So most of you have heard of the HopStopper, a Screen "pouch" for the bottom of your boil kettle to filter hops and what not out after your boil. While i am sure that the HopStopper is a wonderful product, it is also wonderfully expensive.
Here is my DIY Hop Stopper, total cost on this build was approximately $12-13. The parts required are as follows:
1 - Stainless wire mesh 12in x 24in. McMaster Carr Part Number: 9230T625 (Cost = $8.50 Shipped)
1 - 1/2in Male NPT x 1/2in Compression, Pipe Fitting, Bought at Local Hardware store for $2.79
1 - Stainless Worm Clamp (hose clamp), Have a ton of these sitting around so no cost added here.
1 - ~8 inch piece of 1/2in outer diameter copper tube. Bought large piece, approximating the cost at $1.50
As needed Stainless wire, 24AWG worked for me, Got this for free so no cost added.
On to the "how to" portion of this thread!
First started with the 12in x 24in piece of stainless mesh. I went with the 30x30 mesh size (30 squares (holes) per inch), I was going to go with an 18x18, I am so glad that i didn't. Not having much experience with Mesh sizes I kinda just guessed at which one to order, I could have gone a little finer, Say 36x36. But this will work just fine.
Next I folded it in half so that i had a 12in x 12in square of SS mesh,
Then i folded the edges over approximately 1/4 of an inch and tapped them flat with a hammer, I then folded them again about 1/8th of an inch to completely hide the rough edges and reduce the amount of tiny little wires poking me in the hand as I handled this thing.
I got some 24 AWG (.020 diameter) Stainless wire and laced up the edges (well...one anyway, before i realized that it sucks stitching with SS wire). I will go back at another time and finish stitching the rest. It is more than likely overkill, but i like to build equipment to last and i figured that it would add to the durability of the unit.
With all the pieces ready to go:
Assembled the Dip tube and put the worm clamp on there, I had already bent my dip tube before i took these pictures, but you can bend your to what ever suits your needs. Mine makes a gradual curve down to the center of the kettle.
I then installed the dip tube in the wire mesh, and formed the mesh around the copper as best i could to get it to close up the major holes when i tightened the clamp down. I also folded the corners of the pouch down to allow it to fit better in the bottom of my kettle.
And finally installed in the kettle! "Like a Glove!"
What these are all about is Surface area, The more you can get yourself the better. The only thing i see is that i may drill a hole or two laterally across the end of the dip tube if i feel that the screen is pressing against the tube opening, but that is one of the reasons i took it down at an angle instead of taking it down at a 90deg angle and straight down.
I haven used this yet, at the time of this post, but i will be using it by the end of the week so I will post up the results when I do.