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Homebrewing has become an extremely popular hobby in recent years, with even more turning to it over the last few months while they have more time at home.
For successful homebrewing, you need to have the right equipment that will make your brew day and the entire brewing process run much smoother.
No we are not talking about a creepy crawling Arachnid. We are taking about finding the best hop spiders for homebrewing.
A hop spider or hop bag is a type of filter that allows you to add hops to the kettle during the boil, without leaving the nasty remnants from the pellets or cones.
During the transfer of the wort to the fermenter, the more hop debris you leave behind in the brew kettle the better. Less trub in your fementer can also lead to a more clear finished beer.
Table of Contents
The Best Hop Spiders and Grain Bags For Homebrewing
Whether you are looking for a simple hop spider and brewing bag, or a stainless-steel hop filter, take a look at the ones listed below and see which one you prefer.
If you don’t have the time to look at the hop spiders listed below, here is a quick glance at the ones you have a look at.
G Francis Stainless Steel Homebrew Hops, Beer, & Tea Filter
This stainless-steel hop spider from G Francis is used to keep the debris out of your brewing equipment.
Besides being used for brewing beer, this hopper spider strainer is also good for filtering coffee or making tea.
Stainless steel is ideal for hop spiders, as it is non-toxic, anti-rust, is bacteria-free, and is resistant to acid and alkali. It is also very safe to use, thanks to its resistance to heat.
To use this hop spider, just hang it over the side of the kettle, and add the hops to your boil.
- Clean in the sink or dishwasher after use
- 300-micron mesh that will not wrinkle or damage easily
- Made from stainless steel for strength and longevity
- Easy to sterilize prior to use
- Will not fit a smaller kettle
- Dimensions may differ slightly due to manual measurement
GooDay Stainless Steel Mesh Brew Filter
This hop spider from GooDay has a good filtering performance, thanks to the 300-micron mesh that gives precision filtration. The two hooks attach the filter over the side of your kettle, making this filter simple to use.
The fine steel mesh can be accidentally damages during handling, so you need to handle, clean, and store this hop filter carefully if you want it to last.
- Suitable for use in low temperature and high-temperature environments.
- Has corrosion resistance, heat resistance, pressure resistance, good wear resistance.
- Can be used for multiple filtration purposes
- Large size for large batches of beer
- Serviceable, but not the highest quality
- Not sturdy enough for long-term use
- Can be easily damaged
Fangfang Beer Dry Hopper Filter
For dry-hopping, this hop spider from Fangfang is perfect to use for beer brewing, coffee, or other drinks to filter out any impurities. Just place the filter over the edge of your kettle, and add the ingredients directly to the hop spider.
The cartridge is made of a durable stainless steel for quality, which is non-toxic, easy to keep clean, resistant to alkali, and high temperatures.
Unlike many of the other options, this spider has a lid, but the lid has larger holes than the filter cartridge which can be a problem when dry hopping in a Cornelius keg.
- Easy to clean
- Great for holding hops in Cornelius kegs
- Choose from three different sizes when ordering
- No metallic taste left behind after use, which can happen with steel filters
- Lid is a friction fit and not a screw-on – Not always reliable
- Holes in the lid are larger than holes in the mesh, which can allow debris to escape
Strange Brew Hop Spider For Brew Bags
If you would rather use a brewing bag for your hop additions, instead of a mesh filter, this hop spider from Strange Brew is what you are looking for.
Along with a brewing bag, this kettle spider can be used to steep a small amount of grains when using an extract kit, or for adding the bittering or aroma hops during the boil.
This hop spider will allow you to keep the grain bag off the bottom of the kettle, preventing scorching, and keeps the ideal placement in the center of the brewing kettle.
This model comes with 9-inch arms which will fit most sized kettles and brew pots. Make sure you have the right size boiling bags on hand before you start brewing.
- Will fit most kettles
- Solid welds and construction
- Does not come with brewing bags
- Needs specific size bags
The Weekend Brewer Large Reusable Brew Bag
A quality brew bag from The Weekend Brewer is what you need when “brewing in a bag”, or for your hop additions. These reusable brewing bags are easier to use, and much less expensive than traditional mash tuns.
These brew bags are made from durable polyester, so the bags can be washed and reused over and over. This brew bag is built and designed to keep the crushed grains inside of the bag, and not the wort.
If using this bag during boiling, just make sure it is at least two inches away from the bottom brew kettle, or it can stick and burn.
