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Hop Trub Questions

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  • Hop Trub Questions

    Had our first brew-day on our 3 bbl system yesterday (and damn it smells good in here! <g>) Most everything went pretty smoothly except for clean-up was of course a PITA.
    Biggest clean-up issue is the hop trub in the BK which has brought up a couple questions:

    1. This was our first time whirlpooling on a pro system so be gentle as this is a *really* stupid question: during the whirlpool should we be drawing the wort from the drain at the bottom/apex of the dish or from the one higher up? I went with the higher-up one because I was worried that drawing it through the apex might lead to a clog but in the end the trub didn't really form the oft-mentioned "cone" at the center of the bottom of the kettle - it was just sort of spread out all over the bottom (didn't help that we made an ESB - probably should have started with a less messy beer).

    2. What's the best way to clean all that trub out of the bottom of the tank at the end of the day? We're on septic so we don't want to run it down the drain by just hosing it out into the floor drain (plus it seems to have clogged up the opening a bit). The tanks to big to get in there and scoop it out by hand. I was thinking of maybe going after it with a shop-vac? Any thoughts/tips/advice?

  • #2
    1) You're correct, don't draw from the middle one, that's were all the trub is!

    2) If you're not dumping the trub down the drain, that will make a lot more work for yourself. I've never heard of anyone having trouble dumping trub to the ground. If you really can't do that, I'd say maybe the shop-vac idea is best.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      Get a pump and drop your trub through the bottom. Use the pump to send it to a bin and then compost it. Otherwise, its going to be a pain. Vacuums can work, but hot trub will weaken the hose and it will just collapse(tried this before unsuccessfully). You cant use an impeller pump for this though, you will need a diaphragm, rotary lobe or eppendorf pump to do this, I would start with a diaphragm pump. The others are more maintenance, more cost, and just more effective for larger breweries.


      • #4
        Draw from the high side, Whirlpool for 10 mins, kill the pump let it rest for 10 mins, start your transfer.


        • #5
          Don't let the trub go cold before you try and get it out. The first big WP I commissioned (600 hl) was to replace an old stripped out hop back. I wondered what the trub consistency was like, but had to wait for everything to cool before getting in. It was like walking on rubber, slightly only a little softer than car tyres. It was solid enough to strip the gears of the hydrocyclone in the centre bottom used for cleaning out the trub. So needless to say, we never intentionally let it cool down again.


          • #6
            Wow! Thank you everybody for all the awesome advice!!

            Just to touch on a few points mentioned:

            I was advised by another brewer who used to be on septic here in Wisconsin to avoid letting yeast or hops go down the drain as they will gunk up the septic tank necessitating more frequent pumping. Plus I'm a bit anal in general about minimizing the stuff going into the system for fear of taxing it. It's probably a misplaced/over-paranoid fear but I don't want to take a chance on having to pay for a new septic system.

            What I wound up doing with the trub from this brew was back-flushing by pumping a bit of water up through the drain. That loosened it up and it flowed out pretty nicely. Then i just collect it in a plastic tub and dispose of it. It actually went pretty easy (and probably would have last night during clean-up if we weren't freaking exhausted after a brew-day elongated by our need to get the hang of the system as we went).

            I don't think we let the trub rest long enough after we whirlpooled which probably contributed to the problem and we probably let it cool too much too. Oh well - lessons learned and all things considered it was a pretty damn smooth first brew-day!


            • #7
              Nitpick here- apex is the peak, nadir is the bottom/trough.

              Not sure what your physical set up is but you might try draining the trub out into a settling tank of some sort. Maybe a plastic tote on wheels?. They have outlets pretty low to the ground. Afte few hours it settles and its pretty easy to pour off the water and dispose of the solids. Depending on size of your system it could even be a 50 gal plastic barrel.

              Should be able to use it for bk and fvs, keep the septic from getting overwhelmed.


              • #8
                We add our hop trub and yeast to the bins full of spent grain, it all goes to the farmers together and the animals gobble it all up (cows and pigs). No need to put anything down the drain!