First use of Hop spider....my impressions

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Teufelhunde

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Since I started brewing a couple of years back, I have been fighting the sludge....absolutely hate dealing with it. I have been using bags for all my hops, and that helped a great deal, however, still a good amount of crap to work around and I just felt like I wasn't able to get out of the hops everything that I needed.

Today, used a hop spider. I had purchased a 300 micron unit, fearing that 400 microns would inhibit the flow of the wort through the spider too much. I was please by the flow of wort and definitely noticed more of the hop smells in the steam coming off of the boil, so I am pretty sure I will be getting better utilization of the hops.

I brew/drink nothing but very hoppy IPA's, therefore using a lot of hops, so I will likely add one (maybe two) more spiders as this one was FULL at the end of the boil. As for now, I will still be bagging my dry hops, but this experience has me seriously considering using one of these: Amazon.com: Beer Dry Hopper Filter,300 Micron Mesh Stainless Steel Hop Strainer Cartridge, Homebrew Hops Beer & Tea Kettle Brew Filter by Fashionclubs (29cm x 7cm): Home & Kitchen

This is the spider I used: Amazon.com: Brewing 4x10in Hopper Spider Strainer – Stainless Steel 300 Micron Mesh Homebrew Hops Beer & Tea Kettle Brew Filter: Home & Kitchen

As always YMMV

Lon
 
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Teufelhunde

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I use this one for 5 and 10 gallon batches. Seems to work fine for me, it fits nicely in the middle of my chiller coil too. It is basically the same as the one in your second link, but larger (roughly 6x14), maybe that would be better than multiple ones?

Amazon.com: Hop Spider 300 Micron Mesh Stainless Steel Hop Filter Strainer for Home Beer Brewing Kettle: Home & Kitchen
That's too tall for my kettle....it would sit on the bottom and I would prefer not to have it touching the bottom, but thanks anyway....
 

camonick

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Since I started brewing a couple of years back, I have been fighting the sludge....absolutely hate dealing with it. I have been using bags for all my hops, and that helped a great deal, however, still a good amount of crap to work around and I just felt like I wasn't able to get out of the hops everything that I needed.

Today, used a hop spider. I had purchased a 300 micron unit, fearing that 400 microns would inhibit the flow of the wort through the spider too much. I was please by the flow of wort and definitely noticed more of the hop smells in the steam coming off of the boil, so I am pretty sure I will be getting better utilization of the hops.

I brew/drink nothing but very hoppy IPA's, therefore using a lot of hops, so I will likely add one (maybe two) more spiders as this one was FULL at the end of the boil. As for now, I will still be bagging my dry hops, but this experience has me seriously considering using one of these: Amazon.com: Beer Dry Hopper Filter,300 Micron Mesh Stainless Steel Hop Strainer Cartridge, Homebrew Hops Beer & Tea Kettle Brew Filter by Fashionclubs (29cm x 7cm): Home & Kitchen

This is the spider I used: Amazon.com: Brewing 4x10in Hopper Spider Strainer – Stainless Steel 300 Micron Mesh Homebrew Hops Beer & Tea Kettle Brew Filter: Home & Kitchen

As always YMMV

Lon
I’ve been considering getting a spider for my brew kettle instead of using bags. Is the bottom also mesh or is it solid? I can’t tell from any of the pictures. I’ve heard they plug up and don’t get enough wort to transfer through. You seem to have had a different experience?
 
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Teufelhunde

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I’ve been considering getting a spider for my brew kettle instead of using bags. Is the bottom also mesh or is it solid? I can’t tell from any of the pictures. I’ve heard they plug up and don’t get enough wort to transfer through. You seem to have had a different experience?
The bottom is mesh as well...
 

Golddiggie

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I was talking with the guys in Utah about making a larger spider for when I was still using keggles, to handle higher amounts of hops. Then I got the Spike+ kettles and ended up not doing it. With doing a whirlpool at the end (I do a 10 minute whirlpool, 10 minute rest) the vast majority of hop matter (plus hot break) is in the middle of the kettle. I have a wort strainer/filter (from Brewers Hardware) between the pump and plate chiller to catch anything that isn't sent into the middle.