- Extra-large size, so you can brew very large recipes without spilling any grains
- Bag will hold nearly 20 pounds of grain
- Can also be used to make large batches of cold brew coffee, Greek yogurt, or nut milk
- Bag can split easily if not handled gently during use
- Bags are much wider than they are tall, so can be awkward to use
Bellemei Reusable Brew Bags - Two Pack
If you prefer hop bags to the traditional hop spiders, these Bellemei reusable brew bags can also be used to make cider, jam, or fruit wine.
The extra-large size means you can use these bags for some of your largest recipes. This bag will fit up to a large 17″ kettle, and hold of to 20 pounds of grains.
After use, you can clean the bags by rinsing them with water and hand wash with soap and water, or just toss into the washing machine.
- Easy to pull drawstring means no spills
- An adjustable lock stops the bag from falling into the pot.
- Perfect for fruit, apple juice, cider, or wine press.
- Double-reinforced stitch edging for extra strength and lower risk of tears
- 250-micron mesh, so no grains can escape and ruin your beverage
- Must be rinsed before use, and bags can smell strange before this washing
- String tensioner does not always function well
- Bag must remain out of contact with the pot bottom, or the bag may burn
What are the Benefits of a Hop Spider and Why Should You Use One?
Homebrewing can sometimes be a messy business, and a hop spider makes the cleanup task much easier.
After sixty minutes of boiling, your hops can turn into a pile of mush. This can be strained before you move the beer to a chiller, but there can still be solids left behind before you move to the fermenter.
Using a hop spider makes it easy to add multiple hop additions throughout the brew, and keep hop trub out of your beer. You won’t have to fish in boiling hot hops to retrieve bags of hops, or mess with multiple bags, or worry if you’ve tied them properly.
The less mess for you to clean up, the more time for drinking your beer!
What To Look For When Buying A Hop Spider?
Make sure you choose a hop spider that is the right size for your hop kettle. It needs to be large enough to let the largest amount of hops you intend to use fit easily inside.
Remember that the hops will swell as they absorb wort. This is a good thing, as it means the word is coming into contact with the hops, but remember that they will take up more space. If your spider is too small, it could block circulation as the hops continue to swell.
If you do stove-top, partial boil brewing, which is typical for malt extract brewers, then choose a hop spider that is small enough that it won’t bottom out in your kettle, but will still allow enough room for proper circulation.
If you often do full volume boils, then you will need a hop spider that is deep enough to ensure the hops reach from the rim of the kettle deep enough to into the wort to make sure the hops are submerged.
A leggy hop spider can be useful, as you can use different sized hop bags to raise or lower the hop charge if you need to.
A canister style hop spider is usually the more durable model. Choose one made from stainless steel, and don’t run the risk of scorching if the spider hits the bottom of the kettle.
You could try to make your own hop spider if you can’t find one that you like.
Hop Spider Vs Hop Bag
Both can be very effective to manage the sludge of hops, but some homebrewers feel very strongly about which they prefer to use.
In you are using a bag, there is a risk that the hops can become swollen and become compacted in the bag, and difficult to agitate the hops. This has a negative effect on hop utilization. This can be counteracted when using a boil or whirlpool, as the clump of hop pulp can be better exposed to the wort.
This problem doesn’t come up with hop spiders, where there is usually more room for the hops to be stirred up by a boil or whirlpool. The larger size allows for the wort to circulate for better hop utilization.
A hop bag is smaller in volume and is more mobile, which leads to easier heat and fluid flow penetration than with a larger volume, more static spider.
Which is the better option? Try both and see which gives you the best results!
How Do You Clean a Hop Spider?
After use a hop spider, it can be rinsed off under the tap and then put into the dishwasher or hand washed with warm soapy water. For more stubborn hop debris and grime, a deep clean, you can also let the filter soak in Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW).
A hop bag can be soaked in the sink, cleaned by hand, or thrown into the washing machine. Just remember to rinse it first before adding it to the washing machine. If using the washing machine, use a cleaner, such as unscented Oxyclean or PBW.
The best hop spider and our favorite from the all the options we reviewed is the hop filter from G Francis.
We like it because it has a high-quality 300 micron fine mesh stainless steel filter, which is important if you want a hop spider that will last for many years and many brews.
This hopper spider strainer is designed for better hop utilization, easy to clean, and will fit sturdily onto the edge of your kettle or brew pot. It is also suitable to use if you have a brew bucket fermenter.
If you just need a simple grain bag when using the BIAB method, the best choice is the brew bag from The Weekend Brewer. One inexpensive brew bag can be used over and over and be ready for your next brew day.