The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Hopback vs Whirlpool

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 04-22-2013, 12:28 PM   #1
Nick4228
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 28
Likes Given: 1

Default Hopback vs Whirlpool

Hi All,

Lately I've been thinking about reworking my end of boil/ cooling process and was hoping to get some opinions on the different options I'm considering (I'm sure there are plenty of you all out there that use one of the two methods I'm thinking of). The two options I'm considering are as follows:

1) Jamil-style immersion chiller with recirc arm (whirlpool).

I'm sure most of you are familiar with this method, it's been well documented, but it essentially uses a pump to pull the hot wort from the bottom of the kettle and pumps it through an extra tube on the immersion chiller across the cooling coil, which produces a whirlpool and (when you turn the chill water on) will cool at a more rapid pace than an immersion chiller on it's own.

2) Hopback and plate chiller

Since I have a great deal of respect for Blichmann, I would probably go from the kettle, to pump, to Hoprocket to Therminator. I don't have much experience with plate chillers on a homebrew scale, but I've heard mixed reviews about using one.

I assume both of these methods would chill well enough, but I'm also curious about any differences in hop character each method adds to the beer.
I'm sure very few of you have experience using both methods, but I'd love to hear input if you use one of these methods... how you feel about it and the pros and cons in your opinion. And, if you have used both methods, I'd love to hear how you feel about one vs the other.

Thanks a bunch!!

__________________
Nick4228 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #2
maida7
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,816
Liked 44 Times on 38 Posts

Default

I use the jamil style IC and whirlpool with a pump.

I expect both would work well. There would probably be some slight difference in flavor but it would be hard to predict.

I kinda like the immersion chiller better as I feel it's easier to clean.

If you don't have a pump you can whirlpool by stiring with a spoon.

__________________
maida7 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-22-2013, 09:22 PM   #3
mjohnson
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 560
Liked 31 Times on 28 Posts
Likes Given: 18

Default

Do hopbacks work with pellet hops? I seem to recall they don't. If you don't use leaf hops all the time, that might make a difference.

__________________
mjohnson is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-22-2013, 09:30 PM   #4
Nick4228
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 28
Likes Given: 1

Default

Hopbacks do only use leaf hops to the best of my knowledge, but I would not be opposed to using them (I actually quite like the idea).

__________________
Nick4228 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-22-2013, 10:08 PM   #5
winvarin
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
winvarin's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Edmond, OK
Posts: 1,081
Liked 49 Times on 45 Posts

Default

I just stepped up to a pump driven system from morebeer. I also added the Jamil style chiller when I ordered it. From the cooling standpoint, it works like a charm. I brewed on a cool day a couple weekends ago (water coming out of my hose measured (56F). I took my wort from boiling to around 60F in a little less than 15 min.

I am inexperienced with whirlpooling so I am still working out my process. I completely botched it on my first 2 beers and wound up with cloudy messes. I kept the pump going the whole time and just racked as soon as I had chilled to temp. I didn't let the whirlpool spin down.

That being said, I have done some reading on whirlpools and have some concern about leaving the chiller in after I get to temp and am letting the whirlpool spin down. Everything I have read seems to indicate that the trub cone will not form as well if there are items inside the kettle that interfere with the proper spinning of the wort. I would think the chiller and the additional wort return arm would qualify. I'm planning on testing 2 ways.

1. Use the recirc chiller and just stop the pump at my desired temp, letting the wort spin down with the chiller still in place. I don't particularly like this cor 2 reasons. 1. It would be harder to cover my kettle while it is spinning down unless I cut a notch in my lid. and 2. Don't I run the risk of disturbing the trub cone if I remove the chiller before pumping to my fermenter or if I try to siphon around it?

2. Option 2 is to use the chiller for rapid cooling then remove it and whirlpool. This way the chiller will not be an issue as far as disturbing the trub cone. I can also completely cover the kettle.

While we're on the subject, how do you guys do whirlpool hops? Do you put them in at knockout and recirculate hot before running your chiller (i.e., hop stand). Or do you put them in at knockout and begin chilling right away?

As for hopbacks, I saw an interesting post on here yesterday. There was a guy with a hop rocket that said when he does not want to pack it with hops, still gets a decent amount of filtering with rice hulls. Not sure how that would work but I would be interested in looking into it. If it works, it would be a good filtering option for my beers that are more balanced or malt forward.

__________________
winvarin is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-22-2013, 10:12 PM   #6
lpdjshaw
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: North County, San Diego, California
Posts: 353
Liked 14 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 5

Default

I used a Jamil style IC up until my last batch. It definetly chills faster than a regular IC and it makes a fairly nice trub pile in the middle of the BK. Pretty easy to use and clean but you do need to pay close attention to the inside of the recirc tube. The one thing I really like about an IC is it knocks the wort temp down super quick for the first 100 degrees but it does take awhile after that, especially that last 5 or 6 degrees...can be frustrating!
Now the plate chiller, I brewed a couple batches with a buddy that had a Duda Diesel 40 plate as well as a HopRocket. I ended up buying his since he wanted to get a Therminator. He uses an ice water bath/pre-chiler in front of the plate chiller. We were cooling 15 gal in about a half hour or so. I just used mine for the first time on Fri and cooled 8.5 gal in about 35 min, which is about 5-10 faster than with my RIC, without ice water. The one thing is you really have to watch your temp coming out of the plate chiller and pretty much barely crack your valve to keep the flow through the chiller VERY slow. I also use a HopRocket with whole hops prior to my chiller as much for a pre filter as I do for hop aroma. With this I just do a quick manual whirlpool at flameout and it seems to work better than the recirc arm. I think the chiller being in there doesn't allow the cone to develop as well.
Cleaning the plate chiller is more work than the RIC but still not that big of a deal. I just brought the left over sparge water in my HLT up to boiling and ran it thought the plate chiller for a few minutes both ways. Every once in a while I'll probably run some hot Oxy Clean through there too.
So, sorry for the long winded response but hope it helps with your decision.

