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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: DrewG on March 15, 2012, 04:58:55 PM

Title: Hop Rocket
Post by: DrewG on March 15, 2012, 04:58:55 PM
Does anyone have a Blichmann Hop Rocket? If so, are you happy with it, and do I need a pump to use it or can you use it inline from kettle to fermentor with gravity? I wrote Blichmann but haven't heard back yet and there isn't much information on the website. Thanks
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 15, 2012, 05:03:32 PM
I have one. I'm pretty sure you could gravity feed through it, although the outlet is on the top so the beer can be pushed through to help reduce foaming.  I don't know if turning it upside down to gravity feed it would affect the filters in there or cause excessive foaming.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: DrewG on March 15, 2012, 05:16:03 PM
I did some more checking and it does say it can be used w/ gravity but you need 4' elevation. Anyway, are you getting a lot of hop flavor and aroma with it? As opposed to whirlpool/hot stand hopping, any difference?
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 15, 2012, 05:38:49 PM
I did some more checking and it does say it can be used w/ gravity but you need 4' elevation. Anyway, are you getting a lot of hop flavor and aroma with it? As opposed to whirlpool/hot stand hopping, any difference?

More so of an aroma thing than flavor. I did a side by side of an IPA where I ran the first 5 gallons of wort through the rocket and the second 5 gallons I just whirlpooled and hot stand hopped as normal. I did get more aroma from the rocket, flavor impact I found to be minimal. It definitely gave that big whiff of hops, but honestly I don't use it in very often, only in big IPA's where I want a ton of hop aroma, and I dont brew those all that often.  If you're the kind of guy who likes a lot of hop aromatics in several styles of beer and do those styles often I'd recommend it. Otherwise you can get very similar results with cold steep, hot stand, whirlpooling.

The other thing to consider for that I like more than using on brew day is using it as a randall.  I actually prefer it for that use.  Ive been searching for ways to use it and another thing im considering is whirlpooling cooled wort through it with some whole coffee beans or wood chips in there.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: DrewG on March 15, 2012, 06:08:11 PM
Great info, thanks Jason
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 15, 2012, 06:12:32 PM
anytime!
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 15, 2012, 06:36:56 PM
I have used it as a way to get more hops in late, and as a Randall.

With some more fitings and orienting my pump right, I will use it as a Torpedo.

A shiny toy, but I like shiny toys.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: DrewG on March 15, 2012, 06:42:41 PM
Shiny toys are good. And this is a great hobby for shiny toys
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: repo on March 15, 2012, 06:46:02 PM
Also I have had no issues using gravity feeds from the kettle at 2 feet and it is an awesome filter too.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: bluesman on March 15, 2012, 06:47:12 PM
I use it for finishing hops and filtering. I put it between the kettle and the chiller. It will also act as a filter. It should only be used with whole hops. There's a good youtube video by John Blichmann himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEO75CszMcI
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 15, 2012, 06:47:29 PM
I have used it as a way to get more hops in late, and as a Randall.

With some more fitings and orienting my pump right, I will use it as a Torpedo.

A shiny toy, but I like shiny toys.

Care to share how you are doing this? I'm interested!
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 15, 2012, 06:49:18 PM
I use it for finishing hops and filtering. I put it between the kettle and the chiller. It will also act as a filter. It should only be used with whole hops. There's a good youtube video by John Blichmann himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEO75CszMcI

Blues, you have a Brutus system similar to mine if I recall. Do you gravity feed from the kettle to the rocket to the chiller to the pump then the pump returns to the kettle? I ended up putting the rocket after the pump as I couldnt seem to figure out how to efficiently get a decent flow rate the way you mentioned. Maybe a pic?
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 15, 2012, 09:06:00 PM
I have used it as a way to get more hops in late, and as a Randall.

With some more fitings and orienting my pump right, I will use it as a Torpedo.

A shiny toy, but I like shiny toys.

Care to share how you are doing this? I'm interested!

