Cool whirlpool with hop stopper

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BigJay13

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I have had really good NEIPAs when I cool the whirlpool down near 180, but it makes the runoff take forever with my hop stopper. Previously I would run the chiller for a few minutes (plate chiller) to get the temp down. The runoff for 12 gallons would take over an hour doing this. Normally it’s like 15-20 minutes tops.

Im thinking of dropping my old immersion chiller in for a minute or two and removing it at 180-185 prior to the whirlpool stand. Has anyone tried this with a hop stopper (or use an immersion chiller with one)?
 

day_trippr

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I circulate using an IC - though my target WP temperature is typically just below 170°F, and I'll add heat to hold it there if needed.
But I also do not drop the Hop Stopper (V2) into the wort until I'm ready to runoff. I have an extra port on my BK for recirculation and use that until it's runoff time, as which point I drop the Hop Stopper in and switch the output hose to the "drain" port...


Cheers!
 

Deadalus

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I have had really good NEIPAs when I cool the whirlpool down near 180, but it makes the runoff take forever with my hop stopper. Previously I would run the chiller for a few minutes (plate chiller) to get the temp down. The runoff for 12 gallons would take over an hour doing this. Normally it’s like 15-20 minutes tops.

Im thinking of dropping my old immersion chiller in for a minute or two and removing it at 180-185 prior to the whirlpool stand. Has anyone tried this with a hop stopper (or use an immersion chiller with one)?
When I switched to a plate chiller from an IC I kept using my IC to cool to whirlpool temps until it dawned on me that I could use the PC there as well. Habit I guess. I don't have a hopstopper, I use a spider, but is your concern one of compressing the hopstopper with the IC? If it is, you can use a SS U-bolt to create a support for the IC to hold it above the hopstopper. I did this to hold my IC above the element on my keggle. It was a modification I picked up here on HBT, might even have been one of day_trippr's.
 

hout17

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I circulate using an IC - though my target WP temperature is typically just below 170°F, and I'll add heat to hold it there if needed.
But I also do not drop the Hop Stopper (V2) into the wort until I'm ready to runoff. I have an extra port on my BK for recirculation and use that until it's runoff time, as which point I drop the Hop Stopper in and switch the output hose to the "drain" port...


Cheers!
I've been contemplating grabbing a hopstopper for my kettle for a long time. One day I might actually do it they look like they work amazingly well.
 
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BigJay13

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When I switched to a plate chiller from an IC I kept using my IC to cool to whirlpool temps until it dawned on me that I could use the PC there as well. Habit I guess. I don't have a hopstopper, I use a spider, but is your concern one of compressing the hopstopper with the IC? If it is, you can use a SS U-bolt to create a support for the IC to hold it above the hopstopper. I did this to hold my IC above the element on my keggle. It was a modification I picked up here on HBT, might even have been one of day_trippr's.
If you recirc through the hop stopper all the cold break goes back in, and you begin to basically filter the wort multiple times. Then when it comes time to run off you do compress it with suction and it takes forever. I'm not concerned about the IC on the element (hop stopper is below it). I think I'll give it a try on my next brew--which is going to be a all kettle hop pale ale to grow some yeast for a big NEIPA!
 
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BigJay13

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I circulate using an IC - though my target WP temperature is typically just below 170°F, and I'll add heat to hold it there if needed.
But I also do not drop the Hop Stopper (V2) into the wort until I'm ready to runoff. I have an extra port on my BK for recirculation and use that until it's runoff time, as which point I drop the Hop Stopper in and switch the output hose to the "drain" port...


Cheers!
My element is above the hop stopper, but I think I'll try using the IC to just get it down to the lower whirlpool temps. That should minimize cold break. Worst case is it takes forever!
 

Deadalus

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If you recirc through the hop stopper all the cold break goes back in, and you begin to basically filter the wort multiple times. Then when it comes time to run off you do compress it with suction and it takes forever. I'm not concerned about the IC on the element (hop stopper is below it). I think I'll give it a try on my next brew--which is going to be a all kettle hop pale ale to grow some yeast for a big NEIPA!
I understood what you initially said about dropping to whirlpool temperature and the consequences to the plate chiller and time. What I was asking is if you had some sort of specific concern in mind with using the IC with the hopstopper, because the IC can certainly be used instead of the plate chiller to drop to whirlpool temperature.

