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Old 06-10-2009, 07:26 PM   #1
sleepystevenson
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Default Hops: pellet vs. whole for single tier pump system

Hello All,

I have been using pellet hops with a separate bag for each addition for every brew on my current single tier two pump system. Basically, just because they are easier to pack into the freezer for storage. However, doing large (25 gal) batches, I sometimes wonder if my utilization goes down, with multiple ounces of hops in each bag.

I have heard that many people prefer the whole hops sans bags for improved utilization and also the filter bed they create when draining the boilkettle.

It's the filterbed that interests me the most. My boil kettle (see pic) has a bazooka screen on the dip tube drain that gets COMPLETELY plugged with hotbreak material as I pump out of the boil kettle through the chiller and into the fermenter (one pass cooling.) I find I have to scrape the bazooka tube with a long spoon throughout the cooling process just to keep stuff flowing and it's not really that effective. ( I can't imaging how badly it would get plugged with hotbreak AND pellet hops directly in the boil)

So, my question is, what kind of experience does anyone have using a bazooka screen with whole hops? Especially interested in folks using a pump for transfer from the boil kettle.

I am hoping that the whole hops would filter a lot of the hot break before hitting the bazooka screen. But, I could see the whole hops gumming up the bazooka screen, as well.

For what it's worth, my total kettle hops are around 4 oz for a weizen, 6-8 ozs. for Irish/Scottish ales, 12-18 oz. for pale ales and around 1.5 lbs. for an IPA. Barleywines and double IPA's will be even more.

I need to make another large hops purchase here soon, so...just trying to get some advise before ordering!

Thanks !





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Old 06-10-2009, 08:41 PM   #2
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I've never used a bazooka screen, but I have used false bottom-equipped kettles. I can't see a reason why the screen shouldn't work, though, especially since you can whirlpool the bitter wort (you are doing that, aren't you?).

I strongly prefer whole hops to pellets for just this purpose. In false-bottom kettles, the wort at knockout is always star-bright with whole hops and turbid with pellets.

Bob



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Old 06-11-2009, 04:20 PM   #3
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I did set up the kettle with the intention of whirlpooling, however I have not had great luck in doing it. Any advise in that respect? (just a good hard stir with a long spoon then let it rest for some time before pumping through the chiller?)

Sounds like the whole hops may work well with my system.

I have read many of your informative replies, Bob. Much appreciated!

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Old 06-11-2009, 05:10 PM   #4
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My current thinking is to isolate the bittering additions in bags as long as they boil for 45-60 minutes. The bags slightly impact utilization, but the long boil seems to get at the goods pretty well. On the other hand, flavor and especially aroma additions don't roll in the boil enough to work well with bags.

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Old 06-11-2009, 06:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepystevenson View Post
I did set up the kettle with the intention of whirlpooling, however I have not had great luck in doing it. Any advise in that respect? (just a good hard stir with a long spoon then let it rest for some time before pumping through the chiller?)
Er. Um. I assumed the copper thingy in the upper right of the above photograph was a whirlpool attachment. Hell, if it's not, I'd sure as hell use it for that! Out from the outlet, into the upper attachment. Let it run for a good ten minutes.

You may have priming issues at first. Restricting the flow from the pump outlet can often alleviate that. You want a really, really strong motion in the kettle. That'll set up a nice cone of spent hops and break material in the center of the kettle bottom.

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I have read many of your informative replies, Bob. Much appreciated!
Thanks! I'm just paying it forward.

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:58 PM   #6
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Yeah, Bob that was the intention. However, it doesnt seem like I get a strong enough flow out of my pump to create a strong whirlpool. Gonna try my other pump next time, which will pump a much higher head. So the general procedure is: Immediately after flameout, run the pump and create a good whirlpool for 10 min or so. Then let it sit for some time to let the cone settle? and then pump through the chiller. I assume that it would be best to keep the lid on the kettle while whirlpooling to lesson the chances of any baddies getting in there.

Bobby - good point with the bittering additions vs. flavor/aroma additions. By using the bags just for the bittering additions it would eliminate a good deal of hop goop in the kettle. How effective is whirlpooling with pellet hops?

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Old 06-13-2009, 12:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepystevenson View Post
Yeah, Bob that was the intention. However, it doesnt seem like I get a strong enough flow out of my pump to create a strong whirlpool. Gonna try my other pump next time, which will pump a much higher head. So the general procedure is: Immediately after flameout, run the pump and create a good whirlpool for 10 min or so. Then let it sit for some time to let the cone settle? and then pump through the chiller. I assume that it would be best to keep the lid on the kettle while whirlpooling to lesson the chances of any baddies getting in there.
I wouldn't bother with the lid. Even after 10-15 minutes, you're talking ~200F wort. Ain't nothing gonna live through that.

Good idea on the stronger pump. The stronger the flow, the better the whirlpool.

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How effective is whirlpooling with pellet hops?

Not to answer for Bobby, but whirlpooling works with anything. It's just a case of adding "to a greater or lesser extent". I'd call it a necessity with pellets, even with a false bottom. Using a false bottom, you don't really need to whirlpool with whole hops; you can just let 'em settle. (That's not as effective as whirlpooling, but it works.) With pellets, you really need to whirlpool so as to not completely set the screen with gunk.

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Old 06-13-2009, 10:42 AM   #8
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With the whirlpool, you ideally want the wort to return below the surface. In the picture it's hard to tell how low it actually goes. Somewhere in the middle of the mort (in regards to height) would probably be based. If you have it swirling the top part of the liquid, I agree, I don't think the pumps are strong enough to swirl the entire volume enough, if that makes sense.

One other thing that I've found is that the key to a good whirlpool in terms of hops/trub collection is a flat bottom in the keg. I've never had any luck except the one time I tried with a regular turkey fryer kettle and was amazed how well the cone was formed.



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