FAQs

Click any of the questions below.

The dip tube on the Hop Stopper is custom made for each kettle. The dip tube needs to be a specific configuration so that it reaches from the outlet port down to the lowest part of the kettle to maximize draining. To make sure that the dip tube is the right configuration, a simple measurement needs to be taken as shown below.

Refer to the figure above. Put a board or other straight, rigid object across the top of the kettle (a 2 x 4 works well). Measure from the underside of the board down to the bottom center of the kettle (Dim A). Write this number down. Now measure from the underside of the board down the outside of the kettle to the center of the outlet fitting (Dim B). Subtract this number from the first number. The result is the vertical distance from the center of the fitting to the bottom center of the kettle (X). Although the figure above shows a converted keg, this procedure also works for flat bottomed pots as well.

The Hop Stopper was originally designed to fit into kettles with full couplings installed onto them. A full coupling is a pipe fitting that has female threads at both ends. It is different from a half coupling which only has threads on one end. You can tell the difference by the length of the fitting. The full coupling is about twice as long as the half coupling. Below is a drawing of the relative lengths of 1/2″ NPT couplings:

As you can see, the cross section of the full coupling shows that it has threads on both ends while the half coupling only has threads on one end. With a full coupling installed, the valve on the kettle goes on one end (on the kettle exterior), and the Hop Stopper is installed on the other (the kettle interior) as shown below in Figure 1. If your kettle is equipped with only a half coupling, click Question #5.

YES! Although it may take some modifications, the Hop Stopper will work with any kettle. The ideal situation is to have your kettle equipped with a full coupling as in Figure 1 below:

With a full coupling, installation is quick and easy. If your kettle does not have a full coupling but rather male threads, then the Hop Stopper can be supplied with a female connector fitting to mate with those. If you don’t have any threads on the interior of the kettle, click on Questions #4, #5, & #6.

This is a popular question and one for which there was not a good and reliable answer – until now. The folks from Brewers Hardware have introduced an all stainless steel bulkhead fitting specifically designed for homebrewing use. This product is unique and much different than the typical weldless fittings that are cobbled together from various standard plumbing parts. It offers the following:

  • All Stainless Steel.
  • Single piece bulkhead.
  • Unique face sealing grooves with Silocone O-rings.
  • Extremely competitive pricing.

This is the solution for those wanting a rock solid, leak free connection, without the need for a welder.

If your kettle only has a half coupling, you’re in luck! Innovative Homebrew Solutions has a specially fabricated nipple to solve this problem.

As seen in the figure above, the nipple has 3/8″ NPT female threads tapped into one end which provide the means to install the Hop Stopper on the interior of the kettle. The nipple screws into the 1/2″ NPT half coupling on the kettle exterior with the special female threads of the nipple pointing toward the kettle. The valve is attached to the other end of the nipple. The 3/8″ NPT female threads then provide a place to install the male connector fitting for the Hop Stopper.

The figure above shows how the Special Nipple is installed to provide the connection point for the Hop Stopper. The Special Nipple is only available in the 1/2″ NPT size and the material is limited to brass only.

If your kettle has no ports in it at all, you will definitely have to install one in order to use the Hop Stopper. You can do this in one of two ways:

1. You can have a full coupling welded to your kettle. This is the suggested and preferred way to put a port on your kettle and is not as daunting as it may sound. Just find a reputable welding shop in your town that can weld stainless steel. Purchase a full stainless steel coupling (we sell them on our products page), mark and drill a hole slightly smaller than the OD of the coupling (yes, smaller) where you want the port located, and have the coupling welded to the exterior of your kettle only. Doing this will do three things, first, it will assure that the coupling is level – it will sit flat on the kettle wall, second, there will be no protrusions into the interior of the kettle, and third, it will eliminate any weld spatter on the inside of the kettle which is an absolute bear to clean up. If you tell the welding shop what you are doing (making beer), they might get a kick out of it and do the job in trade for some homebrew. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Also, since you are going to the trouble of welding ports to your kettle, think about any other accessories you might want, such as a Sight Tube. The best configuration for a kettle would be to have two full stainless steel couplings welded 90 degrees apart (or any convenient angle apart). The cost for welding two ports will not be appreciably more than welding one.

If your kettle is aluminum, welding is NOT an option because you can’t weld stainless steel fittings to aluminum.

2. Try a weldless fitting. The folks from Brewers Hardware have introduced an all stainless steel bulkhead fitting specifically designed for homebrewing use. This product is unique and much different than the typical weldless fittings that are cobbled together from various standard plumbing parts. It offers the following:

  • All Stainless Steel.
  • Single piece bulkhead.
  • Unique face sealing grooves with Silocone O-rings.
  • Extremely competitive pricing.

This is the solution for those wanting a rock solid, leak free connection, without the need for a welder.

The Hop Stopper is designed to handle virtually any amount of hops, however, under certain conditions, things other than hops can cause draining difficulties.

