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Old 07-01-2006, 11:30 PM   #1
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Default whole hops, lower OG

Today I brewed a second batch of IPA, making a few changes in recipe from the first batch. The two biggest changes were to bump up the DME from 6.5 lbs to 8 lbs, and to use whole hops instead of pellets.

The boil went fine, but when it came time to rack into the carboy, things started to fall apart. I'm using a 10gal brewpot with spigot, and in previous brewdays with pellets, I've had good success chilling the wort, whirlpooling for 10 mins, then simply opening the spigot and running the wort through a sanitized strainer/funnel into the carboy. Today, with whole hops, I opened the spigot and got -- nothing!

The whole hops clogged things up, but after sanitizing a thermometer probe, I was able to unclog the spigot and get 2 1/2-3 gals of wort from the brewpot. In the end, I probably left behind a quart of wort mixed with all the hops (4 oz over the last 30 mins, so quite a lot of hop cones).

My OG came out at 1.055, just slightly higher than the 1.052 I got using 6.5 lbs of dme in the previous batch. I was expecting a higher OG, but I think the whole hops kept me from getting all the high-density wort, and when I topped off at 5 gals, the OG obviously dropped.

In retrospect, this all seems obvious, but I've never read about adjusting fermentables based on pellet vs. whole hops. So what should I have done differently? Used some other method to extract more of the wort? Not topped off to 5 gals, but topped off based on my target OG? Something else?

The beer will be great, I'm sure (last one was quite good at 1.052 OG), but I ended the brewday frustrated that I didn't hit my target OG.

Looking forward to some advice on dealing with whole hops in the brewpot.

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Old 07-01-2006, 11:42 PM   #2
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Well it sounds like you did not use a muslin bag for the whole hops. They make nylon or muslin bags that look like a sock. You stuff the hops in the bag and tie a knot in it and just drop it in the boil. The other alternative is to put a filter of sorts in the kettle attached to the spigot although I have found that hop bags work best. As far as adjusting the amount of fermentables because of whole hops as opposed to pellets......I have never heard of that, but that does not mean much! Good luck.

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Old 07-01-2006, 11:48 PM   #3
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r johnson,

The form of hops you use doesn't have any impact on your gravity. Are you sure your volume at the end of both boils was exactly the same?

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Old 07-02-2006, 12:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwAMi75
r johnson,

The form of hops you use doesn't have any impact on your gravity. Are you sure your volume at the end of both boils was exactly the same?
The final volume in the brewpot was about the same as last time, but I left more wort behind in the pot than when I've brewed with pellets. So I ended up diluting the wort when topping off to 5 gallons, I think.

In the past, with pellets, I've had good success with whirlpooling, but this time there was just too much stuff in the kettle for a whirlpool to help. I considered siphoning instead of using the spigot, but I'm not sure I would've gotten any more wort out. I think the hop bag or a screen is the way to go.
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Old 07-02-2006, 12:52 AM   #5
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Not only will whole hops make it difficult to get all of the wort out of your kettle by clogging things up, they absorb some of the wort. Next time, you might consider pouring the makeup water into the kettle and giving it a stir. I've bagged and used a bazooka. I like the bazooka better, even though it tends to clog when I use a lot of pellets. Whole hops aren't a problem.

Some people like putting hops bags because they can squeeze all of the wort out.

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Old 07-02-2006, 02:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nosnhojr
but I left more wort behind in the pot than when I've brewed with pellets. So I ended up diluting the wort when topping off to 5 gallons, I think.
Well, there ya go!
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Old 07-02-2006, 02:57 AM   #7
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I use whole hops (4 - 6 oz per batch) and have a false bottom in my kettle.
With the false bottom the hops are suspended above the spiggot, and filter out most of the cold break. Works like a charm.

-a.

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Old 07-02-2006, 11:56 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice! The false bottom sounds like it would work the best. Unfortunately, I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more equipment for at least a month.

I'll try bagging the hops first.

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Old 07-02-2006, 01:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nosnhojr
Thanks for the advice! The false bottom sounds like it would work the best. Unfortunately, I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more equipment for at least a month.

I'll try bagging the hops first.
THe Hop Stopper works well, too. Check it out in the vendor's forum.
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Old 07-04-2006, 03:51 AM   #10
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You want to try and add boiling water to the boiling wort to dilute if needed. Just good practice.

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