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Old 03-17-2008, 09:35 AM   #1
drayman86
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Default Using hop socks/bags

OK, so my brewing partner and I decided to start using grain bags for the hop pellets to reduce the trub in the boil kettle and decrease clogging the manifold when draining.

Anyway, I believe I've noticed poor hop utilization in the last couple of batches we've tried this technique on. Thought: The bags limit the saturation of the hop pellets, thereby decreasing the utilization.

Previous batches rocked, including a couple of great IPA's.

Anyone out there use grain sacks to hold hop pellets? Anyone out there have a similar experience?

Thanks.



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Old 03-17-2008, 12:08 PM   #2
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I switched FROM using them to just dumping the hops in for the very same reason you noticed...poor hops utilization. I just run the wort through a big strainer that fits nicely over my bucket now instead.



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Old 03-17-2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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I strain thru cheese cloth.

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Old 03-17-2008, 01:25 PM   #4
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You're right that hop bags reduce utilization. The decision whether to use them or not comes down to the trade-off between ease of racking (with hop bags) and better hop utilisation (without hop bags). I've brewed both with and without hop-bags, and personally I find it easier to just be able to lift the hops out before racking to primary, as I've had annoying problems in the past with hops blocking up my autosiphon. To compensate for poorer hop utilization I either increase the amount of hops used, or I move the hop additions to slightly earlier in the boil.

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Old 03-17-2008, 01:26 PM   #5
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I use one hop bag for each hop addition. Normally around an ounce or two per hop bag. I get very nice hop utilization and aroma. I used to not use the bags, but have had no decrease in hops utilization. I think it is important to not stuff the bags with too many hops. I really like not having the huge hop mess at the end of my boil.

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Old 03-17-2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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You could build a big hop bag. There are lots of ways to do it, but most recommend using a 5-gallon paint strainer, a PVC coupling, and a long PVC pipe (to stabilize it). That lets the hops float around in a larger area than one of the small mesh bags HB shops like to sell.

Check this out: http://youtube.com/watch?v=xFxuooOKe4o
[youtube]xFxuooOKe4o[/youtube]

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Old 03-17-2008, 04:00 PM   #7
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I used to use bags - but a got a big strainer and strain the spent hops out. (Before hops got expensive I used to put fresh whole hops in the strainer and strain the boiled wort through them.) My utilization seemed go get better when I ditched the bags.

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Old 03-17-2008, 04:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuPuma
You could build a big hop bag. There are lots of ways to do it, but most recommend using a 5-gallon paint strainer, a PVC coupling, and a long PVC pipe (to stabilize it). That lets the hops float around in a larger area than one of the small mesh bags HB shops like to sell.

Check this out: http://youtube.com/watch?v=xFxuooOKe4o
OK, now I'm impressed. Thanks for the great tip! I'll fab one up Thrusday evening for Friday's brew.

Thanks again ! ! !

P.S. The guy in the video sounds like the dude from Basic Brewing Radio.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drayman86
OK, now I'm impressed. Thanks for the great tip! I'll fab one up Thrusday evening for Friday's brew.

Thanks again ! ! !

P.S. The guy in the video sounds like the dude from Basic Brewing Radio.
This guy lives in Michigan and supposedly works in radio....He sounds familiar, I'm sure I've heard his voice on radio stations here...Just can't place him...

His vids are great!
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:05 PM   #10
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So I normally use hop bags, but I have noticed a decrease in hop utilization. But, I also use an immersion chiller and put it in the boil for the last 15', which would be impossible with this giant hop-sock.



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