SS Hop Basket

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CrowbarKarl

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After reading many good posts of hop stoppers, hop tacos, paint strainers, and other hop blockers, I figured I would attempt to make a stainless steel mesh basket to increase/maintain utilization while not clogging pickup tubes.

McMaster-Carr Parts
30 x 30 SS Mesh Screen (36" width custom length (3 sq. ft.) roughly 29" around cake pan)
4-40 SS Panhead screw 91735A106
4-40 SS Nut 90257A005
SS Worm Drive Clamp (2) for 7"-10" diameter 5011T43
SS Type 430 Strip, .025" Thick, 1/2" X 12" 8457K47

Amazon
American Kitchen 9 Inch Stainless Steel Round Cake Pan

I basically wanted something I could re-use and take apart easily. I also wanted something that would hopefully not play a role in lower hop utilization. If I don't like the screen, I can easily replace with a new size. I also can hang it and still put the lid on.

I honestly have yet to try it, but I'm in the process of finishing my HERMS build in my spare time.... whenever that might be. I'm hopefully this will work alright and will probably use this in conjunction with a hop stopper as I'm using a CF plate chiller.

Another, Item people can get is a soil sifter which has the same shape as a round pan but has a removable screen on the bottom. You could replace or place over top with a finer mesh screen.

The nuts are only finger tight. I also plan to add SS washers. The SS strips work well but might try a slightly thicker one if these don't help hold the screen together.

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Let me know your thoughts.
 

AnOldUR

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Good job. That a nice clean design. My only thought is the porosity of the screen. Looks like it might restrict movement and in turn hop utilization. Shouldn’t be a problem because McMaster a large selection of mesh styles and sizes that you can experiment with if need be.

Let us know how it works.
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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Good job. That a nice clean design. My only thought is the porosity of the screen. Looks like it might restrict movement and in turn hop utilization. Shouldn’t be a problem because McMaster a large selection of mesh styles and sizes that you can experiment with if need be.

Let us know how it works.

I agree with you. That is the beauty of the design. I can simply order a different size mesh, wrap it around the pan, temporarily tape the screen together, drill the holes, bolt it, and clamp it... done. No stitching and unstitching, bending or crimping.

I figure if utilization suffers, I can use a bigger screen and use a finer mesh hop stopper on the pickup tube.
 

Homercidal

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I had a similar thought, but so far haven't built it. One, because I'm not that good at building that kind of stuff, and two, because I wanted a screen on the bottom too. I thought the best way to get the hops moving around would be to have the uplift from the boil pushing up from the bottom.

But after looking at yours, I think it would still be much better than just hanging a bag in the wort.
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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I had a similar thought, but so far haven't built it. One, because I'm not that good at building that kind of stuff, and two, because I wanted a screen on the bottom too. I thought the best way to get the hops moving around would be to have the uplift from the boil pushing up from the bottom.

But after looking at yours, I think it would still be much better than just hanging a bag in the wort.

Yeah. I know what you mean with the boil. I figured I would give this a whirl and if it doesn't work right with a full bottom, try the sifter like this one below. The only problem with this one is it is just a tad wider than the hole for my keg.

like this

I probably will cut a circle or square just smaller than the diameter of the bottom, then use a piece of screen and the SS strips and bolt to the bottom.

FYI - For my hop stopper for the diptube, I'm going to make a square one and utilize a SS piano hinge with holes that comes from McMaster-Carr to hold the two screens together. Again, this makes it possible to take apart and clean/replace. Again, you can change screen sizes if it doesn't work as anticipated. I want to find wing nuts for the 4-40 screws so I don't need to use a socket or wrench.
 
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wyzazz

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Very nice, great idea! As stated above, my only concern is with the solid bottom. If you could find that soil sifter in a smaller diameter I think you would be golden. I'm interested to hear your results with the solid bottom though.

Maybe a sieve like this would work?
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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Very nice, great idea! As stated above, my only concern is with the solid bottom. If you could find that soil sifter in a smaller diameter I think you would be golden. I'm interested to hear your results with the solid bottom though.

Maybe a sieve like this would work?

