Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

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Kingfisher4
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Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by Kingfisher4 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:19 am

Does anyone else have problems with the Grainfather filter when using hot pellets compared to full leaf hops?

I have only completed nine AG brews so far but the first of these using hot pellets produced lots of sludge as residue and quite a lot of wasted wort in the base of the Grainfather. This was using almost 200 g of hop pellets.

The second time I used some hop pellets was this weekend, a total of 100 g of leaf hops and 65 g of hop pellets. Very disappointed to find at least a couple of litres of wort wasted as the filter again seemed to block with the sludge from the hop pellets. I did not whirlpool the hop mix with the recent brew, as it was so hot, I was struggling to get the wort down to temp (26 degrees room temp and 20 degrees cold tap water!) but did on the first.

Although I understand both forms of hops should be fine, I have been completely put off using pellets by these two brews. Has anyone else experienced similar problems?

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by ciderhead » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:35 am

I gave up on leaf years ago for reasons of freshness and practicality in handling. I’ve done 400g NEIPA beers with pellets no problem, the pump keeps pumping.
What I would suggest is that you do a big swirl, I use a drill and an old plastic stirrer at boil switch off and wait 10-15 mins for the really heavy stuff to cone. Also if you want every last drop towards the end tilt your GF. I don’t bother tbh just make bigger batches, it’s only pennies in the greater scheme of things.

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gr_baker
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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by gr_baker » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:56 am

I've had exactly the same issues as you with hop pellets and the Grainfather. I ended up with a blocked pump at one point despite whirlpooling.

I've started using a hop spider and that's cured the problem but it ends up full of sludge that's a pita to clean off the fine mesh. I know that my utilisation will be affected by using the spider and compensate by adding 10% more hops but I'm using fairly small quantities. I would worry about things a bit more if I was using the quantity of hops that you are.

I'm planning a big IPA soon and I'll use leaf hops for that.

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by Dave S » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:08 pm

I don't put pellets in my GF at all, only using them for dry hopping. I use only leaf in the GF and that would go for any other type of boiler too. The reason for that is I want an adequate filter bed to keep as much hot and cold break from getting through to the FV as possible.
Best wishes

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by Kingfisher4 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:06 pm

Thank you, unless there are any replies compellingly arguing for the continued use of pellets, I’m likely to stick with leaf hops exclusively for the foreseeable future with my grainfather.

The Hop quantities were at the upper range of my various brews for these two recipes but I did use a commercial paint or plaster stirrer with my drill to create a good whirlpool for the first of the pellet brews.

I know the full leaf hops are more of a nuisance to store, but efficient and swift availability of quality ingredients online / mail order reinforces my negative experience for the pellets.

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by Aub » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:51 pm

i use a hop spider and pellets and always whirlpool and have never had a problem.

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by Jocky » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:49 pm

Pellets soak up less wort (leaf takes 1 litre per 100g! And are more compact to store, but they don't filter easily.

The best way of dealing with them is either a bag, or just leave them to settle at the end of the boil and then rack from above them.
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.

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by ciderhead » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:05 pm

Loading in this one was150 I think. Big stir at flameout and let sit for 15.
Notice the height above the filter and then it’s still draining but height falls below the filter.
Never had a blocked pump.
One other thing I do is orient the rubber cup inside the filter so that it’s collecting wort facing up rather than down, does that make sense. Anyway it works for me, each to their own.

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Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by ciderhead » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:22 pm

Here’s another old pic I found for pellet, this was 750g in 75l batch using 80l thermopot
Notice whirlpool arm too of pic blowing across the top of the deck drain. The drain was modded wth one inch of copper pipe rammed into it, saves using Hop dams etc.
It’s amazing how much will settle after time, only issue is more time on brewday.

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by Kingfisher4 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:28 am

ciderhead wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:05 pm
Loading in this one was150 I think. Big stir at flameout and let sit for 15.
Notice the height above the filter and then it’s still draining but height falls below the filter.
Never had a blocked pump.
One other thing I do is orient the rubber cup inside the filter so that it’s collecting wort facing up rather than down, does that make sense. Anyway it works for me, each to their own.
Yes, it all makes perfect sense. I probably didn't wait long enough for the pellet residue to settle after the first brew when I did whirlpool and forgot to try with the latest brew due to wort chilling challenges with the high room and tap water temperatures.

I will try the upward facing cup, it makes more sense that way than the GF instructions to face down, to be more likely to leave settled residue from all sources in the waste, not in FV.

Will try pellets again with these tips when current leaf hops used.

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by SouthfolkBrewing » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:49 pm

I have tried both pellets and leaf

In the hop Spider it is good with some pellet or leaf on the filter
Thrown in loose is too much for the filter to cope with, Unless you whilpool which I can't seem to ever get right
Muslin bag leaves some on the filter
I have found a Muslin bag in the hop spider is the best.
I allow for a lot of wastage I start with a 25L boil and I get 19L in the FV, I aim to bottle 15L a batch and I usually get to within half a litre

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by wolfenrook » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:01 am

I don't have a grainfather, but this is why I prefer whole hops! I had nothing but trouble with my old boiler using pellet hops, it'd clog up every single time within a few seconds of starting to transfer, and I'd end up using my auto syphon and losing more volume when bottling thanks to all of the trub that ended up in the FV...

So, I switched to exclusively using whole hops, with a long bazooka fitted that had a fairly large mesh size. Et voila, I had nice easy transfers, and discovered that it even filters out more of the trub. So rather than losing more liquid to the hops, I was able to transfer MORE wort by tipping the kettle more whilst still getting good clear wort.

You can see in this pic, the bazooka was totally covered in hop matter, with a gloopy layer of trub on top of them, yet still drained freely into the FV for me.
KettleTrub.jpg
trub.jpg

Sadly my wife is pressuring me to go back to pellets, as she wants her freezer space back, so it's the cleaning of a hop spider for me eventually....

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Re: Grainfather filter vs hop pellets

Post by Kingfisher4 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:55 am

A combination of whole hops and the upward facing cup in the grainfather hop filter gave me an amazing yield of clear wort yesterday. Thank you again for the tip.

A recipe for Sarah Hughes dark ruby mild using a total of 90 g hops was aiming for 23 L in the FV. After the boil there was 26 L in the Grainfather, with a little tipping at the end of pumping, another litre was harvested. Amazingly, a total of 25 L was transferred to FV.

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