What's the best boil kettle drainage setup?

So far, I have yet to drill a hole and add a bulkhead to my 10 gallon SS boil kettle. I have gotten fairly good results whirlpooling at FO and then whirlpooling again after the wort has been chilled and then siphoning with my autosiphon staying to the side and a few inches below the surface. I can usually get most of the hot break to stay in the kettle and find that the sediment in my fermenter is mostly just the yeast. But, at some point, I’m going to become less patient with this siphoning process and will want to add that bulkhead and ball valve. I have been trying to figure out what would work best on the inside of the kettle. A single braid would run straight through the hot break cone, so I thought that would be a problem. A braid could only be used with whole hops as I have read the pellets clog the braid. I’d like to design a copper manifold made out of 1/2" or 3/8" flexible tubing that could be run in a circle along the bottom of the kettle along the wall with slots cut into it only on the outside of the manifold to avoid sucking up hot break. It sounds elaborate, but working with copper is not a problem with me as I built my own copper manifold for my MLT. But is there a simpler solution that you guys use that works very well? Thanks.

I just have a 90 degree elbow on the bulkhead and brass hose nipple screwed into that that touches the bottom of the kettle at an angle. About the only time I whirlpool is if I’m doing a hopstand.

I pretty much use pellet hops exclusively and put them in paint strainer bags in the kettle because I pump the wort through a plate chiller then to the fermenter. I don’t worry much about break material and it’s caused no issues.

I do harvest and reuse almost all my yeast and I’ve had no issue with beer clarity.

I just have a 90 degree elbow on the bulkhead and brass hose nipple screwed into that that touches the bottom of the kettle at an angle. About the only time I whirlpool is if I’m doing a hopstand.

I pretty much use pellet hops exclusively and put them in paint strainer bags in the kettle because I pump the wort through a plate chiller then to the fermenter. I don’t worry much about break material and it’s caused no issues.

I do harvest and reuse almost all my yeast and I’ve had no issue with beer clarity.[/quote]

So you’re saying that the importance of keeping the hot break out of the fermenter is another thing that’s been overemphasized? Also, what are the paint straining bags made of that they can withstand the heat of boiling wort? Do you have to make sure they stay off the bottom of the kettle? Also (less related question), how important is it to avoid exposing the ball valve to direct flame? The manufacturers advise creating a heat shield for the ball valve. What do you do if anything? Thanks.

I just have a 90 degree elbow on the bulkhead and brass hose nipple screwed into that that touches the bottom of the kettle at an angle. About the only time I whirlpool is if I’m doing a hopstand.

I pretty much use pellet hops exclusively and put them in paint strainer bags in the kettle because I pump the wort through a plate chiller then to the fermenter. I don’t worry much about break material and it’s caused no issues.

I do harvest and reuse almost all my yeast and I’ve had no issue with beer clarity.[/quote]

So you’re saying that the importance of keeping the hot break out of the fermenter is another thing that’s been overemphasized? Also, what are the paint straining bags made of that they can withstand the heat of boiling wort? Do you have to make sure they stay off the bottom of the kettle? Also (less related question), how important is it to avoid exposing the ball valve to direct flame? The manufacturers advise creating a heat shield for the ball valve. What do you do if anything? Thanks.[/quote]

I have something similar to Danny. I bag whole hops (in muslin bags) and toss pellets right in.
Tried a variety of filters and screens over the years, but they would all plug eventually.

As far as ballvalves taking the heat, I don’t use a heat shield.

I brewed 10 gals of faux pils. A majority of the trub went into one fermentor. After kegging, I can’t tell the difference between the two, taste or clarity.

I just have a 90 degree elbow on the bulkhead and brass hose nipple screwed into that that touches the bottom of the kettle at an angle. About the only time I whirlpool is if I’m doing a hopstand.

I pretty much use pellet hops exclusively and put them in paint strainer bags in the kettle because I pump the wort through a plate chiller then to the fermenter. I don’t worry much about break material and it’s caused no issues.

