Author Topic: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops  (Read 6358 times)

Offline brewmonk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
  • Norcia, Italy
    • View Profile
    • Birra Nursia
How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« on: August 10, 2010, 07:29:54 AM »
I'm getting ready to do my second homebrew batch and wanted to do something more than a simple extract kit by adding some specialty grains and some finishing hops.  I plan on using hop pellets, which I hear dissolve pretty thoroughly.  I bought a strainer, but I wonder if it is fine enough.  Just how fine should a simple strainer to pour a few gallons of wort through do I need?  I assume if it's too fine that it would just take forever to strain without having to dump the hops out all the time.

(I'd really prefer not to use hop bags.)
Br. Francis
Birra Nursia

Offline beerocd

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1429
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 07:48:41 AM »
How about if you stir it up like crazy, give it 15-20 minutes to settle, and siphon from the sides? All the junk should collect into the center of the pot and you'll get some pretty clean wort out of there.
The moral majority, is neither.

Offline alemental

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 10:01:39 AM »
Try attaching a stainless steel scrubbie over the end of your racking tube. Use a stainless hose clamp or even a cable tie. This will stop a lot of hop matter. Like anything that can strain hops, though, it can clog with enough hop bits. It is a very good idea to whirlpool first, just as beerocd recommends above to get the bulk of it away from your tube.

Offline wingnut

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 312
  • Plainwell MI
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 10:11:01 AM »
The whirlpool is the key.  After a good whirlpool, I found the scrubbie just to much of a pain to deal with.  (Not that the scrubbie was hard... but it was one more thing I could simplify!)

What I do is make a little extra wort, and just leave the last half inch of wort in the kettle.  The pint or two I leave behind is not the end of the world, and I do not have to worry about having a sanitary scrubbie around that often cloggs up, causing me to sipon winthout it any way.  (I found pellet hops clog the scrubbie faster than whole hops)

Once you whirlpool and let it settle for 10 minutes or so, siphoning clear wort is easy.  Also, do not fret over a little bit of kettle junk getting into your beer.  It will settle out in he fermentor and as long as you leave most of it behind, you are doing fine. 

-- Wingnut - Cheers!

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 10:58:39 AM »
Ordinary collanders and regular mesh stainers won't do a thing for pelletized hops, but should be OK for leaf or whole hops (little bits might still pass through).

I bought three SS china cap strainers (medium, fine, and bullion)--the pellet hops pass right through the medium and fine strainers w/o being trapped.  From personal experience, you'll need the "bullion" or "extra fine" strainers.   I like placing it over the fermentation bucket and running the wort from the kettle into the china cap.  Most of the hot and cold break stays behind in the kettle and the strainer catches whatever escapes the kettle via the spigot or cane.  No clogs and the splashing seems to aerate the wort just fine.

The fine nylon mesh screens and hop bags seem to have an even finer mesh, so if you want to trap more of the hop particles, you'll want to use that for the final screen.  I often use the bullion strainer before the large nylon funnel + nylon mesh screen. 

I'm curious--is there any particular reason why a sanitized nylon mesh or "paint strainer" bag over the strainer, output hose, or fermentation bucket wouldn't work for you?

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7658
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 11:46:32 AM »
I hate to disagree but a regular mesh kitchen strainer works fine to filter out pellet hops. I don't like using this type of strainer because I've ended up dumping all the hops into the fermenter when it slipped. >:(



I happen to use a medium holed china-cap because it holds more and is more sturdy and stable suspended over the fermenter and won't fall in.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline brewmonk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
  • Norcia, Italy
    • View Profile
    • Birra Nursia
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 10:42:03 PM »
I hate to disagree but a regular mesh kitchen strainer works fine to filter out pellet hops. I don't like using this type of strainer because I've ended up dumping all the hops into the fermenter when it slipped. >:(



I happen to use a medium holed china-cap because it holds more and is more sturdy and stable suspended over the fermenter and won't fall in.



I have a slightly finer strainer than a regular strainer, so that puts me more a peace of mind.  I guess too when I rack into either 2nd fermenter or bottling bucket, I will also be able to keep out any hops that might have escaped.  I'll give what I have a go and see what happens.

Thanks for the replies, they help a lot.   :)
Br. Francis
Birra Nursia

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 07:33:54 AM »
It's all about the mesh.  It determines the pore size. 

My cheapo collanders at home are big enough to have the occasional spaghetti noodle slip through (and I'm not talking "angel hair" pasta).  So, I only use those for rinsing veggies and salads.

I like the china cap strainer because, as you can tell from Euge's photo, it has a sturdy clip on one end and a long handle on the other which makes it fit perfectly over the fermentation bucket with zero chance of spilling or falling off.  I also like how, with a few shakes, I can get most of the wort separated from the hops and I end up with a lump of green play-doh-like putty. 

The flimsy plastic clip on the large nylon funnels are notoriously unreliable.  They seem no bigger or sturdier than a fingernail and often give away under the weight of the fluid during use.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 14108
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 08:47:39 AM »
OTOH, I, being the Cheap'n'Easy lazy guy, just let the pellet hops go into the fermenter and don't worry about it.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8808
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 08:51:37 AM »
OTOH, I, being the Cheap'n'Easy lazy guy, just let the pellet hops go into the fermenter and don't worry about it.

This ^^^^^^

I have been letting them go into the fermenter with no problem.
Ron Price

Offline thirsty

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 279
  • Brewster, NY
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 11:54:00 AM »
I agree. Pellet hops = who cares

whole hops, fine, I will strain.

Offline narvin

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1467
  • Baltimore
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 12:14:46 PM »
http://www.mcmaster.com/#9230t625/=8czd0o

This is a 12 x 24 in. sheet... I folded it in half and made a hop-stopper out of it that surrounds my pickup tube.  I  brewed a Pliny clone to test it out and it handled over a pound of pellet hops without issue. Had no problems running off at normal speed with my pump, and not a single bit of pellet hop debris got into my plate chiller...

Here's a better description:

http://www.homebrewchatter.com/board/f18/diy-hop-stopper-kettle-screen-pickup-t2550/
Please do not reply if your[sic] an evil alien!
Thanks

Offline Slowbrew

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2050
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: How fine a strainer do I need for pellet hops
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2010, 07:46:16 AM »
I don't worry too much about pellet hops.  I just whirlpool the cooled wort and rack it off. 

I made a filter out of some leftover aluminum window screen for when I use whole hops.  I just cut a piece 8" long and about 5" wide and fashioned it into an 7" (or so) tube.  Insert the racking cane in the filter and start the siphon.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?