One of the things that made me think to stop using the IC to drop to whirlpool temperature (besides having to clean both the PC and IC) was someone noting that did an initial quick recirculation of wort with water off through the plate chiller to sanitize it with boiling wort. I backflush, recirculate PBW, and run StarSan through but I am under no illusions that the PC still doesn't have some little bits in it. If that initial burst of wort at boiling temperature into the PC was important to you, you would be losing it by using the IC. Maybe not but you will still be adding in cleaning the IC. I'd much rather clean the IC than the PC myself but doing both is definitely a chore! The PC is just so much faster though and I still have to CIP the HERMS coil so I recirculate PBW through the PC and coil at the same time and through my hop spider to catch the bits. I'm interested in the hopstopper but it seems like it may be adding back in time I had saved.
 
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BigJay13

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I understood what you initially said about dropping to whirlpool temperature and the consequences to the plate chiller and time. What I was asking is if you had some sort of specific concern in mind with using the IC with the hopstopper, because the IC can certainly be used instead of the plate chiller to drop to whirlpool temperature.

One of the things that made me think to stop using the IC to drop to whirlpool temperature (besides having to clean both the PC and IC) was someone noting that did an initial quick recirculation of wort with water off through the plate chiller to sanitize it with boiling wort. I backflush, recirculate PBW, and run StarSan through but I am under no illusions that the PC still doesn't have some little bits in it. If that initial burst of wort at boiling temperature into the PC was important to you, you would be losing it by using the IC. Maybe not but you will still be adding in cleaning the IC. I'd much rather clean the IC than the PC myself but doing both is definitely a chore! The PC is just so much faster though and I still have to CIP the HERMS coil so I recirculate PBW through the PC and coil at the same time and through my hop spider to catch the bits. I'm interested in the hopstopper but it seems like it may be adding back in time I had saved.
Ahhh sorry I misunderstood you. I have a similar process with the PC. I could always pull boiling wort into it before the IC drops the temp to help sanitize it. Before installing the hop stopper I would recirc boiling wort for the last 10 minutes to sanitize it.

I’m concerned about the cold break being too much for the hop stopper by cooking with the IC. I do find the PC to be faster at getting all the wort to pitching temps than the IC.
 

Deadalus

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Ahhh sorry I misunderstood you. I have a similar process with the PC. I could always pull boiling wort into it before the IC drops the temp to help sanitize it. Before installing the hop stopper I would recirc boiling wort for the last 10 minutes to sanitize it.

I’m concerned about the cold break being too much for the hop stopper by cooking with the IC. I do find the PC to be faster at getting all the wort to pitching temps than the IC.
No problem...I was thinking about this a l lot yesterday because I wrestle with wanting to let the hops be free and wanting to keep the brew session time as short as possible within my all grain system (3V2p). Cleaning the hop spider takes time and so should cleaning the hopstopper. The mesh is about the same and the size is comparable. Now the Electric Brewery states that you can just rinse the hopstopper out and dry it well. There could be a small amount of time saved there vs a hop spider because the spider picks up oils and has the solid residues while the hopstopper may not have the oils and some of the residues stay in the pot itself. I generally give my hop spider a good brushing inside and out. I could just blast it with hot water but I think it would get brown pretty fast.

Addressing your concern though, I am thinking that the IC won't help but rather the solution has been provided by @day_trippr, add on a port. I don't monitor the amount of cold break occurring when dropping to whirlpooling temperature however I am skeptical it is significantly different between using a PC and an IC. Having said that, next consider something said in the Hop Stopper manual:
In our experience at Innovative Homebrew Solutions and at the Electric Brewery, hop extraction is more a function of contact time with hot wort than the actual movement of a whirlpool. A simple steeping step for late addtion hops will achieve the same effect as an extended whirlpool in our experience and will also eliminate the problems associated with recirculation and the Hop Stopper.
The second sentence is acknowledgement that recirculation has problems. And you have personally observed this as well. If you don't recirculate through the pump while whirlpooling hops, either hand stir or let steep, I don't think you would have a problem transferring since the Hop Stopper is limited at 1 gpm. A 12 gallon runoff is therefore theoretically 12 minutes. I generally can run my pump full bore when transferring if it's an ale. In summer I may recirculate just a quick bit to get temperatures lower initially. It being close to winter, I just got a lager down to 60F even after a whirlpool @165 with just a slight throttle on the pump! The 1 gpm limit is a time loss but not terrible, maybe 5-6 minutes? But the first sentence in the quote is the decider. If you disagree with that, and I am skeptical without more data and an unbiased opinion (they are selling these), then another port seems in order, one where the recirculation isn't through the Hop Stopper. It could then be done with an IC or a PC. If using a PC, do the really quick temperature drop through the Hop Stopper and PC, then switch over to the other port to recirculate while whirlpooling. Then back to the Hop Stopper port. Could be messy because the PC is low and switching hoses and leaving the PC open would leak wort. Not insurmountable and I'm considering giving this a go myself. I've been measuring my pick up tubes as well and may upgrade to 5/8" OD while doing so. Seems unnecessary for the Hop Stopper port but I will do it on the new port if I do as well as change out the one on my MT. Going to consider it some more because it's about $100-125 (I have a ball valve on hand already) and requires the new port.
 
