Well, our brew day went OK today, but there are still a couple of things we struggled with.
First, does anyone have suggestions for getting wort pitching temp down faster? We have a wort chiller for our 10-gallon kettle, but it still takes over an hour to get from boiling to below 80 degrees, and I'm getting concerned that we're risking our luck when it comes to infection.
Secondly, we had a lot of hop additions (including a 2 oz Mosaic addition with 1 minute left in the boil), and we clogged the filter at the bottom of our kettle. The most-frustrating part of that was the fact that we were forced to siphon, and then left a large amount of hops behind in the trub/sludge at the bottom. Does anyone have any best practices here as it relates to adding hops at the end of a boil, or even experience with large hop additions, and keeping them from causing a stuck transfer process?
#1 can be a tricky problem, because if your source water is hot or you dont use a pump you are stuck at the whims of gravity. Having water flow through the chiller faster will help but in the end with a immersion i always just chilled for about 15 minutes(which got my wort to 85-90 F, and then transferred to my bucket and pitched the next day. As long as your sanitation practices are righteous you should have no infection issues with this method.
#2 Hop Spider. You can make one with a PVC collar and a nylon bag, or just buy a SS one. I have http://www.stainlessbrewing.com/Hop-Spider-with-seam-welds_p_158.html
this one for my 5G system. Zachs products are awesome. Id buy the biggest one possible. You put the hops int he spider and when the boil is over just pull the entire spider out. No more hops sticking up your valve!