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-   -   Hopback 101 (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/hopback-101-a-55217/)

olllllo 02-15-2008 06:41 PM

Hopback 101
This is a call out to anyone that uses a hopback.
Can it also be rigged as a grant?

Pictures and overview of process is welcomed.

AustinHomebrewSupply.com has them on sale, so I thought I'd see what's what.

olllllo 02-15-2008 10:12 PM



A hopback, used in the brewing of beer, is a sealed chamber that is inserted in between the brewing kettle and counter-flow wort chiller. Hops are added to the chamber, the hot wort from the kettle is run through it, and then immediately cooled in the wort chiller before entering the fermentation chamber. It facilitates maximum retention of volatile hop aroma compounds that would normally be driven off when the hops contact the hot wort. Because it is a sealed chamber, the volatile hop compounds are trapped in the hot wort, and then the wort is immediately cooled, which keeps the volatile compounds in solution.
From BYO:


A hopback offers a great way to add real fresh-hop character you know that great smell of late addition hops? Did it occur to you that every whiff you get is hops that are leaving your wort?
A hopback is a way to run newly boiled wort right through fresh finishing hops, usually right between the kettle and the chiller. The simplest take a handful of hops and wrap it in a stainless steel "choreboy" made of coarse steel wool. Hold this down at the bottom of you kettle with the tip of your siphon when you siphon hot wort out, or put it right upstream of your spigot in the bottom of your kettle. The wort will flow through the choreboy and the fresh hops, then right out to the chiller. A hopback can also be made from a square box of perforated steel, or can be made from a mason jar and put outside the kettle before the chiller. Hopbacks also serve to help strain some spent boiling hops and protein out of the wort.

olllllo 02-15-2008 10:50 PM

Here is a link to pictures of a very nicely homebuilt one.

Warning, repeatedly crashed my IE7, bit worked OK in Mozilla.

Bobby_M 02-15-2008 11:16 PM

I can't see why it wouldn't work as a grant. A grant is really just a pot with a bulkhead drain on it to act as a buffer between the pump and the actual donor vessel.

2ndstorey 02-15-2008 11:17 PM

I have been thinking of building one lately too. More of an inline sort of thing out of 4" PVC. I want to put an end cap on one end and a screw cap on the other. A QD on each side and a scrubby on the inside bottom as a filter. Pretty simple but not usable as a grant.

puney_the_youkel 02-15-2008 11:45 PM

My hopback is somewhat unconventional. I use a coffee French Press from Cost Plus: http://www.worldmarket.com/kitchen-tabletop/cookware/coffee-pot-tea-pot/Bodum-Chambord-French-Press/lev/4/productId/1752/Ne/1100001/sectionId/2866/N/1100166/categoryId/1100166/pCategoryId/1100163/gpCategoryId/1100131/Ns/NEW_ARRIVAL_FLAG%7C1%7C%7CCATEGORY_SEQ_3009%7C0/index.pro

I use it in several different stages in brewing. Post boil, I put a couple of ounces of hops in the french press and add boiling wort, which I steep for 60 minutes or so and then add it to the fermenter.
Additionally, I dry hop with the french press prior to keg conditioning. I put a couple of ounces of hops in the french press, add boiling water, and add to the keg. Sometimes, I replete this step multiple times for a really strong hop flavor and aroma.
I have been really successful in using this technique to add both hop aroma and flavor to my beer. I have compared my beer side-by-side with both Pliney The Elder and Pliney the Younger, and using just four to six ounces of hops, as a tea, added to the keg, my beer has equal hop flavor and aroma.

HenryHill 02-16-2008 03:38 PM

Nice find ollllo. May be a little small for a decent grant; hard to tell how big of capacity by pic. I'm considering grant gravity drainage and then recirc, but haven't searched for a grant yet. QD's, and this thing could be very useful...

Good value I think, at sale price, as finding buying and then fitting up a home style one could easily run you the $49, everything adds up, including gas to find/buy a canister, to make just ordering one very enticing.


kmudrick 02-21-2008 02:00 AM

Is there a way to use a hopback without the use of a counterflow or plate chiller? I currently use an immersion chiller with no plans to change that..

beerthirty 08-06-2008 06:40 PM

I'm going to build a hopback using the basic design in the link that olllllo provided. I plan on a couple of changes though. The wort will enter at the bottom through a slotted pipe to help prevent channeling and have a weighted perforated SS plate sitting on top of the hops to keep them submerged. The reason I'm doing this in reverse is the upper temp limit on the acrylic lid is 70C(158F). Once the wort hits the level of the upper discharge, an air pocket should keep the hot wort away from the low temp lid. The compression fittings will be switched to QD's to keep all connections in the system the same. Linen and Things has a set of four canisters for $19. I plan on using the smallest one to keep wort loss to a minimum. Comments or suggestions on this are welcome. Maybe you see or think of something I have missed. I'm hoping to begin the build tomorrow if Linen and Things has the canisters in stock.

hatzbrews 08-08-2008 01:35 AM

does anyone know how to purchase a hopback? i have been unsuccessful in locating a shop.....
help! i need hop aroma!

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