Hop Spider or no Hop Spider

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Guybrush Threepwood

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Hi All,

I bought a stainless steel Hop Spider a few months ago and have used it in a few brews since and it seemed like a good idea to save on cleaning etc. at the end of the shift.

However.

The last brew I did was my first batch of the Greg Hughes APA. Normally this has a great hop profile and the flavours really burst through, but this time they are just not there at all. The beer is drinkable, but really a bit dull. Almost no hop aroma either.

I'm starting to think that using the Spider is possibly the issue, as the hops are all gummed up in a wee corner of the boil kettle effectively. The Spider itself is a decent size, but the hops obviously aren't rolling around in all the liquid. I've also noticed that the liquid in the Hop Spider doesn't seem to roll as much as the rest of the kettle during the boil (if that makes sense?).

The first few brews I did with the Spider where an ESB and an 80/- so probably wouldn't notice much in the loss of hop profile, but on this one it is noticeable.

Next brew is likely to be the DDH Pale Ale from the new edition of Greg Hughes Bible (great update BTW), so looking for pronounced hopiness and therefore thinking of ditching the Spider as I don't really want a bland effort with an expensive (to me anyway) hop bill.

Just looking to see if anyone else has had similar issues and the Spider could be the issue?
 

Cheshire Cat

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I've bought one for dry hopping but not used it yet, you seem to be using it for the boil. Were you using leaf or pellets?
 

Bigjas

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I bought a spider a couple of years ago and had the same issues. I went back to putting the hops in a muslin bag and have had no issues since. I believe the holes in my spider are not big enough to allow the wort to circulate through the hops, maybe you are having the same issue?
 

Braufather

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i tend to chuck the the boil additions straight in and just use the spider for Hop stands. But i do i wonder if i would be better chucking them in too? whats holding me back is up to 300 g of hop pellets would create a lot of trub!
 

Braufather

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Hi All,

e.

Next brew is likely to be the DDH Pale Ale from the new edition of Greg Hughes Bible (great update BTW), so looking for pronounced hopiness and therefore thinking of ditching the Spider as I don't really want a bland effort with an expensive (to me anyway) hop bill.
ive only got the old book, but like the sound of this? any chance of posting it?
 

the_quick

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I think you are right, hop spider holes are way to small. Muslim bag are bigger. I have noticed that after last brew in Robobrew - took hop spider out and wort was draining very slowly from it. I think it might be worse for pellets than leafs.
But as robobrew has a false bottom, I might use leaf hops and leave them loose, to have filter bed when draining.
 

Guybrush Threepwood

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Thanks all, backing up my original thoughts.

Will give a try without the Spider and see if there is a return to form!

If it works I'll try and flog the offending item on eBay. I would post it on the forum but might have talked myself out of a sale.

ive only got the old book, but like the sound of this? any chance of posting it?
I'll try to get the recipe up when I get a chance athumb..
 

Dexter101

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I have bought one recently as I didn't really like cleaning muslin and got fed up chucking things away.

still waiting for the beer to come out of FV so no idea yet how its gone but I found it reduced the intensity of the boil. I did feel the wort moved through the filter and actually when I first put it in I could see hop particles moving in the wort outside the filter.

Neither beer I have made with it have been particularly hoppy though so fairly low levels of hops in the spider.

My biggest problem with it is trying to clean it! its too big to get under my tap and you end up just moving hop debris up and down the spider
 

Ghillie

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Hop bag.

The big BIAB style ones are decent because it allows for the hop matter to move around. What you don't want is a big clump of hob matter restricted in movement by a bag that's too wee.

The issue I have with hop spiders is that the mesh is too small. Mine always clogged up to such a degree that when I lifted it out the kettle, it remained full of wort. If the wort can't leak out, neither can the flavour IMO.
 

Guybrush Threepwood

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I have bought one recently as I didn't really like cleaning muslin and got fed up chucking things away.

still waiting for the beer to come out of FV so no idea yet how its gone but I found it reduced the intensity of the boil. I did feel the wort moved through the filter and actually when I first put it in I could see hop particles moving in the wort outside the filter.

Neither beer I have made with it have been particularly hoppy though so fairly low levels of hops in the spider.

My biggest problem with it is trying to clean it! its too big to get under my tap and you end up just moving hop debris up and down the spider
They are murder to clean indeed. A big solid clump that ends up getting stuck in the mesh.

Hop bag.

The big BIAB style ones are decent because it allows for the hop matter to move around. What you don't want is a big clump of hob matter restricted in movement by a bag that's too wee.

The issue I have with hop spiders is that the mesh is too small. Mine always clogged up to such a degree that when I lifted it out the kettle, it remained full of wort. If the wort can't leak out, neither can the flavour IMO.
The more I think about it, the more I lean towards this theory. Possibly to do with exposed surface area. If there is a large semi-solid clump of sodden mass in the Spider, then only the outside of it is exposed to the wort, rather than the matter bubbling around in it.
 

samale

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Just been to Sainsbury's they are doing nylon bags with a draw string for the fruit and veg. Only 30p. I think it's already been mentioned on here but I will be giving them a try as a hop bag.
 

Oneflewover

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I've decided that I really don't like hop spiders for all the reasons outlined above. Whilst it is a bit of a pain having to order both, i only use whole hops direct into the boiler, and pellet hops straight in the fv - no bags, no faff.
 

ChrisRedWills

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I use one not had an issue with it as for cleaning I use the garden hose on it no problems I will say I tend to make less hoppy beers
 

Guybrush Threepwood

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ive only got the old book, but like the sound of this? any chance of posting it?
First time posting a recipe so hope this has all the info you need.

GH DDH Pale Ale:

Grain:
3.5 kg Pale Malt
1.5 kg Wheat Malt
300g Carapils

Hops:

50g Simcoe (at flame out)
50g Amarillo (at flame out)
150g Citra (dry hop last 3 days)
150g Galaxy (dry hop last 3 days).

Yeast:

Wyeast 1318 London Ale III.

Mash 1hour at 65 C
Boil 1 hour 15 min.

Mash with 13 litres then sparge to collect 26 litres for boil.

OG 1049 FG 1010. Est ABV 5.2%

Just realised the recipe doesn't call for any bittering hops at all. Hmmmm. GH has never steered me wrong before I suppose.
 

Braufather

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great thanks!

This will be my next beer!

May swap pale ale with Pilsner malt though.
thats a lot of wheat isnt it, i made a wheat beer with not much more than that!
 

Braufather

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whats the target IBU- with the flame out is it a hop stand or just add then chill?
 
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