I do harvest and reuse almost all my yeast and I’ve had no issue with beer clarity.[/quote]

So you’re saying that the importance of keeping the hot break out of the fermenter is another thing that’s been overemphasized? Also, what are the paint straining bags made of that they can withstand the heat of boiling wort? Do you have to make sure they stay off the bottom of the kettle? Also (less related question), how important is it to avoid exposing the ball valve to direct flame? The manufacturers advise creating a heat shield for the ball valve. What do you do if anything? Thanks.[/quote]
I do have a heat shield for the valve. It came with my kettle/ball valve. Just a piece of tin really.

The paint strainer bags are very similar to a BIAB bag, a poly blend I think. I clip them to the top of the kettle with a binder clip to keep them off the bottom. The 5 gallon size bags allow for some flotation and movement during the boil which allows for good wort/hop contact. Some brewers will tell you to increase the hops by 5% or so if you use a bag but I never have.

The guy who first got me into brewing just poured everything from the kettle into the fermenter once it was cooled, hops and all. So I did it that way too. I only started to bag the hops when I began harvesting yeast.

This is interesting to me too as I’m wanting to finish a BK from a 16 gallon keg. So have Dannyboy58 and mrv tried to recirculate AS you chill with your pump? I think I would like to add an extra port to pump the wort back into the kettle, with an elbow to create a whirlpool. Two reasons, as one to get the sediment into the middle of the kettle, where I have a ring to hold hop trub, second I hope it will chill faster…. Just thinking. My one port now is as low as I could get it silver soldered into the side and like the others an elbow and I use a nipple. Same as my HLT except there I have a short length copper then a nipple, only leaves about a cup of water in the bottom bowl area… Sneezles61 :blah:

Right now I pour everything throug a big strainer that sits on my bucket, I’ll siphon some if it’s a big batch. I have a ball valve and 90deg nipple which I havnt installed yet, but when I do I’m going to drain through a paint strainer tied over the valve. At least that’s what I’ll try.

If what you’re doing with an autosiphon works, then just do the same thing, but with a valve.

Have your ball valve go to a 90" elbow, and then to a pickup tube which rests against the side of the kettle. In effect, you’ll have the same thing-- a pickup that has no filter, and is as close to the edge and the bottom as possible.

[quote=“Wahoo”]If what you’re doing with an autosiphon works, then just do the same thing, but with a valve.

Have your ball valve go to a 90" elbow, and then to a pickup tube which rests against the side of the kettle. In effect, you’ll have the same thing-- a pickup that has no filter, and is as close to the edge and the bottom as possible.

[/quote]
That will work fine, and I would keep whirlpooling as well.

I use a stainless braid snaked around the perimeter of my kettle, with a piece of solid copper wire inside to keep it in place. It is a bit of a PITA to clean, and if I’m not careful with it, it will clog while draining. So I can’t wholeheartedly endorse it, but it works for me. Being careful means making sure to whirlpool before draining, and not using too much pellet hops. Whole hops are great, they naturally form a filter bed over the braid and keep trub or pellet bits from clogging it, or getting into the plate chiller (which is the main reason I worry about filtering the wort while draining).

I use the exact setup that was pictured above in my kettle. I actually didn’t have too much hop gunk in my last brew with just a whirlpool and draining, even without a filter of some sort. I don’t use a plate chiller and don’t re-use my yeast, so it wasn’t really a problem to have some trub get into the fermenter, but if you whirlpool, use some sort of filter, and a setup like the picture I think you’ll be just fine.

I have recirculated both during the mash and during cooling. I just clip the hose on the side of the kettle so that it creates a whirlpool. I leave about a pint in the bottom of my kettle when I drain it.

This works great for me and it is simple.

Going to have to improve my whirlpool skills! Last night I brewed Denny’s Rye IPA and used whole leaf hops for the first time (for the columbus addition). The leafs combined with the pellets from the Mt. Hood plugged up my valve in no time flat.

Wasn’t an issue with a sanitized spoon, but just kind of a pain. Made it work and it’s fermenting away happily now! I’ll be looking to improve my methods here soon :cheers:

Yeah, that’s why I bag whole hops. They would clog my diptube.

I use an IC and drop the bags inside.