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Old 02-16-2010, 03:22 PM   #1
Andysam
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Default Should I use hop pellets or whole hops? Dry hop question too.

I have been using hop pellets in a fine mesh bag for my brews. I use the bag so I dont have much material in my wort.
First, does using the bag not allow all of the hop flavor/bitterness to be absorbed?
Second, is there any benifits to using whole hops during the boil?
Third, I have noticed lots of people dry hopping with whole hops, must you use whole hops? Also, when dry hopping, do you have to sanitize the hops first?

Thanks!



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Old 02-16-2010, 03:47 PM   #2
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Ok, my opinion (not necessarily based on science fact:

Bag may not allow for as efficient hop isomerization if it's not big enough and spread out. The better methods involve having it hang from a ring, so that it remains open at the top and the hops can swirl around.

I prefer pellets for boiling because they are easier to package. Whole hops are good too, but can clog a siphon or spigot unless you are prepared.

I have dry hopped with both and the whole hops came out better. Might only be the amount and method I used, but people do dry hop with pellets just fine. I find the whole hops a bit easier to avoid while siphoning.

YMMV of course. Each person has their own preference, depending on their methods.



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Old 02-16-2010, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysam View Post
I have been using hop pellets in a fine mesh bag for my brews. I use the bag so I dont have much material in my wort.
First, does using the bag not allow all of the hop flavor/bitterness to be absorbed?
Just make sure the bag is big enough so the wort can flow through it and reach all the hoppy goodness. I use a 5 gallon paint strainer.

Quote:
Second, is there any benifits to using whole hops during the boil?
Not if you are using a hop bag. Pellet hops can clog some screens though.

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Third, I have noticed lots of people dry hopping with whole hops, must you use whole hops?
No. But whole hops can be thrown straight in; pellets need to be in a bag (as I found out last time!).

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Also, when dry hopping, do you have to sanitize the hops first
No. The alcohol content and pH of the beer and anti-bacterial properties of the hops themselves will take care of any possible infections.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:47 PM   #4
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1. No, the bag is fine.
2. No - both are fine but neither is wrong or better although fresh whole hops can be fresher if you grow them
3. You can dry hop with either... pellet hops will fall out down to the trub but whole hops will remain floating around... you can also put either in a hop bag for dry hopping too.
You do not have to sanitize the hops first... there is a lot of literature on the subject but hops, although they are not 'clean' do not cause infections so hop away w/out fear.

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Old 02-16-2010, 03:49 PM   #5
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No. But whole hops can be thrown straight in; pellets need to be in a bag (as I found out last time!).
Didn't the pellets just crumble and fall out into the trub?
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Old 02-16-2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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You can dry hop with pellets, either in the secondary or primary. However, if you are siphoning, you can suck up small hop fragments which will be visible in the pint of beer. At the beginning or middle of the keg, you may get one little (very small) hop fragment that is visible in the glass (approximately 3-4 sq millimeters). Near the end of the keg, I usually get 2-3 little hop fragments. If that bothers you, or you plan on submitting the beer for competition, you need a way to filter the beer or use whole leaf hops. Personally, it doesn't bother me, so I don't filter it, but I plan on doing so when I start entering competitions.

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Old 02-16-2010, 05:21 PM   #7
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^ What he said.

I tried putting a hop-bag over my siphon, but still got little bits in my bottles.

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Old 02-16-2010, 09:15 PM   #8
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I prefer to use whole hops for everything. When i do use pellets, I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag to make sure the wort can flow freely through them. It has been my experience, in my beers at least, that whole hops have given a fresher, more pungent hop flavor/aroma when used as late hop additions than pellets do. I tend to get a more grassy hop flavor from pellets, but that is just MY observation in MY beers, YMMV. For the same reasons, I NEVER dry hop with pellets. I've done side by side comparisons with my beers and there is a clear difference to me, even with blind taste tests with friends. Try both and see what you like, you may not even notice a difference. remember though, that whole hops soak up a lot of wort, so plan accordingly.

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Old 03-04-2010, 10:26 PM   #9
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When hops are made into pellets, certain oils are destroyed. Some (all?) of these oils are the ones you are trying to extract during dry hopping. So, use whole hops if you can find them.

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Old 03-04-2010, 10:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkeeler View Post
When hops are made into pellets, certain oils are destroyed. Some (all?) of these oils are the ones you are trying to extract during dry hopping. So, use whole hops if you can find them.
Maybe but pellets are like concentrate and they keep longer. Also the oils they retain are preserved better than whole hops . Apples to apples I'd say whole hops but for home brewers pellets make much more sense. Most micro breweries use pellet hops as well.

All that said, I prefer to dryhop with whole hops. When I've done it w/ pellets a healthy percentage do NOT fall into the trub, I just get a green sludge everywhere.

Regards,
Alan


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