I take that to be a question on using it as a Torpedo?  I will put the Hop Rocket on the floor, and connect the bottom valve from the conical to the in of the Hop Rocket.  Short connection to the in of the March Pump just above the Hop Rocket.  Pump mounted so he output points straight up.  Output of pump to the racking arm, and have the racking arm pointing up, or at least at a 45 angle from horizontal to pump the hoppy goodness around the conical (don't want it pointing down at the out valve).

I tried this before with out thinking and probably got bubbles in the pump.  Correct orientation will help those go to the conical.  You are pumping beer that has CO2.  Will also throttle the pump so it does not have all of the hops up tight against the screen.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: bluesman on March 16, 2012, 12:58:57 AM
I use it for finishing hops and filtering. I put it between the kettle and the chiller. It will also act as a filter. It should only be used with whole hops. There's a good youtube video by John Blichmann himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEO75CszMcI

Blues, you have a Brutus system similar to mine if I recall. Do you gravity feed from the kettle to the rocket to the chiller to the pump then the pump returns to the kettle? I ended up putting the rocket after the pump as I couldnt seem to figure out how to efficiently get a decent flow rate the way you mentioned. Maybe a pic?

Yes. I have a Brutus system.

I have it in line after the pump just before the chiller as you have described. I haven't tried it by gravity feed alone because I don't think it would flow consistently, however it might be worth a try someday.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: gandelf on March 16, 2012, 11:09:40 AM
I use my Hop Rocket often. I use it as a Randall when the guys are around; a reasonable consumption rate. It's primary function is a filter. I load it with rice hulls when chilling with the plate chiller and add rice hulls to the hops when hop backing during the whirlpool. After a lot of experimenting with the Hop Rocket; I agree with Gordon Strong's statement, that each method will produce a unique flavor/aroma profile. Is it needed; no. But, it is a shinny gadget that inspires interest and conversation.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jjflash on March 20, 2012, 12:17:21 AM
Hope you don't mind if I tag in here.

Used my HopRocket for the first time yesterday with problems.
My set-up: kettle ->HopRocket->chiller->March Pump ->kettle/fermentor
Used two ounces hops with one-half ounce camomille flowers.
(Blichman recommends max of 4 ounces if I recall correctly.)
The HopRocket was full but not packed tight.
I have used this exact same set-up with the open glass top kettle style hopback many times successfully with the same amount of hops.
After 10 minutes the wort out of the HopRocket comes to a stop.
I did bypass the HopRocket and continue on.
When I opened the HopRocket the hops were a solid, hard, wet brick.
No wonder there was no wort flow thru this clog!
Little pissy at the moment as I thought this would be a good upgrade from the open kettle design.
Looks to me that this HopRocket can't handle two ounces of whole hop flowers?
I prefer to use the HopRocket right out of the kettle as it also acts as a filter prior to the chiller and pump.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 20, 2012, 07:14:32 PM
I use it for finishing hops and filtering. I put it between the kettle and the chiller. It will also act as a filter. It should only be used with whole hops. There's a good youtube video by John Blichmann himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEO75CszMcI

Blues, you have a Brutus system similar to mine if I recall. Do you gravity feed from the kettle to the rocket to the chiller to the pump then the pump returns to the kettle? I ended up putting the rocket after the pump as I couldnt seem to figure out how to efficiently get a decent flow rate the way you mentioned. Maybe a pic?

Yes. I have a Brutus system.

I have it in line after the pump just before the chiller as you have described. I haven't tried it by gravity feed alone because I don't think it would flow consistently, however it might be worth a try someday.

Ah ok, so unlike Lonnie you are running your kettle into your pump then into your chiller. I went the Lonnie Mac route, kettle-chiller-pump-rocket. I will try it the other way so it can filter prechiller.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 26, 2012, 08:14:01 PM
I've been doing a ton of reading on how to utilize this thing more. I found a ton of great advice from Mike McDole.  I've hard piped my hop rocket to the ball valve of my kettle UPSIDE DOWN, and removed the new high flow filter housing.  The rocket is connected to my therminator, which is connected to my pump and that runs back to my kettle.  I did a water run on this the other day and it worked great!

