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Old 11-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #1
edwardgjimenez
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Default Adding Whole Leafs During Boil

What, if any, are the drawbacks of using whole leaf hops rather than pellet hops during the boil? What are the advantages? Or does it even matter?

I want to produce a fresher hop flavor and aroma, so I am considering the employment of this technique. Any suggestions or opinions? Thanks

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Old 11-09-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
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whole doesn't clog up my strainer when I'm dumping wort into the primary, pellets do. - advantage

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Old 11-09-2013, 09:35 PM   #3
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Had a brew day from hell when the bag fell off my hop spider dumping 3oz of whole cone hops. The cones will easily fit through a 1/2" dip tube. Right through the tubing and plugged up my pumps like a cork. I got real good at taking the heads apart and cleaning them. LOL.

I bought 1lb bags of leaf hops from Hop Union. Almost all were still whole cones. Amazing smell.

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Old 11-10-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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I don't like pellet hops. They are messy, they make a sludge, and they don't smell good to me. Strong, but nasty aromas. People always thrust them under my nose like I will like them and I instinctively pull away. Free pellet hops sit unused in my freezer.

Leaf hops have a better aroma and flavor in my opinion. They take up a lot of space, are a bit of a hassle unless you can get the leaf out cleanly into the fermenter. It's key to strain through at least a bazooka tube, and I even use a finer SS braid shoved into that to make for a nice clean fermenter wort.

A downside to leaf is they soak up wort and you lose a lot of wort on a big hoppy beer. The last go round I made a big hoppy IPA with about 20% rye. Usually I will skim off the hot break after initial boil, but decided not to this time. Added a lot of freshly dried garden leaf hops at initial boil, 10 mins to go and KO. Anyway, it had so much hot break it stopped the draining through my strainer. Last resort was to squeeze the wort/hops out and through another strainer in a big funnel with sanitized rubber gloves. When it comes to not losing a half gallon of big gravity wort, extreme measures are sometimes needed.

If you buy leaf hops in pounds, get a Food Saver and preweigh and vac pack the rest right away, then put them back in the light blocking foil bag and freezer. Will keep at least 2 years that way pretty good.

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Old 11-10-2013, 02:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the great replies, I really appreciate it.

I've been brewing for over a year now and I am on about my 20th batch, but to date I've only used whole leaf to DRY HOP Pale Ale's and IPA's.

It sounds like I am correct in thinking that boiling with while leafs will produce a better tasting and fresher smelling beer - exactly what I want. But I am a bit concerned about the notion of the leafs soaking up beer. That raises a few questions for me:


1. I didn't think about this until now, but I assume the whole leafs used during the boil should stay in the beer throughout fermentation. Correct?

2. At the end of fermentation, do you strain the soaked hops to remove the juices for restoration in the wort?

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Old 11-10-2013, 03:30 PM   #6
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Also, is there any advantage to "drying" the whole leaf hops before they are used? I've heard this on a few videos and was not sure exactly what that means or how it would help.

I just saw a video where a brewer boil hopped with whole leaf and then steeped the hops above the fermenter to strain the wort that was soaked up in the hops. No hops were in the fermenter.

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Old 11-10-2013, 03:40 PM   #7
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I like being able to use a bag and pull them out once I'm done with the boil. Easier than straining for sure. But, they can still clog my siphon like crazy.

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Old 11-11-2013, 10:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardgjimenez View Post
Thanks for all the great replies, I really appreciate it.

I've been brewing for over a year now and I am on about my 20th batch, but to date I've only used whole leaf to DRY HOP Pale Ale's and IPA's.

It sounds like I am correct in thinking that boiling with while leafs will produce a better tasting and fresher smelling beer - exactly what I want. But I am a bit concerned about the notion of the leafs soaking up beer. That raises a few questions for me:


1. I didn't think about this until now, but I assume the whole leafs used during the boil should stay in the beer throughout fermentation. Correct?

2. At the end of fermentation, do you strain the soaked hops to remove the juices for restoration in the wort?
It kind of depends on the beer. If it's not very hoppy, then leave everything in. If it's a monster late hopped beer, you can pull some hops out and squeeze them dry before flavor hops addition - 10 mins. You lose a little hop utilization, but it will help you save more wort at the end.

For straining, I have a bazooka tube (coarse screen) threaded into my valve fitting. To make for even more straining of the wort prior to the fermenter, I shoved one of those finer stainless braids down into the bazooka tube.

Your system, do you go through a valve or dump from the boil kettle right into your fermenter? If you dump, just get a big plastic funnel with a strainer at the bottom. You snap them right in. On top of that put a stainless steel strainer to catch the big stuff. Sanitize everything first of course. You can wear rubber gloves dipped in sanitizer and squeeze those leaf hops pretty dry as they fill the strainer and get more wort. Aerates your wort too, although you are risking contamination at some point...
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardgjimenez View Post
Also, is there any advantage to "drying" the whole leaf hops before they are used? I've heard this on a few videos and was not sure exactly what that means or how it would help.

I just saw a video where a brewer boil hopped with whole leaf and then steeped the hops above the fermenter to strain the wort that was soaked up in the hops. No hops were in the fermenter.
I don't think you want to further dry out whole hops, unless you are growing them and want to store them. The store bought are dry enough, and I see no advantage to attempt to dry them further before using.

Some will put their hops in a paint strainer bag or a muslim bag and then into the boil. This does allow the hops to be removed all at once. I personally don't do that but if you have no easy means of straining at the end, then you could remove the bag and all the hops more easily. Usually with my kettle strainer just adding the hops to the kettle works great. I think having the hops loose makes for a little better hop utilization too as they are more exposed to a full boil and mixing into the wort more than if stuffed in a bag.

Some use a hop spider which sits on the top and has a screen but that's usually for pellet hops I think. Sits down into the boil a little.

Not sure what you are talking about with the hops not even in the wort.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:05 PM   #10
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Boil Hops - Pellets Only
Dry Hops - Whole Leaf Only

Negatives:
I used only 1 oz. of Whole Leaf hops in my boil one time. It clogged my boil pot spigot and I had to jam a sanitized screwdriver through it to only salvage 3.5 gallons from my 5.5 gallons batch after repeated frustration. I have never used pellets for dry hopping but I assume it will result in some green being suspended in the fermenter which I assume will clear with a cold crash.

I use pellets in my boil and when I activate my immersion wort chiller post boil, all the pellet sediment sinks to the bottom and I can pull clean beer in to my fermenter. Note, I also lose 2.125 gallons in the bottom of my boil pot and never tip it to get more in to my fermenter so there is a lot of collection room. I never use a secondary fermenter and use whole leaf in my dry hopping. I feel as if I may have read something about whole leaf hops being good for clarity too? After cold crashing, I rack from a couple of inches above the yeast adjusting as the level lowers with a cap on the end of my cane in to a keg and my beer has no sediment.

Someone else advise if there is a better or more highly recommended technique.

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