A few weeks back, my neighbor and fellow brewer convinced me to try using a hopback. He had never used one before, but is quite into researching brewer techniques. It seemed a win-win to him. With a hopback, you get to extract some neat hop aroma and flavor by steeping hops in hot wort inside a closed system (no air allowed). It also acts as an inline filter to help remove spent hop particles, protein break, and any other stuff you may have floating in your kettle come the end of the boil.
I remember looking at the HopRocket, and while it’s a very nice piece of equipment, it’s expensive. My neighbor was convinced we could make one out of a mason jar (the glass is tempered to withstand extreme fluctuations in temperature), and keep it on the cheap. I poked around online and saw a few DIY links for making one from small stainless steel containers, and also came across a DIY for using a mason jar for $20. Great, someone else proved it works! It was time to get to work.