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Old 06-30-2012, 04:12 AM   #1
JimGossett
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Default New (to me) technique for dryhopping with pellets

Perhaps someone else has already done this... but I thought I'd share a dryhopping technique I've just tried successfully.

One problem with dryhopping in a secondary carboy is the rather voluminous amount of sludge that results. Too much of the beer ends up in this sludge, and I hate to see my yield of finished product so reduced.

Just finished brewing a super-hoppy beer that required dryhopping with 3oz of pellets for one week, followed by another load of 2oz for a second week. That would normally create a lot of beer-stealing sludge!

So, I took a nylon knee-stocking; disinfected it in SaniClean; let it drip-dry; then added the hop pellets to it. I tied two knots in the open top, with a small space between them, and tied a 12- to 18-inch length of dental floss to the stocking between the knots (the knots prevent the floss from slipping off the stocking). I then added the hop-filled stocking to the carboy, toe-first, leaving the dental floss to drape out of the neck. Dental floss is so thin that it doesn't prevent a seal between a rubber stopper and the glass carboy neck. Replaced the stopper/airlock. I then tied a finger-loop in the end of the floss that draped out of the neck, in case I wanted to hold onto the floss when later removing the stopper at extraction-time. I swirled the carboy, which still evolved a significant quantity of CO2, to displace air that had entered the headspace while opened during stocking insertion. [If the brew had been less effervescent, I would have purged the headspace with CO2 before replacing stopper/airlock.]

The knee-stocking swelled up enormously -- and floated. I swirl-mixed the carboy every time I happened to walk by. If you could find something small but heavy enough, you could probably prevent flotation and sink the stocking. However, I did try this later with three marbles and that wasn't enough weight to sink the stocking. I'm not sure it's a big deal, so long as you swirl occasionally.

To look at the swollen stocking, you'd never imagine you'd be able to extract it later through the comparatively narrow neck of the carboy -- but you can, even with 3 oz of pellets in it, though it's not easy. But the difficulty of extraction is the beauty of this technique: the process of pulling the swollen stocking out through the narrow neck of the carboy very effectively compresses the hop sludge and extracts the beer contained in it. The result is a very dry hop residue, and minimal beer loss.





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Old 06-30-2012, 05:19 AM   #2
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I see no problem with your technique except for this;

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Originally Posted by JimGossett View Post
I swirl-mixed the carboy every time I happened to walk by. .
I would think with a beer that's been racked to a secondary with that much head space this could cause oxidizing...


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Old 06-30-2012, 05:35 AM   #3
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An interesting technique, which reminds my why I prefer buckets.

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Old 06-30-2012, 11:34 AM   #4
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That's basically how I've been doing it for a couple of years. Although instead of a stocking I use small bags I made from the same material I made my BIAB mashing bag from (voile). I sewed some marbles into the bags to help them sink into the beer, rather than floating on top.

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Old 06-30-2012, 07:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stauffbier View Post
I see no problem with your technique except for this;

I would think with a beer that's been racked to a secondary with that much head space this could cause oxidizing...
The headspace shouldn't have any oxygen in it, since it's been sealed. And as soon as I put the hop-filled stocking into it, I either purge with CO2 or -- if it's still active -- I swirl and the effervescence off-gas purges the headspace. This particular brew in the picture had a far greater headspace than normal, and so I purged the headspace with CO2 before I resealed it. I either purge with CO2 from a tank, or -- if I'm too lazy, I use my CO2 gun with a cartridge:


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Old 06-30-2012, 07:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
An interesting technique, which reminds my why I prefer buckets.
Yeah, except the beauty of this is that the brew gets pressed out of the hops through the action of extracting the stocking through the carboy neck, and the "juice" just runs back down the inside of the carboy in the process. If you do your fermentation in a bucket, you'll have to do something else (e.g., sanitize your gloves and manually squeeze) to get the same effect. But, to each his own.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:09 PM   #7
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Just dry hop in primary and cold crash if possible.

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Old 07-01-2012, 03:06 AM   #8
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I am sure it will work fine, but seems like a lot of effort for a small gain. I am not willing to invest in your co2 gun to do things like this.

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Old 07-01-2012, 03:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I am sure it will work fine, but seems like a lot of effort for a small gain. I am not willing to invest in your co2 gun to do things like this.
Lots of people purge with CO2. Maybe not with a cool little gun like the OP's, but just the same. I've known people that even purge bottles before capping...
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogusOwnz View Post
Just dry hop in primary and cold crash if possible.
To each his own. However, you'll be doing nothing to reduce beer loss in the hop sludge. Furthermore, some like to hop very late in fermentation (or during lagering) when little off-gas is produced that will strip hop aromas from the product beer.


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