SsBrewTech has a new spin on how to whirlpool (see what we did there). They have designed a simple and sleek new whirlpool accessory that can be mounted to any kettle. We got our hands on one and decided to take it for a whirl! Ok that enough of that.
If you are not familiar with a whirlpool or its benefits well take a second to talk about it. A whirlpool is simply a circular current around the boil kettle. You can do this by good old fashion muscle and a spool or with a pump and whirlpool arm. When used with a pump after the boil, the whirlpool achieved will create a tight cone of trub, making it easier to perform a clean transfer to your fermenter, producing a clearer wort. Also, when used with a pump and an immersion chiller, the whirlpool effect creates more turbulence around the chiller, which will decrease the amount of time it takes to chill the wort. Faster chill times make cleaner beer. Lastly when used with a pump, adding flameout and hopstand hop additions will increase the utilization of those hops, giving you stronger flavors and aromas.
Traditionally, whirlpool arms are commonly attached to the boil kettle at the top of the kettle and a pipe will run down the inside of the kettle close to the bottom or around 1/3 of the way up. They tend to look a little clunky and honestly a bit overkill. SsBrewTechs design is the opposite, its a sleek simple design that is mounted around 1/3 of the way up on the kettle. The design is simple, it sprays a 180 deg spray pattern of wort creating the whirpool current. They designed it to mount with their thermometer bulkhead and can be placed in the pre-drilled thermometer port. Or you can mount it where ever you want by drilling a 7/8″ hole elsewhere. Drilling is easy as SsBrewTech offers a 7/8″ carbide drill bit which works amazingly well. So what do you need? Youll need the whirpool accessory, the thermometer bulkhead and a 3pc ball valve. I opted to buy the drill bit as well to make it easier on myself.
1. Find a nice flat surface where you can lay the kettle down on and still have enough leverage to drill into it. I would suggest laying some towels down and making it so the kettle does not roll easily. Set up your drill and drill bit and grab some safety glasses.
2. Pick a spot on the kettle where you want to mount your whirlpool. I chose a spot at the same height as the Thermometer and about 8-10 inches off to the right. Grab a nail punch and make an indent in the kettle to mark the center of the hole. This will also act as a guide for the drill bit and will prevent it from walking across the surface of the kettle.
3. Grab your drill and start drilling! Make sure you go slow as you do not want to over heat the metal. You can also use machinists lube or wd-40 to cool the metal if needed. Just make sure you clean it off when you are done with a degreaser. One the hole is drilled make sure you do not have any spurs or sharp edges. Use a small file and gently clean up any issues.
4. Assemble is really simple. Place the thermometer bulkhead into the hole from inside the kettle (threaded side facing out) and attach the 3pc ball valve. Then screw in the whirlpool. Make sure the whirlpool is facing to the side so that the spray pattern will cause the circulation.
5. Thats it you’re done! Fill up the kettle and do a leak test before you start a brew.
To demonstrate the whirlpool we used an SsBrewTech 20gal kettle and did two separate tests filling at 12 gallons and 20 gallons. The pump used was a Chugger Pump CS Center.
Conclusion: We love the sleek and simple design of the whirlpool. Its a lot easier to clean and a lot less obtrusive on the kettle. The whirlpool action is quick at both the 12 gallon and 20 gallon levels and had a decent current behind it. I look forward to using this on an IPA brew day for some whirlpool additions and cleaner beers.
Here are the links to find everything needed to install