IME, whirlpooling is easy IF you have a pump (or pumps) to do it, if the BK is setup for it. Added benefit is NOT needing to clean out the hop spider after each batch. Loading up the 6" diameter (14" tall mesh section) spider was one of the things I didn't like. The mesh in the wort strainer is easier to clean (smaller as well).

I think my hops are happier now that they're allowed to be free range in the kettle. The same as in the fermenter. It's almost like they're going commando.
 
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Teufelhunde

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I was talking with the guys in Utah about making a larger spider for when I was still using keggles, to handle higher amounts of hops. Then I got the Spike+ kettles and ended up not doing it. With doing a whirlpool at the end (I do a 10 minute whirlpool, 10 minute rest) the vast majority of hop matter (plus hot break) is in the middle of the kettle. I have a wort strainer/filter (from Brewers Hardware) between the pump and plate chiller to catch anything that isn't sent into the middle.

IME, whirlpooling is easy IF you have a pump (or pumps) to do it, if the BK is setup for it. Added benefit is NOT needing to clean out the hop spider after each batch. Loading up the 6" diameter (14" tall mesh section) spider was one of the things I didn't like. The mesh in the wort strainer is easier to clean (smaller as well).

I think my hops are happier now that they're allowed to be free range in the kettle. The same as in the fermenter. It's almost like they're going commando.
Yeah, but when you are extract brewing on a budget.........
 

Beermeister32

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I ordered this custom build from Utah Biodiesel. 6”x11” size fits inside my chilling coils and allows me to place the lid on when needed. My previous spider was too tall. This is 300 mesh.
 

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Golddiggie

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Yeah, but when you are extract brewing on a budget.........
Extract ended after batch #2. I did BIAB in a kettle made from a 10 gallon (aluminum, from a restaurant supply store) kettle for a short time. Then progressed through using a cooler mash tun, before going to keggles for all three vessels and then finally to the Spike+ electric system I have now. Early in that progression I ditched the IC and went to a plate chiller. Went with the 12" wide (from Duda Diesel) that I used through the last batch brewed. I have a new one now that's 2-1/2 times the cooling surface area ('pro' level plate chiller). Other things I did over time was get a Barley Crusher, sold it to get a Monster Mill MM2 (far better product) and now the MM3 geared 'pro' malt mill. I bought the best I could at each step of the way, or made something that would do a solid job. The first kettle I made I sold when I got a better one (stainless). I also went from propane burners to an electric system when I went with the Spike+ kettles.

I make sure that each new item, or replacement item, makes brewing easier on me and/or gives me a better end product. That included going from carboys to kegmenters (before they were a 'thing') to conical fermenters. Temperature control first via fermentation chamber, but not through a glycol chiller. The fermenters are more space efficient now, since it's not one large item, but individual items that can be moved around as needed.

Being on a 'budget' shouldn't mean you have to go with the cheapest option. If you need to save up for X months to get a solid item, do it. With the change from using the hop spider to the BK that does the whirlpool, brewing is easier on me (less cleanup to deal with) and I'm still getting great beer.
 

Consigliere

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I have been using hop spider for quite some time, essentially since I started brewing, but one observation I have had is that for hoppy beers like NEIPA the hop spider is really full and expect not getting ideal extraction. I am pretty diligent about stirring the hop spider during whirlpool and swirling it through the wort but it is pretty densely packed.
Recently for those hoppy beers I started using a small grain basket that I ordered a while ago that wasn’t the right size for my kettle (to small) to get better contact and hopefully utilization from hops. I am not going to go and test this head to head seems like directionally is right thing and it is kit that I already had. If you do BIAB a brew bag could do the same thing.
Low IBU or hoppy beers I continue to use only the hop spider
 
