Dealing with Hops

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Laurentic
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Dealing with Hops

Post by Laurentic » Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:00 pm

I have read various threads on here re hop spiders v mesh bags v loose. I tried a hop spider, it had a 300 mesh, used it just the once, hopeless. The temperature measured inside the spider was 8-10 deg.C below than the boiling wort around it. I now use it just to strain/filter the wort when it is being drained from the boiler into the fermentation bin.

I use a Bulldog Brewer all in one set-up, V.3 I think. The drain valve has not got a very large bore and so is easily blocked - if blocked by hops its a major problem! I usually use mesh bags as it contains the hops and makes things a little easier when the wort is cooled down and I drain the boiler down into the fermentation bin. However, I do sometimes put the hops in loose and prefer that as I feel I get a much better hop utilisation that way; the downside is that it clogs up the filter and makes drain-down a pain, constantly having to manually wipe the filter to allow a flow through. The other problem I have is that when loose, the hops tend to rise up on top of the boil and effectively out the wort and need a lot of stirring to keep below the surface until they eventually settle down, but generally I can live with that. Even with the hops in a bag I often have to resort to removing the filter to allow the drain down to be achieved quickly - which is when the hop spider comes in very useful.

So how do other brewers, especially ones using the Bulldog, go about dealing with loose hops at the end of the boil blocking the drain-down? Anyone have a clever trick they use?

Chris

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Jocky
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by Jocky » Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:27 pm

I don't have a bulldog brewer, but can comment a little on dealing with hops. In short, there's no ideal solution.

For leaf hops a coarse mesh screen works well as it allows liquid to drain through the leaves. However, they will block any ports/outlets smaller than 1" easily without some kind of filtering.

Pellet hops are an entirely different animal. They will run freely through even a 1/4" port, but when combined with break material will clog mesh quickly.

A solution I've found that works with either is to just leave the wort to settle out over 30 minutes to 1 hour and then run off from above the trub line. It works particularly well for pellets if you don't get too worried about some material getting into the fermenter.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

Kingfisher4
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by Kingfisher4 » Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:10 pm

I have a Grainfather and have settled for using leaf hops as the couple of occasions I used pellets gave trub issues.

The leaf hops, when settled form a great filter bed for each other and the hot break proteins. I have considered using some pellets with the leaf hops to reduce my wort loss for transfer to FV, but not yet trialled that. Feels like a good compromise but it could equally turn out to be the worst of all worlds!

If you don't already do it, certainly worth trying leaf hops then a vigorous "whirlpool stir" with your mash paddle, let it all settle and see if the leaf hops form a better filter bed? Admittedly I don't know what the Bulldog outflow looks like so may not solve your issue if it has no filter mechanism at all.

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a-slayer
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by a-slayer » Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:05 am

I always use a mix of pellets and leaf, as long as there is over 40% leaf content my copper pipe filter in my boiler works fine.

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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by Kingfisher4 » Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:43 pm

a-slayer wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:05 am
I always use a mix of pellets and leaf, as long as there is over 40% leaf content my copper pipe filter in my boiler works fine.
Thanks, useful to have that ballpark figure to work from.

Galena
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by Galena » Mon Mar 15, 2021 11:00 pm

I don't have a Bulldog, I use a Klarstein Fullhorn but have started just chucking the pellets in. Then when draining off to the FV I filter with a mesh bag (Aldi Veg bag) that has been soaking in Starsan for the length of the mash and boil, it's a little messy, lots of hop material comes through and blocks the bag but I then swap to another bag and I think I get better utilisation that way

aamcle
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by aamcle » Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:33 pm

GF so a similar system I swim my hops, usually pellet hops, in my old Biab bag. There is plenty of room and it retains most of the mess.

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lord groan
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by lord groan » Mon Sep 20, 2021 3:30 pm

I use a stainless kitchen sieve. Fairly fine mesh, after the boil I swirl it round in the wort and lift the hops out. 5 mins gets 99% of them, then I drain the boiler into the FV, while holding the sieve under the tap. Any remaining hops got caught there. The boiler outlet uses 15mm pipe so has only ever blocked when a full hop flower/bud got into the pipe. The sieve aerates the wort nicely.
I tried a host of different filter methods and they all had problems. If the sieve fills up I just turn the boiler tap off, empty the sieve and off I go again. In my head I do want a fancy, shiny filtering system but reality intervened and the sieve gives me one item to clean and zero hassle.

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MashBag
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by MashBag » Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:24 am

Blimey I wasn't expecting that. Is introducing air into the hot wort a problem?

Maldon John
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by Maldon John » Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:16 am

I expect the temperature would be below 80c when Mr Groan runs the wort off in to the fv so less of a problem.

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MashBag
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by MashBag » Tue Sep 21, 2021 10:55 am

To be honest since I have converted to ferment in kettle, my previous theory that bit of trub isn't a problem in the fv has proved true.

YeastWhisperer
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Re: Dealing with Hops

Post by YeastWhisperer » Sun Oct 03, 2021 1:42 pm

I am in the United States, but I ordered a stainless steel 1520 (1.52mm holes) micron mesh screen hop spider from Arbor Fab for whole hops. One can see wort actually moving inside of this spider. I use a fine mesh bag-based hop spider for pellets. As as to containing hops in a spider without dealing with the spider clogging, pellets are far more of a challenge than whole cones because whole cones do not need anywhere near as fine a mesh. The beauty of a using a bag-based spider is that one can replace a clogged bag with a new one and carefully transfer the hops mid-boil. Before I used a spider, I used whole cones and false bottom that sat 64mm off of the bottom of the kettle exclusively. For me, that was the ultimate setup because the false bottom adds like an internal hopback. The cones settle first when using an immersion chiller, creating a natural filter for the break. The challenge to using a false bottom today is that Chinese-made stock pots are not as round as American-made stock pots used to be, which makes fabricating a false bottom with a reasonable gap between the sidewall and the false bottom a challenge.

In reality, as many people have discovered, trub carryover does not affect the final product anywhere near as much as most people believe. However, it does make bottom cropping more a challenge. That is the main reason why I do my best to hold back hops. Rinsing yeast with boiled water to separate the yeast from break material is a biological no-no that has potential to do more harm than good to the culture. If one is using a true top-cropping culture, then trub carryover does not affect the cropped culture, that is, unless one crops and saves the brown head instead of discarding it, as is standard practice when skimming yeast from the top.

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