From the HBD Archive
From: Michael Berry <>
Subject: Reflux condensers for hops
Date: 1990-02-05 15:59:36 GMT

Louis Clark asks: (your middle initial isn't "N" is it? :-)

> A few issues back someone (sorry, I don't remember the name) asked about
> boiling hops separatly from the extract. I've been wondering about this
> myself, especially for those high S.G. barley wines where all the sugar
> impairs hop utilization in the boil.

I have left the concept of "boiling" and "finishing" hops in the past. I now
do all my hops with a reflux condenser.

If you took much chemistry you are probably familiar with this device and
technique. It is an extraction method that contains all the volitile
components of the stuff being boiled. That's all I'll say about that.

The actual condenser is a glass arrangement about 18" long. It is essentially
a hollow tube with a glass jacket around most of this length that serves as
a cooling-water jacket. It has 2 bibs on it for cold water in & out. This
connects to an interface-adaptor (they fit very smoothly together so as to
be air-tight) that goes into a cork. This cork fits the top of a 1L
erlenmeyer flask. We have a stand and clamp setup that holds the whole
arrangement steady with the flask over a stove burner. Two surgical tubing
tubes carry water from the sink. That's all you need, parts cost about
$50 from the CSU chem lab.

I can do 3 oz of hop leaves at a time with this arrangement. I usually boil
them for about an hour. By this time the leaves are virtually transparent
and the water a bright yellow from the alpha acids and pollen. Sparging the
remaining leaves produces little more extract although I always do it.

The down side is that my kitchen no longer smells wonderful while brewing.
The up side is that my beer has a nose that is magnificent! You really get
a feel for what Cascade hops smell like.

I might add that I am a toy freak. If there is any techno-toy that can be
employed to do a job then I'll usually buy it. This fit right into that
schema. 1 brewpub in town is going to this method.

Michael Berry ARPA:mcb%hpgrla@hplabs.HP.COM UUCP:hplabs!hpgrla!mcb

Worry, don't relax... Your drinking Budweiser!

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