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Filtering hops from BK to fermenter

So I finally got to use my new Blichmann boilermaker and burner yesterday. I brewed a bitter/hoppy amber/red (Nosferatu as my muse). My recipe used 5 oz of hops (all pellet). I knew there was going to be a large amount of hop sludge. Previously I was doing partial boils so I was pouring the wort through a strainer and it kept out almost all of the hops. Now I’m draining directly into the fermenter (no hop blocker or false bottom) and ended up with a majority of the hops directly into the fermenter.

I tried stirring the wort as it was draining hoping to keep the hops into suspension and near the center and leaving the last 1/2 gallon behind. but this didn’t do a whole lot. I ended up sanitizing a bucket and my strainer and pouring it in the bucket and back into the fermenter. This was effective but seemed like a lot of work and increased risk of contamination.

What do others do to filter out those hops when transferring to their fermenter from their BK?

I brewed a batch of the Elevenses this weekend and I took a sanitized strainer and covered it with a nylon paint bag when I dumped the chilled wort to the primary fermentor. It seems to have gotten all the trub out and the primary is much cleaner than normal. I think for my next brew I’m going to simply try a mesh bag for the hop pellets. Think that would be a lot easier.

I use a bazooka screen for my hoppy beers. It keeps them pretty clean but some hop matter is always going to get through. You could also look into making a hop spider. Seems like a pretty simple concept & build. If you are spending money on Blichmann stuff you could always get the hop filter they sell.

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Yeah hop spider is definitely going to be on my list of next purchases/projects. I considered the hop blocker when buying the boilermaker but it’s $60 and the reviews for it are pretty terrible ranging from “kinda worked” to “doesn’t work at all”. Does your bazooka screen interfere with your immersion chiller or do you use a different method for chilling?

I think the hop blocker would work best for whole or leaf hops. The holes look a little too big to do anything against pellets.

I use a counter flow chiller so I do not need to put it in the kettle. I can’t imagine it would affect the immersion chiller too much. Maybe make it sit a little wonky in the kettle.

This is the one major advantage of whole leaf hops over pellets. It is much easier to filter them out - bazooka screen works great with them. On the other hand, they soak up a lot more wort than pellets do. And they take up more space in the freezer. And they don’t stay fresh for as long. All-in-all, you can see why most use pellets. I’ve got a plate chiller, and for me keeping the hops out so they won’t clog is a priority, so I use whole leaf.

And there is just something that feels right about dumping handfuls of whole hops into the kettle.

The plight of a hop lover :slight_smile:

I’ll probably just drain directly into the bucket then strain it over the carboy until I build a hop spider.

I wedge a stainless steel scrubber over the BK drain. It does a beautiful job of keeping whole hops out of the fermenter. With pellet hops, the initial few seconds of beer is a bit cloudy, but then - as hop particles accumulate in the scrubber - the beer starts to run clear. If you’re concerned about getting the clearest beer possible into the fermenter, catch the cloudy run-off and gently pour it back into the BK.

The only problem I’ve had with the scrubber is that it’s a challenge to hold it in place. Someone wrote about stuffing part of the scrubber into the drain tube. I built a t-shaped piece of copper tubing that lets me double the scrubber over and wedge it in place. Don’t forget to pull it out before you dump the spent hops in the trash!

Another option is to just dump the beer into the fermenter and not worry about getting some hops and trub.

[quote=“mattnaik”]The plight of a hop lover :slight_smile:

I’ll probably just drain directly into the bucket then strain it over the carboy until I build a hop spider.[/quote]

My 20 gallon pot does not have a valve, so I strain mine into my old 7 gallon pot with a large kitchen strainer (rectangular) with a paint strainer bag stretched over it. It works really well. I really do not worry too much about sanitizing the bag and strainer because boiling hot wort is going thru it.

I put my hop pellets in a 1 gallon paint strainer bag and clip it to the top of the pot. Some will say this affects hop utilization but I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in the brews since I started doing it. I have notices a difference in the trub and cleanliness of my harvested yeast.

I do the same thing and I don’t think it effects the hop utilization at all. I make a lot of IPA and iipa’s and it’s nice to just lift out the bag after cooling, I put rubber gloves on and squeeze the wort out of the hops.

I had thought this as well, but the Blichmann site states specifically that it’s designed for pellet hops. I believe the idea is that you must achieve a perfect whirlpool (probably hard to do in a 10 gal kettle with the hopblocker in place) and wait long enough for all of the particles to settle (hours) before draining.

To the OP: If you don’t mind spending a little money on a product should last a lifetime, check this out: http://www.stainlessbrewing.com/Hop-Spi … p_158.html. I use one and love it. I use whole hops almost exclusively, but they reportedly work well with pellets also. I used it for pellets once. It didn’t block everything, but it blocked enough to keep my plate chiller from clogging. That should work for your purpose.

I have that same spider and it works quite well with pellet hops (that is all I use) and I’m using a Therminator to cool without any issues. I still whirlpool as well as I can and let things settle for 15 minutes, end up with a pretty clean transfer.

After doing a bunch of different things, I still think a whirlpool (pellet hops only) is the easiest way. The key is to wait 20-30 minutes for everything to settle before draining the BK.

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