Ghetto Fabulous Hopback

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mack65

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Well, after finding out my new favorite beer (ODells Mountain Standard Double Black IPA) attributes its awesome flavor to a hopback I decided to build one. I looked around at some posts and got some ideas. In the end, I ended up going with 4" PVC pipe/fittings. I haven't used it yet, but I'm hoping it works. Wish me luck :)

hopback.jpg
 

Zamial

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I wish you luck. However I would not run boiling wort through that PVC... There are PLENTY of threads where people have melted PVC hop spiders...I would hate to see that thing fail and burn the crap out of someone, not to mention waste potential beer. Be careful!
 
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mack65

mack65

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Hmm..I didn't realize that PVC would melt at such a low temp. Well, I'm not overly worried yet. I did do a test run of sorts and boiled a pot of water and filled the hopback with the boiling water and sealed it up. It didn't seem to affect it. I also did that to get any off smells out before I used it.

I'll make sure I keep an eye on it for sure though.
 

shortyjacobs

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Oh dear. Good luck sir! PVC definitely gets soft at 212F. I dropped a hop spider into my wort for only 5 or 10 seconds, and it got soft enough to wobble when I shook it in my hand...like silly putty.

http://www.pvc.org/en/p/heat-distortion-temperature-softening-temperature

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride <- note softening temp of 60-100C.

http://www.madisongroup.com/services/failure/casepipe/pipeanalysis.html <- note the massive drop in modulus in the second graph around 80-100C

I could go on, but I'd sound like a debbie downer. Best of luck, but be CAREFUL. First time you run boiling wort through there, especially with the decreased internal pressure due to pump suction of wort through a big mass of hops, make sure you are standing back, but close enough to shut off the flow if it melts.

Unfortunately finally, isn't that PVC DWV rated? So it's not meant for potable water, only for wastewater? Even at room temp it's not meant for water you drink...never mind at elevated temps...
 
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mack65

mack65

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I'm not sure if it was good to post my creation or not. :p

Well, now I'm thinking I need to make a new one...but brew day is tomorrow. Crap.
 
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mack65

mack65

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OK, well since the PVC hop back turned out to be a bad idea (I ran boiling water through it again and tasted the water that came out, not good) I made a new one last night. Now I'll be trying it out in a couple of hours.

I had to teach myself how to solder. I've sweat copper pipes, but this was a bit different.

IMAG0550.jpg
 
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mack65

mack65

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It allows you to run hot wort through hops in the way to the chiller. Do you don't lose aroma from the hops to the steam that leaves you brew pot.
 

worksnorth

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That's kind of a cool looking canister? What was it before it became what it is? Cookie jar of some sort?
 

jusware

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mack65 .. you last pic/post caused me to ruin my underwear .. you owe me a new pair, but I'll settle for a beer :eek: I've been thinking about using one of those canisters for a randal :) What do the insides look like? Specifically, what did you use for filtering? SS mesh screen?

Where did you buy it? If you stole it from the kitchen, has your wife found out yet? ;)
 
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mack65

mack65

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I used 1/2 of a spice steeping ball I got from the Asian grocery store for the screen.

ForumRunner_20111112_122045.jpg
 

jusware

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Nice!!!! DIY-engineering at its finest. I love it when people augment ordinary devices for brewing. Too bad the diameter of the screen doesn't match the diameter of the canister .. you could have just slid it inside.
 

kpr121

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Hows that working out for you? I just picked up the same canister at BBB and am planning on building something similar, except Im gonna try to go weldless. I figured male cam-locks with a 1/2" nut and silicone o-ring on the inside, stainless scrubby in the bottom for filtering. I'll probably just put the inlet on the bottom and outlet on the top so that the orings will seal, and also the wort will ensure full contact with the hops.

Does it stay watertight? I figure if there are no leaks I could probably fanangle something to use it as a randall as well if I wanted.
 
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mack65

mack65

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Well, I have found that my creation isn't watertight. You might be able to fix that though. After using it a few times I have come to the conclusion that it is more trouble than its worth, until I make it water tight. I basically have to separately regulate the flow of wort through it since it will fill and leak out of the top. Once I can make it watertight then I think it will be really cool.

Good luck, let me know how you do. :mug:
 

Atl300zx

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i have the same thing and found it nearly impossible to make the top seal waterproof.
 

kpr121

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Eh, after that feedback I might just return it and pick up a couple pints at the local pub instead.
 

Atl300zx

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you need it be waterproof for it to work as intended, you just have to monitor the hop back liquid level and slow down the flow into it.
 

kpr121

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Yeah, my original plan was to use a water filter housing, but didnt like it because of the questionability of plastics at high temps. That's why I thought the SS canister would be a good idea.

Either way there is probably more efficient uses of my time in the brewery right now.
 
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