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Recirculating From Kettle To Plate Chiller To Kettle.

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spudfarmerboy

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Hello All,
I recently purchased a plate chiller, Mash Master 30 plate.
I think most people, when chilling from the kettle, run the wort from the kettle, single pass through the plate chiller into the fermenter.
I have been thinking of recirculating (using a March pump) from the kettle, through the plate chiller, back into the kettle. I would keep doing this until the kettle temperature was down to around 20C and then run off into the fermenter.
Does anyone else do it like this?
I have tried it with water and the temperature went from boiling down to 20C in just under 20 mins. The cooling water temperature was just over 10C.
The reason I am thinking of doing it this way is that with my set up it makes it easier to control the temperature of the wort into the fermenter.
Any thoughts welcome.
Cheers
 

Wolfy

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With a decent plate chiller (which yours should be), the wort into the fermentor should be within 1 or 2 degrees of your tap water, and you should achieve the result by running the wort from the kettle though the chiller as quickly as you can (5-10mins to drain the kettle and chill to tap-water temp). Hence their is no benefit to recirculating the wort back into the kettle, because you're not going to get any better results - however, it will likely take longer. Your kettle tap combined with a tap/valve to control the cold-water on the plate chiller should give you all the control you need.
 

raven19

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Yes it can be done, also you can recirc towards the end of the boil (with chilling water not turned on), to sanitise the plate chiller.

Issues can be layering of hot and cold wort in the kettle (a stir with sanitised spoon, or angled wort return pipe can sort this).

Make sure you have a hop sock or good screen so not to risk clogging the plate chiller with hop debris.

On the rare occasions I chill, I do it this way.

Edit - bottom left pic on this post shows my recirc sanitising the chiller.
http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...st&p=701933
 

argon

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I've done the recirc thing a couple of times through the plate chiller.
A couple of the theoretical benefits are;
- you reduce the temp of the entire volume of wort by recircing (with a secondary effect of greatly reducing hop utilisation)
- you can leave both the hot and cold break in the kettle

However it takes longer and uses much more water... So now I just drain to kettle.
It's much easier and quicker for me and have noted no flavour differences.
 

MastersBrewery

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Raven ..... you wear sunnies on a cloudy day if your brewing right? :huh:
 

Truman42

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I have one of those smaller plate chillers, 12 plate or whatever it is. I drain through the chiller into the fermenter with my water pumped from my water tank and recycled back into the tank and I get my wort down to 18c this time of year.
 

dent

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More of a benefit to this method is the sanitation of your chiller with hot wort when recirculating.

Typically I start recirculating the kettle ten minutes before flame out, without running the cold water though the other side of the chiller.

The kettle will be on the boil again before long and your chiller safe from contaminating the batch.
 

Thefatdoghead

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:icon_offtopic: What is the easiest way to sanitise a 30 plate chiller with out having to recirc for 15 minutes? Id'e like to eliminate my march pump from my system and just gravity drop the wort through my chiller. Could boil it in a pot but im looking for an easier way?
 

Phoney

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:icon_offtopic: What is the easiest way to sanitise a 30 plate chiller with out having to recirc for 15 minutes? Id'e like to eliminate my march pump from my system and just gravity drop the wort through my chiller. Could boil it in a pot but im looking for an easier way?
Either full it with a PBW or napisan solution and let it soak overnight, or pop it in the oven at 250C for at least 1/2 an hour.
 

argon

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Whilst I can recirc the kettle for sanitation, I don't. My sparge water needs to be boiling, so i recirc that through the chiller. Gets sanitised that way.
 

MaltyHops

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I have been thinking of recirculating (using a March pump) from the kettle,
through the plate chiller, back into the kettle. I would keep doing this until
the kettle temperature was down to around 20C and then run off into the
fermenter. Does anyone else do it like this?
I pretty much have been doing this the few times I've brewed on my relatively
new system.

I have tried it with water and the temperature went from boiling down to 20C
in just under 20 mins. The cooling water temperature was just over 10C.
It has been taking me about 45 mins of recirculating to get from boiling down
to pitching temp at 25C but I have been trying minimise use of cooling water
from the tap (was around 15C or so) by doing exactly as you have been and
using a very slow flow from the tap (and moderate flow through the pump).

When temp dropped to under 40C, I switch the cooling water from mains tap
to a 22L cube of water chilled overnight down to about 3C - 5C. In total I use
about 80L of water for cooling and some of the first runoff gets quite hot and
set aside for clean up duty.

The way I've been doing it (and as you proposed), it ends up also cooling the
thermal mass of the kettle as well so have been cooling more than really
needed. Just can't quite trust I can get the wort from boiling down to pitching
temps in one pass - perhaps I'll give it a go at some stage and just chill and
pipe into a cube (which I do anyway for aerating the wort by shaking) and if
it's not cool enough, just return to kettle fo rmore chilling.

SANITISING CHILLER - I have been doing the pump boiling wort through the
chiller for the last 15 mins of boil but I'm thinking of doing this at the start of
the boil for 15mins instead as the amount of hot break is much lower at the
start and wont clog the chiller as much as the other way (trying not to have
to use a break/hop filter).

The chiller can then be disconnected from the recirc path during most of the
boil. I also run hot SodaPerc through the whole system to before brewing
begins.

WHIRLPOOLING - I can use a kettle-pump-back-to-kettle recirc towards the
end of the boil to get a whirlpool happening so when the chiller eventually
gets put back in for cooling duty, not too much debris will go through it.


The return inlet on my kettle is about 2/3s from the bottom so actually sits
below the water line and I discovered a funny problem with this when the hose
from the pump is connected directly to the kettle inlet. Once a flow through
has happened, the wort just sits in the hose and there's no way to avoid a
significant amount of spillage when I needed to disconnect the hose to put the
chiller back into the circuit.

To deal with this, I've gotten two male camlock connectors - one with male
BSP thread, the other female thread - to work as a coupler for using two
hoses to connect the pump to kettle. This will allow the camlock & coupler to
open a bit to let air in which then lets the wort drain out of the hoses.
 

Renzo

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I use a one of those steamers that you get with a steam mop ( never even used the steam mop). The end section fits perfectly into my plate chiller quick disconnect inlet. Wrap some alfoil around the silicon hose on the outlet and keep off the floor then fire up steamer 5mins before whirlpool and after 5 mins super hot steam is coming out through the gap in the alfoil.
 
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