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Old 01-15-2012, 03:26 PM   #1
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Default Awesome Hop Strainer

I know a lot of you throw your hops right in the boil and rack the wort to your primary with residual hop leftovers with no problems at all. I respect that entirely. I also know that stirring your wort vigrously will cause much of your hops to gather at the middle, and thus you are able to rack without much getting in the autosiphon. If your slightly OCD like me, and you want a way to keep the hop sludge out of your fermenter, this little contraption below is a godsend. Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking. "But Towey, putting hops in a bag during the boil doesn't allow for effective alpha acid utilization". This contraption is quite different however. What you see in the picture is a lot like an iceberg...only 10% of its size is above water. This baby has a 5 gallon nylon bag attached to it, so hops can have the complete ability to travel around in the boil and become utilized properly. It causes NO off-flavors and works like a charm. I actually got the idea from right here on HBT, but I thought I would resurrect a thread showing pictures of it, because I know I searched high and low for an idea to CHEAPLY and EFFECTIVELY strain out hops. Hoprockets apparently are a pain, and some metal hop strainers cost around 60 bucks! Total cost for this.....around 20 dollars. Here is a list of the items I used to make mine.
1 4in PVC Street Cleanout Adaptor
1 large Jubilee Clip
3 large screws (I just screwed them right into the plastic
3 rubber hoses to cover the metal of the screws (no off flavors from the metal)
1 large 5 gallon nylon painting strainer bag

2012-01-14-15.41.22.jpg   2012-01-14-15.42.07.jpg  
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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Yep. A hop spider. Lots of folks use them here. They work great.

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Old 01-15-2012, 03:47 PM   #3
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I should migrate to this route rather than using hop bags. I like the idea of the bag so I can squeeze out the absorbed wort, but I don't like dealing with it (or cleaning the bag). Thanks for the pics!

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Old 01-15-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Good luck with the PVC fitting suspended over boiling wort for an hour or more. You'll probably want to bookmark this thread for future reference...

Cheers!

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Old 01-15-2012, 04:58 PM   #5
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I do all my brewing in the garage, so rain is not a problem. However, I never considered the effects of putting the lid over it. Makes perfect sense. I REALLY like the one made from a stainless drain. That is just plain sexy. Thanks for looking out for me day trippr! cheers!

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Old 01-15-2012, 07:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day_trippr
Good luck with the PVC fitting suspended over boiling wort for an hour or more. You'll probably want to bookmark this thread for future reference...

Cheers!
No problems as long as you don't cover your pot like the guy did in that thread. So many people (including me) have used the pvc coupler with zero problems above boiling wort.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:44 AM   #7
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No problems as long as you don't cover your pot like the guy did in that thread. So many people (including me) have used the pvc coupler with zero problems above boiling wort.
Excellent. But if you read that whole thread there were a few folks that had problems apparently without lidding their kettles. I'd actually be more concerned with chemicals potentially leaching out of the PVC as steam condensed on it and dripped back into the kettle, if that can happen...

Cheers!
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:52 AM   #8
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I made my spider from stainless steel too (all of it, except the bag)... The hardest part of it was drilling (and tapping) the cake form ring for the legs.



Everything else was sourced from McMaster-Carr... You could get most of it (probably) from places like Home Depot, or Lowe's, but I know McMaster-Carr has everything I needed. Didn't cost that much to make either. Most expensive part was the stainless cake form ring (Amazon)...

Using the 6" ring, I have plenty of room to pour hops in. With the bags I have, I can be sure to fit as many hops as I'll ever use in there. I used 4oz of pellet hops in the batch brewed on Saturday, and the bag had plenty of room left for more. I could have easily used 8oz of hops in there without issue. I seriously doubt I'll do that for my current batch size. Once I go to 10 gallon batches, I'll just use a larger bag and not worry about it.

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Old 01-16-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
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Default Ehh..

I built one of these and it sucked. I see all these photos where your bag is all open.. but the one and only time I tried to use it the bag immediately bunched up once I got a boil going / caught in the current, thus bunching up the hops near the surface and I feel I got really poor utilization (~16oz hops) compared to free hopping it. Halfway through I tried to weight it down by throwing a piece of copper pipe in it, it helped but.. overall unimpressed by this gadget.

Unless I'm doing something wrong that you guys who love these things know? The only thing I could think of was some sort of stainless chicken wire stuff used to give it some structure to hold against just collapsing. By the time you've done that might as well make something different like a giant "tea ball" of stainless mesh.

Anyway, just a counterpoint to this as I was pretty disappointed this summer with this thing after reading all the hype. Again, maybe I'm missing something.

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Old 01-16-2012, 01:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd_tom View Post
I built one of these and it sucked. I see all these photos where your bag is all open.. but the one and only time I tried to use it the bag immediately bunched up once I got a boil going / caught in the current, thus bunching up the hops near the surface and I feel I got really poor utilization (~16oz hops) compared to free hopping it. Halfway through I tried to weight it down by throwing a piece of copper pipe in it, it helped but.. overall unimpressed by this gadget.

Unless I'm doing something wrong that you guys who love these things know? The only thing I could think of was some sort of stainless chicken wire stuff used to give it some structure to hold against just collapsing. By the time you've done that might as well make something different like a giant "tea ball" of stainless mesh.

Anyway, just a counterpoint to this as I was pretty disappointed this summer with this thing after reading all the hype. Again, maybe I'm missing something.
I took the route of making a square from copper pipe to keep the bag open and weigh it down. 4 copper 90's and 4 pieces of 4 inch copper pipe.
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