My plan is to use rice hulls in a hopsack for lagers to use a filter effect for trub, and whole hops for IPA's. I am doing a lager this weekend with rice hulls and I will report back with results. Mike has reported no issues with extracting tanning from rice hulls in this thing. I normally re-circ the last 10 minutes of my boil anyhow and Mike has advised this will work for "sterilizing" the hulls.

Mike also recommended opening the valve on the boil kettle very slowly and restricting the output flow when starting circculation to reduce compaction.  Can't wait to try this bad boy out!
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: phillamb168 on March 27, 2012, 09:01:20 AM
Why all the headspace before the pump? Seems like you either have a very, very powerful pump or you're putting undue strain on your pump. What I've typically done is:

kettle -> pump -> chiller -> rocket

The benefits of this as I see it are reduced strain on the pump, because it's designed to PUSH liquid and not PULL it, which it would certainly be doing if you had to run it through a plate chiller.

I would also be concerned about running hot wort through the hop rocket - HSA from turbulence in the hops (unless you filled it with water first?)
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 27, 2012, 12:41:29 PM

I would also be concerned about running hot wort through the hop rocket - HSA from turbulence in the hops (unless you filled it with water first?)
You could flush it out with CO2.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: PSUhomebrewer on March 27, 2012, 01:07:58 PM
Some of the local craft brewers around me gave method advice " there are far more important things to worry about than hsa." in this case clogging the chiller would be the biggest. The first time my friend used it he didnt use hop sacks and clogged the chiller about a quarter of the way into his 15g batch. Needless to say it was no where near what he wanted.
The risk:reward of pumping hot wort through hops is acceptable compared to clogging the chiller. It also prevents excess break and other material from entering the chiller giving less risk of bacteria growing in the chiller, surviving sanitizer and infecting the beer.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: repo on March 27, 2012, 01:34:55 PM
Running hot wort thru it is one of the main purposes of it. I have the instructions it came with. Don't know why the are not on Blichmanns website. But here is some of it.

With pump and counterflow chiller:  Kettle->Pump->Hoprocket->Chiller->Fermentor

With gravity flow and counterflow chiller:  Kettle(recommended 4 feet above fermentor)->Hoprocket->Chiller->Fermentor

With immersion chiller:  Kettle->Pump(if used)->Hoprocket->Fermentor

Note: hot extraction of the hop oils is much more efficient so we recommend a counterfow chiller for maximum performance.

Tip: Allow the wort to fill the Hoprocket by gravity so that the air will purge and the hops will absorb water slowly. Turning on the flow at full capacity immediately will compact the hop bed and potentially plug the unit.

Using a pump you should expect to achieve 1 GPM with 3 oz of hops, and about 1.5 GPM with 2 oz of hops.

They recommend their Hopblocker kettle filtration system as a companion as too many particles and trub material will increase restriction of the Hoprocket and possibly compact the hopbed. 
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: phillamb168 on March 27, 2012, 02:58:15 PM
Hey, nice. That sounds like a good approach. I only mentioned HSA because it's the only 'problem' I see with the method there. Well that, and the amount of headspace on the pump.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on March 27, 2012, 03:19:17 PM
Why all the headspace before the pump? Seems like you either have a very, very powerful pump or you're putting undue strain on your pump. What I've typically done is:

kettle -> pump -> chiller -> rocket

The benefits of this as I see it are reduced strain on the pump, because it's designed to PUSH liquid and not PULL it, which it would certainly be doing if you had to run it through a plate chiller.

I would also be concerned about running hot wort through the hop rocket - HSA from turbulence in the hops (unless you filled it with water first?)

