This thread inspired me to perform an experiment. Instead of using my hop basket/spider, I attached the boil screen from my MLT to my kettle dip tube to see how it would perform. In the test recipe, I used 10 oz of leaf hops. The grain bill was all barley.
- It did a fantastic job holding back hops (not a surprise)
- I think I got better hop utilization compared to using a hop basket
- I enjoyed not having a massive basket in the kettle during the boil
The not as good:
- Much of the surface area of the boil screen was blocked with break material, which resulted in a slow drain (~30% of normal)
- It was pretty much impossible to do a whirlpool to drain off only clear beer (because of the mass of leaf hops)
- Made me appreciate the simplicity of pulling the hops out of the kettle using a basket
Definitely some tradeoffs. I'd be pretty nervous about using the boil screen when the grain bill includes higher protein grains. If it blocks up more significantly, chilling will be a serious PITA since I rely on a pump. Otherwise it seems to be a viable option that I will probably use again. I doubt I'll switch to it as my SOP though.