Blichmann HopBlocker™ - Hop Filtration System
This innovative item from Blichmann Engineering is able to filter out 90-95% of pellet hops without getting clogged or stuck! The HopBlocker™ features two stages of filtration, the first a coarse filter that draws liquid from above the level of the hop sediment, and the second a fine filter for the thick liquid at the bottom of the kettle. Simply whirlpool your wort, drain until you get close to the bottom, and then pull up the screen using a hook to engage the fine filter. User needs to supply a hook to pull up the screen and a mash paddle or similar object to hold the Hopblocker™ down while doing so.
Made for use with the Blichmann Boilermaker kettles, those who have other brands of kettles will have to supply a 90 degree angle dip tube on a compression fitting. Works best on flat bottomed kettles. Measures 5.625" tall by 3.75" wide at base.
Bought this for use on my 30 gallon boilermaker to replace a hop spider I was using. I've used it 3 times with the same result, if I had ANY protein in the kettle from the hot break it would clog up the hopblocker (even after whirlpooling) and it ended up leaving 4 gallons of wort in the kettle, pump would lose prime and you cant get it going without removing the blocker and tipping the keg, defeating the purpose. As one reviewer said, this is a gimmick and unfortunately I fell for it. Will be going back to the spider and whirlpooling.
After eight years, I'm still using this on every seven gallon batch. It works great for everything from 1oz of hops to a hopbursted IPA with ten ounces. With ten gallon batches and my cooling method, I could never get the classic "cone" from chilling.
My method with the Hop Blocker: After chilling, allow the wort to settle for about 30 mins. Drain at 1/2 speed. Dump the first 1/4 gallon that comes out, as it will be trube and hops, after this you should have clear wort (if you also used whirfloc).
Once the wort in the kettle gets low enough, raise the screen, don't stop draining while you do this. Stop draining once you have enough or see trub being picked up from the bottom.
It's a pretty genius design, fluid dynamics in action. It leaves heavier stuff behind and drains clear wort, down to about 1/2 out of seven.
I use a Top Tier brewing setup with all Blichmann equipment. I thought this was a more elegant method than a bulky SS hop spider. After several trial batches, I don't see the value. A ton of hop material gets in during the boil, defeating the purpose. Not using this devise and allowing the wort to settle is just as effective and doesn't add another piece of equipment to clean when done with the brew day. Whirl pooling is still the most effective method. Keep your money. This is a gimmick in my opinion.
It was a little hard to get it on there (I have a 55 gallon electric boilermaker) and it's hard to get off, which makes cleaning a pain. But it's a total game-changer. Using it for country wines, and it didn't let a single shred of beet out the spigot, and I still got all of the must. Great product
So this works great to reduce the hops and trub, but I still have issues with it. I have no issues until I start to reach the bottom and move the screen, then the trub messes with the amount of pressure so you have to adjust the valve to keep the liquid moving. If you the liquid come out too fast then the liquid in the blocker will run out before the kettle is drained and you're f'd. Normally I end with about 1 to 1/2 gallon left. Currently that's enough for my mesh basket to handle so it's worth it.