I’ve been using muslin bags for containing hops during wort boiling almost my entire homebrew career, but we were getting a bit tired of either constantly having to buy new ones or having to thoroughly wash them after a brewday. That’s when we decided to build a ‘hop spider’ inspired by the one sold by Stainless Brewing:
The hop spider is a tube of stainless steel mesh, that at least theoretically should contain both leaf and pellet hops, while still allowing liquid transfer. We had access to large amounts of free 316-grade stainless steel mesh of various mesh sizes and a spot welder, so the hop spider was both an easy build (~2 hours of labor) and, for us, very cheap. We started by cutting out a circular piece of sturdier mesh for the bottom:
After this we cut out the mesh for the sides, and welded it together to form a cylinder (length of 35 cm, diameter of 15 cm):
We then welded the bottom to the cylinder:
Finally we added a ribbon of stainless steel around the upper edge for added strength, and coated the rough edges with silicone tubing to prevent getting cuts. It is not the prettiest, but hopefully it will serve its purpose:
We haven’t tried it out yet, but hopefully it will work fine! It will probably be making its debut with the Black Rye IPA next week! While we were building, we drilled and threaded a hole in a 1/2″ stainless steel plug for a PT100-sensor. This sensor will be placed at the output of our plate chiller, so that we can monitor the temperature of the chilled wort (I can’t believe we haven’t thought of this earlier). This should hopefully let us control the chilling a little better. The sensor will still need to be water-proofed, which we will do with some food-grade silicone.