One of the fun things about homebrewing is the DIY culture among us brewers. Brewing equipment, even on the homebrew scale, is specialty equipment not readily available at a regular store. Because of that, specialty stores like Alternative Beverage have to carry the equipment, and sometimes you end up paying "specialty prices"! To save money, a lot of brewers make, and even invent equipment to make their brew days more successful.
The Hop Spider
The Hop Spider is a pretty cool little gadget, and it's actually super cheap to put together. The hop spider is basically a device that sits in your kettle during the boil. It has a port at the top of your boil kettle that opens into a nylon mesh bag, which ultimately keeps all of your hop debris contained. Because the bag is mesh, it allows for unimpeded wort flow resulting in excellent hop utilization.
During your brew session, simply add your hop charges to the hop spider and when the boil is over, remove the hop spider and you're left with wort that has minimal hop debris. This is a really ideal solution in the event that you run a pump, or use a plate chiller, and don't want hop pellets or flowers going through those pieces of equipment. It also helps clarify your beer, as you're not transferring hops into your fermenters, which can also impart a vegetable character in your beer.
Here's what you need to get started:
- 1 (one) NDS 4 in. x 3 in. PVC Hub x Hub Reducer Coupling (Link) - $2.58
- 1 (one) Trimaco 5-Gal. Elastic Top Strainers (2-Pack) (Link) - $3.97
- 3 (three) Carriage Bolts with corresponding lock washers and nuts
- The selection of these items will depend on your application. A wider mouthed kettle will require different sized bolts. Measure your kettle opening and choose the correct bolts for your application.
- 1 (one) Deflect-o 4 in. Metal Worm Drive Clamp (Link) - $1.58
Not including the cost of the carriage bolts, you're in this project at around $8.13. This is probably one of the cheapest DIY projects ever.
To build your hop spider, drill three holes into the 4 inch end of your reducer coupling, equally spaced. Thread the carriage bolts through the holes and secure with the lock washers and nuts. Next, slip the opening of your strainer bag over the 3 inch end of the reducer and secure with your worm clamp. Finally, BREW!
What do you think? Do you use a hop spider? Thinking about making one now yourself?