New to the Blichmann Engineering lineup is the patent pending HopBlocker boil kettle filtration system! Over a year of brutal but tasty research yielded a filtration system that has up to 95% efficiency and is virtually impervious to plugging! Blichmann tested the HopBlocker with over a pound of pellet hops in a 20gal batch and it brought them to their knees.
Traditional screen filters quickly plug with pellet hops and other fine break material since they draw from the bottom of the pot and immediately suck all the break material into the screens where they quickly plug. For the HopBlocker, Blichmann utilized preferential flow to leave the settled fine break material (hops and trub) undisturbed at the bottom of the pot while draining the majority of the wort through a coarse filter from the top down. When the wort level is just a couple inches from the bottom of the pot, the fine filter element is then exposed by lifting the shield and the remainder of the wort is filtered. This way, the fine filter only has to filter a small portion of the wort instead of all of it. The HopBlocker will filter 90-95% of the break material and hops out of your wort without plugging. While it is designed specifically for BoilerMaker pots, it can be installed in any manufacturers pot or keg. Instructions provided.
1. Install the HopBlocker into the pot using the snap-in dip tube - this takes only a few seconds!
2. Ensure that the shield is pushed all the way to the bottom of the screen and the HopBlocker is resting resting flat on the bottom of the pot. Proceed with your boil as you normally do. The HopBlocker may move a bit during the boil but this is not a problem as it will automatically right itself.
3. At flame-out stir the wort vigorously with the stir paddle to create a whirlpool which encourages the hops and trub particulates to settle to the bottom center of the pot away from the HopBlocker.
4. Allow 15-20 min for the thermal convection currents to slow and allow the break material and hop particulates to settle.
5. Drain your pot as fast as you'd like until you see the top of the kettle drain fitting (about 3" of wort)
6. Reduce the drain flow rate to about 1/3 the initial flow rate. This allows the wort to permeate through the hops and trub and enter the filter screen to be drained.
7. Use your stir paddle to hold the filter down and quickly pull the shield up with a gloved finger or a racking cane (or similar) so that it is out of the wort completely. It is important to move quickly through steps 6 and 7 so you do not lose the siphon which will stop the flow.
8. That's it!
Leaf hops are generally not a problem and are trapped by the coarse screen. However, Blichmann highly recommends using large muslin grain bags mainly because you lose a large amount of wort from leaf hop absorption. Using a bag you can squeeze most of this out and hop utilization is negligibly affected using this method. Lastly, cleanup is significantly easier. This method does not work for pellet hops since they pass through the openings in the muslin bag. On the other hand, nylon fine mesh bags do not readily allow wort to pass through and utilization is reduced.
The HopBlocker was specifically designed for use in the BoilerMaker line of brew pots. However it can be installed in other manufacturers equipment. A 1/2" outside diameter drain tube with a 90 deg bend (not included) will need to be installed 3" from the bottom of the pot. The bottom of the tube should be about 3/8"-1/2" from the bottom of the pot or keg. Since you can't rotate the tube to thread it into the inside of your pot when the tube is installed in the HopBlocker, you will need a flare or compression connection so you can tighten the tube in-place without turning the tube. Try to locate the tube so that the HopBlocker is as close as possible to the sidewall of the pot. For keg bases brew pots, you'll need to install it in the center of the pot since it has a rounded bottom. However, effectiveness of the HopBlocker will be reduced.