Author Topic: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither  (Read 1108 times)

Offline David

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Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« on: October 30, 2021, 08:51:07 am »
Any time I add more than 2 or so ounces of hops to the kettle, I use hop bags to contain the hops. Been thinking about going with a spider instead. Is there any advantage or disadvantage of using a spider over bags?
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Offline Richard

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2021, 09:28:16 am »
With a spider it is easy to add more hops, since the top is open. If you have multiple additions you can just dump them in at the right time.
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Offline denny

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2021, 09:30:58 am »
I found a spider was more hassle to clean.  I also felt like it reduced my utilization more than bags, but I have no proof from analysis.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2021, 10:25:41 am »
I've used as much as 4 ounces of hops per gallon in IPA's and I always just toss my hops in loose. I've never felt the need for a bag or spider, and I'd be concerned that I'd get less extraction if I restrained them.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2021, 10:27:39 am »
Spiders are easier to add hops to during the boil, but they do have their negative side too. The mesh becomes plugged with proteins over time, restricting the flow of wort around the hops. This is especially true of you put the spider in before the hot break has receded. If your spider begins to take on a rusty tone, it's time for a good cleaning. Not an easy task, but Barkeepers Friend helps a lot.

I see a little better utilization when using bags, as long as the bag is big enough to allow free movement of the hops. Multiple bags work well too. As Denny says, they are also easier to keep clean. The spider is my go to, purely for it's ease of use. I do figure ~5% lower utilization than bags when formulating recipes.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 01:48:37 pm by Bob357 »
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Offline Fire Rooster

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2021, 11:19:57 am »
At first I used hop bags, then switched to hop spider.
I thought it was the greatest thing, for a couple of batches.
PITA to clean, rusts, switched back to hop bags.  Low pellet hop amounts are tossed in.
Still use hop sacks for dried whole cone leaf.
The hops don't get tossed around as much during boil in hop spider.
I could see this possibly reducing efficiency.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 11:37:34 am by Fire Rooster »

Offline RC

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2021, 11:33:13 am »
Neither is needed. Just one more thing to clean. If the issue is not getting hop matter into the fermenter, that is easily solved by giving the wort a little extra time to settle.

Offline denny

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2021, 11:40:26 am »
Neither is needed. Just one more thing to clean. If the issue is not getting hop matter into the fermenter, that is easily solved by giving the wort a little extra time to settle.

For many, it's the hop matter in the BK that's the issue, making it hard to xfer.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2021, 11:52:22 am »
If using hop pellets neither.

Offline denny

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2021, 12:01:43 pm »
If using hop pellets neither.

Same for me, but for some systems you need to contain the pellets.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2021, 12:15:03 pm »
I use something like what is in the first picture (not mine). Instead of threaded rods I used a length of PVC pipe (about 1/2" diameter) to hang it from similar to the wooden dowels shown in picture two (not mine). I also didn't see a need two dowels crossed in the middle so I just used one. It uses a 4 or 5 inch diameter sewer drain coupling. The bag is a paint straining bag and is kept in place with an adjustable ring clamp. Total cost was probably less that $15.00.

picture one:
http://simplybeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/hop-spider-final-300x225.jpg

picture two:
https://brewingboy.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/hop_spider.jpg?w=768&h=574
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2021, 12:27:44 pm »
Neither is needed. Just one more thing to clean. If the issue is not getting hop matter into the fermenter, that is easily solved by giving the wort a little extra time to settle.

When using a typical all in one system, bag(s) or a spider is needed unless you want a bunch of hop debris transferred into the fermenter. The relatively small diameter makes it all but impossible to whirlpool trub into the center of the BK. There's only so much kettle trub you can contain. Much different than a much broader kettle. Other than that, I agree 100%. When I used a conventional system, all of the hops went in loose.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2021, 12:29:50 pm »
At first I used hop bags, then switched to hop spider.
I thought it was the greatest thing, for a couple of batches.
PITA to clean, rusts, switched back to hop bags.  Low pellet hop amounts are tossed in.
Still use hop sacks for dried whole cone leaf.
The hops don't get tossed around as much during boil in hop spider.
I could see this possibly reducing efficiency.

More often than not, the rust color you're seeing is proteins that have collected in the mesh over time. I thought it was rust too, but discovered it wasn't.
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Offline denny

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2021, 01:04:00 pm »
Neither is needed. Just one more thing to clean. If the issue is not getting hop matter into the fermenter, that is easily solved by giving the wort a little extra time to settle.

When using a typical all in one system, bag(s) or a spider is needed unless you want a bunch of hop debris transferred into the fermenter. The relatively small diameter makes it all but impossible to whirlpool trub into the center of the BK. There's only so much kettle trub you can contain. Much different than a much broader kettle. Other than that, I agree 100%. When I used a conventional system, all of the hops went in loose.

I use all in ones and that is not the case for me.  With the older models, yep, but with the G40, S40, and G70 no container is needed.  The have a huge screen over the bottom and a center drain.
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Offline Fire Rooster

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Re: Hop Bags, Spiders, or neither
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2021, 01:15:57 pm »
At first I used hop bags, then switched to hop spider.
I thought it was the greatest thing, for a couple of batches.
PITA to clean, rusts, switched back to hop bags.  Low pellet hop amounts are tossed in.
Still use hop sacks for dried whole cone leaf.
The hops don't get tossed around as much during boil in hop spider.
I could see this possibly reducing efficiency.

More often than not, the rust color you're seeing is proteins that have collected in the mesh over time. I thought it was rust too, but discovered it wasn't.

That makes sense.
I questioned myself if it was truly rust, it had an odd brown color.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 02:26:27 pm by Fire Rooster »