The Clogged Boil Kettle Canundrum
I have been through no less than 5 filtering methods to try and keep hops and other boil sediment out of my beer. I have read article upon article of what works for different people, and I’ve gotta tell you, many did not work for me in the least. So, for what it’s worth, I will take you on a little journey on how I discovered how to filter out hops and prevent clogging when boiling your hot wort.
The Main Issue: Whirlpooling.
Now perhaps I am not patient enough, perhaps I am too weak or uncoordinated, but I have never gotten a nice whirlpool at the end of a boil that settled all of the hop gunk and trubs into a pretty little cone in the middle of my boil kettle. I’ve tried it many times, but each time, I stir with all of my might, I let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes, I throw open the floodgates (the spigot) and let it drain into my fermenter. But each time, it clogs! Almost immediately, I get enough gunk on the mesh filter I have in the pot that it clogs it right up. Maybe I am an anomaly. Maybe I am impatient. but just puting a drain tube to the edge of the pot and whirlpooling does not work. I tried a couple different filters in the bottom, and still it would clog up. Bazooka screen – not good enough.
So I gave up on whirlpooling as the main form of filtration. I moved on to the hop bag. This is a brilliant yet simple and elegant solution for the filtering problem. All of your hops and other large items (spices, etc) go in a bag that floats in the wort as it boils. Then all you need to do is filter out the little bits that get past the bag and you are golden! Not only do you get a better filter, but you don’t have to wait for a whirlpool of any sort. Also, hop cleanup is a cinch – just take the hop bag out of the kettle, and empty the bag into the compost heap (or garbage, or whatever).
The Current Setup
So what I have now is as follows:
- A hop bag for all boil kettle additions that catches most of the large items needing to be filtered.
- Then, I still have my bazooka screen attached to a dip tube to screen out the rest of the gunk that makes it past.
Using this setup, I have never had a clog. Well, I take that back, there was one, but that involved mold buildup in the spigot. Did you know given the correct conditions and time, mold growth can become a hard, ball-like substance? Kids, always remember to clean out your spigot.