Product Review for the Blichmann Hop Blocker:
I have been using a Blichmann HopBlocker since my first batch of all grain brewing. Blichmann is known in the home brewing community for quality and dependability and the Hop Blocker certainly helps them in maintaining that reputation. It is crafted entirely out of sturdy stainless steel and after more than twenty batches, it is still in “like new” condition.
What I like most about the HopBlocker is the two piece configuration that allows me to keep the hot break and hop material away from the kettle draw tube so I draw only clean wort into my fermenters. After the boil, I will typically whirlpool the brew kettle for a minute or two and then let the trub settle out and form a cone on the bottom of my kettle. This process usually takes about 15 minutes. Once the trub has settled, I slowly draw the wort, discarding the first few ounces to clear out any initial particulates that may have made their way into the hop blocker during the boil or whirlpooling process.
I then continue to slowly empty the wort from the brew kettle into the fermenter. Once the wort level has reached about the bottom 1/3 mark of the HopBlocker, I slow down the wort flow even further and remove the sliding metal band from the HopBlocker. At this point the HopBlocker is drawing in wort through its fine perforated filtering holes (visible in photo #1). I decrease the wort flow rate to help reduce the quantity of particulate matter drawn in to the HopBlocker and to help minimize the possibility of clogging the HopBlocker. The HopBlocker is effective at reducing about 90 to 95% of kettle trub if used properly, unlike standard screen tubes which tend to draw more trub and have a higher probability of clogging.
The one downside of the HopBlocker is that it does not play very nicely with whole hops. They can clog the filtration holes. When using whole hops, it is recommend that you either boil the hops in a bag or strain them from the wort prior to using the HopBlocker. The overwhelming majority of hops I use in the boil are pellet hops, so this has not been an issue for me.
If you are interested in purchasing a Blichmann HopBlocker, they can be found here:
Blichmann Hop Blocker photo #1 – Shows the HopBlocker with the screen down. The slot in the metal band slides over the kettle draw tube, but I wanted you to be able to see the small hole perforation, so I placed it at this angle.
Photo #2 of the Blichmann HopBlocker – After the band had been removed and the last of the wort was being drawn from the kettle.