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Old 12-25-2011, 08:53 PM   #1
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Default $10 Stainless DIY Hop Blocker

Here's my stainless steel DIY hop stopper that I made for $10. It started it's life as a jumbo tea ball from Amazon.com. I took a phillips screwdriver and forced a hole in the side of the SS screen and stretched it out until it was large enough to fit over my SS pickup tube. I also cut about 1.5" length off the side pickup tube, and cut some grooves into the end of the tube so that if the screen got pushed up against the end of the tube and some hops got sucked into the screen, the wort can still drain out thru the grooves.

I brewed an 11 gal batch of porter today that had 5oz of whole hops in it, and it filtered out everything with no trouble. I could drain with the valve fully open and there was no blockage or hops getting into the fermenter.

This paves the way for me to get a plate chiller now, since I don't have to worry about hops getting stuck in my pickup tube or in a plate chiller. I haven't tried it yet with pellet hops, but I think it would work OK with them too.

Took me about 5 minutes to create the hole in the screen, and 15 minutes to cut the grooves in the tube with a dremel. Don't waste $60 on a Blichman hop stopper - this will work just as well and is ridiculously easy to make.





5oz of leaf hops left in the kettle after the boil.


EDIT 4-2-2012:
I just thought I'd update that I tested this hopstopper with pellet hops recently and it does not work quite as well. It would probably work fine with just a couple oz in a batch, but if you use a lot of hops it can plug the screen up. It works best with whole hops, which is primarily what I use since I buy in bulk from Freshops.com

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Old 12-25-2011, 09:21 PM   #2
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i've bookmarked this, looks like a great setup!

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Old 12-26-2011, 02:24 PM   #3
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How tall is that ball? I want to try one in my Keggle, but it would have to find under my element.

Thinking about maybe trying this one. Mesh looks really fine.

http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Stee...0W/ref=lh_ni_t
or this one, says fine mesh

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Norpro-5507-...ht_2562wt_1110

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Old 12-26-2011, 03:07 PM   #4
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Nice find! I could have used that on my brew last night.

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Old 12-26-2011, 03:09 PM   #5
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Ok.. first very nice.. i saw one of those the other day at Pier Imports.. and looked at it and looked at it.. i was going to use it as a hop ball.. going back to get it now!

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Old 12-26-2011, 04:24 PM   #6
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Well I ordered one of the Norpro oval ones. I am thinking about going in from the top, then putting a washer around my dip tube and use stainless wormclamp to hold it on. This will support the mesh and prevent it from collapsing. I will report back my findings. Thanks for the idea!

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Old 12-26-2011, 07:55 PM   #7
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The height of the tea ball looks to be approx 4 1/8" tall, and according to the website it's 5.5" in diameter.

I added a couple more pictures below; the tea ball is fairly sturdy, and comes apart which I think makes for easy cleaning. It took about 15 seconds of spraying it with a hose and it looked like new again. The top of it locks onto the bottom, so you shouldn't have to worry about it coming apart in the boil.

When making the hole, I started with a phillips screwdriver to poke thru the screen, and gradually found larger diameter things to stick thru the hole to spread it out and make it larger (insert joke here). I think I used a 1/2" SS barb fitting I had lying around to spead it the final bit.

Hole placement in the tea ball will depend on the height or angle of the pickup tube. My hopstopper sits on a slight angle in the kettle, since the pickup tube holds the hole side of it up off the bottom a bit. You could probably come in thru the top of it too, if your pickup tube is mounted high enough (or if you used a smaller tea ball). The most important thing is getting the screen hole size just big enough to slide over your pickup tube - this will keep the hops and trub out of the ball. Also, make sure the end of your pickup tube is near the bottom of the tea ball so you don't waste any wort in the kettle.

There's lot of sized tea balls out there, so figure out what size and hole position will work best for your setup and go for it!





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Old 12-26-2011, 08:40 PM   #8
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I would also think that using an o-ring on either side of the teaball screen would help keep it in place AND be a bit more forgiving on hole size? I should try one of these! Neat idea.

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Old 12-26-2011, 10:11 PM   #9
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I should of thought about one of those a long time ago just added one to my amazon cart :-)

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Old 12-26-2011, 11:56 PM   #10
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Cool - please post pics and results of any hop stoppers you guys build. I'm sure there's room for improvement in the idea, so I'm looking forward to seeing some pics!

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