Are you tired of hops clogging your homebrewing system? Or are you looking for a way to get clearer beer? Then you might want to invest in a hop spider.
A hop spider is an easy-to-use hop filter that contains hops to a mesh basket during the boil. They save you time when cleaning by reducing the hoppy mess left in your kettle after brewing. They’ll also improve the clarity and quality of your beer. We recommend the G Francis Brewing Hopper as this spider has the best quality for value design. It’s simple to use and will meet your needs as a homebrewer whether you’re advanced or just starting out.
Here are our picks for the best five hop spiders on the market today. We’ll help you navigate the web of options to make the best choice for your homebrewing needs.
Crawling to the top of our list is the G Francis Brewing Hopper. This nicely designed spider can be used with pretty much all standard homebrewing systems. It features two hooks that go over the side of your kettle for a little extra hold. This will lessen the possibility of dropping your spider into your boil – accidents happen!
The G Francis is a nice example of a well-built spider with a very fine mesh. It has a band and side weld that act as support so you know it’s durable. The fine mesh size is perfect for producing great tasting, clearer beers. It holds approximately 8oz of hops and is well suited to limit hop debris from pellet hops getting in the wort.
- Stainless steel
- 300 micron mesh
- Basket height: 14”
- Diameter: 6”
Where to buy it: Amazon
The Hop Spider by Mangrove Jack’s is a simple cylinder design that has a sturdy support band and a small single hook to hang on the side of your kettle. It has the largest mesh of all the spiders on our list, which allows for maximum wort flow and increased hop utilization. This is great for hazy and hoppy style beers, but don’t worry it will still protect your system from most unwanted hop debris.
The coarser mesh and thicker wire also means it’s more durable than the finer mesh options. You don’t have to worry about dents and deformation.
Mangrove Jack’s Hop Spider can be used on most sized boil kettles and works great with both pellet or whole leaf hops.
- 304 grade stainless steel
- 800 micron mesh
- Basket height: 11.8″
- Diameter: 5.9″
Where to buy it: Amazon
The Green Widow Hop Spider by Northern Brewer is quite similar to the G Francis spider but it has an added rubber coated vertical handle. This feature protects your hands from heat when using it during your boil and can also double as a hanger for easy storage.
The Green Widow is very well-built and you can put up to one pound of pellet hops in this sleek looking spider. It works with most systems and is great for all styles of beer. The extra features and quality of this option will cost a little more than the others, but it’s nice to have.
- Stainless steel
- Rubber coated, heat-proof handle
- 400 micron mesh
- Basket height: 14″
- Diameter: 6″
Where to buy it: Amazon
The AG460 features a cone shaped design that tapers inwards at the bottom and a bent handle that hangs over the side of the kettle. The other main difference with this spider is that it has a very fine mesh basket. This extra fine mesh will still allow the hop oils to pass to the wort but will catch 99% of hop particles, which is great for clearer beer. It can hold up to 10oz of hops.
- 304 stainless steel
- Conical basket
- 200 micron mesh
- Basket Height: 13.75”
- Diameter: 5.9” (top) / 3.9” (bottom)
Where to buy it: MoreBeer!
A hop spider is a type of strainer specifically made for homebrewing beer that filters the hops during a boil. It works by containing the hops to a steel mesh basket or nylon bag. Hop spiders allow for the extraction of flavor, oils, and alpha acids from the hops while trapping the majority of the hop matter inside the filter. Think of a hop spider as kind of like a big tea bag – but for hops.
Hop spiders keep unwanted hop debris out of your pumps, chiller, fermenters, and eventually your beer. Using a spider with your brewing system also makes it a lot less painful when it comes time to clean your equipment.
What makes a good hop spider comes down to what kind of system you have and personal brewing tastes. Most of all, you want to look for something that will give you good hop utilization and is quality built.
Hop utilization is the most important consideration when choosing a hop spider. You don’t want to have a filter that lessens the alpha acid isomerization or flavor that you should be getting from the hops. Why add hops if they won’t fully mix? Good utilization is a key component to a great hop spider.
Make sure that when choosing a hop spider it can hold the amount of hops you normally use. If you like brewing very hoppy IPAs, consider a larger hop spider. If you typically brew beers with less hops, you can get by with a smaller model. The right size will allow for proper wort flow and will maximize your hop utilization.
You also want to make sure you are buying a hop spider with a high quality build. You don’t want something that is going to break on you after a few uses. Stainless steel is a must and it’s also good to look for strengthening features such as support bands, side welds, and sturdy mesh.
Always check the specifications of the product to verify the material and type of build. A good build quality will allow you to reuse the hop spider over and over after many brews, cleanings, and the occasional drop on the floor.
For a simple tool, there is a bit of thought that needs to go into choosing a hop spider. You need to make sure it’s the right size for your system, that it will work with the amount of hops you brew with, and that it is quality made.
We highly recommend the G Francis due to its quality design, function, and value. This product simply ticks all the boxes you can ask for in a great hop spider.
If you’re on a budget or just enjoy small projects, you can definitely build your own DIY hop spider. There are plenty of tutorials online for different ways to make one. Generally it will be similar to the Strange Brew spider with a center ring, arms to place on top of your kettle, and removable hop bags.
All of the materials should be easy to find at your local hardware store and most tools you probably already have lying around the house. You can use an online tutorial as a starting point and customize it to your own brew kettle and preferences.
After you finish brewing, toss out the used hops in the garbage or compost. The best way to clean your spider is by using a hose and PBW. Spray down the spider with medium pressure and give it a light scrub with a PBW soaked sponge. You should be able to clean out all of the residue from the mesh.
Once you have rinsed the hop spider, allow it to air dry fully. Since it’s a mesh, it might take a day to fully dry. Once dry, store it away safely until the next brew day. You don’t have to worry about sanitizing hop spiders before use because any bacteria will be killed during the boil.
Technically, yes you can. Some people choose to brew without hop spiders and are successful in making good beer while not clogging their systems. They use other techniques, such as whirlpooling, passing wort through a sieve, or using a bazooka screen.
Your beer might not turn out as clear as it would with a hop spider, but should still taste good. If you add loose hops without using a spider, the main risk is clogging your equipment and having more to clean after homebrewing.