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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Dry-hopping in Primary
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
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Default Dry-hopping in Primary

I don't use a secondary when brewing, but do all my ales with longer primary, to good results. I've never attempted dry-hopping because of this, but it was recently suggested that this is something I should try in primary. I'm looking for suggestions and techniques to do this correctly.

1) Should dry-hopping in primary be done with whole hops only, or can I use pellets?

2) How do get the hops out of the primary prior to racking? If I use a straining bag, will this work for pellet hops?

I've got 2 lbs. of pellet hops on the way and am looking forward to trying this if it's feasible.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jeff

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:29 PM   #2
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1. Doesn't matter- pellets or leaf hops are both fine.

2. Well, you have a couple of choices. One is to use a hops bag to put the dry hops in. It's easiest if your fermenter is a bucket, because getting a hops bag full of hops into a carboy is a pain!

I just toss mine in, and within a week they settle out pretty well and I just use my autosiphon and siphon from the middle of the fermenter to start. You could cover the tip would a paint strainer bag or a sanitized hops bag, though.

If you use a hops bag, don't bag it tightly. They should be very "loose" in the bag, so the beer can contact the hops. They tend to float on the top, which is fine, but some people like to put a few sanitized marbles in the bag, so the bag sinks.

When you dry hop in the primary, do it after fermentation is finished and about a week before you rack the beer. You don't want to leave the beer in contact with the dry hops too long, and you don't want to dryhop while a lot of co2 is still being released because the co2 coming out will "blow off" much of the dryhopping aroma that you're trying to add.

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:40 PM   #3
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I dry hop in primary exclusively. It works fine. Whole is better than pellet IMHO in the carboy because you dont need to strain when racking out. I've used both and find the pellet to be very difficult to exclude when racking without a strainer on the racking cane. I agree with everything Yooper stated as well from personal experience. Hopping in the primary is the way to go. Very simple. I just pour them in loose without any kind of strainer or hop bag.

Oh, and regarding question #2 - you rack the beer from the carboy or bucket and leave the hops behind if hops were added without a bag, etc. No need to take the hops out of the primary before the beer.

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Old 09-22-2009, 02:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for the helpful suggestions. Can I use a nylon grain steeping bag for dry hopping, or is there a special bag that my LHBS might carry? I appreciate all of the information and I'm really looking forward to putting it all together. Will post when I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Jeff

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Old 09-22-2009, 02:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbambuti View Post
Thanks for the helpful suggestions. Can I use a nylon grain steeping bag for dry hopping, or is there a special bag that my LHBS might carry? I appreciate all of the information and I'm really looking forward to putting it all together. Will post when I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Jeff
That'll work just fine.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:34 AM   #6
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Haha, Yooperbrew's suggestion is reasonable.

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Old 09-22-2009, 01:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
When you dry hop in the primary, do it after fermentation is finished and about a week before you rack the beer. You don't want to leave the beer in contact with the dry hops too long, and you don't want to dryhop while a lot of co2 is still being released because the co2 coming out will "blow off" much of the dryhopping aroma that you're trying to add.
What happens if you leave the dry hops in too long? I've noticed that some here dry hop for 2 weeks. I've always kind of wondered what the best length of time is.
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:12 PM   #8
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agreed that dh in primary is fine and should be done well after fermentation is complete.

after the pellets sink, i personally don't have any more problem keeping them out of the siphon than i do with trub/yeast. as long as your racking cane has one of those little caps on the end, it's a non-issue. to help getting the pellets to sink, give the fermentor a gentle shake a couple of times a day for the last couple of days of dry hopping.

you can put the pellets in a bag, which is what i used to do, but you won't get as much exposure (still works tho). depending on how much you put in the bag, extracting the swollen bag of pellets after the show is over can be interesting! (if using a glass carboy; not an issue w/a bucket, of course)

lastly, my one experience using a bag over the racking cane to exclude hops bits was a bad one. it excluded the hops bits effectively, but the straining effect caused a lot of CO2 to come out of solution as the beer passed thru the strainer. CO2 kept building up at the top of the racking cane and stopping my siphon. pita.

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Old 09-24-2009, 03:59 PM   #9
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I found that in secondary I get more out of the hops. The yeast cake seems to take some of the hop goodness. I think you need 25% more hops in primary.

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Old 09-24-2009, 04:00 PM   #10
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to help getting the pellets to sink, give the fermentor a gentle shake a couple of times a day for the last couple of days of dry hopping.
Ahhhh! I will do that next time! When I had tried dry hopping with pellets (no bag) mine all floated and never sank. So then I switched to nylon sack w/marbles but that eventually floated to the top (not enough marbles?) and I didn't get near the hop aroma/flavor as I did before.
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