Whirlpool/Steep Questions

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Dec 22, 2013
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Central Illinois
I tried to whirlpool in my little Klarstein all in one electric for both flavor/aroma and to form a trub cone so I could drain a cleaner wort to the fermenter.

I cobbled together a torpedo tube for the pump inlet but it just plugged up too fast. In short I was unable to whirlpool or even simply recirculate so I just let the loose hops steep at 165f for 20 minutes. We'll see how it comes out.

I'm trying to get away from dry hopping if possible so I can keep a closed fermenter through transfer to keg and transfer with less hop dirt, etc..

If I use nylon or muslin hop bags and simply toss them in the center of my immersion chiller and recirculate directly on top of them, how much different would that be than actually whirlpooling? I can still stop the chilling and maintain 165f or whatever I want or just keep chilling and recirculating. I can pull the bags after chilling for transfer and assume it'd be fairly mess free.

Perhaps I'll have to use a percentage more pellet hops but recirculating the wort directly on top while chilling should help minimize that?

Does that system have a little filter down at the bottom , or a false bottom? I have a Grainfather so I'm not sure how alike they are . What I had to do on my Gf was add a false bottom and I took out the ball and spring in the recirculating valve. After I did this it cured my issues with plugging . That's even when I brew heavily hopped beers.

As for just steeping not whirlpooling , your batch size isn't huge so you'll be fine . Plus you can manually stir to whirlpool.

When it comes to dry hopping , you can't get that IPA profile if you don't imo. If you keg you have access to co2 . With co2 you can dry hop and keep your beers from oxidizing. I've brewed countless IPAs and have never had an issue . However it's your beer and there's nothing wrong with brewing how you feel comfortable.
I am not familiar with your Klarstein system. I pump using a March pump through a whirlpool port on my keggle that recirculates the wort in a path towards my hop spider on the other side of the keggle. Some suggest the efficiency of the hops is lessened by constraining it in a hop spider or a bag. It works though so if true, it's relative to your recipe so it might require slightly more hops. I also used a bag previously and the bag was anchored by a string so it would drift into the whirlpool path and stay mostly in place. And like @Jag75 says, you could manually stir as well.
The Klarstein has a false bottom when the malt tube is in for mashing. The pump inlet is simply a hole in the floor of the kettle. I'm going to start using a BIAB bag in the malt tube both for the reduction of trub and for improved efficiency.

I added a torpedo tube to the spigot drain and measured the amount of liquid below that. I think I'll just continue to drain from that.

I agree on the IPA, which I enjoy. Besides wanting to minimize the risk of oxidation, I'm really trying to cut down on the amount of trub and hop dirt in each transfer. I'm using the Norcal Speidel CO2 Transfer System so I can always open the Speidel to dry hop then put the transfer system on and purge with co2......and maybe cover the end with a sanitized nylon bag or something to reduce the amount of vegetal getting sucked into the transfer.

On the flipside, I also bought some floating diptubes and have been reading about dry hopping in the keg.

I'm okay with using slightly more hops in a bag in the kettle too. I'm giving up on true whirlpool and will simply let the torpedo tube work and take the loss in the bottom of the kettle. Hopefully I can get the flavor/aroma by recirculating after chilling below 170f and dumping that wort directly onto the hop bags.
You mentioned not dry hopping. Dry hop in your keg with a mesh tube (amazon). Leave it in. Extraction will happen before carbed up. Just star san purge prior to filling. Never had any oxidation issues and i'm really sensitive to that off flavor. Have one going on 6 weeks now and still great.
I don't know if there is a really technical definition for whirlpooling hops but if you are dropping the temperature after the boil and even just letting the hops steep for tens of minutes you are accomplishing to some degree a "whirlpooling hops addition". If you haven't constrained the hops from expanding, like a tiny tea ball, you will get utilization. Stirring or recirculating is generally helpful when dissolving things as is time.

I am not clear about what you mean by torpedo tube? Is it the same as a pickup tube? I have a pickup tube on my boil keggle at the bottom and then a few inches off the bottom at the whirlpool port for recirculating. Trub goes right into the fermenter in my system which includes a plate chiller. I don't feel like the trub is affecting flow. Hops would definitely start to clog things up. The BIAB bag ought to catch a significant portion if not all nearly all of the grain pieces. However if you are getting too many bits past your false bottom a vorlauf could also help there (if possible). I may go to a bag myself on my mash tun for cleanup and efficiency reasons.
Aha no problem! Other people have used those successfully in mash tuns, but I did not. I had an issue with my false bottom which folds in order to fit it in the keggle. I think I put the fold upside down and so the false bottom lifted slightly and allowed too many bits past. I had one of those that had a tee in the middle attached to my pickup tube which promptly clogged the tube. The surface area is small on it. I was particularly angry at it since I didn't have any gloves to get it out. I ended up with a small diameter false bottom that fits beneath my regular one and that works extremely well. It's kind of a relic though, not sure if an equivalent product exists. If I add in a bag, I'll ditch the second false bottom. I think you might clog that with hops if you don't bag them or put them in a spider. Maybe see what others have experienced.