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Electric urn brewers (/other?) - how do you filter pellet hops from wo

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slash22000

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Bit of a rant here.

So I did my first full volume boil extract beer in my new 40L Birko urn last night.

Everything went as planned, had no problems with reaching a rolling boil (although it took about 20 - 30 minutes to reach a boil), no problem with a "boil dry" switch or something like that I'd heard about. I ended up with exactly the volume I wanted after the boil. Basically it went perfect, or so I thought.

The recipe called for 84g worth of pellet hops over the 60 minute boil. Having the pellet hops sorted out in advance, it certainly does not look like a lot of hops. I figured, what's the big deal with people and filtering hops? There's virtually nothing here!

Until the time came to transfer to the fermentor. Again all was going perfectly, no issues, until it got down to about the level of the tap. This Birko urn needs about 5 litres of liquid before it even reaches the tap and it was completely and utterly clogged with hops. It was hop madness, like some kind of plague. I ended up having to just tip it out, there was no way to do anything about it after the fact. The tap clogged instantly with all the hop crap.

So yeah, it turns out that a physically very small amount of hops can **** a significant volume of wort.

All of the kettle hop screens/filters I see around the net have these huge disclaimers, "WILL NOT WORK WITH PELLET HOPS". So wtf do people do then? Some people say to use a "hop bag" but then others say that boiling a hop bag leeches shit into the beer and/or reduces the hop goodness because they're stuck in a little bag.

TL;DR: Hop pellet sludge. Hop pellet sludge everywhere. Ruined a quarter of a beer. Need to filter it somehow. Googled it extensively. Apparently no filtering method on Earth works on pellet hops. Advice? Thanks in advance!
 

seamad

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I have an elbow and pickup which touches the bottom of my urn, and I run the pump for ten minutes to whirlpool then drain, most of the hops form a cone in the centre of the urn. You can still do similiar with yours, Put lid on at end of boil and leave @15 minutes for convection currents to stop, get a big arsed spoon and stir the hell out of it trying to get a good whirlpool going, put lid back on and then drain.
If using flowers use a hopsock.
cheers
sean
 

bum

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1. Beer is not ruined. RDWAHAHB. Many good beers have been made with lots of hop material in the wort. Might make it a little different than you intended but it will be far from ruined because of this.

2. Did you whirlpool?

3. Did you angle the urn towards the end to save the great amount of wort in the deadspace?
 

Beersuit

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Slash you could change out the standard tap to a 1/2 inch 3 piece tap with a pickup tube. That way you can sanitize the tap better and get at the wort below the hole. Works a charm.
The hops that do make it into the fermenter will settle out in the bottom anyway.
 

slash22000

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Questions so far:

Whirlpooling: I tried to imitate this "whirlpool" situation people talk about. I did use some Irish Moss in the boil. I had hops to add at flameout so I let the wort rest/settle for a time while they were steeping after I tried whirling the wort around with my spoon. The hops (/etc?) were settled nicely in the centre of the fermentor, but as soon as the wort got down to the tap it sucked the hops right out of the centre into the tap - I could literally see them streaming from the centre like a vacuum.

RDWAHAHB: If I'm reading this right, you reckon to just add the crap straight to the fermentor? Don't worry about filtering?

Angle the urn / deadspace: No? Not actually 100% sure what this means. Angle it away from the tap? Wouldn't this also end up with me losing litres of wort since it can't get to the tap?

Change tap to pickup tube: Not sure what "pickup tube" means although it sounds fairly self-explanatory given the name. Wouldn't the tube get clogged with hops just like the tap? Is it easy/cheap to replace the tap?
 

browndog

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I always have a hop sock in my fermenter with the hose ( in my case from the chiller) in it. That way any hops that do make it into the fermenter come out with the hop sock.
 

slash22000

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People seem to think that boiling a hop sock releases chemical shit into the beer? Also, that hops in a hop sock aren't fully utilised and it's better to just add them straight in?

If there's nothing wrong with using a hop sock, I can do that.
 

Budron

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There is nothing wrong with using a hop sock. /end thread
 

Beersuit

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The tap should be easily changed over I think from memory that the standard tap is 1/2 inch. There it a thread going on mounting kettle taps that should help.
I haven't as yet had a tap block up from hops.
If you can see the hops in the center of the urn streaming towards the tap you can slow the flow to stop disturbing them.
 

Bribie G

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Here 'tis, a swimming pool for the hoplets !

these bags filter out nearly all the sludge from hop pellets, and are a must for hop flowers, but give the hops a good swim around while boiling, as all the steam has to come up through the material.

