Author Topic: Hop Pellets  (Read 5479 times)

Offline fmader

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 12:19:52 PM »
Ok, great info. I have a hop spider, but I quit using it, because the bags don't reach the wort when the chiller is in place. I made a more flexible "hop bird" that will actually fit down inside the center of the chiller. I do have a homemade filter in my kettle, which has been named the fly swatter. I am concerned about it possibly getting clogged. Once I figure out how to post pictures on here, I will show both.
Frank

Offline blatz

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 12:20:29 PM »
Hey, to each his own. But there is really no need to use a bag for pellets, unless you use a plate chiller. Then maybe.

There's no trick to Whirlpooling, either. Ya stir. It's pretty simple! ;) I use pellets, WP and leave most of the hops and trub behind in the kettle when I brew. I do have a diverter plate installed in my B3 14 gallon kettle though.AA

Keith - are you still able to get a good cone with the heat element in there?  Since I moved to electric, I tried to get a good WP going last time and couldn't - I was wondering if the element was causing the problem.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 12:40:41 PM »
I use pellets quite a bit, and just toss them directly into the boil. I also use a Blichmann hop blocker and a plate chiller. I runoff about a half-pint to a pint of wort, which allows any residual hop particulate that snuck under the hop blocker to come out, then connect to the plate chiller and runoff into the fermenter. Never a problem with this method.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2013, 01:24:00 PM »
I pitch pellets free in the kettle but I use a screen filter when pouring wort into the fermentor. I am catching 95% or so of the hop particles. I also yeast wash and have zero problem with hop material getting into the washed yeast.

If you are concerned about hop material getting into the fermentor but also wanting them to boil freely my thought is to pitch them in loose in the kettle but attach a paint strainer bag to the top of the fermentor (or build a cheap support for it to sit on the mouth of the fermentor) and pour wort through the bag. Best of both worlds.
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Offline fmader

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2013, 02:47:16 PM »
Here is the Hop Bird that I currently use. It is flexible to fit down into the middle of my chiller. I have used strainer bags, but I picked up a few of these finer meshed bags.



This is the Fly Swatter filter. It's basically just stainless mesh sewn together. It has an inner virtical mesh that I originally thought it would be a good secondary filter. But after looking at the design, it doesn't really do much of filtering, but it does keep the rest of the fly swatter from collapsing on itself. I guess the question is, would this screen get clogged up from hop debris?

« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 02:49:24 PM by fmader »
Frank

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Hop Pellets
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2013, 04:28:33 PM »
Hey, to each his own. But there is really no need to use a bag for pellets, unless you use a plate chiller. Then maybe.

There's no trick to Whirlpooling, either. Ya stir. It's pretty simple! ;) I use pellets, WP and leave most of the hops and trub behind in the kettle when I brew. I do have a diverter plate installed in my B3 14 gallon kettle though.AA

Keith - are you still able to get a good cone with the heat element in there?  Since I moved to electric, I tried to get a good WP going last time and couldn't - I was wondering if the element was causing the problem.

I don't use any electric kettles now. On my 14 gallon system it is direct fire. I did use elements in the old 55 gallon brew rig and it did cause a problem with forming a cone. But I had a diverter plate so I still was able to keep most of the junk out. Same on the 15 bbl rig - it has a heat element fired by gas and the cone is kinda sketchy but I stiill leave most of the gunk behind due to diverter plate.

I personally think there is way more fretting about keeping hops out of the run off than is necessary. I wouldn't want to dump it all in but some wont hurt a bit. I run perfectly  clean for about 98% of the run off and stop when it starts to get murky.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:31:14 PM by majorvices »
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Offline sparkleberry

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2013, 05:09:38 PM »
i brewed a porter today and didn't use any muslin bags with the pellets for the first time in a long time. mainly because i started reading this thread. everything turned out so well i found myself trying to remember why and when i started using muslin bags in the first place.

anyway, brewing again on sunday and will just be tossing hops.

cheers. 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 05:17:03 PM by sparkleberry »
cheers.

rpl
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Offline Mark G

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2013, 06:50:10 PM »
The way I see it, the more equipment you have to filter, block, etc. the hop matter, the more stuff you have to clean up. I do a whirlpool, and have my pickup near the edge of the kettle. This leaves probably 90% of the hop/break sludge behind. Thats's plenty good enough for me.
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Offline seajellie

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2013, 10:08:00 AM »
OK, yes I have done the "run off until it gets cloudy" thing for years, with a kettle screen just to catch the leaf hops. It works, and if you're anal like me you can funnel-filter the leftover wort and use it for OG, FFT, speise, starters, or even add back to your ferment if you feel brave, or save it for a mixed garbage surprise beer when you have enough built up in the freezer. I do all those things.