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BigJay13

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No problem...I was thinking about this a l lot yesterday because I wrestle with wanting to let the hops be free and wanting to keep the brew session time as short as possible within my all grain system (3V2p). Cleaning the hop spider takes time and so should cleaning the hopstopper. The mesh is about the same and the size is comparable. Now the Electric Brewery states that you can just rinse the hopstopper out and dry it well. There could be a small amount of time saved there vs a hop spider because the spider picks up oils and has the solid residues while the hopstopper may not have the oils and some of the residues stay in the pot itself. I generally give my hop spider a good brushing inside and out. I could just blast it with hot water but I think it would get brown pretty fast.

Addressing your concern though, I am thinking that the IC won't help but rather the solution has been provided by @day_trippr, add on a port. I don't monitor the amount of cold break occurring when dropping to whirlpooling temperature however I am skeptical it is significantly different between using a PC and an IC. Having said that, next consider something said in the Hop Stopper manual:

The second sentence is acknowledgement that recirculation has problems. And you have personally observed this as well. If you don't recirculate through the pump while whirlpooling hops, either hand stir or let steep, I don't think you would have a problem transferring since the Hop Stopper is limited at 1 gpm. A 12 gallon runoff is therefore theoretically 12 minutes. I generally can run my pump full bore when transferring if it's an ale. In summer I may recirculate just a quick bit to get temperatures lower initially. It being close to winter, I just got a lager down to 60F even after a whirlpool @165 with just a slight throttle on the pump! The 1 gpm limit is a time loss but not terrible, maybe 5-6 minutes? But the first sentence in the quote is the decider. If you disagree with that, and I am skeptical without more data and an unbiased opinion (they are selling these), then another port seems in order, one where the recirculation isn't through the Hop Stopper. It could then be done with an IC or a PC. If using a PC, do the really quick temperature drop through the Hop Stopper and PC, then switch over to the other port to recirculate while whirlpooling. Then back to the Hop Stopper port. Could be messy because the PC is low and switching hoses and leaving the PC open would leak wort. Not insurmountable and I'm considering giving this a go myself. I've been measuring my pick up tubes as well and may upgrade to 5/8" OD while doing so. Seems unnecessary for the Hop Stopper port but I will do it on the new port if I do as well as change out the one on my MT. Going to consider it some more because it's about $100-125 (I have a ball valve on hand already) and requires the new port.
So couple points (and I need to make this short while working):

Hop stopper will get clogged if it has to run boiling wort, through the PC, back into the kettle to get the whirlpool down to 180-185. That’s the root problem. I need a way to cool down the wort without circulating through the hop stopper. I think a recirc port through the PC avoiding the hop stopper would do this. I am moderately concerned about the PC getting clogged with hop bits but not too much. This would also sanitize the PC which would be very nice to not have to fill with starsan and just do a pbw/HE rinse after.

I didn’t notice—what is daytripper using as a HEX?
 

Deadalus

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So couple points (and I need to make this short while working):

Hop stopper will get clogged if it has to run boiling wort, through the PC, back into the kettle to get the whirlpool down to 180-185. That’s the root problem. I need a way to cool down the wort without circulating through the hop stopper. I think a recirc port through the PC avoiding the hop stopper would do this. I am moderately concerned about the PC getting clogged with hop bits but not too much. This would also sanitize the PC which would be very nice to not have to fill with starsan and just do a pbw/HE rinse after.

