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Old 09-18-2012, 01:33 AM   #1
djdixon1995
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Default Anyone tried a solid false bottom for whirlpooling in a bottom-drain keggle

I've been wrestling with how to keep hop matter out of my plate chiller and fermenting vessels while still keeping the hops roaming freely about the brew kettle. On my last batch, my plan was to whirlpool with the hop cone forming directly on the bottom drain in the center of the kettle...I figured I'd just discard the first pint or two that cam out the drain and then have smooth sailing. Well, as it turns out, there was enough material to clog the half inch drain. I won't go into what a mess that was to clear out or the scalding I got from the hot wort. But I got to thinking; what if I built a false bottom that was solid, elevated it slightly off the bottom, then whirlpooled. The hop cone would form on the false bottom and allow the wort to reach the bottom drain via the gap between the false bottom and the kettle bottom. Anyone tried this method or have any thoughts?

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Old 09-18-2012, 01:43 AM   #2
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Put the hops in mesh bags. It's really the easiest solution.

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Old 09-18-2012, 10:18 AM   #3
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Sounds like a reasonable plan. I'm doing small batches so I do have these issues. My own idea would be to put a SS bar and handle through a cheap false bottom, whirlpool then simply lift out the FB with the hops. Whirlpool again and you should be golden. But of course...Bobby is right, bags are the easiest solution but are clearly not what you are looking for.

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Old 09-18-2012, 02:15 PM   #4
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Zach over at StainlessBrewing.com is now selling stainless hop spiders. I'm having an 8" diameter made with additional depth to reach fully into my kettle. http://www.stainlessbrewing.com/Hop-Strainer-Kit_p_123.html

That combined with the Brewers Hardware trub filter looks promising.

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Old 09-20-2012, 09:52 AM   #5
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Thanks for the ideas. I'm electric and do both 5 and 10 gallon batches which makes the hop spider troublesome. With a 5 gal batch, there's not alot of depth above the element for the hop spider to live in. I think I'll give the solid false bottom a try on my next brew day using the cut-off bottom of a keg. I think the concave-ness will help contain the hop matter. If that's a failure, I'll probably go back to the mesh bags.

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Old 09-20-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bolts View Post
Zach over at StainlessBrewing.com is now selling stainless hop spiders. I'm having an 8" diameter made with additional depth to reach fully into my kettle. http://www.stainlessbrewing.com/Hop-Strainer-Kit_p_123.html

That combined with the Brewers Hardware trub filter looks promising.
I like the stainless mesh design. I would think the hops would move better than in a nylon bag. I had been considering making one but it would be so much easier just to buy one.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:27 PM   #7
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I just built a hop stopper by taking two pieces of 12" SS screen and fold the edges over a coupe times. Put a copper pipe through it and bend the edge down so it sucks up everything. Then slide it into a copper sleeve that has 1/2" threads on one side. I never get hops in my plate chiller.

Everytime i blow it out with hose water pressure no hops cme out. Makes cleaning easy. Ive never whirlpooledIt cost me like 10 bucks too... you can just use two fry splatter screens from target. Go google hop stopper

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Old 09-20-2012, 06:31 PM   #8
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+1 to Bobby. He is wise.

Any hardware store... 5 gallon paint strainer bag... works like a chahm. Been using them for years.

My boil kettle is 45 gallons and I use these bags without issue for a couple of POUNDS of hops. i get good utilization and also whirlpool for a while post chill. I simply clamp one edge to the side of the kettle with a cheap spring clamp and it's done. The bags take a quick rinse with hot water after the brew session and they're ready for next time.

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Old 11-06-2012, 03:39 PM   #9
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I do this in my electric boil kettle with a false bottom from Jaybird.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33275630@N08/7323838646/in/set-72157630019444862/

I don't have up-to-date pictures, but, when using pellet hops, I place a 12" x 12" square of fine SS mesh screen (40 x 40 mesh from Grainger) on top of the false bottom. I ran a 5 gallon batch a few weeks ago with 4 oz of pellet hops in the kettle. After whirlpooling for 15 mins, I'd say 80-90% of the hops were captured on the screen, along with a good amount of hot break sludge. I had zero issues with the pump clogging. If I were to use a piece of mesh screen closer to the same size as the false bottom, it would work better, since it only covers 85% of the area (the screen's diagonal length is equal to the diameter of the false bottom, so it's the square-in-the-circle geometry problem). Having brewed 6 batches with the false bottom, I'd say it works a little bit better when you add at least some leaf hops, as the pellet hops and hot break tend to cling to the leaf hops.

The only issue I've seen with this approach is that it tends to under-boil the wort in the deadspace below the false bottom. If you can live with a little more chill haze, this is no big deal. If not, then you need either need to pump continuously while boiling or else figure out a way to attach a heater to the bottom surface of the kettle.

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Old 11-11-2012, 05:00 AM   #10
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I used to sell a whirlpool hop stopper. They worked great but were a massive PITA to build. It was a stainless bowl with a drain port and a ramp/fin so the whirlpool would form correctly. I found that just the elevated bowl didn't work on its own because when you drain, the cone would move from the bowl and then clog the drain.. I added all the ports and fins and then went as far as adding a stainless braid under the bowl behind a stainless perf stand. The design worked killer but like I said just a massive time consumer to build.
If you need help with the design PM me and I will share my experience with you for your design.

Cheers
Jay

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