Saturday project—building a hop spider

I’ve been planning to build a hop spider for a while, so on this cool but sunny Saturday afternoon I stopped by the hardware store and picked up what I needed. I’ll be using this on my next brew, although with only 2 ounces of hops in the boil it will hardly be necessary. I hope that it proves useful the next time I make a big IPA.

This was a simple project, with only about $20 worth of parts. I probably could have saved some money by going with smaller bolts, but at least the finished product is unlikely to drop into the kettle. I used a 5 gallon bag because I want plenty of room for the hops to swim around in the wort as it boils.


parts for a hop spider

I even drew a little diagram before I went shopping.



I started by measuring the circumference of the large side of the PVC reducer. It measured just under 16 inches. Since I went with 3 bolts, I marked off spaces about 5 ⅜″ apart, and about ¾″ down from the top edge of the reducer. There was no need to be perfect but I wanted things to look nice.

measure twice, cut once

I then drilled three ⅛″ pilot holes.

pilot holes my good sir

I switched to the ⅜″ bit and finished out the holes. The cuts were pretty clean, but still left some burrs. I cleaned things up a little with a pocket knife.

a bigger bit

cleaning up the burrs

I threaded a nut and washer onto each bolt, then placed them through the holes and secured them on the other side with a second nut and washer. I adjusted the length of the bolts a little, then tightened it all down with a couple of wrenches.

putting the first bolt in

all bolts in

Now I had the structure, so I opened up the 5 gallon paint strainer bag and placed it over the small side of the PVC reducer. I tightened up a large hose clamp to keep things snug, and was done.

attached the nylon bag

The project really couldn’t have been any simpler, and it fits great in my 10 gallon boil kettle.

spider in the kettle

— Steve

Posted on 07 March 2015