I'm thinking of buying a...

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I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Pat » 6 months ago

Imagine you just heard that your sister/brother had just bought a good or service that you had already bought and that good/service had failed you. In hindsight, you'll be thinking, "I wish I had told them of my experience," and your sibling will be saying, "I wish I'd asked their advice."

Once the transaction is made though, it's all a bit too late, isn't it?

So, before you buy anything, use this thread to check with other "family members" - ask them, "Am I making a good decision?"

Cheers,
Pat

* When I get some more time I'll write, in the reserved post below, a thorough explanation of why I've started this thread and how, in the future, such a thread will become far less necessary.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Pat » 6 months ago

Purchases Addressed So Far

Stainless Steel Hop Spyder (asked by Jamaljo :salute:)

Reasoning for This Thread

There are many reason for this thread. Here are just three examples...

There are some things sold to home craft brewers that shouldn't be. A more experienced brewer knows of these things and can pass on that info here.

We often "impulse buy" equipment without actually thinking it through. This thread will hopefully help you think things through before a purchase.

A lot of home craft brewers are a passionate and innovative lot. That combination of traits, if tempered, can result in fantastic outcomes. If not tempered, it can just result in waste (I know this very well). So, from BIABrewer.info's perspective, if you have these traits, if we see you wasting your time, money and creative thinking on a "wobbly wheel" we'd like this thread to push you past that. Doing so will, hopefully get your passion and other skills aimed at something that will better serve you, and, you never know, maybe all of us?
Last edited by Pat on 05 Jul 2017, 21:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Jamato » 6 months ago

ok, I will bite

I was thinking of buying a hops cage, one of those types that you just hang from the side of the kettle.

I use hops sacks right now and tie the cord to the handle of the kettle. so as my hops are introduced I add more bags, With the hops cage I would just have to pour the basket already there.

My questions are how good they work, are they easy to clean, does any of the hops get into the wort, and what micron level is preferred?

I usually use pelleted hops for the bittering hops and leaf hops for the aroma and taste hops.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Scott » 5 months ago

Jamato - I saw those as well... For me, no problem working with mesh bags on the side of the keg until I did batches with too much wort and hops, and then felt there was too much hops and debris in bag to be effective. Felt I was losing utilization.

Ended up making a Hop Spider. Initially used a paint strainer bag but the weave was way too tight. Tough for wort to drain - ridiculous actually. Have went to a large mesh bag at bottom of Hop spider, similar to what I had on the side but maybe slightly larger. One brew under new system and so far good to go.

Nothing wrong with previous system with a bag attached to side except sometimes a bit difficult to get hops in the hole, with wet hops pulling the bag down. Drawstrings get tight.


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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Jamato » 5 months ago

I here you, that is why I am wondering about those wire mesh baskets they hang on the side.

It may be a convenience thing, easy to add, easy to clean, only have one to clean. or maybe it has benefits in utilization. I just think there is a better way than having 3 or more bags tied to the handle of the kettle.

I had forgot about hops spiders, what size ring did you use?
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Mad_Scientist » 5 months ago

I use a ss garbage disposal ring.


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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by PistolPatch » 5 months ago

What I do Jam is use my BIAB bag as a hop sock. After mash-out, I empty my BIAB bag, rinse it under a tap/faucet and then I 'hang' it in my kettle so that it wanders lazily about. I add my hop additions as needs be and, if for some stupid reason, I am experimenting, I have the option of "pulling" the sock above the wort after flame-out. (Ignore that last sentence... Hold on... just thought of one use for that!)

When I look at purchasing equipment now (after ten years of stupid buys :)), I think I now have some guidelines...

1. I like to do multi-task equipment as much as possible... Will it serve more than one purpose? (But, I never do that at the expense of quality.)
2. I stop and visualise me actually using the equipment... This is a big thing. Lots of stuff looks cool in a pic but when you stop and think about it (or buy it) you quickly see that there are a heap of 'activities' needed to employ that bit of equipment. A good example would be a grain mill.
3. I ask myself what will be involved in the cleaning and sanitisation of this equipment... That is probably the biggest thing but, in the case of a "hop spider" it's not as relevant but it still does have some relevance...

