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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > hop bag in primary
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default hop bag in primary

So I have started putting my hops in a muslin bag to make the straining process at the end of the boil easier. My last brew day I think left a bag in when I poured the wort into my primary fermenter.

It's probably a RDWHAHB scenario, but is there any chance for infection? The bag was in the boil so I assume it's as sanitary as the wort and I'm thinking all it'll do is a little dry hopping but I'm a bit worried.

Also on a side note, should I worry about hop utilization when using the bags? My last pale ale wasn't as hoppy as I like and I wonder if that is the culprit.

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Old 03-12-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
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As for leaving the bag in, since it was in the boil it's as clean as anything else. It's no worse than having a bit extra trub transferred to the primary.

As for the 2nd, I brewed 2 batches with hop bags to make things easier to clean. Then I threw them away because it completely trapped the hops. Both of them had no discernible bitterness, flavor, or aroma. They were like alcoholic malt water :-( I'll try whole hops in a grain bag, but anything fine enough to keep pellets from dispersing is off limits for me now.

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Old 03-12-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
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I've used muslin bags and pellet hops with no problems. My experience is the opposite of johngaltsmotor's. However, I haven't done a side-by-side comparison and don't have any hard numbers to back up my claims.

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Old 03-14-2013, 03:42 PM   #4
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Well I try to leave as much room as possible in the bag to allow the hops room to expand and hopefully be fully utilized. I went to this method after using a big mesh bag to strain the entire boil for several brews that ended up a bit watered down tasting, and all I could come up with is I was capturing a lot of wort with the hops I was straining out and still topping up to 5 gallons. Maybe a better solution is bigger mesh?

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Old 03-15-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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My keggle has an adjustable drain tube so I can set the height off the bottom based on how much hop trub I expect in the bottom for each batch. I lose a little wort, but I'm more willing to lose some good wort than make a batch I feel misses the mark.
But if the bags work for you then they're worth the bonus of cleaner wort.

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Old 03-15-2013, 07:11 PM   #6
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I never transfer kettle hops or whirlpool hops to the primary anymore. I let them do their job in the bag, and then toss them out. I can't comment on the best method, or why tossing them works better or less than keeping them in the primary. All I know is that I thoroughly enjoy the hop quality of my beers now vs. when I used to leave the hops in there. It helps to limit trub and possibly cuts down on a few harsh compounds that can leach out over time.

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Old 03-15-2013, 07:23 PM   #7
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I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag as a hop bag in my kettle. I clip it to the side of the keggle and when it is time to add more hops, I just throw them in the bag and clip it back to the side. I use whole leaf (mostly) and get all the bitterness, flavor and aroma I need. This keeps all of the hop gunk out of the fermentor. I also use the same type of bag to dry hop in the primary. Again, it works great and no hop gunk to worry about when racking to a keg or bottling bucket.

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Old 03-15-2013, 09:23 PM   #8
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I use a muslin hop bag clipped to the side of my brew pot and add all hop additions to the bag. As I'm stirring the wort, occasionally I'll squeeze the bag against the side of the pot with a spoon. Probably not necessary, but makes me feel better.

Before transferring to the fermenter, I also squeeze the hop bag to get that last bit of hoppy goodness into the wort.

As for the OP's first question, you should be fine.

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Old 03-18-2013, 02:07 AM   #9
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I used to use a hop bag, but it seemed transfer of wort in and out was not very efficient. Pellets or leaf blocked the holes.

I now just let them swim free and place a bag over the funnel when I pour the wort into the fermenter. Then squeeze the hops before discarding. I feel better!?!

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