Hop Utilization Rate for Hop Basket

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IDMaynard

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Has anyone look at utilization rates when using a hop basket? Seems that my IBU's are lower (based on taste only) when using a hop basket. Just wondering if anyone else has ever noticed this or is it all in my mind?
 

VikeMan

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Anything that restricts the movement of the hops in regard to the total volume of wort reduces hop utilization. Like many brewing conveniences, hop baskets and bags come with a tradeoff.

If the difference is enough for you to notice, I'd check to see if your software has a parameter that can be tweaked to adjust the Tinseth (or whatever model) predictions it's giving. BrewCipher has a "Brewhouse Hop Utilization Multiplier." I would hope/assume others have something similar.
 

Drewch

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I think it would depend on how tightly your hops additions fill your spider. If you're packing so many hops in there that it's restricting the wort flow through the basket, it seems intuitive that utilization would be reduced, but I don't know of any objective studies on the topic.

In developing the SMPH model for predicting IBUs, Holsom found that the use of a hop bag did not have an significant impact on IBUs. But that's for a mesh bag, not a basket.
 

VikeMan

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In developing the SMPH model for predicting IBUs, Holsom found that the use of a hop bag did not have an significant impact on IBUs. But that's for a mesh bag, not a basket.

I read his writeup. Unless I missed it, he never describes the bag except to say it's a "nylon mesh" bag, i.e. there's nothing about the dimensions. I strongly suspect that the bag was large and fairly closely conformed to the kettle dimensions, effectively not constraining the hops.

ETA: I assume you're referring to this page, linked from the page you linked: Four Experiments on Alpha-Acid Utilization and IBUs
 
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Drewch

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I read his writeup. Unless I missed it, he never describes the bag except to say it's a "nylon mesh" bag, i.e. there's nothing about the dimensions. I strongly suspect that the bag was large and fairly closely conformed to the kettle dimensions, effectively not constraining the hops.

Same. And if memory serves, in the Brülab interview, he specifically confirms that he hasn't looked at spiders/baskets yet.

Anecdotally, I haven't noticed any consistent perceptible different in my brews, but my additions tend to be small relative to the volume of my hop spider. I rarely target anything over about 30 IBUs.
 

mashpaddled

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I remember this being a topic of discussion when I started brewing in the late 2000s and the primary reason why I never bought anything to control hops in the boil. You can probably find dozens, if not hundreds, of threads asking about this. I realize logistically some systems need to prevent hops from clogging pumps but the tradeoff is either adjust the hopping rate in your boil or acquire a bag/basket as big as your kettle.
 

day_trippr

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I used a 6"x20" SS spider from SSBT (400 micron mesh) for years fairly successfully - until the New England IPA craze landed. Just too high a hop load with all the FO and WP hops. I tried frequent stirrings, lifting the spider to drain often, but it was all a pita that still didn't yield very well. Finally kicked the spider and went commando, using a 2nd generation Hop Stopper to strain out the pellet mush at the end of the boil. Utilization was no longer a problem - and no constant tending to a clogging spider! :rock:

Cheers!
 
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IDMaynard

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Appreciate all the feedback. I don't typically do big hopped beers, did a whole hop SMASH over the weekend and that was about as full as my hop spider was. I use a plate chiller and a really leery of tossing the hops (whole or pellets) directly into my boil kettle, hence the hop spider. I have used a 400 micron mesh screen on the pickup tube but was not very happy with it and went to the spider. May try increasing the amount of hops systematically to see if I can find a hoppy medium.
 

Dog House Brew

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I use a homemade one. It is 10” x 24” and the kettle is 25g. It can handle most brews, but massive WP additions are a PIA. My setup makes commando an easy option. I can see the issue with a plate chiller. I think the larger the diameter the better IMO. I made mine tall enough to clamp on the kettle during the boil. I then just drop it down into the kettle during WP. The top stays just above the wort line. I’ve. Been looking at the Hop Stopper. It would be the best of both worlds.
 

Group W

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I do mostly IPAs with lots of WP hops and have the same issues. I keep a spoon in the basket and lift and drain often. I use a counter flow chiller and could change my kettle pickup, but it’s not that much of a problem and my IBUs seem fine.
 

HM-2

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I factor in about 10% additional hops if I'm using a spider for a given IBU. I can't remember where I got that from, suspect it was a David Heath video, but it works well enough.
 
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