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This copper-in-plastic counter-flow chiller seems to mitigate the effect that the high price of copper has on all-copper counter-flow chillers. I'm not sure the Chillzilla even has to have an all-copper outer pipe. It seems to have one only because copper is more malleable than other types of pipe and so the Chillzilla can be more easily manufactured and kept small. Even then, can either of these compete with a plate chiller?

It seems that most of the cost of a plate chiller is in manufacturing, and most of the cost of a copper-based chiller comes from raw materials. For the same price, I can go for a janky-looking, bulky hose-based chiller, or a Shirron plate chiller. I know there are cleaning concerns with plate chillers, but is that really enough to warrant the price difference, given the difference in performance?

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I wonder what the pound for pound comparison is of copper between a CFC and a plate chiller. –  brewchez Mar 4 '10 at 18:50
    
I have a Therminator and until recently it was my single most costly piece of brewing equipment but after 4 years, I still feel it was a great investment. Also I have found that a rigorous cleaning protocol immediately after use has avoided any issues. Reverse flush with hot water, then soak in PBW then sanitizer with the rest of my brewing items. Now the Chillzilla is roughly the same price... –  Jim Denmark Mar 4 '10 at 20:22
    
@brewchez - To my knowledge, plate chillers use almost all stainless steel. Only the welds are copper. –  Rich Armstrong Mar 4 '10 at 22:33

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It looks like I will be buying the Chillzilla after all for several reasons:

  • I don't have a utility sink, so the backflush assembly necessary for cleaning a plate chiller is not available. As it is, I'll be running a garden hose from outside for my cooling water.

  • The outside copper of the Chillzilla actually does serve a purpose. I intend to run the whole thing submerged in ice water to increase efficiency. This takes the place of an in-line pre-chiller during the summer months.

  • The copper-in-hose chillers are bulky and ugly. (I have limited storage, too.)

Easy(er) cleaning than a plate chiller, as easily stored as a plate chiller, no need for a pre-chiller. It's not fully worth the premium, but it's close enough.

Edit

I got the Therminator after all. It is just... just... awesome. Get one. Srsly. This thing knocks a half-hour off my brew night. And it's the half hour at the end, when you just wanna get cleaned up, pitch the yeast, and go to bed.

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