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Teufelhunde

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Extract ended after batch #2. I did BIAB in a kettle made from a 10 gallon (aluminum, from a restaurant supply store) kettle for a short time. Then progressed through using a cooler mash tun, before going to keggles for all three vessels and then finally to the Spike+ electric system I have now. Early in that progression I ditched the IC and went to a plate chiller. Went with the 12" wide (from Duda Diesel) that I used through the last batch brewed. I have a new one now that's 2-1/2 times the cooling surface area ('pro' level plate chiller). Other things I did over time was get a Barley Crusher, sold it to get a Monster Mill MM2 (far better product) and now the MM3 geared 'pro' malt mill. I bought the best I could at each step of the way, or made something that would do a solid job. The first kettle I made I sold when I got a better one (stainless). I also went from propane burners to an electric system when I went with the Spike+ kettles.

I make sure that each new item, or replacement item, makes brewing easier on me and/or gives me a better end product. That included going from carboys to kegmenters (before they were a 'thing') to conical fermenters. Temperature control first via fermentation chamber, but not through a glycol chiller. The fermenters are more space efficient now, since it's not one large item, but individual items that can be moved around as needed.

Being on a 'budget' shouldn't mean you have to go with the cheapest option. If you need to save up for X months to get a solid item, do it. With the change from using the hop spider to the BK that does the whirlpool, brewing is easier on me (less cleanup to deal with) and I'm still getting great beer.


I'm retired, and don't want my "hobby" to turn in to my "job"......the money is not the issue, although, to have a dedicated "brew" room would require some house mods.....I just don't want to make it too much work.....or too complicated.....I'm happy with extract, and it gives me better beer than I can buy at the store, for slightly lower prices....
 

jambop

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I'm retired, and don't want my "hobby" to turn in to my "job"......the money is not the issue, although, to have a dedicated "brew" room would require some house mods.....I just don't want to make it too much work.....or too complicated.....I'm happy with extract, and it gives me better beer than I can buy at the store, for slightly lower prices....
Yes but some people just cannot help but be BIG when they find something new and want to be even more brilliant than you already are. By the way the 400 micron would have been better than the 300 if you wanted more flow through the mesh as 300 is finer than 400. However I think you did the right thing I have been using hop bags and did not have a lot of sludge last time I brewed but I use hope cones rather than pellets so much less smaller stuff. I may move up to a hop spider if I ever go over to pelleted hops but if whole cones are good enough for Timothy Taylors brewers of probably the best beer in the world they are good enough for this total amateur !
 

JJinMD

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I have been using hop spider for quite some time, essentially since I started brewing, but one observation I have had is that for hoppy beers like NEIPA the hop spider is really full and expect not getting ideal extraction. I am pretty diligent about stirring the hop spider during whirlpool and swirling it through the wort but it is pretty densely packed.
Recently for those hoppy beers I started using a small grain basket that I ordered a while ago that wasn’t the right size for my kettle (to small) to get better contact and hopefully utilization from hops. I am not going to go and test this head to head seems like directionally is right thing and it is kit that I already had. If you do BIAB a brew bag could do the same thing.
Low IBU or hoppy beers I continue to use only the hop spider

In addition to stirring, you can recirculate without a pump by draining some wort into a pitcher and pouring it into the hop spider. That should also help the hop utilization.
 

bwible

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I have the exact one pictured in the first post. I stopped using it after about 5 batches because all of those had no hop flavor or aroma. In the last batch I used it for I tried upping the hops by an additional 10% of what was called for in the recipe. I generally don’t make super hoppy beers. I’m doing 3 gallon batches with anywhere between 2.5 to 4 oz of hops.

I use it now as a strainer whenever I’m syphoning anything.
 
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Teufelhunde

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By the way the 400 micron would have been better than the 300 if you wanted more flow through the mesh

Yeah, I later realized that my thinking was backwards regarding the mesh. I have found out that I did it correctly however, as the 300 is recommended for pellet hops....
 

bwible

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I have 2 of these. They are great for dry hopping. Metal so they sanitize pretty easily. Not that hard to clean. They don’t fit in glass carboy. You would need a wider opening like a Fermonster has. The end doesn’t screw on, it just pushes on and I had concerns about it possibly opening up. But so far hasn’t happened.

