It takes about 25-30 minutes to cool my wort with an immersion cooler, and I want to reduce that time. I make 5 gallon batches. I recently read that a plate cooler is much better. What are the biggest advantages / disadvantages of using a plate chiller vs an immersion chiller?
There are advantages and disadvantages to using plate chillers.
You should probably use a pump to ensure wort flows smoothly to the fermenter. Along with the pump could come various hoses, clamps and connectors you need to tie your system together.
Cleaning is another pain. Plate coolers get dirty. As they pump wort through the device, you need to make sure the plates get rinsed after each use. Occasionally you need to do a thorough cleaning by baking it in an oven to carbonize any residue.
You also need to filter your wort. Hops can cause havoc on a plate cooler so you’ll want to find a way to keep them out.
The cooling is super fast though. I can cool 14+ gallons in about 20 minutes. So using a plate chiller is worth it to me.
Overall, I would say plate coolers are a pain, but they are worth it in time and quality. I still use my immersion coolers for a small batch because it’s easy, but if I make 2-3 10 gallons batches, a plate cooler is the way to go.