15 November 2006

Dear Santa...

Still headlong in the perpetual quest for gear. That's what gearheads do. And if necessity is the mother of invention, I'm biddin' on one of her kids.

Although not new, the HopStopper has been tested by quite a few homebrewers with promising and positive results. It's basically a fine-mesh stainless steel screen around a copper (or stainless steel) dip tube. The intended result here is separation of trub and hop debris from the wort. If you get a little of each in the fermenter, no big deal but the less the better; especially with lagers. Plus, that's less gunk in your yeast after fermentation if you plan on harvesting the yeast for another batch. Granted, you can wash the yeast, but that's a topic for another day.

So, as I currently have a Bazooka-T installed on my kettle and a Shirron Plate Chiller, I'd like to get mostly--if not solely--wort going through the chiller into the fermenters. Some homebrewers fear that hop particles will clog a plate chiller and create bacteria-harboring "pockets". As far as I know, there's never been any tests done to confirm this fear but it seems reasonable. With a little backflushing before and after use, detergent and/or boiling water use, and sanitizer use, plate chillers are a non-issue.

As for the HopStopper, you can get it in all-stainless construction for $30 over the $60 price tag. But besides being cheaper, brass and copper work fine. Stainless is more durable over the long run and looks prettier, but once passivated, brass is a team player and copper has been used in kettles for centuries. As for the iHomebrewSolutions website...well, hopefully the proprietor can get some professional web work done on the site. Looks like a beginning HTML class project. If it weren't for word-of-mouth by quite a few homebrewers, I'd never order from that site.

Anyhow, c'mon, Santa! Hook me up!

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