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Old 05-06-2006, 12:37 AM   #1
davidkrau
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Default Hop Stopper

I recently upgraded my equipment and bought a used Keggle from Sabco and a Hop Stopper from Innovative Homebrew Solutions. I first tested the system out with water and it worked great-siphoned all but 2 cups from the Keggle.
I then brewed a 5 gal Kolsch which called for 2 ounces Hops and a teaspoon Irish moss. The siphoning started off fine but then the screen clogged and the siphoning stopped. I had to bail out a gallon or so wort and filter it through a screened funnel into a corboy. After I cleaned the system it again worked perfectly with water.

I emailed my disappointment to Innovative Solutions. I received a nice email back from Dennis Collins the owner, where he stated that there were instances of screen clogging with a low hop bill rescipe where an immersion cooler or decotation mashing was used. He stated that the problem is with the large amount of break material that is created with an immersion cooler.

Dennis offered to refund my money including the shipping costs in both directions.
I emailed him that I would stick with the Hop Stopper and try to come up with a solution even if I have to buy a counter flow or plate chiller.
Has anyone who uses a hop stopper with an Immersion chiller had this problem
or was this just klytzy me or does everyone use some other kind of chiller?



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Old 05-06-2006, 01:03 AM   #2
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I saw Swami not able to use his immersion chiller with it and I bought a CFC before I brewed again. With the hopstopper up so high, yes, immersion chillers can be counterproductive.

However, I suggest you stick with it--give it a few more shots.

I've had 10 ounces of hops through mine--not a problem. Break material can be a different story but if you use a combination of methods (whirlpooling) you should be able to get it to not clog.

Either that or maybe get a CFC?



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Old 05-06-2006, 01:21 AM   #3
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Well, crapola. A Hop Stopper was getting closer to the top of my shopping list. My mash/lauter tun will be finished tomorrow, and I am going to work on my keggle next.

There's no way I want to dick around with a counterflow or plate chiller....

Isn't getting all the break material supposed to be a good thing and what we want?
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Old 05-06-2006, 01:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkrau
The siphoning started off fine but then the screen clogged and the siphoning stopped. I had to bail out a gallon or so wort and filter it through a screened funnel into a corboy. After I cleaned the system it again worked perfectly with water.
Are you sure you had the copper tube (inside the mesh screen) pushed all the way to the bottom of the kettle? I'm betting you didn't, and that is the reason it stopped the siphon. I just can't believe that Dennis can put 26 ounces of hops through it and it didn't clog, but some protein break from a 5 gallon batch did. Something is fishy.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:35 AM   #5
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As I said with water it siphoned all but 2 cups. I poured it out into a measuring cup. Again after I after I siphoned the wort,I made no changes to the hop stopper but hosed down the system to clean it. I then added 3 or 4 gallons H20 and siphoned. Again it worked perfectly with water. What I will do is try another brew with the immersion chiller and report back. If it dosen't work again I'll look into a different kind of chiller.

I don't understand Cold breaks. Morebeer in their catalog States with respect to Counterflow chillers "For Great Cold Break- Because a counterflow causes wort to go from boiling to cool in a matter of minutes, or even seconds, a great cold break is achieved. Cold Break consists of protein/phenol compounds that come out of solution as the wort is cooled."
My question is if you get even more crud coming out of solution won't that clog the screen even faster?

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Old 05-06-2006, 03:44 AM   #6
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"My question is if you get even more crud coming out of solution won't that clog the screen even faster?"


The crud won't coagulate until it is chilled. It doesn't get chilled 'til after it passes the screen.

I hadn't heard about the great cold break using a counterflow chiller. Maybe I'll have to rethink using one. It's just that I'm trying to use the KISS philosophy with my new system.

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Old 05-06-2006, 04:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lounge Lizard
There's no way I want to dick around with a counterflow or plate chiller....
You gotta rethink this a bit. CFCs are a charm and simple to make. Last month's BYO had plans for one and if you want more info on how to make one PM me. I've made 2 now and can knock them off in about a half-hour or less.
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkrau
Has anyone who uses a hop stopper with an Immersion chiller had this problem
or was this just klytzy me or does everyone use some other kind of chiller?
I've used my hop stopper maybe 6 times...I use an immersion chiller, and whole hops. I haven't had any problems with the screen clogging, but it does seem some times that I'm losing an excessive amount of wort to hop absorption. What seems to work best for me is to remove the chiller after cooling, then whirlpool a bit, which will hopefully force the hops to settle on top of the screen so they'll filter out some of the cold break material before the screen does.

Dude's vacuum pump gizmo would probably help too.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lounge Lizard
Well, crapola. A Hop Stopper was getting closer to the top of my shopping list. My mash/lauter tun will be finished tomorrow, and I am going to work on my keggle next.

There's no way I want to dick around with a counterflow or plate chiller....

Isn't getting all the break material supposed to be a good thing and what we want?
.

.

.
Same thing here. No hop stopper in my future.
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Old 05-07-2006, 12:10 AM   #10
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The problems with the Hop Stopper have been very few. Each time, it has been either with an immersion chiller, or with a mashing process that generates a large amount of break material, like decoction. I personally have used the Hop Stopper for the last 5 years (70+ batches) with a counter flow chiller and have never even gotten a hiccup. The experiement that I documented:

http://www.ihomebrewsolutions.com/HopStopperTest1-29-06.pdf

was entirely real with no shortcuts taken. Since I cannot actually view the installation and brewing process involved when the Hop Stopper is used, it's very difficult to troubleshoot. The data I have collected so far, all points to larger amounts of break material, which is present with certain mashing methods (like decoction), and/or immersion chillers. That doesn't mean that every immersion chiller has a problem. In fact, just the opposite. As Dude has pointed out, he uses an immersion chiller and has never had a problem in over 25 uses. I have many other customers who use immersion chillers with no problems.

It is impossible for me to make definitive conclusions, only theories. For this reason, I ALWAYS side with customer. I explain what I think is going on and give them the option of whether they want to take advantage of the guarantee: which is a full refund including the original shipping, plus I pay for the return shipping of the product. When all is said and done, there is no monetary burden on the customer whatsoever. That's the only way to stand behind your product. This guarantee is valid for every customer.

I hope this has cleared up most of the doubts regarding the Hop Stopper. The problems mentioned are the exception not the rule. If you want to try it, there is really no risk as I've explained above. I will personally answer any questions or inquiries, here or off-line.

Prosit!



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