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A little help with the hop-stopper

 
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pinbrew



Joined: 31 Oct 2014
Posts: 51
Location: Kemptville, ON

Drinking: Toy Soldier Stout, Amber Ale

Working on: Amber Lager, Mexican Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr.


PostLink    Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:41 pm    Post subject: A little help with the hop-stopper Reply with quote


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I have a 20 gallon setup with a hop-stopper, and I'm getting a little frustrated. I don't know if it's me, my setup, or the product, but every time I brew I can't get the last gallon and a bit of wort out. Ever.



I've replaced the seals in the weldless fitting, I've leak-tested the 3pc ball valve and weldless connection (inluding replacing the quick-connect fittings), and I've ensured that the dip tube is true (I've tried another, new tube, too) and makes a good seal, but no matter what, once the fluid drops below the level of the valve I can't pull off the last of the boil no matter how slow I go with the pumps. I've also tried opening up the v in the dip tube to let more liquid in, but I'm not convinced that's a problem, given how much liquid is being left behind.

I have Chugger CPSS-IN-1 pumps from two years or so ago, and I've had some challenges with them keeping prime in the mash tun, but have addressed that with keeping the valve open at about 2/3 vs. full. Nothing leaks anywhere, so I don't think it's seals. The boild kettles are Blichmann G1s, and I don't think it's the weldless fittings, although it's weird that the problem always crops up when the level of the boil kettle drops below the weldless fitting to the valve - but again, no leaks.

Has anyone had any success with chuggers and the hop stopper? My hoses get air in them, so I don't know where it comes from (nothing leaks). I'm getting super tired of leaving 1-1.5 gallons of beer behind every time, but I don't know what I should be looking for at this point.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10150
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mentioned you slow down the pumps, but I would try even slower still.

Due to the efficient nature of the Hop Stopper, pumping too fast allows air to enter the filter screen from the top instead of wort entering from the bottom. This results in the Hop Stopper completely draining which in turn causes it to lose siphon. Watch for bubbles in the hose leaving the Boil Kettle as the sign that the siphon is getting ready to break. If this happens, immediately CLOSE the Wort Pump valve for approximately 10 seconds to allow wort to refill the Hop Stopper screen cavity. Then slowly OPEN the Wort Pump valve to finish draining the boil kettle at a reduced flow rate.

Kal

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pinbrew



Joined: 31 Oct 2014
Posts: 51
Location: Kemptville, ON

Drinking: Toy Soldier Stout, Amber Ale

Working on: Amber Lager, Mexican Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr.


PostLink    Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Kal,

Thanks for the quick reply. I've tried this, and have had no success. I'm kind of at my wit's end.

Basically, if the chugger loses prime, I'm done. Not sure if it's the pump, but if there's any air that gets in they seem to lose their ability to move anything, and gravity won't refill the hoses once the level drops to the last gallon or so. It doesn't matter what flow rate I use, it can't pull wort. e.g. at the lowest rate I can get from the pump, it still pulls air.

Raises the question for me, though, do you typically spend 10-20min opening and closing the valve at the end of the transfer, or do you get sustained flow?
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10150
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinbrew wrote:
Hey Kal,

Thanks for the quick reply. I've tried this, and have had no success. I'm kind of at my wit's end.

Basically, if the chugger loses prime, I'm done. Not sure if it's the pump, but if there's any air that gets in they seem to lose their ability to move anything, and gravity won't refill the hoses once the level drops to the last gallon or so. It doesn't matter what flow rate I use, it can't pull wort. e.g. at the lowest rate I can get from the pump, it still pulls air.

I wonder if you've got a leak in somewhere that's sucking in air. I know a few people have had issues with sub-par QDs that will tend to leak in air when their grain gets compacted and flow is impeded. Could be the same thing here?

You're not supposed to throttle the pump input, but what if you close the boil kettle ball valve with the pump still running downstream. Do you get air going in?

