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Old 11-03-2011, 06:08 AM   #1
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Default Hop Stopper Options

I currently use one of these Hop Stoppers from Kal's site (http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/products) and I must say I'm kind of disappointed with it. Not because of its function (it works great), but because it is IMPOSSIBLE to fully clean. The folds in the screening contain hop debris and who knows what else and no matter how many soaks in PBW or rinsing with water I do, I can't get it totally clean. I'm worried it could affect the taste of my beer, especially lighter stuff.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for a new hop stopper? I like that I'm able to use hop pellets with no bag so if there are any products out there that perform similarly but are easy to clean I'd love to hear about them. Thanks!

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:23 AM   #2
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If you WP you should be fine. I use a false bottom and a stainless steel scrubby with pretty good results.

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:41 AM   #3
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Haven't seen that hop stopper, how about baking it in the oven? If I bake my plate chiller I can then flush out the dried hops, same should happen with the hop stopper. Or hit those areas with a torch to burn out the hops.

I'd also have to say that part of the function would be how well and easily it cleans. Maybe they need to redesign to eliminate those areas that capture the particles.

Honestly I think a large bag works the best and since I've starting using extract for bittering, I have less hop debris to deal with.

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Old 11-17-2011, 02:43 PM   #4
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I was having the same issue. The instructions say you really shouldn't have to take it apart to clean, but I loosen the band (that secures the mesh to the dip tube) slide the tube out, and then can wash all the hops out with a little water pressure from the faucet.

You say yours works great. While mine does do a good job, I've been having issues with losing suction, and leaving a gallon or 2 in the bottom of the BK. I know you have to really slow it down once the mesh is exposed, and I've got it down to a near trickle. Do you have any tips on using it?

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Old 11-17-2011, 05:13 PM   #5
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I can't get it 100% clean either, but an overnight soak in oxyclean and a blast with my high pressure hose nozzle works well enough, IMO. The nozzle I speak of is one of those little metal pointy ones that are not adjustable, with a very small orifice to create quite a high pressure. After the soak/spray method, there's no way that anything I missed will affect the taste of future brews.

For the siphoning problems, here are some hints from Dennis (the creator of the Hop Stopper):

"Regarding the loss of the siphon. When using a pump, the outflow of the wort from the kettle can exceed the wort's ability to flow into the screen cavity. As soon as the top of the screen is exposed to the air, air can be drawn into the screen cavity. Eventually, the screen cavity will empty out even though the kettle isn't empty and the siphon will be lost. As Kal mentioned, when using a pump, it is advisable to slow down the flow of wort toward the end of draining. If you notice any bubbles leaving the kettle, that means the siphon is getting ready to break. If this happens, immediately shut off the flow at the pump outlet. Leave it closed off for 10 seconds or so - this will allow wort to refill the screen cavity. Then slowly open the pump valve to allow flow again. You will likely have to finish draining the kettle at a reduced flow rate in order to maintain the siphon until the kettle is empty. It is typically the combination of break material and hops that restricts flow through the screen. When using a counterflow or plate chiller, there isn't any cold break, but there is still hot break and other proteins from the malt.

It's actually beneficial that the pick up tube is not in the center of the kettle. The center is where most of the debris gathers. Regarding the seal, as long as you can siphon out water with no breaks in the siphon, then the seal is intact. I am nearly positive that the problem you experienced is a result of pumping out the wort faster than the wort can flow into the screen cavity. If you follow the advice above, I'm sure this will solve your issue."

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Old 11-17-2011, 06:11 PM   #6
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I made a filter that is easily disassembled for thorough cleaning. Pictures are here:

easy inexpensive kettle hop filter taco stopper

Clean up is a breeze! I did get some beer stone build up that was slowly clogging the mesh. I tried soaking in strong oxyclean (or PBW) and that didn't work. I finally found method that worked. I started with a 12 hrs soak in some pretty strong oxyclean solution. I rinsed that well, and then put it in some in some 2X starsan for another 12hrs. Then I found the crud would relatively easily scrub off. The strong alkali of the oxyclean helps to hydolyze the crud, and then the acid of the starsan helps to loosen it's grip on whatever it is attached to. The result was nice shiny SS mesh.

There are a bunch of commercial websites about cleaning beer stone. Most common is something alkali followed by something acid. This is what lead me to my method.

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Old 11-17-2011, 06:51 PM   #7
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Earthbound, I practically slowed the flow down to a trickle once the hopstopper was exposed to air... So I'm a little confused on what I am doing wrong here.

Do you have any tips on getting it started again? I know I could remove the "kettle to pump" hose and fill it with water, put it back in the system to try and start the siphon again, but that involves adding un-sanitized water to the system and probably to my brew.

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Old 11-17-2011, 06:55 PM   #8
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Does your pickup tube pull from the middle of your BK?

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Old 11-17-2011, 08:28 PM   #9
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Yes, and with my current equipment there is now way to change the position. My system is a "Kal Clone" from the theelectricbrewery.com

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Old 11-18-2011, 06:55 PM   #10
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Well, you could start the siphon again using sanitized water, but that would be a PITA and would not actually solve the problem. Why can you not change the position of the pick up tube?

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