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Old 12-02-2010, 07:16 PM   #1
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Default Dry Hopping with Leaf Hops in a Blichmann Conical?

I've been looking everywhere for tips on dry hopping with leaf hops in conicals and haven't yet found an answer that really answers my question.

In the manual it says "Do not use loose whole leaf hops for dry-hopping!" and recommends using pellets or a hop bag. Obviously the easy answer is to use pellets, but I prefer to use leaf hops when possible. The problem is that stuffing 4 oz of leaf hops in a hop bag results in the bag just kinda floating there. I've used sanitized marbles successfully with 2 oz of hops, but any more than that and the marbles aren't heavy enough to pull all the hops down into the beer (or you need to use a ridiculous number of marbles)

So I've got a black IPA with 4.25 oz of Citra in my 14 gal Fermenator right now. Yesterday I boiled the bag and marbles, stuffed the hops in the bag, tied it off with fishing line and crammed the whole thing down the hatch. I theorized that once the hops began absorbing some of the beer that they would begin to sink. I sanitized a stainless spoon and tried to push the bag under to get it wet (gently so as to keep from aerating the beer). I checked on it again just now and the bag's just floating on top of the beer still.

Not sure what to do at this point. Like I said, I'd prefer to use leaf hops if I could, but if pellets really are the best thing to do, I'm happy to switch. Does anyone have any good ideas about this?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-02-2010, 09:58 PM   #2
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I don't know a perfect answer, but I have a suggestion. I know the blichmann fermenters have rotating racking arms. Maybe you could make sure thats' rotated downward enough to tie a string to the hop bag and hook it over that to keep it down low? If not, maybe use a stainless spoon or some heavy object like it that can be sanitized to just keep it down low as well. Other than that, not sure. Do you get significant loss of dry hopping aromas by letting it float on the top?

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Old 12-02-2010, 10:03 PM   #3
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The hop bag should sink after 5 - 7 days.

You may consider putting a coarse mesh screen on the racking arm and just dump in the whole hops. That's what I do in my sanke keg fermenter. The hops are settled on the bottom by day 7.

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Old 12-03-2010, 01:48 AM   #4
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My process is to use whole hops in a Corney Keg with a stainless steel mesh tube over the pickup tube: http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/catalogsearch/result/?q=surescreen&x=22&y=17
I have a bunch of them and they work great for whole hops. Best of all the hops can be put in loose for better hop utilization.

If the Surescreen is the size of a Corney Keg pickup tube, by it and slip it over the racking tube.
Give it a try, they are cheap.


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Originally Posted by HopBlooded View Post
I've been looking everywhere for tips on dry hopping with leaf hops in conicals and haven't yet found an answer that really answers my question.

In the manual it says "Do not use loose whole leaf hops for dry-hopping!" and recommends using pellets or a hop bag. Obviously the easy answer is to use pellets, but I prefer to use leaf hops when possible. The problem is that stuffing 4 oz of leaf hops in a hop bag results in the bag just kinda floating there. I've used sanitized marbles successfully with 2 oz of hops, but any more than that and the marbles aren't heavy enough to pull all the hops down into the beer (or you need to use a ridiculous number of marbles)

So I've got a black IPA with 4.25 oz of Citra in my 14 gal Fermenator right now. Yesterday I boiled the bag and marbles, stuffed the hops in the bag, tied it off with fishing line and crammed the whole thing down the hatch. I theorized that once the hops began absorbing some of the beer that they would begin to sink. I sanitized a stainless spoon and tried to push the bag under to get it wet (gently so as to keep from aerating the beer). I checked on it again just now and the bag's just floating on top of the beer still.

Not sure what to do at this point. Like I said, I'd prefer to use leaf hops if I could, but if pellets really are the best thing to do, I'm happy to switch. Does anyone have any good ideas about this?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:48 AM   #5
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I'm assuming that the hops that aren't in contact with the beer aren't contributing anything to the aroma, but I've never tested it.

I like the idea of putting a screen on the racking arm. Even if they aren't settled out completely by the end of one week, the screen should keep the hop matter out of the kegs. Is it as simple as using a zip tie and a coarse mesh cloth?

Thanks for the tips guys!

Edit: calpyro must have beat me in by 53 seconds, but the Surescreen is a great idea too. Thanks!

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Old 12-03-2010, 03:50 AM   #6
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When I went from hops in bags, to having the hops loose with a Surescreen, the results were fantastic! I get together with other hombrewers to taste beers and nobody can create the same dry-hop flavors without their hops being loose in the beer. When you are not constrained to what can fit in a bag, you can put alot of hops in a conical or a Corney Keg.

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Originally Posted by HopBlooded View Post
I'm assuming that the hops that aren't in contact with the beer aren't contributing anything to the aroma, but I've never tested it.

I like the idea of putting a screen on the racking arm. Even if they aren't settled out completely by the end of one week, the screen should keep the hop matter out of the kegs. Is it as simple as using a zip tie and a coarse mesh cloth?

Thanks for the tips guys!

Edit: calpyro must have beat me in by 53 seconds, but the Surescreen is a great idea too. Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:57 PM   #7
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That's awesome. Thanks for the tip. How do you secure the Surescreen to the racking arm / dip tube? Hose clamp?

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Old 12-03-2010, 04:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopBlooded View Post
That's awesome. Thanks for the tip. How do you secure the Surescreen to the racking arm / dip tube? Hose clamp?
I'm interested too. My method for doing this in a corny keg is my wife's long thin arms. With the corny keg dip tube it stays in place once you get it in pace. Obviously with a rotating racking arm in a conical it needs to be on there.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:43 PM   #9
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To keep the Surescreen attached to the tube, I just put a couple of gentle bends in it and friction keeps it on. It has never come off.
For my Corney Kegs, I also put a gentle bend in the bottom of the dip tube to allow the Surescreen to sit horizonally along the bottom of the keg.


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I'm interested too. My method for doing this in a corny keg is my wife's long thin arms. With the corny keg dip tube it stays in place once you get it in pace. Obviously with a rotating racking arm in a conical it needs to be on there.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:23 PM   #10
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Thanks a ton for the tips. I ordered 3 Surescreens this morning. Looking forward to testing it out next week. Cheers!

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