Dry Hopper Review: Brewers Hardware

by Karl S Updated on July 5, 2021

Transcript: It is no secret that I like doing pressure fermentations. The only issue with pressure fermentation is that you build up some CO2 in the fermenter.

And if you use a device that doesn’t have some way to dry hop under pressure, then you run into, when you take the pressure or release the pressure out, then you have a pretty big foam up with the beer.

Now I do have a fermzilla that has that option, but I’ve been looking for something a little bit more along the lines to use with the stainless fermentors that I have. And I’ve been looking at building something and I’ve been kind of procrastinating on it a little bit.

So when brewers hardware reached out to me to ask me if I wanted to review their new dry hopper, I said, absolutely.

How’s it going? My name’s Brian, welcome to another video. If this is your first time here, and you’d like to learn more about electric brewing, see how to videos, and product review videos, just like this one consider subscribing.

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Now full disclosure. As with all my videos, they did send the device to me. They also sent me an adapter ring so that I could adapt the three inch tri clamp to the four inch opening on my spike flex plus.

I also wanted to give a quick shout out. I actually met the guys from brewers hardware a couple of years ago at NHC. And when I met them, they said that most of the guys in the shop watch the channel here and enjoyed the video. So just want to give a big shout out to the guys in the shop. Thanks for watching the videos. We appreciate what you do. And then they said, you appreciate what I do. So mutual respect there.

Now here’s what comes with the kit. It comes with a three inch massive three inch butterfly valve. It comes with a three insight glass. It’s also very massive. We’ll talk about how much it’ll hold here and just a little bit.

And it comes with a cap that has a pressure relief valve on it. The pressure really foul currently is a 30 PSI valve, which is above what they recommend to pressurize the sight glass with. But they’re working on getting some 15 PSI, uh, PRV valves available, and also it has a ball lock post on top of that cap.

And then also included with those items in the kit are two silicone tri clamp washers. And two tri clamps.

Now, I was really excited to use this, so actually brewed a New England IPA or a hazy IPA, and I wanted to do a dry hop, but I also wanted to try a new yeast that I had heard of, which was the Lalamon verdant yeast.

And I know it has some esters in it. And so I wanted to do, I wanted to kind of bring those out. So I didn’t want to do a full pressure fermentation. And when I was having a conversation with my friend, David Heath and check out his YouTube channel, if you haven’t, I can’t believe you would know who he is. But, um, we discussed doing a kind of a mixed fermentation.

So what I did was installed the butterfly valve and then put the cap on top of that with the ball lock and the PRV. And then I just hooked up a gas line hose to it and ran it to a jar of starsan.

So I let the fermentation go for the first three days. After three days, I closed the valve and it’s pretty much a straight forward process to install the sight glass and all the other components that go along with it.

After I got everything installed, I did a CO2 purge on the sight glass. I just did a few little bursts of CO2 and, and hit the pressure relief valve to clear out any oxygen. Then once I was done with that, I opened up the butterfly valve so that I would equalize the pressure between the two.

And then I just kind of release pressure so that I could close the butterfly valve again and then add the hops to it. Adding the hops is super simple. You just close the butterfly valve, release the pressure in the sight glass, remove the top cap, and then you add your hops.

Now I went a little bit overboard on this one, just cause I wanted to see how the dry hopper worked. And I put eight ounces of hops in this thing and it was a five and a half gallon batch.

So it’s a little bit overkill, but I’m going to be reviewing that beer coming up pretty soon here to let you know how it turned out and whether there were too many hops or whatever.

So put the hops in there, then after that I put the cap back on, tri clamps, all that stuff got back together. Then I pressurized the sight glass with some CO2 and purged that I think about three or four times, something like that.

And then once I did that, I actually opened the valve with the pressure inside of the sight glass and drop the hops in the beer.

And that was pretty much it, it’s pretty easy to do not no big issue at all. Uh, one tip that I will give you if you’re doing it in a unpressurized vessel. Cause you can certainly do that. Um, you would not let the pressure build up in the sight glass cause you don’t want to possibly blow a seal or something like that out on a non pressurized capable for fermentor.

But you could actually purge the oxygen and everything from your hops and then drop them with no pressure in the sight glass. And that’s certainly what they recommend as far as pressure recommendations, they recommend not going over five to seven PSI. And I think I did about eight PSI, something like that with mine and didn’t have any issues at all.

Now, once I got done with the dry hopping, there was not really a whole lot of need to have the sight glass on there.

So I closed the valve, removed the sight glass and then put the cap back on. One thing I do want to tell you what the cap is that the stems for the PRV valve and the ball lock fitting do stick down a little bit.

So if you go to open the valve up and it kind of hits something, that means you’re hitting one of those stems, not a big ordeal, if you’ve just got the cap down on the valve itself, because you don’t really have to open it all the way, you just have to crack it enough for the pressure to escape and interact with whatever you’ve got on top of that.

If you’ve got a spending valve or whatever on there. So after installing the cap, you want to purge that area of oxygen as well. So I hooked up the CO2, purged it a couple of times in that small space.

And then once I did that, I opened up the valve to equalize the pressure between that space inside of the butterfly valve and the fermentor itself. And I brought it up to 10 PSI. Then I stuck on my spunding valve and completed the fermentation from there. And everything went completely normal from there with a pressure fermentation.

I did pressurize the vessel. I didn’t let let the pressure build up from the fermentation. I pressurized at the 10 PSI.

Now, if you are interested in one of these, they will be releasing the website page in conjunction with this video. They also were gracious enough to give a coupon code for my viewers. So check out the description below. There’ll be a coupon code down there for $25 off. Discount code: SHORTCIRCUITED (All caps)

The price on the dry hopper as shown in the video with just the two clamps two gaskets butterfly valve site glass in the top cap is $275 for the sight glass version.

And it is $225 for a stainless tube version. Also just a quick note on the pricing there, any orders over $200 on their website shipped for free. So this item would qualify for free shipping as well.

I did do an additional test to see just exactly how many hops this thing would hold how many ounces and it will hold right around 13 and a half ounces. I put like 14.3 ounces in a large Mason jar and tried to dump all of those in. And I had like 0.8 ounces leftover.

So this thing was certainly handle, you know, 10 gallon, batches, maybe even 15 gallon batches. The nice thing about it is if you want to add a bunch of hops to your beer, you don’t have to do it in multiple sessions or, you know, purge and waste a bunch of CO2.

You could probably drop most of your hops in a 10 gallon batch in one go and not have to worry about, you know, doing multiple drops.

Want to take a quick second to shout out to all of our patrons. We certainly do appreciate their support. Thank you so much. If you’re looking at getting one of these types of devices and you’re currently only brewing on five gallons, if you have any kind of aspirations at all, going up to 10 gallons, I think this is definitely a viable option for you.

You might need an adapter or something like that to adapt to whatever fermentor you have, but it certainly does kind of future-proof your dry hopping capabilities. So I really enjoyed using the unit. Thanks again to brewers hardware for sending it out to me for testing and review.

This has been Brian for short circuited of brewers. We’ll see you on the next video.