The faster you can cool your wort from boiling to yeast-pitching temperature, the better your beer will turn out. Immersion chillers, plate and counterflow wort chillers help improve beer clarity and can reduce the chances of off-flavors and contamination.
Immersion chillers are made from coiled copper tubing and sit inside your boil kettle. Wort is cooled by running cold water through the coils. Immersion chillers are very easy to use and keep clean, and they can be used in any brew kettle with or without a spigot.
Plate & Counterflow Chillers
Counterflow chillers are a tube-inside-a-tube design and work by running hot wort from the boil kettle through the inner tube while cold water flows in the opposite direction through the outer tube. They are efficient and tend to minimize water use; they are the best method to chill large (10 gallons or more) volumes of wort. They also require diligent cleaning and sanitation, and work best with kettles that have spigots.
The classic CFC construction is coils of tubing, as with the Chillzilla.
Plate chillers use a manifold of stainless or copper plates instead of tubing, and this high surface-to-volume ratio makes them even more efficient.
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