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Old 10-01-2012, 06:04 PM   #1
BluesNBrews
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Dec 2011
Langhorne, PA
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Greetings. I just recently purchased a Blichmann boilermaker brew kettle with a hop blocker. I seem to have difficulty creating a whirlpool that will result in the hops dropping into the middle of the brew pot. I generally use a large spoon to try and get the whirlpool going, but keep clanking up against the hardware inside the kettle. I wait a few minutes for everything to settle, but end up with clogging.

I would appreciate anyone's suggestions. Thanks.

 
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:48 PM   #2
The_Canmancan
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Aug 2012
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I have a similar issue with my Boilermaker. The best solution I've found so far is to use my pump and recirculate the wort back into the kettle through a screen...It's a pain. I've even formed a piece of 1/2'' copper and bent it so it lays up against the side of the kettle to try and keep trub out, but to no avail. I'm at the point where I'm contemplating changing from a plate chiller, which always gets clogged, to either an immersion or counterflow.

 
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:32 PM   #3
pelipen
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Nov 2010
Philly, PA
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How long are you letting it settle? I use tight fast circles in the center of the pot, get a good vortex going, then let it sit for awhile. "Awhile", could be 5 minutes while I get the carboy ready. I generally get a nice cone in the middle, but leaf hops, whirlfloc, and other factors make each time a little different.

You could try stainless steel wool over your inlet too.

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
badhabit
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Mar 2010
Evanston Wyoming
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Nylon hop bag

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:24 PM   #5
The_Canmancan
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Aug 2012
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Nylon hop bags are a waste. I bought several a few brews ago and they didn't serve me well (yes I tied them tight). The worst part is trying to clean them...I usually let my wort settle for about 5-10 minutes after whirlpool. Last weekend I even let it settle for over an hour, due to some curious neighbors. Still no dice.

Pelipen, wouldn't the stainless steel wool get clogged too? What about when I brew an IPA with 4-6 oz. of hops? Maybe I should just start using whole hops instead of pellets...

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:51 PM   #6
mclamb6
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Mar 2012
Phoenix, Arizona
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Hop spider. I don't have any issues with hop "trub" since I made one.

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:04 PM   #7
Brew-Jay
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Aug 2012
Fulleron, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclamb6
Hop spider. I don't have any issues with hop "trub" since I made one.
+1 to this. The best use of about $8 can be found here.

http://www.byo.com/stories/projects-...pider-projects

Just make sure the clamp it tight. And don't ask me how I know that. :-)
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:10 PM   #8
The_Canmancan
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Aug 2012
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I've seen/heard about hop-spiders for a while but never gave them much thought because I like to leave the lid on my BK when boiling. But I just had an epiphany on how to get it to work perfectly. Thanks Brew-Jay, I'll give that a whirl. Will probably be a couple weeks before I can brew again though...perfect to put this contraption together!

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:24 PM   #9
dbrewski
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Oct 2011
Indeterminate
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This was a question that I still have not answered to perfection - not specifically the hop blocker question, but keeping hops out in general. It's like an equation with a lot of variables, like details of your system, how you chill, type of hops, whether you whirlpool and/or settle.

In general I find screens of any type work great with leaf hops but not so great with pellet hops. Hops spiders for me always clog with gunk, not necessarily hops, but kettle trub and proteins or whatever. Hop bags result in reduced utilization. The best hops flavor are from letting the hops go free in the kettle IMO. So after pursuing all these different directions, I just kind of wondered, why am I fighting this so hard? What is the big deal about a little hops getting into your fermenter from a beer quality point of view?

I decided I wanted to pursue ease of use. So I dropped anything that was fussy. I only use a screen if I'm using leaf hops, otherwise, side pickup. I went back to an immersion chiller because they're not fussy, they don't clog, they clean easy. I put a whirlpool port in my kettle and got a pump so I don't have to try and stir to do it. Now I whirlpool while chilling, cuts my chilling time down to 10 minutes, and then I pull the IC out and keep whirlpooling. Any kind of obstruction in the kettle will interrupt a good whirlpool, and isn't that what a hop blocker is?

Whirlpool for 10-15 more minutes, let it settle for 15 to 30 minutes. The junk that is down there is not all hops, a lot of it is cold break material. So far I have not managed to get that stuff to stay in the middle, but it doesn't hurt the beer. So what if a little hops gets into your fermenter? If you don't have a plate chiller to clog, no big deal.

Everyone's system and needs are different, just thought I'd pass on my experience.

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:51 PM   #10
sweetcell
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Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Canmancan View Post
I like to leave the lid on my BK when
you do NOT want to keep the lid on your boil kettle - you want steam to be carried away, as this helps remove DMS precursors. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...#Causes_of_DMS

keep that lid off, let the boil run free!
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