__________________
TIKI Brew
lpdjshaw is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-22-2013, 10:17 PM   #7
dermotstratton
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 143
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

I've used both methods. Currently settled on the plate chiller method, primarily because it is more scalable as I move up to 15+ gallon batches.

I have not brewed the exact same recipe on both systems, so it is hard to do a direct comparison. In general, I tend to think that the hop flavor is "brighter/cleaner" when using the hopback into the plate chiller. I would think that I could taste the difference between whirlpool hops with IC vs. hopback with plate chiller, but would be hard to pressed to do so.

Other bigger disadvantage to hopback/plate chiller method is you lose more wort to the additional hoses/plate chiller and hop back volumes. Whirlpool and IC is better for brewhouse efficiency.

I think the differences are better described from convenience and efficiencies rather than flavor of you beer.

__________________
dermotstratton is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-23-2013, 02:52 AM   #8
winvarin
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
winvarin's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Edmond, OK
Posts: 1,081
Liked 49 Times on 45 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lpdjshaw
I used a Jamil style IC up until my last batch. It definetly chills faster than a regular IC and it makes a fairly nice trub pile in the middle of the BK.
How did you get the center pile if the IC is resting on the bottom of the BK? Sorry for the simplistic question but the physics of the method are escaping me.

2 other questions

1. Do you use this method with whole or pellet hops. If pellet, are the free floating?

2. For whirlpool hops, do you hop hot then chill and whirlpool after a hot hop stand? Or do you drop them in at knockout and chill right away, then leave them in while the whirlpool spins down?
__________________
winvarin is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-23-2013, 04:09 AM   #9
lpdjshaw
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: North County, San Diego, California
Posts: 353
Liked 14 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 5

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by winvarin View Post
How did you get the center pile if the IC is resting on the bottom of the BK? Sorry for the simplistic question but the physics of the method are escaping me.

2 other questions

1. Do you use this method with whole or pellet hops. If pellet, are the free floating?

2. For whirlpool hops, do you hop hot then chill and whirlpool after a hot hop stand? Or do you drop them in at knockout and chill right away, then leave them in while the whirlpool spins down?
Well, first off I use hop pellets in my boil so, as you know, once they're in the boil they turn into tiny little suspended particles. Since I don't use a spider or anything similar they are free to flow into a "pile" in the middle of the BK by passing through the coils of the RIC during the whirlpool. As I said in my earlier post though, the hop pile without the RIC seems to be better.

As for whirlpool hops, with my RIC I would add my hops at flameout and start my whirlpool/chilling right away. As a result the hops were exposed to really hot wort only for a short time then progressively less temp as the wort would cool. With my current setup, with the plate chiller and HopRocket, the hops (whole) are exposed to near boiling temps the whole time wort is flowing through them on the way to the fermenter. I'm not really sure how those different processes affect hop flavor and aroma since I haven't brewed the same beer using both tecniques? My guess is that there's not a that discernible of a difference.
__________________
TIKI Brew
lpdjshaw is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-23-2013, 11:37 AM   #10
headfullahops
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Waterford, Michigan
Posts: 294
Liked 12 Times on 10 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lpdjshaw
As for whirlpool hops, with my RIC I would add my hops at flameout and start my whirlpool/chilling right away. As a result the hops were exposed to really hot wort only for a short time then progressively less temp as the wort would cool. With my current setup, with the plate chiller and HopRocket, the hops (whole) are exposed to near boiling temps the whole time wort is flowing through them on the way to the fermenter. I'm not really sure how those different processes affect hop flavor and aroma since I haven't brewed the same beer using both tecniques? My guess is that there's not a that discernible of a difference.
Here's the difference-

Hop aromas are carried by volatile oils meaning they dissipate out of solution as a gas very quickly and readily (generally within a minute at boiling/near boiling temps). After that, compounds from the hops tend to contribute proportionately more flavor and less aroma. So, when "aroma" additions are made before a 15-30min hot whirlpool, hops contribute more flavor than aroma (and a level of bitterness that can be difficult to calculate/quantify).

Using a hopback passes near boiling wort through hops seconds before being chilled to pitching temps effectively "locking in" the aroma producing volatile oils. Not to mention, this is usually done in a closed system (kettle valve > pump > hopback/Hop Rocket > heat exchanger > fermenter), so the wort comes in contact with little (if any) ambient air on its trip to the fermenter, allowing little to no dissipation in that regard as well.

These are the more "scientific" points of the discussion. Obviously everyone's system/process/senses will determine their perception of the final outcome. My process had normally included a flameout "aroma" addition, a 10min whirlpool, and 15-20mins to gravity feed through a CFC. I just got myself a pump and plate chiller and the Hop Rocket will be my next major purchase, so I'm very interested to see what I perceive to be the differences here as well.

Cheers!
__________________
headfullahops is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
pH Meter/Whirlpool IC/Accessories or Whirlpool IC/March Pump/Kettle Valve jholen All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 3 01-20-2012 07:13 PM
My $30 hopback trigger DIY Projects 14 12-21-2011 10:18 PM
no hopback... now what Matteo57 Recipes/Ingredients 3 10-31-2011 07:54 AM
Poor mans whirlpool (IC whirlpool question) phoenixs4r DIY Projects 4 09-06-2011 07:15 PM
Hopback like techniques without actually using a hopback bctdi General Techniques 12 09-07-2010 02:30 AM