I didn’t notice—what is daytripper using as a HEX?
Just to be 100% clear here and you can answer later no problem. It's a really short recirc time to drop to WP temperature. I'm wondering if your Hop Stopper is plugging due to the additional recirculation during the whirlpool or simply the additional time at WP temperature? That's testable by dropping to WP temp through recirculation and then just running it out to the fermenter instead of whirlpooling for the 20+minutes. Maybe you tried that already though. And you could also drop the temp through the PC, recirc with the PC out of the loop for 20 minutes, then reconnect the PC and chill. That would rule out the PC but honestly I doubt it's the PC itself.

I'd be very reluctant to run hops through the PC. I run a pretty decent CIP protocol and take other steps to minimize getting stuff in the PC because stuff does collect in there and I wouldn't want to add to it. As an example, I clean my hop spider out but then put it inline during CIP and it catches small bits that weren't in the hop spider. MY CIP is PBW at 150F for 30 minutes, rinse with hot water then run StarSan through.

HEX - RIMS or HERMS? not sure.
 

Deadalus

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And thinking about your original plan to use the IC, that would be close to testing whether the initial recirculation is the problem except if you then recirculate during the whirlpool you have that amount of time pulling through the Hop Stopper. I totally believe your observations just trying to tease apart the initial recirculation time and the time during the whirlpool.
 
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BigJay13

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Just to be 100% clear here and you can answer later no problem. It's a really short recirc time to drop to WP temperature. I'm wondering if your Hop Stopper is plugging due to the additional recirculation during the whirlpool or simply the additional time at WP temperature? That's testable by dropping to WP temp through recirculation and then just running it out to the fermenter instead of whirlpooling for the 20+minutes. Maybe you tried that already though. And you could also drop the temp through the PC, recirc with the PC out of the loop for 20 minutes, then reconnect the PC and chill. That would rule out the PC but honestly I doubt it's the PC itself.

I'd be very reluctant to run hops through the PC. I run a pretty decent CIP protocol and take other steps to minimize getting stuff in the PC because stuff does collect in there and I wouldn't want to add to it. As an example, I clean my hop spider out but then put it inline during CIP and it catches small bits that weren't in the hop spider. MY CIP is PBW at 150F for 30 minutes, rinse with hot water then run StarSan through.

HEX - RIMS or HERMS? not sure.
HEX I was referring to chilling method but those are also heat exchangers. You bring up a good point. It actually takes a good amount of time to lower 212 to 180 when recirculating through the PC. Just that amount of time was enough to clog the hop stopper. I was cooing to WP temp
Then turned off the pump. The hop stopper doesn’t clean easily, but I throw it in the dishwasher every once in a while and it comes out looking brand new.
 

Deadalus

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Ah right, I was thinking about my own time not through the Hop Stopper for the initial time. Plus it sounds like you typically do a larger batch. I can do tens but I am usually tinkering with recipes so I do 6 gallons typically. Ok then yeah if you noticed the slowness right away that's also good evidence!

The only other thing I would wonder about then is are you really confident you were keeping the flow at 1 gpm or under? It's hard to really tell something like exactly without actually measuring it. I fly sparge and that's recommended to be about a quart a minute. I haven't exactly measured it but it's excruciatingly slow to keep it barely cracked on the ball valve for the time to go past 30 minutes(a little over 7 gallons preboil). Even if you have successfully cooled a non-whirlpool batch, maybe if you were pumping too strongly you were approaching some threshhold of time that you wouldn't if right on the 1 gpm mark. It could be critical the exact position on the valve opening there's no real measurements on the handle either to be real sure. Or the thing might just conk out after 20 minutes when using a pump.

Day_trippr uses an IC. One of the pros he listed was leaving behind more trub. I read through his thread yesterday and one of his posts in there summarizes the pros and cons in detail. I ended up reading through the whole thread because I was baffled about how he was "dropping in" his Hop Stopper. Pretty nifty approach. It could work with say a boil coil element or a slingblade element but a primary concern was scorching as he uses gas.
 
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When I recirculate using the hop stopper, it sometimes clogs as you have all mentioned. I get my spoon out and scrape off some of the crud to keep the flow going. I have done boils with 1# of hops in a 5G batch, and that's the way I keep the wort flowing.
 

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