Based on testing and feedback from customers, if there is ever a problem with the Hop Stopper, it is due to break material and not hops. The break material forms a kind of film which can coat the surface of the screen and impede wort flow. Since immersion chillers generate all of the cold break in the kettle prior to draining, this scenario is more likely than when using a counter flow or plate chiller. Now, this does not mean it happens in every case – there are many customers successfully using immersion chillers with their Hop Stoppers with no problems. In cases where problems have developed, refunds were happily honored.

The one scenario where problems are almost certain to develop is when using the “recirculation” or “Jamil Swirl Chill” technique. This is when wort is chilled and directed back into the kettle instead of into a fermenter. Whether using an counterflow/plate chiller or an immersion chiller, recirculating chilled wort back into the kettle will almost certainly clog the Hop Stopper (or any screen for that matter). This technique is not recommended for use with the Hop Stopper.

There are a few things you can do to try and minimize potential problems.

1) Do not whirlpool. Whirlpooling concentrates all of the break and trub right in the center of the kettle where the dip tube picks up wort.

2) Do not recirculate wort back into the kettle. This is completely unnecessary and concentrates all of the hops and trub onto the screen while the wort is recycled over and over.

3) Slow down the flow rate of draining as the liquid level nears the level of the outlet port. In almost every case, it is when the kettle gets to within 1 or 2 gallons left that problems occur. What happens is that when the screen becomes exposed to the air, it is possible for the screen cavity to empty out faster than new wort can flow into it. If the flow rate out of the kettle is greater than the flow rate of wort into the screen cavity, then the cavity will eventually empty out and the siphon will be lost. Slowing the flow rate out of the kettle helps this. If you see bubbles in the outlet line and there is still wort in the kettle, quickly close the outlet valve completely and wait 10 seconds, then slowly open it up to a reduced flow. This allows the screen cavity to fill up with wort again and should restore the siphon.

4) Toward the end of draining, you can tilt the kettle back and forth gently. This will move the trub around and help to assure that wort can enter the screen.

5) Use a portion of your hop bill as whole hops. Even as little as 1/2 oz can help. The whole hop flowers help to trap break material and keep it away from the screen surface.

6) If you were ever considering a counter flow or plate chiller, do it. Not only is this type of chiller much faster than an immersion chiller, but you completely avoid the break material that can potentially have problems. I am not saying you need a CFC/plate chiller to use the Hop Stopper, but if this is something you were considering, I would go ahead an implement it.

These are only suggestions. The only ones that are musts are #1 thru #3.

The “Jamil Swirl Chill” method of chilling has started to become very popular among homebrewers. This technique involves using an immersion chiller in conjunction with a pump wort out of the kettle and redirect it back into the kettle in a whirlpool fashion to achieve the benefits of a whirlpool and also to quickly bring down the bulk temperature of the wort below the temperature conducive to DMS production. A variation is also possible using a counterflow or plate chiller instead of the immersion chiller. While the technique does have some merit, it will not work when using the Hop Stopper or any other filter type screen.

As the break material is generated, it forms a film on the screen that impedes wort flow. As the wort is recycled over and over, this film keeps building up until the entire screen is coated and wort can no longer flow into the screen cavity. For this reason, the Hop Stopper is not recommended when using the Jamil Swirl Chill method or its variations.

Click any of the questions below.

Accurately knowing your liquid volumes is key for hitting target gravities, calculating mash efficiency, and knowing how much strike or sparge water has been added to the mash. The use of the IHS Sight Tube takes all the guess work out of it and accurately displays the volume of liquid with only a glance at the clear calibrated display.

No problem. The IHS Sight Tube Kit can be installed on the same port as your outlet valve with the addition of two options:

1. A tee fitting and nipple: This splits the single outlet on your kettle into two ports as shown in the photo below.

2. The Shut-Off Valve: When using the Hop Stopper or other dip tube arrangement, draining of the vessel requires a siphon once the liquid level falls below the level of the outlet port. With the IHS Sight Tube in place, the open end allows air to be drawn into the liquid stream when the liquid falls to this level. To prevent this, a Shut-Off Valve is installed on the open end of the Sight Tube which can be closed during draining to preserve the siphon. See the photo below.

The risk here is miniscule. The convection currents in the boil will find their way into the Sight Tube and there will be an exchange of wort inside the IHS Sight Tube over the course of a 60 minute boil. In effect, the wort inside the IHS Sight Tube will be hot enough to sterilize the wort. In all of the field tests over hundreds of batches of beer, we have never seen this become an issue. If you just can’t shake the feeling that something bad is happening, you can always blow into the top of the Sight Tube about half way through the boil to blow out the wort that was in the tube, then gently allow wort to come back up the tube. This essentially exchanges the wort in the tube for wort that has been boiled for 30 minutes.

The IHS Sight Tube is made to install onto its own port on your kettle or HLT. The photo below shows a typical installation

The IHS Sight Tube is open at the top allowing the liquid in the tube to come to the exact same height as the liquid in the vessel it is attached to. The tube is held in place by a compression fitting as shown below.

The tube can be quickly removed and reinstalled for cleaning.

Absolutely. All that is required is a tee fitting and nipple as shown in the photo below.