring for a Hydra IC to @SFACRKnight and a Godzilla Duda to me we'll test them and post the results. Think of the hits it will generate for The Bros. Are you in @SFACRKnight ?
    GormBrewhouse and SFACRKnight like this.
  13. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,340) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I'm in. This sounds like the best idea ever. Ever.
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  14. InVinoVeritas

    InVinoVeritas Devotee (429) Apr 16, 2012 Wisconsin

    I have a B3-36A 30 plate chiller and it is one of the greatest homebrew purchases I've ever made. I use the plate chiller in conjunction with a (400 micron) stainless steel mesh hop spider. Yes you have to take care to clean and prevent clogging the plate chiller. However, what in brewing doesn't take care and diligence. IMHO with attentiveness, there is no substitute for a plate chiller; it is just amazing!!!
    Scope4Beer likes this.
  15. Scope4Beer

    Scope4Beer Devotee (421) Sep 28, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    The only thing I use are Blichmann quick connects and the tubing. Nothing else. Works great. There is no restriction to flow so I see no need for a pump, at least in my set up.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  16. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (449) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    For @jbakajust1 , we are serious. I guess you have to run this by The Bros (for funding), but we're ready, willing and able to settle the IC vs PC battle . . . see who is king of the hill. I've got some hot wort standing by . . .
  17. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,340) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Maybe Marshall from Brülosophy could help out. :sunglasses:
    PortLargo likes this.
  18. corbmoster

    corbmoster Initiate (184) Dec 15, 2014 Texas

    I could have swore I read a post where someone compared a couple of IC, to a counter flow, and a plate chiller. I thought it was on Brulosophy, but I didn't find anything in the search. If my memory serves me right, the plate chiller won. Personally I would still prefer an IC because I can visually inspect it for cleanliness and quality (no leaks).
  19. corbmoster

    corbmoster Initiate (184) Dec 15, 2014 Texas

    Oh, found it. 2 things to note: Water was used in place of wort. Also, the tap water used to cool was 66.5 F. I know my ground water temp in the summer is 72-75ish so without recirculating, one-pass solutions would be difficult. They sure are efficient though.
  20. TreyAD

    TreyAD Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2016 Italy

    So I bought a March Pump 815-PL with SS quick disconnects and ball valves for 120 dollars. A guy in my neighborhood bought it thinking that he would have a need for it in his set-up and ended up not needing it. He used it twice. I was going to use the plate chiller in conjunction with a gravity fed system but i felt like this was too good of a deal to pass up.

    Was this a good buy or no?
  21. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (334) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Definitely a good buy if he only used it twice. You'll be using the pump for a lot more than just chilling.
  22. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (737) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Not this guy.

    I started with an IC and then added a CFC for 10 gal clogging or cleaning extra work here.
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