Brew Haven DIY Series: Hopback

DIY Hopback

By Mike Granoth

As any hophead brewer knows, we are always looking to add more hoppy goodness into our beers. My idea is to add a hopback to my brewing system. A hopback is basically a vessel, filled with whole leaf hops, that is placed inline between your kettle and your fermenter. It was originally used as a way to filter trub from your wort. It was quickly realized that the hot wort running though whole leaf hops was a great way to add additional hop flavor and aroma. The thought is that when you use a hopback and then cool the wort rapidly, say through a counterflow chiller, that you are able to retain the additional aromatics in the wort. So here are the steps I took to build my hopback.

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I picked up this container from Bed, Bath & Beyond for around $13.00. Nothing makes you girlfriend more suspicious then asking her to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond. This is made by Oggi and I believe it is has a 60 ounce capacity. My next purchases were from Lowes and Brewhardware.com. I needed to buy the fittings to connect it to my kettle and pump.

 

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The next step was to figure out and mark your inlet and outlet location. I picked a spot on the side near the top for the inlet and dead center on the bottom for the outlet. I drilled a small hole and then used my ¾” Greenlee hole punch to make a ¾” hole in both locations. It worked really well with nice clean holes. It was also cool to be reusing my grandfather’s old electrician tools again for something completely different.

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Once the holes were punched, I instated the fittings to both the inlet and outlet. The pieces below are a ½” flange nut, ½” flat silicone gasket, ¾” flat washer and a ½” hex nipple, female to female. I assembled them with the hex nipple and flat washer on the outside of the vessel and the gasket and flange nut on the inside.

 

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Here is a photo of the assembly.

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Once both assemblies were tightened, I applied Teflon tape to both the exposed female threads and screwed on the connectors for my kettle connection as well as my pump.

 

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Finally I installed a mesh sink strainer into the bottom of the hopback to act as a secondary filter and to keep the outlet clear of the hop material.

 

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This will be attached directly to my kettle at flameout and then run my wort through it into a counterflow chiller and straight into my SS Brewtech Brew Bucket. I will be buying a counterflow chiller soon and I will post an update when I get to try it out.

 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Thanks.

Mike

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Brew Haven DIY Series: Hopback

2 Responses

  1. The Beardless Andy O.

    This is so rad! Thanks, Mike, for putting this up.
    Have you run a batch through? Does it impede your chilling efforts at all?

    The Beardless Andy O. April 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm #
    • MadMedicBrewer

      Thanks Andy. I have not used it yet. I’m waiting on my tax return to buy a counterflow chiller. From all of the articles I have read prior to building it, it should not impede flow. Most however, did mention to manage the output on the kettle and pump to maintain a better flow.

      MadMedicBrewer April 18, 2017 at 10:55 am #

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