For example, above, we might think that a hop spider (stainless steel hop basket) might be easier to clean but your BIAB bag has to be washed anyway so why not use it for hops as well?

And, I wonder how easy a stainless steel spider is to really clean. Personally, I'd prefer just throwing one bag in my washing machine rather than having another bit of equipment that is large, you'll need to scrub and then, after all that, it will take up space to store.

Hope that helps a bit - buggered now sorry :peace:
PP
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Jamato » 5 months ago

I think I am sold on making a hops spider. It makes sense

Mad, you said you used a gd ring, got a pic? I would love to see it
\as I see it, that ring, 4 ss bolts and 8 jam nuts, and as Pete says, we already have the bag.

Wow, this is to simple, toady I fired another cord holding the hops bag. As we know I have been doing first wort hops experiments so I have been hanging the bag at 160 degrees and firing up the burner on high to get to boil as fast as possible, ever time I have done this I cooked the string holding the bag shut as it was tied to a handle and the heat was flooding the area. hops spiders being in the middle of the kettle eliminates this.

great site guys

thanks so much
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Mad_Scientist » 5 months ago

I have about 2 photos of it and one video, found in my signature. The video is from when I used a keggle. If you look carefully the two photos show it drapped over the kettle, I still hang it on the rope after the bag is pulled.

P.S. I was acting the fool in the video, lol
MS

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by ShorePoints » 5 months ago

Jamato, instead of meltable or combustible cord for hopsock fetching, I use copper wire. I twist it around the open end of the hopsock (rinsed grain bag or paint strainer bag) and the other end can either get looped around a kettle handle or to a distant cord hanging from my overhead pulley. It is thicker than telephone wire, but still flexible. I do not trust the wire twist to hold the weight of the bag plus wet hops suspended in air, but it is easy to get the hopsock to where I can grab it. A simple loop-twist is easy to open for addition of more hops. My immersion coil is copper, so we know that it is OK to use a copper wire in the hot wort.
By the way, my paint strainer hopsock bags have a mesh size that allows a lot of hop material to pass through to the wort. Using a rinsed grain bag with finer mesh keeps particles in the bag, and the grain bag has such a wide opening that I can stir it. Much less trub that way.

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Lumpy5oh » 5 months ago

I have one of those ss hop baskets. I liked the idea of and I got it on a presale/ trial deal. It is come shaped at the bottom and seems to trap and clog with the pellet debris. Another problem I had is that I use a 15 gal pot to do 5 gal batches and the wort level isn't high enough to reach up the cone. I ended up having to the a string to the hook and dangle it in the wort.
I would not recommend buying one.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Jamato » 5 months ago

Thanks for all the replies guys. I have decided to make a hops spyder, it just makes sense as I can use a larger bag and add each addition into it.

I was at my LOCAL (if you can call 120 miles away local) home brew store today, More Beer in riverside and bought a nice size hops bag that had a large enough neck to fit over a SS garbage disposal adapter. it looked to have the same micron level as the bags I have here. I have used those muslin hops socks and they leak out everything.

While there I talked to the manager about that new hops dust stuff and he told me he had not received any samples yet, when he does he is going email me the info that comes with them.

Thanks again.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by PistolPatch » 5 months ago

At time of writing, I see that the second post of this thread is still blank. I suspect though, that once written, one main aim of this thread is to force us to think logically and carefully before we make a purchase.

Jam, somewhere on this forum, you'll see a picture of one room of my small home. It shows a litter of wasted purchases, things I thought would save me time.

In your situation, I (and several posters above) can't see a single reason how a hop spider will serve you. In fact, if you want better hop management/control, a hop spyder :scratch: :think: :dunno:

So, instead of buying or making a hop spyder, spend that time on working out how to have your BIAB bag work as a hop sock. Work out how to hang it so it "lolls" lazilly during the boil.

