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Old 08-09-2012, 12:57 AM   #1
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Default How I keep hops out my my plate chiller

I was doing some plate chiller related forum browsing tonight, and saw so many different threads on how people are keeping hops out of their plate chiller. I figured I'd add my method to the mix, though this may be old news.

I've brewed close to 15 batches with my plate chiller, and learned quickly that hops inside the chiller can not only decrease chiller performance, but can ruin a brewday if they cause a clog. That being said, I have always been a huge believer that hops should be floating freely in a boil.

Here's what I do:

1. only use hop pellets. let them float freely in the boil so not to compromise utilization.
2. When flameout time comes, place my hop spider over the pot (strainer bag empty of course).
3. pump wort out of kettle, thru pump, and into hop spider. Stirring throughout. Do this for 5-10 minutes.
4. Start draining hop spider by carefully twisting the bag around the PVC/lag bolts.
5. Whirlpool (still not using plate chiller at all). Whirlpool for 5-10 minutes.
6. Start using chiller as a component to the whirlpool. This is "batch chilling" as opposed to going from kettle, thru chiller, and directly into fermenter.
7. Once satisfied with the whirlpool, start draining into fermenter. Note: you can also "batch chill" all the way down to pitching temps. I do this sometimes unintentionally because I get distracted and it's already below 70.

When I first was given this idea from a friend, I was amazed at how much broken up hop material gets caught in the strainer bag.

I tried a few homemade filter provisions but never had any success. Of course my method requires a somewhat annoying amount of pump/tubing configuration changes, but to me it's worthwhile.

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Old 08-09-2012, 02:58 AM   #2
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Your process sounds close to mine. Except that I'm using a hop spider in the kettle and want to let my hops run free. I'm thinking of using my wort grant (it has a false bottom) between the BK and the pump, and attempting to catch hops before chilling.

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Old 08-09-2012, 12:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lud
Your process sounds close to mine. Except that I'm using a hop spider in the kettle and want to let my hops run free. I'm thinking of using my wort grant (it has a false bottom) between the BK and the pump, and attempting to catch hops before chilling.
i do let my hops run free. only after the boil is over do i start pumping them into the hop spider.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:44 PM   #4
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hmm.. that sounds like an interesting idea.. i use a hop spider throughout the boil and a plate chiller, though i have been looking for different ways to try to try it with free floating hops.. let me just clarify.. you do your boil with the hops straight in the BK.. then you use a spider to collect the hops that are pumped out the bottom of your BK and into the top through the spider? one question, how much hop material is left after you strain it through a bunch to warrant whirlpooling?

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Old 09-05-2012, 08:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krenshaw
hmm.. that sounds like an interesting idea.. i use a hop spider throughout the boil and a plate chiller, though i have been looking for different ways to try to try it with free floating hops.. let me just clarify.. you do your boil with the hops straight in the BK.. then you use a spider to collect the hops that are pumped out the bottom of your BK and into the top through the spider? one question, how much hop material is left after you strain it through a bunch to warrant whirlpooling?
yes that's correct. the hops float around freely during the boil, then i vacuum them up into the hop filter at the end.

regarding the amount of material left after vacuuming - it ranges between none and very little. whether or not its warranted is questionable.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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I would imagine this process also helps to aerate the wort a bit before pitching. I wouldn't rely on this as the only way to do it but more aeration can't hurt.

Thanks for yet another reason to get a pump and a plate chiller.

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Old 09-06-2012, 09:39 PM   #7
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Aeration does hurt if the wort is hot. Ive read that and splashing around whe the wort is over 100 degrees can oxidize the wort because oxygen clings to it easier. (Clings isnt the right word, but i think it was in a palmer book)

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Old 09-06-2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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I don't have much experience with my plate chiller.

However, I have the 2 weld 9 gallon pot from homebrewing.org, and all I do is whirlpool immediately after flameout. Let it sit for 7 - 10 minutes and then gravity feed the wort through plate chiller, with the wort throttled by a 1/2" ball valve. There's about an inch of trub left on the bottom, so I lose a bit of wort. No big deal to me though. I prefer to lose a little wort to ensure no trub will enter the PC.

There's not much you can do about the cold break, so I just back flush the chiller by connecting the water hose to the wort-out side for a minute. Then, I bake it out in the oven around 300F to dry it out. I guess time will tell how well this will work.

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Old 09-06-2012, 10:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PondScum
I would imagine this process also helps to aerate the wort a bit before pitching. I wouldn't rely on this as the only way to do it but more aeration can't hurt.

Thanks for yet another reason to get a pump and a plate chiller.
I would hope that there would be minimal aeration prior to chilling, right?
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BullGator View Post
I would hope that there would be minimal aeration prior to chilling, right?
Ah! Yes! Excellent point!
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