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Chilling the wort is a critical step when home brewing. If you need fast and efficient chilling, you will need to equip yourself with a copper-coated plate chiller. Although choosing the best plate chiller can be challenging, this review will help you identify the best plate chiller in 2021.
- Our Top Plate Chiller Reviews
- Features to Consider for the Best Plate Chiller
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top Plate Chiller Reviews
The best plate chiller should feature many plates that can offer sufficient surface area for effective cooling. Here are some of the best plate chillers in 2021.
Best Overall Plate Chiller: Blichmann Therminator Wort Chiller
If you are looking for a high-end plate chiller for homebrewing, the Blichmann Therminator Wort Chiller is the ideal option, thanks to the exceptional design that makes it work like a smaller version of the plate chillers in commercial production breweries.
This plate chiller comes with 40 plates which provide adequate cooling surface area, making it capable of cooling 10 gallons of boiling wort to a pitching temperature in less than 5 minutes. The plates are constructed of 316 stainless steel making them tough, sturdy, and durable.
Like the Ferroday Plate Wort Chiller, these plates come with a pure copper coating which enhances heat dissipation. With dimensions of 7.5 x 3 x 3 inches, this plate chiller is the second most compact plate chiller on our list, making it the best option if you have limited space.
However, with a weight of 7.81 pounds, it is the heaviest on our list, and moving it around might be exhausting.
- It is the second most compact on our list, making it suitable for use when you have a limited space.
- It has the most number of plates on our list, making it the fastest and most effective chiller.
- It is the heaviest on our list, making it unsuitable to move around.
- Although it is high quality and fast, it has minimal customer reviews.
Best Plate Chiller for the Money: HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller
If you want a beer wort chiller that can help you cool your beer wort fast and effectively, then the HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller might be the best option for you. This plate chiller comes with 40 plates, offering sufficient surface area for effective and efficient cooling.
The plates are constructed of 304 stainless steel making them sturdy and durable and can serve you for years without breaking. Like the Blichmann Therminator Wort Chiller, the exterior of these plates features a 99.9% copper coating which improves the heat transmission.
With dimensions of 14 x 5.5 x 3 inches, it is the largest plate chiller on our list, making it unsuitable for brewers with limited space. This plate chiller is tough enough to work with a wide range of temperatures from -321 degrees Fahrenheit to 392 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, it can work effectively even under high water pressure of up to 100 bars. This plate chiller is large enough and you can use it even with a 20-gallon batch provided there is no residual clogging inside.
- It can handle over 10 gallons, making it ideal for larger batches.
- It can work even under high water pressure.
- It offers an adequate surface area for effective cooling.
- It is the second heaviest on our list, making it unsuitable for brewers with a limited space.
- You will need to purchase the connectors and the hose separately.
Best Cheap Plate Chiller: Ferroday Plate Wort Chiller
Although the Ferroday Plate Wort Chiller is the cheapest plate chiller on our list, it is a great plate chiller option that can cool 5 gallons of boiling wort to around 75 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 10 minutes.
Unlike the HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller, this plate chiller comes with a compact design of 7.8 x 3.2 x 2.9 inches, making it suitable for homebrewers with limited space. The plates are constructed of stainless steel to ensure sturdiness and durability.
Like the HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller, the plates come with a copper coating to enhance heat conductivity. Also, with the adjustable water flow rate, you can optimize the cooling to obtain the desired results.
This plate chiller makes cleaning easy as you only need to run the sanitizer through the plates and then rinse with clean water. However, you will need to screen the wort first before running it through the plates to ensure there are no sediments that can clog the chiller.
- You can use it with a wort pot of any size.
- You can clean it easily by running the sanitizer through the plates.
- Like the HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller, you will need to purchase the connectors and the hose separately.
- You will need to screen the wort before running it through the plates.
Features to Consider for the Best Plate Chiller
Although plate chillers have similar operation designs, they vary in build quality, size, and number of plates. Here are some of the features you should look for when choosing a plate chiller.
Additionally, the table below provides a breakdown of the critical features for easier digestion.
|Product||Number of Plates||Weight (pounds)||Dimensions (Inches)|
|Blichmann Therminator Wort Chiller||40||7.81||7.5 x 3 x 3|
|HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller||40||6.98||14 x 5.5 x 3|
|Ferroday Plate Wort Chiller||20||2.29||7.8 x 3.2 x 2.9|
One thing you should consider when choosing a plate chiller is the material that has been used to construct it. Typically you will want a material that can be able to operate effectively even under high water pressure and high temperatures. Also, you will need a material that is easy to clean and that can resist a chemical attack even under high temperatures.
This leaves you with a plate chiller that has been constructed using stainless steel alloy as the only viable option. However, even the stainless steel alloy comes in various gauges. For the best result and sturdiness, it is advisable to go for the 316 stainless steel like the one that has been used to construct the Blichmann Therminator Wort Chiller.
It is resistant to iodides, bromides, chlorides, acids, and fatty acids even at high temperatures. It is also easier to clean, and you will only need to run a sanitizer through the plate chiller to clean it. It contains 2% molybdenum, 10% nickel, and 16% chromium making it significantly durable.
Keeping in mind that a plate chiller is intended to cool a boiling beer wort to a pitching temperature, you will want a material that can conduct heat fast and effectively. Although stainless steel can conduct heat, it is not the best option when it comes to heat dissipation.
Typically, you will want a material that has a high thermal conductivity coefficient such as copper that has a thermal conductivity coefficient of 386. It is therefore advisable to go for a plate chiller that features a pure copper coating such as the Blichmann Therminator Wort Chiller.
The pure copper coating in this plate chiller makes it capable of cooling 10 gallons of boiling wort to a pitching temperature in less than 5 minutes.
Number of Plates
The plates in a plate chiller offer a surface area for cooling. Although the size of the individual plates matter, the number of plates significantly affects the speed and efficiency of cooling in a plate chiller.
Typically, a high number of plates offers a bigger cooling surface area. That means a plate chiller with a high number of plates such as the HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller will offer a faster cooling performance than a plate chiller with a lower number of plates such as the Ferroday Plate Wort Chiller.
Like the number of plates, the size of individual plates affects the cooling surface area. Holding the number of plates constant means a plate chiller with large plate sizes will provide a faster cooling performance.
However, the size of the plates directly affects the exterior dimensions of the plate chiller. It is therefore advisable to first consider your brewing space before deciding on which size of a plate chiller to go for.
For instance, if you have limited space, you can go for a compact plate chiller such as the Ferroday Plate Wort Chiller. On the other hand, if space is not a problem you can go for a more efficient but larger plate chiller such as the HFS(R) Plate Wort Chiller.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Water Do I Need to Use a Plate Chiller?
Although the amount of water that you will need will mainly depend on the tube diameter, the length of the tube, and the pressure of the water, it could range from 1 gallon to 10 gallons per minute.
Are Plate Chillers Worth It?
Considering the speed and cooling efficiency of plate chillers, they are worth it. They also help to prevent infections as they cool the beer wort in an enclosed area.
How Can I Clean a Plate Chiller?
You can simply Clean a plate chiller by running a sanitizer through the plates. If you want to remove sediments and deposits, you can soak in a cleaner and then flush using a water flush hose. After flushing, allow the plate chiller to dry before using it.
The best plate chiller should be constructed of high-quality stainless steel with a pure copper coating to enhance heat dissipation. Although identifying the best plate chiller can be confusing, you can’t go wrong with any plate chiller from the above list.