Some may question the sanity of a heating element in your chilling process. Nevertheless, the hot liquor tank now performs dual roles at the brewery. By passing the beer through a stainless steel coil in-line to the chiller, the beer cools off faster.
Besides being cool, what can a fast chill achieve? Put simply, the faster the beer reaches yeast-pitching temperature, the better off you are. The risk of contamination is great around 110*F, the oasis zone for thermophillic (heat-loving) bacteria. Additionally, there is a danger zone in cooling, around 150*F, where a creamed-corn aroma can be produced from the hot wort. The only beer in the world that I know of that ignores these problems is traditional Lambic. Their hot wort is piped into a ceiling vat, cooling in the Flemish night with wonderful wild yeasts and bacteria riding the breeze, landing into the beer.
Papa Louie’s brewery now employs a dual-stage chill, wherein the above space-age tank feeds the plate chiller, which passes the beer through hundreds of tiny plates as cold tap water rushes the other direction.