I've thought about this and compaction as well. Opening the valve and pumping very slowly at first seemed to solve the compaction issue. Also the way I have my Brutus set up, gravity should do most of the work getting things to the pump. I've had no issue going from kettle, to therminator, to pump back to kettle.  The hop rocket will be hard piped to the kettle go straight down into the chiller and the head space will send that over to the pump. AS long as things are primed properly and the valves opened slowly I cant foresee any issue.

As for turbulence if the rocket is closed off and wort is pumped through it during recirc for the last 10 minutes of the boil(my main purpose for doing this is using rice hulls in a hop sack to act as a filter, very rarely will I use with hops, and when I do I will recirc for the last 10 minutes then open the rocket and slowly submerge the hops in since it will be Upside down).  I shouldn't experience much HSA if any at all this way.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: hoser on March 27, 2012, 03:45:31 PM
Why all the headspace before the pump? Seems like you either have a very, very powerful pump or you're putting undue strain on your pump. What I've typically done is:

kettle -> pump -> chiller -> rocket

The benefits of this as I see it are reduced strain on the pump, because it's designed to PUSH liquid and not PULL it, which it would certainly be doing if you had to run it through a plate chiller.

I would also be concerned about running hot wort through the hop rocket - HSA from turbulence in the hops (unless you filled it with water first?)

I've thought about this and compaction as well. Opening the valve and pumping very slowly at first seemed to solve the compaction issue. Also the way I have my Brutus set up, gravity should do most of the work getting things to the pump. I've had no issue going from kettle, to therminator, to pump back to kettle.  The hop rocket will be hard piped to the kettle go straight down into the chiller and the head space will send that over to the pump. AS long as things are primed properly and the valves opened slowly I cant foresee any issue.

As for turbulence if the rocket is closed off and wort is pumped through it during recirc for the last 10 minutes of the boil(my main purpose for doing this is using rice hulls in a hop sack to act as a filter, very rarely will I use with hops, and when I do I will recirc for the last 10 minutes then open the rocket and slowly submerge the hops in since it will be Upside down).  I shouldn't experience much HSA if any at all this way.

+1

I and others I know who use the hop rocket have noted this as well. 

Dr. Charlie Bamforth, if memory serves, says that there is not much concern for HSA if you have good control of things on the cold side.  A good healthy, clean ferment and proper handling post-ferment is more important according to Dr. Bamforth
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on April 02, 2012, 03:58:50 PM
Used the hoprocket with rice hulls inverted ala Mike McDole on my system this past weekend. Man did it work perfect! I opened the valve slowly and re-circ'ed the last 10 minutes of the boil to sanitize everything including the hulls. Per tasty's advice i shouldnt see any tannins coming out of that small amount of hulls.

I chilled 11 gallons down to 44 degrees in about 20 minutes. The rice hulls inside of a hopsack were covered with trub and nasty gunk. I noticed a small layer of cold break in the bottom of my fermenters after they settled out, which is perfect since I want a little bit for yeast health. But it was nothing like I was getting before. Damn near crystal clear Oktoberfest into the carboy! Couldnt be happier, this will get hard piped into my boil kettle now and be apart of my system. I will use rice hulls on most batches, with hops on the ocassional batch. Highly recommended to anyone! I will take pics this coming weekend when its hard piped in for anyone looking to try this out.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: bluesman on April 02, 2012, 04:58:07 PM
Used the hoprocket with rice hulls inverted ala Mike McDole on my system this past weekend. Man did it work perfect! I opened the valve slowly and re-circ'ed the last 10 minutes of the boil to sanitize everything including the hulls. Per tasty's advice i shouldnt see any tannins coming out of that small amount of hulls.

I chilled 11 gallons down to 44 degrees in about 20 minutes. The rice hulls inside of a hopsack were covered with trub and nasty gunk. I noticed a small layer of cold break in the bottom of my fermenters after they settled out, which is perfect since I want a little bit for yeast health. But it was nothing like I was getting before. Damn near crystal clear Oktoberfest into the carboy! Couldnt be happier, this will get hard piped into my boil kettle now and be apart of my system. I will use rice hulls on most batches, with hops on the ocassional batch. Highly recommended to anyone! I will take pics this coming weekend when its hard piped in for anyone looking to try this out.

