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Old 08-17-2010, 08:49 PM   #1
MacGruber
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Default Dry Hop Swirling

Hi guys. This is my first adventure in dry hopping since I usually make maltier beers. I had heard that swirling the carboy while dry hopping can help the layer of pellet hops sink to the bottom. Can swirling create off flavors in the beer? I gave my carboy a slow, easy swirl. I only had about 4.5 gal of beer in my carboy so there is a lot of head space. The green layer of pellet hops that had spread at the top of my beer slowly sank down to the bottom and all that's left on top is a thin white layer of bubbly foam. Is that normal? Did I do something to damage my beer?

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Old 08-17-2010, 09:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MacGruber View Post
Hi guys. This is my first adventure in dry hopping since I usually make maltier beers. I had heard that swirling the carboy while dry hopping can help the layer of pellet hops sink to the bottom. Can swirling create off flavors in the beer? I gave my carboy a slow, easy swirl. I only had about 4.5 gal of beer in my carboy so there is a lot of head space. The green layer of pellet hops that had spread at the top of my beer slowly sank down to the bottom and all that's left on top is a thin white layer of bubbly foam. Is that normal? Did I do something to damage my beer?
I highly doubt you damaged your beer. Only way to check is to give her a taste. I'm sure its great. Most people dry hopping with pellet hops use a sanitized hop bag. Little hops pieces dont sink out to the bottom very quickly. The alcohol level in your beer when you dry hop is high enough that its har dto really hurt it. You may want to purge your head space with CO2 if you have it. If not hopefully you have a little yeast activity left to push the air out. If you have neither, I would bottle/keg it soon. Dont let it sit warm with air around it for too long. Oxygen after fermentation is a bad thing. Thats why they say to gentle swirl it as to not oxygenate the beer again. (also not to kick up the yeast cake/trub)

Taste it!
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:27 PM   #3
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I've used the gentle swirl when dry hopping before and it definitely didn't seem to hurt the beer at all. In fact, it turned out great. Other times I have dry hopped without swirling and I've noticed that the pellets just take time (days) to sink to the bottom, but they do sink eventually. Plugs and whole leaf hops, however, float up at the top.

I've actually liked my results better when I haven't used a bag with dry hopping. I just place a sanitized nylon bag around the end of my racking cane and it filters out all the hop particles when I transfer to the bottling bucket.

I'm sure your beer will be great!

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Old 08-19-2010, 06:19 PM   #4
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I've been keeping watch on this and everything has settled to the bottom. I'm so anxious to bottle this brew. It was my first AG batch and every sample along the was has been dynamite. I just figured with everything on the bottom, it'll be so much easier to transfer/bottle. I can't believe I've never dry hopped before.

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Old 09-22-2010, 10:37 PM   #5
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Sorry to revive this, but I figure it is better to kick up an old thread than to annoy people by posting similar questions again. How did this work for you MacGruber? I have traditionally dry hopped using mesh bags but due to the amount of hops I was using this time (Pliny clone, heavy dry hop at the end), I decided to just put the pellets directly into the secondary.

The beer has been sitting 4 days at 62-ish F and still has a thick "hop cake" floating on the top. So a couple of questions:
1. How long did you leave your hops at the top until you swirled to disperse them?
2. Did you just swirl once or did you swirl multiple times over a period of days?
3. How long did it take for the hops to sink to the bottom?
4. Any noticeable effects on the beer? I purged my secondary with C02 before I racked the beer to it. I would imagine that, plus any additional C02 that has been released by the beer would keep me safe from oxidation if all I did was a gentle swirl or 2. (plus, if it tastes half as good bottled and carbonated as it did when I racked to the secondary, I doubt it will be around long enough for oxidation to set in anyway)

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Old 09-23-2010, 08:57 PM   #6
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Hey there. It worked out beautifully. I gently swirled it once a day for 3 days. You'll see the hop cake slowly start floating down immediately. It was honestly the BEST beer that I've ever had in my life. I'm not saying it because I made it; I'm saying it because I would buy it over anything else on a store rack if it was mass produced. There isn't any oxygen in the carboy at that point anyway, so you'll be fine if you swirl. I'll be doing this from now on.

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Old 09-23-2010, 10:24 PM   #7
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I swirled this morning and the cake immediately broke up and began settling to the bottom. I had hoped to bottle Sunday. So my plan is to swirl it once more tonight and once more tomorrow. Then give it Friday night, Saturday and Sunday for the hops to settle so that it's easier to rack off the trub Sunday afternoon.

Thanks for the confirmation.

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Old 09-24-2010, 01:26 AM   #8
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Anytime. I left mine in secondary with two ounces of hops for about two weeks. I should have left it longer. The aroma is there, but not as strong as I had hoped for it to be.

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Old 09-24-2010, 01:27 AM   #9
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Another thing I may try next time is using a cheese cloth, sanitized marbles, and whole leaf hops to float them in the middle of the beer. I don't know if it'll make a difference, but I'm interested!

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Old 09-24-2010, 01:31 AM   #10
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I don't swirl my carboys at all. I just add the dryhops, and then come back when it's time to bottle. It's been fine for me so far. The beer soaks up into the hops, so I get great flavor.

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