Good call on the sieve. I think I'm going to cut a circle in the bottom with my angle grinder just smaller than the diameter of the bottom then solder a piece of 1/2" OD copper tubing together I have laying around and pound it flat - making a flat ring. I'll cut a circle of some extra screen and bolt to the bottom with the coopper ring.

I'll post pics whenever I have time to get this done.
 
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sasky7777

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I was thinking of pairing this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001VZ6YJ4/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
with the 15 gallon MegaPot, and doing double duty with your design, BIAB and then hop blocker. I know the mesh bags are cheaper, but this should alleviate any problems of broken bags and using a sieve to drain/sparge the grain bag.
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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:)
I was thinking of pairing this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001VZ6YJ4/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
with the 15 gallon MegaPot, and doing double duty with your design, BIAB and then hop blocker. I know the mesh bags are cheaper, but this should alleviate any problems of broken bags and using a sieve to drain/sparge the grain bag.

I think that sieve in 10" diameter would be great. My question is, is the screen removable? I just wonder if it is easy to replace with a different size mesh screen or if it is all crimped together.

I was worried about the sides being stiff enough and thought about including a sieve-type rim at the top without the screen and SS worm drive clamp to keep the circle shape at the top. However, the screen is pretty stiff and just added a worm drive clamp by itself and seems to be fairly rigid.

I looked at the sieves and wasn't a 100% sure what I would get as far as the screens. Since I have the materials sitting around, I'm going to go ahead and cut out the bottom. If I screw it up, I might try the sieve for $10 :). I like the pan, for a few more $ it is fairly heavy duty and not flimsy.
 
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Homercidal

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Those sieves are making the SS basket idea suddenly very doable! I'm not concerned with being able to take the thing apart. It will get cleaned enough for reboiling.

Plus, with the SS screen I already have, and the spot welder at work, I could pop one together in no time!
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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Those sieves are making the SS basket idea suddenly very doable! I'm not concerned with being able to take the thing apart. It will get cleaned enough for reboiling.

Plus, with the SS screen I already have, and the spot welder at work, I could pop one together in no time!

I'm not going to lie, I went ahead and just purchased this with a few other items I needed on Amazon. I think it will be a good setup, saves me work in cutting the bottom, and my wife can use the SS cake pan. She thought it was for her anyway. :)

I might have to re-cut a new screen due to the circumference, but I have plenty of screen left for that project.
 
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ScubaSteve

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You WILL need to go bigger on the mesh. 20x20 or coarser....the 30 mesh will plug just like a hop bag. Nice design!
 
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CrowbarKarl

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You WILL need to go bigger on the mesh. 20x20 or coarser....the 30 mesh will plug just like a hop bag. Nice design!

I got to ask the question. How coarse can I make the screen without letting pellet type hops leak everywhere? That is why I built a basket in the first place. I was hoping that there is enough room to get adequate circulation and hop utilization. It is 9" in diameter and 13" deep with the cake pan (soon to be 10" in diameter and screen in the bottom).

I don't mind if some escapes, as I will have a homemade hop stopper. However, I don't want it so big that the majority leaks out of the basket.
 

AnOldUR

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CrowbarKarl

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Too late to take a look at these (three sizes)?

Cook Pro Stainless Steel Mesh Colander



I've used a large spice ball with the same mesh as the colander above and it holds in the majority of the hop pellets.

I have one of those 3" diameter spice balls. What size screen is that you think?

I actually saw that colander. The only thing I don't like about it is if I don't like the size screen, it would be a bit of a PITA to replace that screen. I could just put a screen over it and use the worm drive clamp but wouldn't be as "clean" as I would like it. The sieve I linked to is a flat circle on the bottom, easy to replace or put a screen over and clamp.

I like the ideas! My wheels keep turning.
 

ScubaSteve

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I got to ask the question. How coarse can I make the screen without letting pellet type hops leak everywhere? That is why I built a basket in the first place. I was hoping that there is enough room to get adequate circulation and hop utilization. It is 9" in diameter and 13" deep with the cake pan (soon to be 10" in diameter and screen in the bottom).

I don't mind if some escapes, as I will have a homemade hop stopper. However, I don't want it so big that the majority leaks out of the basket.