I haven’t used mine for awhile. I brewed an APA today and I have an IPA coming up off the same yeast so one of them might see some use soon.
 
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Teufelhunde

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I have 2 of these. They are great for dry hopping. Metal so they sanitize pretty easily. Not that hard to clean. They don’t fit in glass carboy. You would need a wider opening like a Fermonster has. The end doesn’t screw on, it just pushes on and I had concerns about it possibly opening up. But so far hasn’t happened.

I haven’t used mine for awhile. I brewed an APA today and I have an IPA coming up off the same yeast so one of them might see some use soon.
I use buckets so I should be OK
 

OleBrewing

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I use paint strainer bags for hop additions. But don't brew hoppy beer and us home grown hop cones. But the bags do work well in keggle with pellets. I lift them in and out once a while for circulation especially for steeping hops.
 

renstyle

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I use the <exact> same hop spider in my Anvil 6.5.

Hangs just above the outlet. At first I thought it may be a little short, but it's fine.

I also rinse it, then dunk in sanitizer to utilize as an additional filter when transfering from the kettle to the fermenter (plus a mesh funnel).

Works a treat.
 

mashpaddled

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I always thought a hop spider was a great idea but I've heard too many people unhappy with reduced hop flavor and clogging who gave up. This seems like a great idea with not so great execution. Another product a lot of brewers buy and put in the back of their equipment storage never to be seen again.
 

jambop

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Well I bought a new all in one and although it looks good the drain tap is so low in the vessel I am struggling to get the hop strainer I bought for it fitted. I think I will have to use a bit of copper to make it work which is a pity as the stainless fitting is really good quality. Thing is it does not need to be watertight so should be doable though.
 

bwible

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I always thought a hop spider was a great idea but I've heard too many people unhappy with reduced hop flavor and clogging who gave up. This seems like a great idea with not so great execution. Another product a lot of brewers buy and put in the back of their equipment storage never to be seen again.
I have a homemade hop back that I haven’t used for a long time also. Basically a small pot with holes drilled in the top and bottom and barb fittings added and a false bottom/strainer screen in the bottom. I would need whole hop cones to use it, I don’t have any at the moment. I also never really figured out how to use it with an immersion chiller. Something else that sits and collects dust.
 

Dog House Brew

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I made my own spider. I found the small diameter ones inhibited good boil flow. Mine is 10” in diameter and is 4” shorter than my kettle. My kettle is 25g, tall and narrow. I’ve never really felt that it hurt hop utilization much. I just lift it up and down a few times while boiling. I have a stem in the bottom of my kettle that I just drop it on during whirlpool. I use a CFC and chill in the kettle. The spider isn’t removed until cast-out is complete. I’ve always wanted to just go commando again. It is so convenient to just flip it over and clean it out though. P I do have a 1 1/2” ball valve on my kettle. It is great for washing it out. Maybe I’ll go commando and see, but I’ve loved the spider. I still think larger diameter is better than small.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I have been tempted to get one of the spiders from Utah Biodiesel. A 6" one has much more volume than a 4" one (I am sure I could figure out the math or google, but I am pretty sure it is about 2 times). My 10 gal kettle is very wide and Utah Biodiesel is the only place I have found the shorter 6" spiders.

I don't mind paying a bit more for an American made product, but it does bother me that it costs more in just shipping than a similar product that was made in China, shipped to an Amazon warehouse, and then shipped from there to my door.
 
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I have tried hop spiders and bazooka filters and have been unhappy with both, since I use a lot of hops. I used a HopStopper 2.0, it seems to be the most efficient in combination with either pellet or whole cone and my pump/plate chiller setup.
Hop Stopper Aug 2021.JPG
 
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