Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Hop Stopper

One of the gadgets I got for my new brewery is The Hop Stopper. It is quite nice, but I have had some problems with it. It is being advertised as being able to remove both whole and pellet hops. Unfortunately it does not work very well with pellet hops when using an impeller pump. I'm sure it would work better with a different kind of pump though.

As you can see from the photo above the mesh is very fine and stops even the tiny fragments of hop pellets. This means that the hop pellet debris ends up as a thick layer all around the hop stopper restricting the flow of the wort.

Both of the times I have used it has clogged and has been almost impossible to get any wort out of the kettle, mainly because the impeller pump does not create a suction. I was lucky and in the end able to get most of the wort out by various means, but I had to leave a lot of it in the brewpot as it was impossible to get out the rest.

It is pretty clear that with my setup I must use only whole hops. I have not tried this yet, but I see no other option. As far as I can see that should work a lot better. In the worst case I'll just have to put the hops in a hop bag.

The primary reason for using the Hop Stopper is to avoid the hop debris from ending up in the plate chiller. Hop pellets shouldn't be much of a problem as long as the chiller is properly cleaned after use, but whole hops would be a nightmare.

I'll keep you updated once I get try it with whole hops in the spring.


Travis said...

That's kind of cool. I tried something like that but not nearly as big and I had the same problem. Those hop pellets are a mess.

Now what I do is use a reusable grain bag. I put the hope in the grain bag and let it set in the water like a tea bag. I have the grain bag anchored to the kettle with a coat hanger (real NASA stuff going on at my brewery) so that it can easily be pulled out for hop additions.

It works out well for me, but I have talked with people that think that I am compromising my alpha acid usage, but it's easy and I am happy so that's what we do.


soilboy said...

I can sympathize with you. I have a very similar setup although my pump is a magnetically coupled pump and my hop filter is a stainless steel braid loop. Pellet hops kicked my ass with this system.
I thinks it's hard to have a filter that can successfully filter both forms of hops as they are so different. As travis suggested I think I'm gonna stick those evil pellets in a pair of tights. I'm still going to let my loose hops run free as nature intended though!

Matthew said...

I've been using a blichmann kettle with the hop strainer attachment. Had it completely clog on me with my last brew - just a couple oz of hop pellets. It's a few years since you blogged this - how do you feel about your hopstopper now?

I'm thinking of either building or buying a self-priming pump for cold wort transfers, so could use this to pump out of the kettle, which hopefully will overcome any reduced flow from the hop debris.