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.