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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Leaf vs Pellet
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:20 PM   #1
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Default Leaf vs Pellet

While shopping for my next few batches, I ran into a question. I need 3.5 oz EKG leaf hops(dry hop IPA) and 5.5 oz EKG for boil in 2 recipes. I have 2 oz leaves in my freezer, and would reacher buy the $9 8oz bag from Northern Brewer than the 1oz bags. Can I substitute leaf for pellets 1:1?? I thought I read somewhere that pellet utilization was higher? And if I do get pellets, is there any problem(recalculation) for dry hopping with leaf & pellets?

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:23 PM   #2
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When dry hopping, utilization is not an issue. For bittering, you can use roughly 10% less pellet, by weight. But really, hop IBU calculations are such a WAG that it probably won't make a difference either way.

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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There is a difference in utilization for different types of hops. Pellets have the highest utilization, then plugs and then whole. If I remember correctly it's a difference of about 10% between highest and lowest. And I think it's a linear difference accross boil times.

I think Tinseth, Rager/Garetz and Daniels all have a slightly different take on the effects.

If you use good brewing software or find a good IBU calculator on the net, the software should give you the answers.

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:29 PM   #4
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Oh, missed that. Yes, for dry hopping it is probably a non-issue.

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:47 PM   #5
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So essentially I get more bitter for my buck with pellets. And less mess. And when it comes to hops, more is better. I have a Mac and have the trial version of BeerAlchemy but I've been spending my funds on grain and equipment. Guess I should move that up one the priority list.

Thanks!

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Old 04-25-2011, 09:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefencore View Post
So essentially I get more bitter for my buck with pellets. And less mess. And when it comes to hops, more is better. I have a Mac and have the trial version of BeerAlchemy but I've been spending my funds on grain and equipment. Guess I should move that up one the priority list.

Thanks!
I only use pellets so far but there are people who would argue that whole hops are a better product. They have lower utilization but that is only one characteristic. I haven't looked any more into other forms because pellets are so readily available.

If you are interested in reasons people use other forms, you should look around this site.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:19 PM   #7
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Personally, I think whole hops are a better product from an aroma and flavor standpoint. So in a perfect world, I would use pellets for bittering and whole leaf for aroma/flavor/dry/FWH........

Whole hops in a glass carboy is just not fun though....

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Old 04-25-2011, 09:22 PM   #8
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Some volatile oils are lost during the process to make pellets. Heat and pressure will do that.

I have used pellets and my system doesn't like them at all. And I live in the foothills of the Cascades?!?!?!?!?! They shoot people around here for using anything but whole hops.

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Old 04-25-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
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I've made the same recipe with pellet and whole leaf and have not been able to tell a significant difference in flavor. One thing to consider when comparing is the AA%. I've found that at my LBS the whole leaf of many varieties has a higher AA than the pellet so even though you see lower utiliztion it is offset by the higher AA. In many cases the whole leaf is slightly less expensive as well, even at the higher AA.

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Old 04-25-2011, 09:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nateo View Post
But really, hop IBU calculations are such a WAG that it probably won't make a difference either way.
I was thinking the same thing yesterday as I measured out 1.1 oz on my analog scale that is graduated in 0.25 oz increments. Yeah, I'm sure I hit my target IBUs exactly . . .
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