Model: platelong $141
This is a LONG, 304 stainless heat exchanger with integrated garden hose connections for the water side and 1/2" male NPT on the wort side to offer the most connection flexibility possible. Actual dimensions, 12" long with 3" wide plates. Rather than offer a bunch of different sizes and plate counts, this is the one we use so we can't help but recommend it. You will find cheaper plate chillers out there, but don't be fooled by the 40, 50, 60 plate varieties. They are not the same length as this one. Adding more plates only allows you to flow the liquids faster but the length is where you get cooling efficiency (less water used). Note, our price also includes two stainless mounting wingnuts to attach to your brew stand.
The standard option (OPTION 1 in the dropdown box below) is just the plate chiller as shown on the right. What you see is what you get. The coolant side is ready to hook to a pair of garden hoses. You may want to invest in some garden hose quick disonnects, easily found in any home center or discount store. It is much easier to connect the QD to the connectors and hose and just push them on. We also recomment putting a cheap inline garden hose shutoff valve so you can stop/adjust flow at the chiller. The wort side has 1/2" male NPT ports which will need to be adapted to hoses with either hose barbs or some other method of connection. Some ideas and options are shown below. As always, use teflon tape on these NPT threads before threading any connectors on.
The bottom of the unit is equiped with two threaded studs that can be used to mount the chiller to a brew stand without using awkward U-bolts or other clamping mechanisms. If you intend to keep it portable, it would be a good idea to mount it to a flat piece of wood such as a piece of 1 x 6" to protect the chiller from getting dragged around and damaging the floor or vice versa. The thread on the studs is M8 or 8mm metric and sticks out about 1/2 from the curled edge. Note, OUR CHILLERS INCLUDE a pair of wingnuts that fit these studs. If you bought one of these chillers from us before we started including them or from another vendor, you can buy a pair of stainless wingnuts with this button:
One of the easiest way to connect hoses to the chiller for wort flow is to use a 1/2" Female NPT to 1/2" hose barb/adapter on the input and output.
Our preferred method of wort connection is a type A Camlock on both the in and out ports as shown to the right (only the wort out is shown in the pic). Of course, this assumes you've already adopted the camlock system of quick disconnects and most importantly, that you have one of the female cam parts (type B, C or D) on the end of your hoses.
We now offer an option (OPTION 2) in the drop down below to package the plate chiller with a camlock type A on both wort ports just to make ordering easier.
A great alternative for the wort OUTPUT side is to thread a 1/2" NPT Tee onto the port first. The side port of the tee gets either a Type F camlock or hose barb which becomes your new "wort out" port. Finally, the top end of the tee is used for a temperature monitoring solution. On the right, we're showing a common 3" bi-metal analog dial thermometer threaded in (requires 1/2" NPT male thread on the thermometer). You may already have one of these in your box of parts, or you can purchase model T325 from us). The slow response time of this type of thermometer may make it a less desirable option.
The solution shown on the left is likely the better alternative. The top of the tee is equipped with our narrow probe compression fitting into which you may insert just about any digital temperature probe either permanently or temporarily just to accomodate the chill operation. This includes compact handheld digital thermometers, remote probe kitchen thermometers, or even stainless thermocouples such as the Johnson A419 or Ranco controller probes. Of course, if your probe already has 1/2" NPT male threads, you can thread it directly into the tee. Note that you may order the chiller with the configuration shown on the left via the options dropdown box below (OPTION 3) which will come with a camlock type A for the wort input, then the parts to make assembly shown in the picture on the wort output (tee, cam type F, 1/2" NPT narrow probe compression fitting)
You may be wondering why you should go through the trouble of integrating an in-line temperature reading solution. First, if you are going to make a direct chilling run from your boil kettle to the fermenter, it is obviously important to adjust both the coolant flow and wort flow to obtain the desired output temperature. One may argue that this can be spot checked by putting your handheld thermometer into the stream of wort, but this is both a two hand operation and a sanitation risk. Once you have your thermometer in the loop shown above, it will stay sanitary. One last thing to mention is that if you pump recirculate your boiling wort (or still-hot post-boil wort) through the chiller as your sanitation method (recommended), you can watch to make sure the chiller has reached at least 200F prior to turning your coolant on.
