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Old 04-17-2012, 03:14 PM   #1
dbrewski
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Ok, I have searched and read on this topic over and over. My brain kind of hurts. Here's my deal. I have used the following: hop bags dropped into the boil, hop spiders with paint bags, bazooka filters, a large homemade hop thingy from SS screen, and no screen. I use whole hops and pellet hops, sometimes both in the same batch. I want a solution that filters out whole and pellet hops at the same time. I use a CFC/pump setup or just an IC depending upon my laziness at the time (no brewstand setup).

I don't like hop bags or spiders because I do not get good utilization, especially with later hops. My hop bag gets clogged up with boil junk probably halfway thru the boil even with whole hops. I can pull the bag up, and it retains wort like a water balloon, so the hops are not getting good flow. So my goal is hops in the full boil, no bag. I moved to a bazooka screen. It clogged with pellet hops, any kind of screen seems to clog with pellets. With whole hops, a screen type filter works fine.

Am I overthinking this? I have not found a solution that works good with a mix of whole and pellet hops. Maybe it's my process not the screen. I have looked at the Hopblocker, I don't have a Blichmann kettle, I've seen the hopstopper, it seems just like my homemade screen solution (maybe it isn't). I thought my homemade job would do the trick, but as I pulled off wort via pump it clogged right away (mix of whole and pellet). Maybe just a gravity drain would have worked better? Here is a pic of it.

Thanks for any tips.


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Old 04-17-2012, 03:17 PM   #2
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Wow, you have put some serious effort into this. I'll be interested to read the suggestions, but I don't have a good one - I leave all of the hop junk in, no filtering, and let the normal settling of fermentation handle it for me.


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Old 04-17-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
Zamial
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I am just going to toss out 2 ideas/subjects and let you draw your own conclusions...

1. Hop Back
2. Mash Hop

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Old 04-17-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
eagle83
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Here is what I do, but it is so simple that I must be overlooking something. It seems to work fine for me though.

I used the hop sock for a little while and like you thought "surely I can't be getting good utilization". So what I do now is throw my hops in the boil with no hop sock. Once I am done and have chilled my wort I have a bowl shaped strainer with a handle that I balance on top of my bucket (or in a funnel when using a carboy). It really helps to have a second person to hold it so it doesn't fall over. I wrap a paint strainer/hop bag around it and syphon my wort through this. Of course I sanitize everything with Starsan first.

This method gets the job done for me. Of course when I do a big IPA I have to move the hop sludge around or dump it from time to time.

I guess technically this helps get some oxygen into the wort also. Bonus!

 
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:59 PM   #5
dbrewski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle83 View Post
I have a bowl shaped strainer with a handle that I balance on top of my bucket (or in a funnel when using a carboy). It really helps to have a second person to hold it so it doesn't fall over. I wrap a paint strainer/hop bag around it and syphon my wort through this.
I like the idea of wrapping a hop or grain bag around the strainer. I have a big stainless strainer but it isn't fine enough, that would help. I have a kettle with a valve, which I got so I didn't have to lift a full kettle, so I'm looking at other ways of filtering in the kettle. But when screens get clogged....I do exactly what you say, or I put the strainer in place and use a spoon to scrape the surface of the screen so it opens it up and drains. I have to keep doing it, it's a pain.

 
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:10 PM   #6
dbrewski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zamial View Post
I am just going to toss out 2 ideas/subjects and let you draw your own conclusions...

1. Hop Back
2. Mash Hop

I've never mash hopped, don't know much about it. It doesn't replace bittering hops, does it?

 
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle83 View Post
Of course I sanitize everything with Oxyclean first.
FYI...Oxyclean isn't a sanitizer.

For the OP, I feel your pain. Every solution seems to have a trade-off. I have moved to hop bags for the bittering hops...keep it to 1oz or less per bag, and utilization isn't compromised much (maybe 10% at most). I account for this by sticking with high alpha hops for bittering.

I then use the hop spider for late additions. I weigh the bag down with marbles to minimize floating, seems to work fairly well. I just take care to ensure the bag doesn't reach the bottom of the pot.

I'd like to hear other suggestions...this seems to work best for me to avoid getting hop junk into the fermentor.

 
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:27 PM   #8
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I've been considering using an outlet ring manifold similar to the one I use in my mash tun. Right now it's just a ring manifold with slits cut in it and if you have a threaded kettle valve you can easily attach something similar to your kettle. The real test will be if the whirlpool is strong enough to keep the hot break and pellet hops from getting to inlet slits (which should face down). Right now I use a dip tube for pellet hops, but this option would surely clog up in no time flat with leaf hops. I suppose that unlike the mash tun, where you're aiming for uniform flow to ensure efficiency, in the kettle we're just looking to separate, so we could move the ring manifold towards the wall more (someone correct me if this is wrong). But yes, one setup that good for duel use would be excellent.

I'm not sure if the strainer would work for the OP's setup. With a CFC, you need to drain from the kettle to get into the chiller. This differs from the immersion chiller, where you can chill first then separate.

Any thoughts?

 
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:48 PM   #9
eagle83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g-star View Post
FYI...Oxyclean isn't a sanitizer.
fixed... meant starsan

 
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:01 PM   #10
Runyanka
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I have a blichmann kettle and hop blocker, but even with it you have to use the following method (per blichmann instructions). Boil, add hops as usual, directly into the boil. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the hell out of your wort and let it set for around 30 minutes. This will give you a nice cone of hop and break material, then open the ball valve and transfer wort. I have yet to clog my plate chiller, or anything else for that matter. Plus my wort comes out crystal clear after that resting period.


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