Hops although a vital ingredient in beer, present a challenge to brewers post boil. Whether you use whole cone hops or hop pellets these aromatic and tasty flowers tent to either end up in the fermenter or clog pumps and chillers. Separating hops from wort post boil is such an important step in the brewing process that brewers have developed numerous methods to accomplish this task. Hops Spiders are one method to accomplish our goal of separating hops from the wort. In this article, Troy Rahner explains what a Hop Spider is and how he built one from common household parts found at any local hardware store.
A Hop Spider is nothing more than a fine mesh bag containing hops suspended from the top of the boil kettle. Because most beer recipes call for multiple hop additions at various times during the boil, the mesh bag needs to remain open and the top not tied closed as we would do with muslin bags.
- 1 - Stainless Steel kitchen sink flange
- 1 - 4" Stainless Steel worm clamp
- 3 - 5" Stainless Steel lag bolts*
- 3 - Stainless Steel nuts
- 1 - Paint strainer bag**
- 1- finishing nail or center punch
- 1- felt tipmarkerr
*If you are using a keggle the lag bolts may surfice, but if you are using a large pot, the diameter may be great enough that you may need to substitue stainless steel allthread instead of lag bolts. **The size of the paint strainer bag you purchase depends on the depth of your boil kettle. You want the bag to be suspened an inch or two above the bottom of the kettle so it does not burn.
- Screw Driver
- 2 x Crescent wrench
- Drill bits capable of drilling stainless steel
- Optional Step bit.
- Lubricant such as WD-40 or Machine Oil
- Mark three locations, evenly spaced around the diameter of the sink flange with the felt tip marker.
- Using the finishing nail/center punch and hammer make a small indentation on all three locations you marked with the felt tip pen. This step isn't necessary but will help to keep your drill bit from walking when drilling through the stainless steel sink flange.
- Drill all three locations you marked in the first step. Drilling stainless steel can be tricky so here are a few tips.
- Use WD-40 or Machine oil to help keep the metal from getting too hot. (dish soap works in a pinch)
- Drill slowly
- Start small by drilling a pilot hole. You can progressivly increase the size of the bit or use a step bit
- Be patient. Steel will harden as it heats so take your time and add libricant as you drill
- Attach the lag bolts or all-thread to the flange by threading a nut on and then inserting the lag bolt or all-thread through the holes and finally threading on a second bolt on the inside of the flange. Tighten both bolds with the crecent wrenches.
- Slip the worm clamp over the flange and then use it to attach the paint trainer bag.