I don't think there's a magic number of mesh, but from all the research I've done I'm thinking it's somewhere between 12 and 20. A better question would be, "how much hop matter do I want to let past?". Because you're using a plate like I am, the answer is generally, "as little as possible"....so you'd need a second stage filter. Looks like you're thinking about a hopstopper, which is good, but I'd wonder if you even need a basket at all, then. Just use the hopstopper and call it a day. I have a hopback "module" in my rig that I also use as a 3 stage filter. It all comes out at once, so it's pretty easy to work with. However, hopstoppers are a PITA to clean and not even an option if you have a bottom drain (best kind of drain IMHO).

So, long story short, if you're gonna still use your hopstopper, I'd go with 20x20 so at least you can "free flow" and still haul out most of the sludge. :mug:
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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I don't think there's a magic number of mesh, but from all the research I've done I'm thinking it's somewhere between 12 and 20. A better question would be, "how much hop matter do I want to let past?". Because you're using a plate like I am, the answer is generally, "as little as possible"....so you'd need a second stage filter. Looks like you're thinking about a hopstopper, which is good, but I'd wonder if you even need a basket at all, then. Just use the hopstopper and call it a day. I have a hopback "module" in my rig that I also use as a 3 stage filter. It all comes out at once, so it's pretty easy to work with. However, hopstoppers are a PITA to clean and not even an option if you have a bottom drain (best kind of drain IMHO).

So, long story short, if you're gonna still use your hopstopper, I'd go with 20x20 so at least you can "free flow" and still haul out most of the sludge. :mug:

I appreciate your knowledge and info. Though I haven't used a hop stopper, I agree that it would be a PITA to clean. That is one reason I was thinking about using 2 stages of filtration, so it might not be as much as a PITA to clean the hop stopper. Maybe I could leave the basket more open using 20 x 20 or less and use something the same size or slightly finer for a hop stopper?

I have a keggle with a side drain with a diptube. Here is the start of my hop stopper. It was pretty easy - 12 x 12 inch screen with a 12 inch SS piano hinge from McMaster. I just cut the ends at 45 degree angles and bent in the small gaps. I was giving it a a little room for the hinge to come together as the screen is "stretched" out, actually a little pointless. Then I just use the same SS bolts and nuts - need wing nuts to make it easier to to take a part.

hop_screen.JPG


I guess it is just brewing beer. It doesn't have to be hard or complicated. I have an engineer's mind and make it as hard as possible. A friend told me that engineer's have analysis paralysis. It is true to a certain extent, though I lack the engineering degree.

Cheers! I appreciate the insite! Now to finish my rig. :mug:
 

ScubaSteve

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Wait...what's on the other side of your hopstopper? If you plan on using that, it's going to let a lot through the hinges. The wort will always take the path of least resistance. You'd be surprised, most of it will go right through the hinges and not through the screen at all. Especially if we're talking about pellet hops, that stuff is like concrete. You need to seal the hopstopper from all angles so it is forced to go through the screen. When I built mine, there was a space around the diptube and lots of hops got inside. This is why hopstoppers can be difficult; you need to sew them together and make sure they're sealed. But I like your idea! If you can show a pic of the backside, maybe this can be developed further.....

Really, why not pay more attention to the basket, and just add a scrubbie to the diptube or something? If you backflush the plate chiller the small amount of particulate will be pushed back out. I did this very thing last weekend with ~20 oz of pellet....there was a small amount of hops in the plate, but it moved right out with a good oxiclean recirc and backflush.
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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Wait...what's on the other side of your hopstopper? If you plan on using that, it's going to let a lot through the hinges. The wort will always take the path of least resistance. You'd be surprised, most of it will go right through the hinges and not through the screen at all. Especially if we're talking about pellet hops, that stuff is like concrete. You need to seal the hopstopper from all angles so it is forced to go through the screen. When I built mine, there was a space around the diptube and lots of hops got inside. This is why hopstoppers can be difficult; you need to sew them together and make sure they're sealed. But I like your idea! If you can show a pic of the backside, maybe this can be developed further.....

Really, why not pay more attention to the basket, and just add a scrubbie to the diptube or something? If you backflush the plate chiller the small amount of particulate will be pushed back out. I did this very thing last weekend with ~20 oz of pellet....there was a small amount of hops in the plate, but it moved right out with a good oxiclean recirc and backflush.

