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Old 03-21-2013, 04:07 AM   #1
LarryC
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Default Dry hopping techniques?

I will be brewing a batch of Pliny The elder shortly and it has a boat load of dry hops in the recipe (5oz of three varieties). I ferment in a better bottle and I don't normally do a secondary. Coincidently, I caught the Q&A podcast on brewstrong where they were discussing dry hop techniques. The thing that interested me was the how much and how long part so I listened pretty carefully but I still have a question or two so I thought I'd ask the brain trust here at HBT for their perspective.

First off they were talking about a large hop bill like mine and instead of dumping it all in at once, they would spread it out over several additions. They also mentioned that in a carboy vs. a conical, you got better hop distribution because the hops would be spread out and have more surface area contacting the beer. Made sense to me so I figure I'll do three hop additions once fermentation has ended.

Next they discussed not leaving the hops in the fermenter for more than 5 days - according to the discussion, you can start to get that vegetal flavor if the hops sit that long. Normally I use a hop sack when dry hoping but since there was such a big hop load this time I was just going to dump the pellets into the BB. Now I'm a bit worried about them staying in there for so long. Do you think that adding the next charge of hops would cover the previous one up and prevent vegging out?

So I guess the round up questions are, with this brew I still intend to go without a secondary fermentation chamber - any arguments to that? The other question is on letting the hops sit and if they need to come out, I guess I could go with hop sacks but they'd have to be removed and the next one dropped in - a bit of a pain but maybe it's worth it?

Let me know what you think & thanks!

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Old 03-21-2013, 05:12 AM   #2
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If you have a way to cold-crash your Bottle, you could just dump your pellets in and let them swim free for five days, then crash the mush right to the bottom in a couple of days.

I do this for pretty much everything I brew save the porters and stouts. Works really well with pellets, doesn't work all that well with leaf (which soaks up a lot of beer anyway).

I don't agree with spreading out dry hop additions while holding to the five day window. Seems like a waste of hop potential for no good reason. I dump everything in, let it run for five days, crash, then keg, chill and carb. Pretty simple process.

I do agree with not pushing the "soak" time - five days is about the sweet spot in my experience, when dry hopping at fermentation temperatures. If you're dry hopping in a cold keg, that's another story - I've had whole hops in 36°F serving kegs for a month without any veggie characters...

Cheers!

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Old 03-22-2013, 01:14 AM   #3
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I have a freezer with temp control so I can crash it down before I keg it, not a problem. I honestly hadn't thought about that option so thanks for the tip!

As for dumping all the hops at once, I'll give it a go and we'll see how it comes out. Makes life easier if nothing else!

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Old 03-22-2013, 12:51 PM   #4
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I believe in the shorter, multi-stage dryhopping. I have personally noticed a difference in aroma after testing several methods. The best method for me is 3-4 days each addition, 2-3 additions total, pulling out the prior addition each time you add the next one.

I realize that the real Pliny the Elder requires a 3-stage dryhop, but for convenience and minimal loss, you could go with 2-stages. Toss your first stage in the primary and then rack on top of your second stage in the secondary. Total dryhop time = 6-8 days.

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