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Old 05-03-2011, 04:52 AM   #1
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Default Leaf vs Pellet hops

I don't know what it is, but I just can't bring myself to use pelletized hops. It rubs me the wrong way, much like the thought of brewing anything but starter wort with extract. Is there any real benefit to using pellet hops besides the ability to have some semblance of aroma left after over a year in storage?


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Old 05-03-2011, 05:25 AM   #2
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1. They don't soak up as much wort for dry hopping and other such applications.

2. You need less.

3. They're more readily available.

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Old 05-03-2011, 06:29 AM   #3
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They don't soak up wort like a sponge - I made a somewhat bigger and hoppier version of Pliny the Elder with leaf hops, and my god, what a mistake that was. They also quickly sink when dry-hopping, which is definitely a plus, compared to leaf hops that will often remain with a significant portion untouched by beer! I also buy more frequently used varieties by the pound, and pellets take up far less room, allowing me to have more variety and save money by not resorting to my LHBS's jacked-up per-ounce prices; my freezer that I store hops in can hold about 7 1-pound bags of leaf hops... and it's a REALLY tight fit.

I once had the same mindset as you. I still use leaf hops a fair bit, especially when I just need a small amount (that I don't want in bulk) in the kettle, and it won't cause too many issues. They each have their advantages, but better quality/flavor or whatever is not one of them... most of the best breweries in the world use pellet hops these days, and I've ner heard of somebody even claim to be able to taste a beer and pick out what form of hops it used (unlike malt extract), and so it's clearly not inferior in terms of the beer it produces, and that is very important to me.

There are, of course, certain advantages that leaf hops have. And certain circumstances that practically require them - such as when using my hopback/randalizer, or when aging hops for lambic. The latter, of course, is possible with pellets, but you really need to be crazy to have a setup that can handle leaf hops and deciding anyways to take the already-long ideal minimum aging time of 3 years or so, and DOUBLING it.

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Old 05-03-2011, 06:35 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by emjay View Post
most of the best breweries in the world use pellet hops these days
Hell, some of the best breweries in the world don't even use hops anymore. They're using hop extract for bittering. Yet the beers are still incredible. I used to be bothered by pellets as well, but it's the only way to get a lot of the hops I enjoy using. I can't honestly say my beers have suffered for it.

Don't worry, be hoppy.

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