I've never been totally happy with it though, because I often brew smaller batches and don't like the "waste", and I do more lagers than ales and have long suspected that keeping junk out of the fermenter was more than just a good idea. My recent comparisons proved to me that at least on my system, the malt and hop aromas and flavors can get muddled otherwise.

But what broke me was getting into IPAs recently. So how do you deal with a pound of leaf and pellet hops? Dumping that into the primary is not going to happen for me for a lot of reasons (yeah, I'm a whimp compared to that dude upstream ;-)

It created a stew that defeated my regular processes, so I had to change; hence the spider and bags. And once I did that, I was surprised to see how much of the trub in the bottom of the kettle was due to hop residue, not break material. That means to me, cool, that is that much more wort that I can get into the fermenter if I refine this process. I don't care to throw paint strainer bags into the boil, that's for sure.

Hop blocker looks great, but I've seen enough so-so reviews that I hesitate. And whirlpooling... well it took me a long time to ride a bike as a kid so maybe rotation just throws me for a loop.

Paul's right - you gotta lose beer or wort somewhere in most systems, and I like the kettle myself due to the built-in sanitization. So I like my current deal better than any other systems I've tried. For me, it means more harvested wort and less work, not less and more, respectively.

To the OP, I do think that fly swatter would clog, so I'd have a backup plan in place. Also, can you move it to the side, in case you are normal and can whirlpool. It would last longer, if so. Also it would be out of the way of your IC if you use one.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 10:13:20 AM by seajellie »

Offline fmader

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2013, 08:18:50 PM »
Ok, I'm brewing a honey ale tomorrow. And with all of your advice, I've decided to ditch the hop bird and just pitch the hops directly into the kettle. I also took the fly swatter off and ran a piece of copper pipe out and 90ed down to the bottom of the kettle right past the bevel. I'm thinking this will work...and as mentioned above, I will have less to clean up. I will let you know how this works. Thanks!
Frank

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2013, 09:23:36 PM »
Basic Brewing Radio had a "trub experiment" episode.  I won't spoil it so you can come to your own conclusion.  Definitely worth checking out.
Brian
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Offline seajellie

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2013, 05:40:32 PM »
No harm in broadcasting the results. Denny occasionally posts a link to an experiment where the tasters could tell a difference, and preferred the fermentation *with* the trub, iirc - pellets and break. That isn't my experience, but I'm sure one of the many variables here is beer style. Munich Helles vs. DIPA I wouldn't expect to be the same.

Offline fmader

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2013, 06:16:03 PM »
Sorry about the delay. It was a frustrating and long brew day. But the brew itself went smoothly. I forgot to take a picture of how I rigged my drain in my brew pot. I'll take one next time I get to my uncle's place (the brewery). I brewed a white house honey ale clone, which only used 2 ounces of hops. I felt that I whirlpooled pretty well since I didn't use a chiller (will return to this detail), but I pulled what seemed like a lot of trub through to the carboy. Since I have spigots on my better bottles, I feel that the trub/yeast cake might end up higher than the spigot when ferementing is complete. I suppose that I can syphon it, but I put spigots on the carboys so I didn't have too lol. I will let you know how the rack to the secondary goes....and ultimately the final product...That's what matters. I will also post a pic of the drain attatchment that I rigged to see if any suggestions would be made to make it better.

As far as the frustrating part goes...I didn't use a chiller, because when I bought the chiller, it claimed that the only thing that could chill faster than it was a snowbank. We had 8" of snow on the ground and it was 29 degrees on Saturday here in Ohio. Instead of dragging the hoses out, we put this to the test. We'll just say that chilling in a snowbank sucks! I guess you live and learn...
Frank

Offline seajellie

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2013, 08:19:12 AM »
yeah, think "igloos". Snow and ice make great insulation actually; I've ridden out major snow storms in ice caves, and I don't think I ever dropped down to "pitching temps". Quite cozy actually. Very strange claim they made about snow banks chilling wort faster than in IC. I suppose if you just dumped your wort onto the snow bank, that would be true.

Maybe if you tilt your primary a bit you can get a clear drain and not lose too much beer. You could use the dregs for FG, once it resettled.  I too like the convenience of not dealing with that stuff after the boil....
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 08:21:53 AM by seajellie »

Offline fmader

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2013, 10:58:36 AM »
Ok, just a follow up on this thread....Last week I brewed a Two-Hearted clone. I purchased an auto-siphon and tried using that instead of just using a gravity flow. It worked well, but I still seemed to pull a good bit of trub through. It has since settled in the carboy, but I'm trying to leave as much behind as possible. I brewed a Pliny the Elder clone yesterday. So, as you all know, there's a pile of hops in it. I pitched the hops directly into the brew kettle. I used the auto-siphon again, but this time, I went directly into a bucket instead of a carboy. I zip-tied a knee high hose stocking onto the tube and filtered much of the trub. I caught a softball size lump of garbage in the hose. I then poured my bucket-o-wort into the carboy. It's looking good!
Frank