The options in the dropdown box below are explained in detail above as OPTION 1, 2, and 3. All options start with the 30 plate chiller with garden hose fittings on the water side and 1/2" MNPT on the wort side, as well as a pair of mounting wingnuts for the studs. Options 2 and 3 add accessories (you assemble yourself). Keep in mind that these options contain parts that can be purchased separately on this site, but the bundles here do offer a small discount in price. For example, option 3 would cost $168.20 if purchased separately.
1. How do I sanitize the chiller prior to use?
A: There are two main ways to do it; chemical sanitiser and heat. To use your favorite liquid such as star san, if you DON'T own a pump, place the chiller in a bucket or shallow pan, hook up a hose from the wort input and connect the other end of the hose to either your boil kettle or bottling bucket and flow sanitizer into the chiller until it flow out of the wort out port. You can continue filling the container until the whole chiller is submerged and you can let it sit that way until you're ready to brew. To use heat, you can place the chiller in your oven on 250F for about 20 minutes (remove the garden hose gasket first) or better yet, leverage the heat in your boil kettle. If you have a pump, simply pump the hot wort just after you kill the flame on your kettle, through the chiller and back into the top of the kettle. If you don't have a pump, you can gravity drain it through and into a pitcher which you can pour back into the kettle.
2. Do I need a pump to use a plate chiller?
A: Not necessarily, but it helps. As noted above, it's a lot easier to sanitize using the hot wort. If you want to gravity drain, connect a hose to your kettle drain first, hold it up high and open the kettle valve. Slowly lower the hose, allowing the whole hose to fill up with wort. Temporarily close the kettle valve, hook the hose to the wort input side of the chiller, and then you're ready to chill. Beware of air trapped in the chiller. It helps to hold the chiller upright initially with the wort out side "up" to let air escape for the first minute of flow.
3. How do I keep the chiller from getting clogged with hop debris and hot break material?
A: Hops are by far the biggest issue. People are always building filtering screens and all kinds of gadgetry to deal with the problem. First and foremost, bag your hop additions in mesh bags such as 5-gallon paint strainer bags. Another method of minimizing junk ketting into the chiller is to whirlpool the wort in your kettle and let it settle for a couple minutes prior to running off.
4. How do I clean this thing after use?
A: This is much easier with a pump. The first thing we recommend is to collect the coolant water output from the chiller into either buckets or any other brewing vessel you're not using (we like to use the Hot Liquor Tank). Now hook your pump input hose up to the HLT and run about a gallon of the clean water through the pump and chiller, dumping the output onto the lawn. Next, hook the pump output hose to the WORT OUT on the chiller. The WORT IN side can be directed back into the top of the vessel that has the water in it. Run the pump full bore (or balls-out if you prefer), circulating clean water through the chiller in the opposite direction for about 5 minutes. This is known as back flushing. You can also put a scoop of PBW or oxiclean into the water. The last thing we do, if we used cleaning chemicals, is to squirt the garden hose through in both directions for a minute. The easy way to do this is to make an adapter to go from garden hose to Camlock. If you do not have a pump, we recommend running hot water from your sink into the WORT out side using a faucet to garden hose adapter. Run the hot water through at high velocity for a few minutes. You can run the output into a clear glass to see if any sediment is still coming out.
5. How long will it take to chill and is it better than other chiller types?
A: This is rather impossible to answer given all the variables. We will say that a plate exchanger is the most efficient chiller type of the common homebrewing varieties as far as water usage goes. One major variable to actual chill times (like any chiller type) is the temperature of the coolant water. If the wort is coming out of the chiller too hot, slow the wort flow down and increase the coolant flow (water). If the wort is slow enough and the water is fast enough, plate chillers can get the wort output down to the same temperature as the incoming water. If that temp is hotter than the desired output temp, you have to start looking at pumping icewater in.
In the fall through spring, our tap water is colder than our typical fermentation temps so we see chilling times of about 1 gallon of wort per minute while pushing about 2 gallons of coolant per minute (for example a 5 gallon batch would take 5 minutes to chill and use up about 10-15 gallons of coolant water. As the tap water temps get into 65-80F territory, we have to slow the wort down and increase the coolant flow quite a bit so a 5 gallon batch will take about 8-10 minutes to flow into the carboy and use about 25 gallons of water. This is still better than immersion chillers and as witl all chilling operations, wise use of the output water is not waste. Water the plants, fill your washing machine, use it in brewhouse cleanup, Fill your HLT for the next batch of beer (only requirement is to use potable water/RV garden hoses.