I get mine from Ross, well GOT mine as they are coming up four years and last forever.

If I'm doing a lightly hopped beer, say 15g of something about a zillion IBU I just chuck them in commando style, but anything over 20g, out comes the bag.

biab3 (Medium).jpg
 

JDW81

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slash22000 said:
The hops (/etc?) were settled nicely in the centre of the fermentor, but as soon as the wort got down to the tap it sucked the hops right out of the centre into the tap - I could literally see them streaming from the centre like a vacuum.
How quickly did you drain the urn? The speed you drain has a massive impact on mow much stuff ends up coming through the tap.

I don't use a hop sock, I just whirlpool the dickens out of the wort, then let it sit for a while. I then drain very slowly over about 5 minutes. Once I can see the trub cone in the bottom of the kettle I slow the flow down even more. I can pretty much run my kettle dry (yes I do have a pick-up tube) without getting any break/hop material into the cube.

This is what a pick-up tube can look like (mine is made with a 90 degree hose barb attached to the same weld less fitting the tap is, sorry don't have a picture).
 

bum

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slash22000 said:
RDWAHAHB: If I'm reading this right, you reckon to just add the crap straight to the fermentor? Don't worry about filtering?
Yes and no. If the "crap" is only hops then I don't think it is the worst thing in the world that can happen and is something to just refine on other brews. If the "crap" includes a large amount of hot break then I think it is worth removing from your wort.

slash22000 said:
Angle the urn / deadspace: No? Not actually 100% sure what this means. Angle it away from the tap? Wouldn't this also end up with me losing litres of wort since it can't get to the tap?
I was wondering if you'd angled towards the tap so you could get extra wort - you obviously haven't though or you'd have probably seen what I meant right away. I was just wondering if this might have been something that was contributing to the amount of trub you were picking up.

To summarise some of the above, you have three main options (or any combination thereof):
  • brew slightly biggger batches (if the urn allows) to allow for the large loss and leave the wort a little longer to settle before transferring
  • use a hopsock
  • fit a tap and pickup tube - the tap will let you drain slower and therefore pull at the trub cone a little less and lose less to deadspace - not a magic fix but with some practice you can get good results
 

Crusty

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Bribie G said:
Here 'tis, a swimming pool for the hoplets !

these bags filter out nearly all the sludge from hop pellets, and are a must for hop flowers, but give the hops a good swim around while boiling, as all the steam has to come up through the material.

I get mine from Ross, well GOT mine as they are coming up four years and last forever.

If I'm doing a lightly hopped beer, say 15g of something about a zillion IBU I just chuck them in commando style, but anything over 20g, out comes the bag.
I followed Bribie's advice on the grain bag for the hops & it works a treat.
 

lukiferj

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I have been using hop socks for a while. Looking at getting one of the grain bags from Ross as I use seperate socks for each addition at the moment which is a pain in the ass to clean. Let it sit for 20 mins after flame out and whirlpool. Leave for 10 mins and I get a nice trub cone. This has worked for my last 3 BIAB's in an urn.
 

slash22000

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Does the grain bag not float in the boil? Should it be weighed down with a couple of nuts/bolts or something?
 

Crusty

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slash22000 said:
Does the grain bag not float in the boil? Should it be weighed down with a couple of nuts/bolts or something?
It does come to the surface but it doesn't matter, no need to weigh it down. It rolls back & forward, left & right so you can just leave it be. I tend to play around with it a bit poking it here & there but you don't need to at all.
 

Truman42

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I use a 40 litre crown urn and do this

Made a hop spider (basically a short length of 100 mm PVC pipe with 3 bolts coming out from the sides. The bolts hold the pipe in the middle of the urn and I have a hop sock clamped to the bottom. All my hops go into the sock.) google that shit.

At EOB I wait 15 mins for convection currents to ease then stir for a minute to whirlpool.
After 20 mins I crack the tap slightly so the wort trickles out through the chiller into the fermenter.
When it gets to the bottom I tilt the urn slightly.
I always have a nice trub come in the middle which stays put.
I also gave a mesh screen over my inlet in my ball valve to help screen out crap

I end up with a litre of trub if that and never have a problem with hops or break into the kettle.
And I also use half a tablet if whirlflic at ten mins.
 

Bribie G

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The bag rolls up and down and sort of massages the hops. I want to come back as a BIAB hop B)
 

felten

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I'd also look at slowing your flow rate down out of the kettle, and waiting a little longer before transferring.

Personally as a no-chiller I wait 15 mins after flameout, then whirlpool and wait another 30 mins.
 

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