Excuse the lack of pictures and detail, but on the other side is the other screen. The 2 screens are shoved between the hinge and the hinge is bolted tight and flat or squeezing the two screens together. If it went through the hinge, it would still need to go through the screen that is held tightly together. I used the hinges vs. stitching it for cleanup and easy screen replacement should the screen be the wrong opening size or if the screen is ruined.

The only place I see it getthing through would be the corners but even there I will have the screens "crimped" or bent together.

I do agree. The simplest thing is probably a hop basket with a scrubbie. As always with a plate chiller, a good backflush is needed. Like you said it is the balance game of "How much hops do I want floating around?" and "How much hop debris am I willing to submit my plate chiller to?"
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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Well, I revised it with a 10" diameter sieve. It has an open bottom with a screen. The screen is a little too big for my liking so I just put some smaller screen over it and clamped it. I had to re-cut the screen that goes around the sieve due to the increased diameter. It looks the same and now just need to test it out sometime.

rev1.JPG

rev2.JPG

rev3.JPG
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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So I really like your idea and started researching it some more. I found this site http://www.anysizebasket.com/Default.aspx

They make custom baskets. Granted that they are a lot more than your design. I just thought I might throw this out there.

I appreciate it. It might be worth it considering that you will have to get a 36" wide piece of screen from McMaster to cover the circumference of a 9" or larger diameter basket. That starts to get expensive. Before you order though, I'm sure you want to double check you got the right screen size you like.

Good site!
 

BDB

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I appreciate it. It might be worth it considering that you will have to get a 36" wide piece of screen from McMaster to cover the circumference of a 9" or larger diameter basket. That starts to get expensive. Before you order though, I'm sure you want to double check you got the right screen size you like.

Good site!

I'm not sure of a proper screen size. I'm building my new system now and will be running to a plate chiller.

I don't plan on buying one. I do design work for a fabrication shop and a lot of our fabricators owe me favors. :mug:
 

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I do agree. The simplest thing is probably a hop basket with a scrubbie. As always with a plate chiller, a good backflush is needed. Like you said it is the balance game of "How much hops do I want floating around?" and "How much hop debris am I willing to submit my plate chiller to?"

This is what I'm thinking
 

Homercidal

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I know you can buy aluminum window screen pretty cheap. I don't think it would be a problem since a lot of people boil their wort in aluminum kettles.
 

wyzazz

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I know you can buy aluminum window screen pretty cheap. I don't think it would be a problem since a lot of people boil their wort in aluminum kettles.

The problem I see with that is that Aluminum is pretty reactive and will likely act as an anode depending on the other metals it comes in to contact with. I wouldn't want it to suddenly come apart in the middle of a boil after 8moz of use.
 

Homercidal

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The problem I see with that is that Aluminum is pretty reactive and will likely act as an anode depending on the other metals it comes in to contact with. I wouldn't want it to suddenly come apart in the middle of a boil after 8moz of use.

Maybe. I would be curious to see or know how much though. I personally have enough SS screen to make a couple of these things, but if I were to build for friends, I'd need a cheaper source than McMaster. Aluminum would be harder too since I planned to spot weld mine together and Aluminum just wouldn't work (AFAIK).

Actually, I should probably cut the material tonight and try and build it tomorrow at lunch time...
 
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CrowbarKarl

CrowbarKarl

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So did this device ever get used?

-J

Yes, I did use the device a few times. It does work but it is a balancing act between keeping a rolling boil and screen size on the bottom of the basket. You want to keep a nice rolling boil throughout. I eventually abandoned it for now when I bought a Hop Stopper. It seems to work fairly well at keeping hops out of my plate chiller.
 

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I also have a Hop Stopper and it does keep the hops out of the plate chiller, but by the time it gets too coated to allow anymore wort through I still have almost 2 gallons of wort in my kettle. I think the work much better with Keggles. I need a better solution. Maybe I'll recirculate into a paint strainer bag before I run it through the chiller, kind of like a hop spider/hanger. That should take most of the hops out of solution. If I leave the Hop Stopper in it should catch whatever the paint strainer doesn't and it shouldn't restrict the flow down to nothing near the end.
Thanks for the response.

Cheers,

-J
 
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