Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Chiller!

One thing that can really make a difference in time on brew day is chilling your beer. There are a lot of methods that can be used but by far the best method I have heard about is using a plate chiller. The idea of a plate chiller is just to act as a heat exchange. Cold water passes over metal plates in one direction while hot wort passes through in the opposite direction. I've heard that you can achieve great results with a plate chiller but never had one to try and they were priced a little high for me to take a stab at. The other ways you can chill your beer - ice bath or immersion chiller. I have the latter and it's done me very well in 49 batches. I hook up cold water from the hose to it, and it takes about 45 minutes to get the beer down to 70 degrees. I have never had much luck getting the wort much below say 66 or 65. Maybe I'm impatient but at some point I worry about infection and want to just pitch the yeast and move on with life. Enter the Shirron. A brew buddy of mine @tommckearney had an old plate chiller that he used for quite some time but ended up changing his setup with Chillus Convolutus. He offered me the plate chiller to try out so I put it to the test. I had to clean out the insides a little as it had been sitting for a bit but otherwise it was in good working order and ready to go. I decided to use quick disconnects for the garden hoses to make the brew day a little easier. I hooked all of this up the other day and ran a test. The brew pot was filled with 7 gallons of water which was then brought to a boil. I then acted as if I was finished brewing so I lifted my pot on top the picnic table and hooked up the chiller. I ran the flow using just gravity and not a pump (would be another expense) and it drained very easily. The water drained in 8 minutes flat. The temp of the water going into the chiller was boiling and then temperature out in the bucket was 54 degrees. That's right, 54 degrees. I was amazed at how fast it chilled the wort and how fast I was able to get the hot sweet wort down to pitching temperatures. I have some slight plumbing work to do still. I want to make a quick disconnect on the kettle into the chiller so I can sanitize the chiller easier and clean it after its use. I also need to get some high temp tubing as the regular clear vinyl tubing collapses a little too easily and I could see the fittings leaking easily. Check out the pics below of the new setup:


Ramsey Flynn said...

I'm divided in the value of beer temperature. When I first greeted my German visitors with their local beers, I handed them over as cold as possible. They instantly placed them on the oil heater until they returned to a proper room temperature. The beer tasted fine, and since that moment I have suspected that deep temperatures are designed to mask flaws.

Chris Trompeter said...

Correct you are. Usually when beers are served Ice Cold it's because there are weird flavors they don't want you to taste or it just pure tastes awful. Most of my beers I can drink room temperature and even enjoy them. The purpose for this chiller is to get the wort (before it's really beer) down to temperatures that the yeast will do well with. Typically this is between 60-70 degrees.