Good to know Jason.  I'll keep this in mind for future reference.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: hoser on April 03, 2012, 07:58:39 PM
JC,
Did you use the high flow filter with the rice hulls?  Have you used the hop rocket with hops yet?  Thinking about dusting it off and using it with and IPA on Friday.  How much dry hops have you used to get it to function well?  I know Blichmann say 4oz of whole hops.  Wondering if I can use more or should use less with or without the highflow device/filter?
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: jmcamerlengo on April 04, 2012, 03:52:50 PM
JC,
Did you use the high flow filter with the rice hulls?  Have you used the hop rocket with hops yet?  Thinking about dusting it off and using it with and IPA on Friday.  How much dry hops have you used to get it to function well?  I know Blichmann say 4oz of whole hops.  Wondering if I can use more or should use less with or without the highflow device/filter?

I took the high flow insert out per Tasty's recommendations.  I used just enough rice hulls inside of a hopsack to cover the filter screen that the sack sits on when the rocket is inverted.  I haven't tried hops yet. However Tasty said it functions exactly the same with hops, but he does use a hopsack with those as well.  I dont know if its actually necessary to use a hopsack with hops since they'd be big enough to not get through the filter without it.  Id imagine with the high flow insert out 4 oz of hops wouldn't be an issue. I believe Tasty said he's used up to 4 oz before with the high flow insert removed.  That piece isn't really necessary when the rocket is inverted.

Just make sure you open all your valves VERY SLOWLY to avoid compaction.  I can't be happier with how well this thing performed inverted attached to the bk before my therminator.
Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: bbkf on April 04, 2012, 04:10:38 PM
if you plan to use the hop rocket as a hop back to increase hop flavor....consider you just wasted hops.  Where others on here did an experiment making an IPA using the hop rocket as a hop back, I made a 15 IBU beer that had only one addition of hops at 60 min.  The hop rocket was filled with 3 ounces of citra and there was near ZERO hop aroma pick up.  However, the hop rocket filtered the beer pretty well.

If you want to add hop flavor/aroma using a hop rocket then use it as a randal.  And consider passing more than just 5 gallons through the hop rocket.  the first gallon or so is super grassy beer but it gets better.

I think using the HR as a "torpedo" may just oxidize your beer no matter how much CO2 you try to purge through your lines.  SNbco uses torpedos mainly because its pretty damn hard to dry hop an 800 barrel fermenter.

Its a fun toy no doubt.  and I'd say try it for yourself and see how you like it.

Title: Re: Hop Rocket
Post by: graymoment on October 22, 2012, 07:42:29 PM
if you plan to use the hop rocket as a hop back to increase hop flavor....consider you just wasted hops.  Where others on here did an experiment making an IPA using the hop rocket as a hop back, I made a 15 IBU beer that had only one addition of hops at 60 min.  The hop rocket was filled with 3 ounces of citra and there was near ZERO hop aroma pick up.  However, the hop rocket filtered the beer pretty well.

If you want to add hop flavor/aroma using a hop rocket then use it as a randal.  And consider passing more than just 5 gallons through the hop rocket.  the first gallon or so is super grassy beer but it gets better.

I think using the HR as a "torpedo" may just oxidize your beer no matter how much CO2 you try to purge through your lines.  SNbco uses torpedos mainly because its pretty damn hard to dry hop an 800 barrel fermenter.

Its a fun toy no doubt.  and I'd say try it for yourself and see how you like it.
I'd be interested in hearing if you've tried this again and had the same results. The reason I ask is that your experience sounds unique to that of other users. I'm picking up a hop rocket and would be interested to hear about what works/doesn't work for adding hop aroma/flavor.