... The flexibility/fluidity of a BIAB bag being used as a hop sock is brilliant.

A hop spyder will only limit your hop utilisation and cost you more cleaning.

To sum it up, I can't think of a single logical reason for a hop spyder.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Muggy Dawson » 5 months ago

Started off with a simple hop sock, where one end is tied off and I clipped the other end on the side of the urn with a bulldog clip.
Then I was drawn to the bling of a S/S hop spider and got one cheap online. Used it once and went back to the simple sock.
The spider was a PITA to clean, and had too many little folds and joins where gunk could lurk. The handle part on it also didn't sit at a good height/depth in the wort and wasn't exactly adjustable.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by PistolPatch » 5 months ago

Apologies Jam,

Just reading my last post and I didn't get the tone right, mainly in the last sentence. This post is one of many that have info on things I've tried but, like Muggy, ended up costing more time. That post also contains a link to another post with pics of one of my rooms full of past experiments :lol:.

It is good fun making stuff though ;)
PP
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Pat » 5 months ago

PistolPatch wrote:
5 months ago
At time of writing, I see that the second post of this thread is still blank. I suspect though, that once written, one main aim of this thread is to force us to think logically and carefully before we make a purchase.
Done. Apologies for the delay :peace:
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Muggy Dawson » 5 months ago

Might be a bit late, as I've already committed to a share in an organised bulk buy, but........I'm thinking (already bought, yet to try) of buying oxygen scavenging crown seals for my bottling.
I only bottle, and the majority of my brews are highish % bitters, Stouts, etc, so I thought with the longer time bottle conditioning I'm looking towards this might be a worthy addition to test out. The pricing is about 3 or 4 X what my usual run of the mill cap is, but per bottle it's negligible and I feel worth a punt.
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Scott » 5 months ago

I made a Hop spider and use that. So far I'm happy with it, overall.

Had done some brews where After Pulling the BIAB bag, tie the hop bag cord to the pulley cord and let it hang at the center of the pot. (Used to clamp it to the side of the pot for hopping). Using that bag hanging from the pulley cord is nice because it doesn't require a separate apparatus...but undoing the hot draw strings for future Hop additions is a pain. MS's sink drain ring would help keep the mouth of the bag open, so could be a nice addition if going down that path.

I know PP likes to use his BIAB bag for hopping, but for me that might not work well. When pulling the BIAB bag at conclusion of the mash, if doing First Wort Hopping, the FWH hops are supposed to be immediately added. It would require getting the grain out of the BIAB bag fairly quickly and getting the bag rinsed out. Normally when I pull my BIAB bag I let it hang for at least 30 minutes if not longer to drip into the pot. Then just a tad bit of squeezing at the end - after grain has considerably cooled and most wort drained into pot - before pulling and dumping the grain. So for the above reasons I don't think using the BIAB bag for hopping would be optimal for me.

First attempt with the Hop spider was a mess. Used commercial 1 gallon paint strainer bag with a very tight weave. Very difficult to drain. Huge pain!!! Almost ditched it at that point.

Standard Hop mesh bags, nylon, and thicker very course pattern so drains easily. Bought a new Hop bag, as wide and long as possible. Seems to work pretty well. My thoughts are that having Hop bag in center of pot likely gets better Hop utilization than when clamped to the sides. Had some cases with initial Hop bag where it could be too full, certain hoppy beers and large VIF batches, and obvious concerns of poor utilization. Note that after the BIAB got pulled I would tie the draw strings from the Hop bag to the pulley cord that the BIAB had hung from and let it coast in the middle of the pot.

Perhaps another solution could have been (perhaps will be) to add the 2nd Hop bag to the other side. But does side attachment get as good of utilization as center...? Hop spider does get in the way of the immersion chiller, and this is a bit of a juggle.

