Beer is awesome. Homebrewed beer is even better.
This Instructable will guide you through making a simple hop spider for homebrewing. When brewing beer, there is a tendency for hops to cause clogs when draining from the brew kettle into your fermentor. If you are gravity feeding through a plate chiller, this can become a real problem at a very vulnerable time for your beer. To get around this, you can use various screens or a false bottom. Or you can put the hops in a paint strainer bag which will isolate the plant matter from your wort. The problem with this is that you want the bag positioned in a way where the hops can fully interact with the boiling wort, and also you do not want the bag to touch part of the kettle that is too hot and burn through. Hence, the hop spider which holds the bag in the middle of the kettle and also provides an easy chute for additional hop additions throughout the boil.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
The materials for this project are cheap and cane be found at your local hardware store.
1. A stainless garbage disposal drain. I used this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CCMZ18/ref=oh...
2. 3 3/8" carriage bolts. Length will vary based on the size of your kettle.
3. 6 3/8" nuts
4. Stainless hose clamp big enough to fit around the disposal drain
5. One 5 gallon paint strainer bag
Cordless drill or drill press.
Step 2: Build It
1. Start by marking where you want to drill the 3 holes in the disposal. You can use some fancy math or just eyeball it like I did. The holes should obviously be an equal distance apart
2. Drill through the disposal. I found it helpful to use a punch and hammer to make a small indent where you will be drilling so the bit doesn't slip around. I also found it helpful to tightly stuff the inside of the disposal with several pieces of ~1 foot scrap wood which I then stepped on to keep the metal piece from moving. You could also you a vise for this if you have access to such fancy tools. A little oil may help with the cutting too.
3. Put a nut on each carriage bolt and then slip it through the holes you just drilled. put another nut on the inside of the drain and lock the carriage bolt in there.
4. Slide your hose clamp on the drain and use it to hold the paint strainer bag. Tighten it a little so the bag wont fall off into your wort. A good length on the strainer bag is so it stays just a bit off the bottom of your kettle
Step 3: Brew
Brew some beer and gravity drain with no clogs!