Author Topic: Hop Straining  (Read 3132 times)

Offline brewmasternpb

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Hop Straining
« on: January 26, 2011, 09:49:20 PM »
I wanted to know what the best method for straining hop pellets from my wort are, after the boil.  I have a 10 gallon SS brew kettle with a ball valve.  What I currently do is drain my wort via a 1" diameter hose into a bottling bucket, which has a mesh sack over it.  The problem is, if I use more than 3 ounces, it really fills up the hop sack.  I thought about boiling hops in a hop sack, but I wonder if I get good utilization that way... What do you guys use?
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

Offline gigatropolis

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 12:56:43 AM »
I use hop sacks and often have 2 or 3 in the kettle and don't think it effects hop utilization much except maybe when hopping after the boil. The bags in the boil have time to bleed out most of the goodness and I also will move the bags around with the spoon and push them against the sides every now and then. The aroma seems to stay in the bag in post hop bag, so I will pick up the bag and drain it several times while pushing it against the side of the pan to get most of the stuff out. Need to be careful at this time because it's prime time to contaminate, but it seems to get the job done.
  I also keep the top of the hop bags out of the wort and tie the string to the pot's handle so the top of the bag is cool enough to open up and add more hops at different times. The bags get hot and sticky and also like to open up in a vigorous boil.

Offline euge

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 01:19:16 AM »
Hop bags work good and I use them for my 12 gallon batches, though I think hop utilization suffers by 30% so one needs to compensate. Usually I use whole hops, but my last weizen was with pellets. I just let them run into the fermenter without straining. Beer's f'ing fantastic I'm having one now. ;D

Often I strain and I do it through a china cap, which aerates the wort as well.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline richardt

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 08:01:14 AM »
I really like my SS china cap strainers on the output side of my 20 gal SS boil kettle.  I usually do 10 gallon batches.
The china cap design has a lot more surface area for straining than a plastic funnel with a 3 inch dia mesh screen, a bazooka screen, or even some of those fancy, and expensive, boil kettle false bottoms.  The only thing with more surface area might be a extra fine mesh nylon strainer bag.

A SS china cap strainer is easily sanitized before use by dunking it in my bucket of starsan. 
It really reduces wort loss, strains out the hop particles, and aerates wort all at the same time during the transfer process.
It is also a time-saver since it is on the outside of the kettle.
Anytime the screen starts to get overwhelmed, I just turn off the spigot and give the china cap a few good swirls and a few shakes and end up with a nice compact green ball of play-doh-like hops which I then dispose of properly and then get right back to straining and transferring.

The Coarse and Fine strainers are just drilled holes in a SS funnel--they're good for larger particles like fruit peels, and whole or leaf hops, but not pelletized hops.
The Bullion (extra fine mesh) strainers are ideal for straining pelletized hops.
One cool thing about china cap strainers is that they are stackable, i.e., each one can fit on top of and within the other, so you can strain in series without taking up a lot of space.  Plus, the strainers have a good clip on one end and a long handle on the other end so it fits right on the bucket so I don't have to keep holding it--I can't do that with my large plastic funnel.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 08:08:21 AM »
Another option that you may want to consider, since you're going from the kettle to a bottling bucket, is one of those 5-gallon bucket paint strainer bags.  A package of two is only a couple bucks at a place like Lowe's.  These bags are designed to line the entire bucket so you'd rack everything into the bucket and, when done, lift the strainer bag out and all the hop gunk comes with it.
Joe

Offline euge

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 11:46:14 AM »
Another option that you may want to consider, since you're going from the kettle to a bottling bucket, is one of those 5-gallon bucket paint strainer bags.  A package of two is only a couple bucks at a place like Lowe's.  These bags are designed to line the entire bucket so you'd rack everything into the bucket and, when done, lift the strainer bag out and all the hop gunk comes with it.

You probably get a fair amount of the trub that way too!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline weithman5

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 11:55:18 AM »
i brew small batches and i pour my wort through a very fine stainless steel strainer. works great. i don't have to deal with bags and just rinse the strainer and through it in the dishwasher when i am done. similar to using a paint filter which i guess would be even easier sinced disposable.
Don AHA member

Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2011, 09:03:15 PM »
Another option that you may want to consider, since you're going from the kettle to a bottling bucket, is one of those 5-gallon bucket paint strainer bags.  A package of two is only a couple bucks at a place like Lowe's.  These bags are designed to line the entire bucket so you'd rack everything into the bucket and, when done, lift the strainer bag out and all the hop gunk comes with it.

That is what I'm doing now, which works fine with a moderate ammount of hops, but when I brew my double IPA this Summer, that bag will get way too heavy.
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

Offline tygo

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 09:11:48 PM »
Hop bags work good and I use them for my 12 gallon batches, though I think hop utilization suffers by 30% so one needs to compensate.

I've seen 10% as the loss of utilization from using bags.  Anyone have any good guidance on this?  What about the difference between using bags with pellets vs. leaf?
Clint
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Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2011, 10:23:57 PM »
I think I will have 3 sanitized mesh sacks on hand.  I'll drain a third of the wort into 1 bag, pull it out, add another bag...etc...
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

Offline hokerer

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2011, 07:33:40 AM »
I think I will have 3 sanitized mesh sacks on hand.  I'll drain a third of the wort into 1 bag, pull it out, add another bag...etc...

Three sacks worth of wet hops, that must be one heckuva hoppy double IPA  ;D  you giving out samples?
Joe

Offline richardt

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2011, 07:41:43 AM »
Might be more efficient to sanitize all three mesh bags and put them in the fermentation bucket before starting the transfer.  Essentially, it'd be like having three liners or filters in place. 
When the innermost bag gets too full, you can lift it up and let it drain while the second and third bag remain in the bucket and continue to strain your wort.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2011, 07:54:35 AM »
Currently I use muslin bags for all of my hops.

I have also used a paint strainer design like this.



But...I recently purchased the Blichmann Hop Blocker and tried it out on my last batch while still using muslin bags. I found that it blocked quite a bit of trub. The next batch I will direct pitch the hops and whirlpool for 10min then chill (Therminator).
Ron Price

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Hop Straining
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2011, 08:21:52 AM »
I use a paint strainer bag in the boil. I clip it to the side of the kettle with a SS clip. I'm not sure if there's much utilization loss with this method. My hoppy beers seem to be plenty hoppy!  Anyway, it makes for really easy cleanup and the bags are reusable over multiple batches (I probably use one for every ten batches).
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
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