So that's where I'm at as of today... The Hop spider probably cost me $18US plus another $8-10 for the new bag. Plus time to construct it. It is one more thing to mess with. Seem to be some advantages at this so will continue for now.
Last edited by Scott on 10 Jul 2017, 02:55, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by PistolPatch » 5 months ago

Good point on the FWH Scott. I usually do two simultaneous side by side brews but, on the occasions I don't, I "double-bag" the mash, pull the first bag after the mash which leaves the second one in place as a hop sock.

Also liked reading about drawstrings; it reminds me of how many variations people have in their set-ups. My bag has no draw-string, just elastic and tabs so adding hops is not an issue.

It's all good fun :)
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Scott » 5 months ago

My verbiage was a little unclear...with trying to explain what was hanging, where and how.

When I was talking about tieing draw strings to the pulley cord and allowing hops to hang in the middle of the pot, it was from my mesh Hop Bag.

My BIABs bags have four (4) loops on the edge of their perimeter along with a Velcro tightening thing to secure when mounted on the pot.


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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by jhough » 4 months ago

I'm still thinking of buying that stainless steel conical fermenter . The one with the temp control jacket... Guess its a good thing I make the money and my wife pays the bills :headhit: :headhit:

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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Mad_Scientist » 4 months ago

jhough wrote:
4 months ago
I'm still thinking of buying that stainless steel conical fermenter . The one with the temp control jacket... Guess its a good thing I make the money and my wife pays the bills :headhit: :headhit:
I'm here to talk you out of that Joe, can't let you do that man! PM me and we can setup a Skype session. :peace:


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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by jhough » 4 months ago

AAHHHHH an intervention :lol: :lol: I'll grab some beers !!! Not gonna buy one...! daughter a senior at Florida State & one wanting to go in 3 years.
I won't have any money for that stuff till I'm dead ! HAHAHAHAHA
J


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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by PistolPatch » 4 months ago

You've dodged a bullet there Joe. Glad to see MS was on to you :)

A conical has a lot of problems for a home brewer. Here's a few I can think of quickly...

1. Hard to handle
2. Takes up a lot of space
3. Hard to refrigerate (due to 1 & 2 above)
4. A hell of a lot of parts to clean
5. The shape makes the body also hard to clean
6. The conical bit doesn't work as well as you'd think... a lot of trub/yeast gets caught on the sides

Conicals are for commercial breweries doing constant large batches. Some reasons why they are suitable for them are...

A. They are "jacketed," meaning they are temp-controlled
B. They are "man-sized" meaning the commercial brewer can easily hook up hoses, take samples, collect yeast etc without bending down
C. They'll be hooked up to pumps which means CIP (Cleaning in Place) is quite easy
D. They are constantly used which means that there is little stagnancy time. In other words, CIP, is good enough as bacteria etc simply don't have time to multiply in the "dead spaces."

This is a good example of how it can go very wrong when home craft brewers copy equipment or methodology used in commercial breweries; we forget not only our limitations but also our many advantages. For example, if a commercial brewer could simply pick up their fermenter to clean it, that's exactly what they'd do.

Yep, you've definitely dodged a bullet there :champ:
PP
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Re: I'm thinking of buying a...

Post by Clackers » 1 week ago

I want a new brew pot so I can do 19-20l batches. Currently I only have 20l and only brew 10-12l batches now, which is all good especially as
a 15l fermenter is all that will fit in my fridge for summer brewing. But winter is here and I brewed my first IPA recently and it was so good I
scoffed it down within a week and a half. I want to brew more.

So pots that are available within my budget are a 30l pot or a 50l pot.

Can I make 20l batches with a 30l pot? maybe using a sparge? + it will fit inside my insulated brew cabinet.
This one fits in my sink for cooling.

Is a 50l pot overkill for 20l? but can do a full volume mash, but wont fit in brew cabinet, not hard to make a new one though.
the 50l pot wont fit in my sink, so will need a wort chiller = more $ more space, but handy and will use often.

Both pots cost around the same, and no sizes between.

What would you buy?
Cheers.

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