Quote:
Raises the question for me, though, do you typically spend 10-20min opening and closing the valve at the end of the transfer, or do you get sustained flow?

I only close and re-open once. It's the queue that I need to slow right down.

Kal

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huhwha



Joined: 10 May 2013
Posts: 71



PostLink    Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The suction leaks are definitely worth looking into. Make sure those hose clamps are screwed down tight.

Just as another data point, attached are the remnants of Kal's Pliny The Younger recipe I brewed a couple of weeks ago. I try to keep a consistent flow going into the fermenter. I do some adjusting early on to get the temperature set through the CFC. At the end I slow it down even more to try to get the last bit out. I've never timed it, but I would think 10-15 minutes to get 6 gallons into the fermenter.

Obviously, this is a hop monster, but I think the bigger issues with the hop stopper is hot break. That stuff can get really gritty and slimy and really plug things up if you go too fast.

Just some thoughts.



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pinbrew



Joined: 31 Oct 2014
Posts: 51
Location: Kemptville, ON

Drinking: Toy Soldier Stout, Amber Ale

Working on: Amber Lager, Mexican Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr.


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks, huhwha, I hadn't really thought of the hot break and timing of the hops addition. I'll wait for the break and see if that makes a difference, and I will be going over all my clamps and fittings again.
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BeerSolutions



Joined: 24 Mar 2015
Posts: 14



PostLink    Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same problem here with the hop stopper. Maybe the chugger pumps just don't have fine enough control like the march pumps Kal uses? I slowed down to a trickle, but either lose the siphon or lose the prime. It's like there's no middle ground.

I've read probably 10 articles now with people having the same issue. I've only brewed 4 batches with my full setup, but I've had this problem 3 times. The only thing I can think of to compensate is to target my recipe for 14 gallons and siphon off 6 into each carboy or try something like the hop spider to bag it (which I think would be difficult for 6G batches so close to the element).

In my gas setup I would use hop bags all the time. I never had an issue with utilization or taste. I think that might be the way to go...

-Todd
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chastuck



Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Beckenham, Kent, UK

Drinking: Bitter

Working on: IPA


PostLink    Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the hop stopper with my chugger pumps and have never had the problems described. I use camlocks, but do not think this would explain my success and other's failures. I have tried another alternative to the hop stopper for use with hop leaves and it works extremely well. Here is the link where I posted more details: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28525&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=
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BeerSolutions



Joined: 24 Mar 2015
Posts: 14



PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used the Hop Spider today. The hops were submerged and boiled. Not sure about how well they extracted yet, but the result was that only trub was left in the kettle, no hops. However, the hopstopper still got stuck with a gallon or so left. The trub formed a smaller, but more compact looking cake on the hop stopper although I'm not sure that is the problem at this point. I checked all of my connection (camlocks) and they seemed tight. So, using my best sanitization, I replaced the hop stopper with a normal blichmann dip tube and whirlpooled the trub. It formed a nice cone and I was able to siphon off the remaining wort without issue. I'm certain some trub made it into the fermentor, but I don't think it will be detrimental to the brew. We'll see how it turns out. If its good, I think I'm sold on the spider and whirlpool method.

-Todd
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jphussey



Joined: 17 Oct 2012
Posts: 167



PostLink    Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the hopstopper in a 20G blichmann but am just doing BIAB right now. I gravity feed the wort to the fermenter and don't see any problems with the hop stopper. Must be something with the pumps? Have you tried just gravity feeding? Might be able to isolate it to the pump that way?
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10150
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jphussey wrote:
I use the hopstopper in a 20G blichmann but am just doing BIAB right now. I gravity feed the wort to the fermenter and don't see any problems with the hop stopper. Must be something with the pumps?

Very much so. With a pump you can suck wort out of the hop stopper faster than it can gravity feed into the hop stopper through the screen. This is why I make the recommendations I do here and on our Hop Stopper order page to slow flow right down once the hop stopper get exposed to air, otherwise you'll empty it faster than it can fill.

Kal

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