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Will Pellet Hops Clog my Pump or valves?

I want to throw pellet hops directly into my boil pot for maximum hop utilization. At the end of the boil, before I route the wort to my plate chiller I would start my pump and recirculate from my boil pot (dip tube at the pot bottom center), through the pump and a couple of valves, and back to the boil pot via a return connector in the top rim of my boil pot. I might also do a hop stand with several ounces of pellet hops at the end of the boil.

During this recirculation I would catch hop material at the output of the return connector using a strainer (probably a 300 micron basket). I would let this run until most of the hop material is collected.

My system uses 3/8" ID silicone tubing, and 3/8" ID hose barbs, so that is the smallest diameter at any point. I’m using a 1/25th horsepower steelhead pump.

Will this clog my pump and/or valves?

I know there are other ways to do this, like whirlpooling, etc., but I want specifically to do it this way if possible. If anyone has done this successfully I would like to benefit from your experience, please let me know.

Thanks and Cheers!

300micron basket will clog up pretty fast. I just use a kitchen strainer and even it clogs up when I use a lot of hops. I’m not talking about the pump part because I don’t use one.

You have asked this question several times and we have answered it to the best of our abilities. With this said it’s clear that you have made up your mind and this is how you’re moving forward.
The only thing to do now is to test your system out and see if it’s success or failure.

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Yup- Jump off the cliff and give 'er a whirl! Sounds interesting so let us know how it works. :sunglasses:

OK challenge accepted Loopie_beer and WMNoob ! I made an extract (my recipe version of Moose Drool, which I named Buffalo Tears on account we almost wiped them out a while back), and during the boil I threw the hops directly in with no filter of any kind anywhere…2 ounces total. I recirculated during the last 15 minutes of the boil during final hop additions, and everything was hunky dory until, no kidding, 1 minute remaining. The wort stopped flowing, although the pump was running so I shut it down. After a little fooling around I realized the problem was at the pickup tube at the bottom center of the keggle, and after a quick stir with my spoon in that spot I tried the pump and everything was going fine again.

This is when I started to collect hop material (at the end of the boil) with a nylon mesh bag, which got heavy within a couple of minutes, and I’m estimating that was about 90-95% of the hop material. I found that it took about 10 more minutes more, using a kitchen mesh strainer so I could see what I was getting, to get the majority of the rest of the hop material. I then redirected the wort through the plate chiller with no problems whatsoever. So what did I learn? I need to start filtering hops earlier before the end of the boil, and possibly increase the hop additions since I am removing them before the total boil time is done. I also think I will put some kind of filter on the pickup tube. So bottom line my technique works with my setup, and with some adjustments as I mentioned I can go forward doing it this way. I don’t know how many ounces of hops I can add without clogging the pump or valves, but with a filter on the dip tube I should be able to double or triple the hops I’m thinking.

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Successful first run! I’ll bet you’re going to have a few steps refining your process till you get it dialed in the way you want it. Congrats!

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There ya go! Now you can move forward with finalizing and perfecting your system.

Something else I realized during this extract brew aside from the hop clog topic. My original plan was to, as a final step, incorporate a heater with PID control for my RIMS setup. I’m going to hold off on that step because I noticed when I turned off my propane burner (when my mash temp was 150F) the mash temperature rose another 6 degrees due to thermal heat storage in the keggle and the supporting steel frame, and it very gradually dropped to 152 over the next 30 minutes with no applied heat…and I was recirculating during about half that time. Based on this I think I can just apply heat with the propane burner, which has a valve on it with very fine control of the gas, to maintain mash temperature and/or even for step mash temperatures down the road. I’m going to go this route for at least a few brew batches and see how that goes, before I drop a couple hundred bucks on a controller. My base motivation for redesigning my brew rig was to simplify my brew day without sacrificing brew quality. The controller is starting to look like an unnecessary complication. Thanks if anyone is reading my rambling comments…I think this thread has run it’s course.

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Everyone takes a while to dial in all thevariables in process and equipment that makes their brew day “their” brew day. I’m a 100+ batches in and keep finding refinements and tweaks to improve mine. Enjoy the hobby, keep looking for improvements in what you know, how you do things and the beer will follow. Most of all, RDWAHAHB! :sunglasses:

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I know that one! I read Charlie Papazian’s book. RELAX, DON’T WORRY, AND HAVE A HOME BREW

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