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Old 11-12-2012, 08:05 PM   #1
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Default Dryhopping with leaf hops in the primary

I have a bunch of leaf hops that I'm planning to use to dryhop my IIPA. The problem is that I brewed 7 gallons of it and I'm using two different types of yeast. So I don't want to mix these beers. They are both fermenting right now in two separate carboys (6 gal & 5 gal capacity) with about 3.5 gallons of wort in each.

Normally, when it comes time to dryhop, I would place the leaf dryhops in the empty secondary and rack the beer on top of it, leaving very little air leftover. I don't have that option now, and I'm not keen in buying another carboy or bucket. So I'm asking, what are my best options/techniques to dryhop these beers?

It seems that it would be quite difficult to drop the leafs in by hand, or force them through the small opening with a bag. I'm thinking a funnel would help if I toss them in loose along with a bit of poking action. Does anyone have any inventive ideas or tips to dryhop these beers that don't involve me spending more money?

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:07 PM   #2
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Do you keg? If you do, bag the hops in voile cloth (from LHBS or get some from fabric store). Make sure it's nice and loose inside the bag, not constricting. They will expand some. Throw the bags in kegs while you carb/condition.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:09 PM   #3
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I bottle, sorry. I should have said that, but that advice would help those who keg.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:15 PM   #4
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Id still just bag the hops and pop them in the carboys. Its not that hard to pour them in using your hand as a funnel either.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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You can make a really cheap "funnel" with just a piece of paper and tape.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:27 PM   #6
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I wouldn't worry about infection/oxidation over the course of 3-4 days of dry-hopping. A good cold-crash and quick packaging thereafter should prevent most infection from proliferating, that and the hops do help.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:45 PM   #7
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It's a pain to push them in by hand but it's doable. I've done it more times than I wish to admit. The funnel technique doesn't work so well, though, because it makes a narrow opening even narrower. Billl's advice of a paper and tape funnel would be what I'd do but I'd wrap the paper around the outside of the mouth of the carboy. Fabricate some sort of plunger because they'll undoubtedly get stuck in the bottle-neck.

My strategy is to grab some leaf hops, squeeze them in a clump, and poke them through with my finger--then repeat. It's low-tech, takes too much time, and you end up with hop parts on the floor but it's all worth it in the end when you pour a glass of hoppy goodness.

As for timing, I like to do this when there's still a bit of yeast activity, or I give the carboy a good swirl before I start to re-suspend the yeast. That way, the little yeasties will purge out the O2 on their own and you limit the risk of oxidation.

happy hop-poking!

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Old 11-12-2012, 10:51 PM   #8
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I dryhop in the primary all the time. I use a funnel, but my funnels mouth is isn't too narrow. It's about just as wide as the carboy neck. You'll spend $2-4 finding a wide mouth canning funnel. But it's better than spending $20-40 on another bucket/carboy.

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Old 11-12-2012, 10:58 PM   #9
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I'll be dryhopping for more like 7-10 days. I have a funnel that came with my equipment kit - Using the funnel along with a poker to push the hops down into the carboy is the only solution I thought of so far.

True about the funnel bottom being narrower than the neck of the carboy. The paper funnel seems like an option... or I could just go to the hardware store and find a wide-bottomed funnel.

Bagging the dryhops in my nylon mesh paint strainger bags would be almost impossible to fit in & out of the small carboy neck. And I think the leaf hops would get all over the place using my hand as a funnel.

@cram - I thought that swirling the primary upon adding the dryhops was a no-no, and sort of the whole reason people dryhop in the secondary (to limit a lot of those yeast cells and dryhops from coating one another). I should have a very dense CO2 blanket atop the beer. With 2-3 gallons of empty headspace after 3 weeks in the primary, I don't think oxygenation should be a problem unless I leave the airlock off for 10 minutes. That's why I wanted a fast way of adding these dryhops instead of adding them bit by bit using my hands.

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:48 AM   #10
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I never gave thought to yeast coating the hops, EPA, from dry-hopping in the primary...interesting. I usually swirl before adding the hops just to encourage some more activity to purge any O2 that might come in as a result of the time required to add the hops. Figure I have to source a better funnel, though, because the clump and poke technique takes too much time.

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