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Old 06-12-2013, 03:02 PM   #1
Mrakis
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Default Hop back/ Hop Rocket question

Does the use of a hop back make dry hopping unnecesary? I'm always pretty disappointed in the nose of my beers. It doesn't seem to matter how many ounces of hop pellets that i add to my secondary, my beer always seems to be missing the explosive nose that i am looking for. That led me to looking into a hop rocket. And looking into a hop rocket got me thinking about how expensive my batches could get if i am adding 3 -4 ounces of leaf hops to the hop back, then an additional 4 ounces of pellet to the secondary.

In short, is dry hopping overkill if you are using a hop back?

Thanks in advance

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Old 06-12-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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I would say they are different. With the hopback you will lose some aromas due to the scrubbing action of active fermentation. If you want to do hopback only, you will have to use more hops to adjust for the loss of aroma. I'm assuming you want a lot of aroma, not just a pleasant hoppy aroma note (which typical hopback usage will give you).

Is the ABV of your beers a bit on the low side (<6%)? The aroma oils are not terribly water soluble and the more the ABV goes up, the better they dissolve.

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Old 06-12-2013, 05:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjj2ba View Post
The aroma oils are not terribly water soluble and the more the ABV goes up, the better they dissolve.
If the oils disolve into the solution of beer, will that increase the flavor and decrease aroma? Or, the opposite.

I stilll haven't made a beer with a great hop aroma punch yet. I've dry hopped, late additions, major steep. For some reason, the aromas just don't come through very well for me.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:58 PM   #4
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If the oils disolve into the solution of beer, will that increase the flavor and decrease aroma? Or, the opposite.

I stilll haven't made a beer with a great hop aroma punch yet. I've dry hopped, late additions, major steep. For some reason, the aromas just don't come through very well for me.
hop oils provide aroma, other compounds provide flavor. If the oils don't dissolve out of the hops, they don't end up in the beer. The more the oils dissolve, the more they contribute to the aroma. Flavor and aroma are two different (but related) things and both are fighting for receptors in your nose. Do you use lots of flavor hops? If so, perhaps try backing off a little with those additions. Also make sure your dry hops have been handled well and are not getting a bit stale
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:07 PM   #5
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You might try racking your beer out of the secondary, into a keg or 3rd vessel of some kind. Dry hopping in the presence of yeast or a yeast cake will effect the hop aroma you obtain. If there are yeast around during dry hoping the hop oils that dissolve into the beer will tend to stick to the yeast in solution. The book on hops discusses this in the dry hopping section. To get good aroma I think you need to be using ~3-6oz/5 gallon of a good fresh aroma hop too. Hop aroma is a very difficult profile to master, I'm still working hard on getting it right, but that hop book is a good reference.

A hop back is not a substitute for dry hoping, but can be used in parallel to develop better hop aroma and flavor.

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Old 06-13-2013, 12:18 PM   #6
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Most of my beers are 7.5% or >. I could try racking into a 3rd vessel, but doesn't that then introduce a greater risk of oxidation?

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Old 06-14-2013, 06:01 PM   #7
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The Hop Rocket serves two purposes. (1) Hop back. (2) Randall. A Randall is placed between the serving keg and tap. Every time you draw a beer, it runs through the hops in the Randall. Used as a Randall, the first couple of draws are loaded with aroma, then, the aroma diminishes a little as the beer is drawn off. Beer in a keg is usually clearer, the hops will have less to overcome. The Hop Rocket comes with two different screens.....I use the Hop Rocket as a hop back to keep goop from blocking the plate chiller. The 4 oz. of leaf hops I use (mostly low A/A Hallertau) add very little in the way of aroma. Partly, due, to running 15-18 gal. of hot wort through the hops in 8 minutes. I don't consider the hops anything more than a filter medium. In breweries, the brewer will circulate the beer through a hop back for a period of time, to get as much as possible out of the hops. In home brewing we rip the wort or beer through it once.... This may go against the grain (no pun intended), but, computer geek, generated recipes, that many brewers follow to the tee, come from numbers that came out of a lab. The lab came up with the numbers by using the freshest of ingredients. When we get ingredients, they may not be the freshest, then we follow the geeks recipe. There's not a "used best by date" on a bag of hops from Hop Union. We may get hops that have lost some of their qualities. Pellets are a little more stable than leaf. If you're running 5 or 6 gal. of wort. What I'd do, is run the hot wort through 4 oz. of hops in the hop back. If you don't get the aroma you're looking for in the finished beer. Then, hook up the Hop Rocket to the keg, using it as a Randall. It's like other things in homebrewing, it may take a little experimenting and tweaking....Youtube Hop Rocket, Blichmann shows how to use it.

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Old 06-15-2013, 08:47 PM   #8
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Have you tried adding any of your finishing hops after the sparge/before the boil? I have read and tried with good results, adding about 30% of my finishing hops while I'm getting up to boil temp. It has something to do with the oils stabilizing and surviving the boil. Might add a little of that aroma your looking for.

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Old 06-15-2013, 09:34 PM   #9
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I have a hop rocket and never use it. Pellet stuff WILL clog it! Hopbacking is a fun idea but not really necessary much of the time. I typically perform a 30 minute flame out addition (for math in the calculators I say 20 min) and apply a strong dry hopping in secondary. My IPAs get 4oz of pellets or chopped up whole hops for every 5 gallons. Get lots of nose. I know it's expensive sounding, but that's why you buy hops by the pound online. Make sure to know the age and quality of your hops. Buying them fresh by the pound direct from the farm grants you better chances to put great aroma on the beer, but you have to store them cold and sealed while waiting to brew.

In terms of hopping on yeast, you better believe it's done. I remember a podcast about Union Jack which had enormous dry hop additions in the primary and secondary fermentations. That beer, especially the double version, has some nose. I would think there are plenty of chances for oxidation and impatience with multiple rackings. Hell, I sometimes don't rack once and do just fine. I am not trying to start a fight over this, but perhaps only do that many rackings if you have a conical of have co2 pushed transfers.

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Old 06-15-2013, 09:52 PM   #10
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Hop stands+ dry hopping works for me. I usually do one bittering addition then do a large FO hop stand for 30 minutes and dry hop at about .75 oz per gal.

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