Originally Posted by Quaffer
I saw somewhere, I think it was in Kal's writeup for his brewery, that whirlpooling may not work so good in a BK with a heater element because the element interferes with the break pile, or perhaps the whirlpool itself. Has someone got experience with this?
Correct, I do mention this in relation to using the new Blichmann HopBlocker. Some users with elements in their kettles mentioned they couldn't get a good whirlpool going with the element in place, or should I say, enough of a whirlpool to effectively use the hopstopper. These were users here on the forum.
Now, who knows if they were experienced brewers/knew what they were doing... but I thought I'd point it out anyway. Just so that people knew to look out for this and consider it since I've ever used a Blichmann HopBlocker myself.
I've never tried to form a whirlpool myself (I use a HopStopper) and simply start cooling through my CFC fairly fast as soon as the boil is over. No whirlpool for me (which saves time).
I'll keep an eye on this post to see if there's any true evidence one way or another about whirlpooling with elements in place...
Would it work to install the element a few inches from the bottom so that it will clear the break pile, or will this not heat the wort below it? Any insight you can share is appreciated.
Install the element as low as you like. Wort is very thin like water and it gets churned enormously as you boil. It doesn't sit still. I installed my elements as low as I could based on the size of outside conduit box I used to house the element head. In my 20 gallon boil kettle with HopStopper in place, this means that the smallest batch size I can make is about 5 gallons. Fine by me since I've always brewed 10 gallons at a time.