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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > whole hops, redux
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Old 08-01-2006, 04:17 AM   #1
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Default whole hops, redux

Hi all,

Just a follow-up on my experience switching from pellets to whole hops. I posted about a month ago about problems I encountered after switching from pellets to whole hops. The two main issues (related) have been clogging problems when draining wort from brewpot to primary, and when racking from secondary to keg (after dry hopping).

Well, the solution in both cases has been hop bags. This weekend, Bostonbrewin' and I brewed an IPA with loads of whole hops, and using hop bags in the brewpot made the transfer to primary the easiest ever. Then today, I racked a dry-hopped IPA from secondary to keg, but zip-tied a hop bag over the (source side) racking cane to prevent clogging. The first attempt failed, because I didn't put the little black plug on the cane inside the hop bag, and the bag itself clogged the cane. But after fixing that, the dry-hopped beer racked perfectly!

My previous IPA came out pretty good, but a little cloudy (not chill haze). After seeing the difference the hop-bag screen made in racking, I expect this batch to be much clearer.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that after trying (a) hop bags in the brewpot, and (b) a hop bag screen when racking out of the seconday, the results are great and I'm sold on whole hops vs. pellets.

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Old 08-01-2006, 07:03 AM   #2
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Yeah, I switched a few batches ago and I can't imagine ever using pellets again. Once I changed the way I did things a bit to accomodate the whole hops, I find them much nicer to use than pellets ever were.

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Old 08-01-2006, 11:56 AM   #3
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I've always used whole hops, I don't bother with a bag and I let them form a filter bed to filter out the hot/cold break.

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Old 08-01-2006, 02:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysterio
I've always used whole hops, I don't bother with a bag and I let them form a filter bed to filter out the hot/cold break.
I tried whole hops without bagging, but the spigot on my brewpot clogged. Do you use a false bottom or screen, or siphon?

For dry hopping, I just dump them in the secondary. The first time I tried dry hopping, I had a small problem with hops clogging the racking cane, especially near the end of the transfer. This time, I tied a nylon bag over the cane and was able to transfer all but a cup or so of the beer, with no clogging.

With these small changes, whole hops are looking a lot better!
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Old 08-01-2006, 02:57 PM   #5
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I use a SS brain in the bottom of my keggle--sometimes the whole hops clogs it, sometimes they don't. If they do, I dump the whole works into a big sanitized strainer and try to "squeeze" as much goodness as possible out with the back of my big stainless spoon. (Sanitized, of course).

My biggest issue with whole hops is absorption. I have to figure my batch size as about 5.75 gallons in order to actually get 5.25 gals in the fermenter.

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Old 08-01-2006, 05:09 PM   #6
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I just used plugs for the first time two weeks ago. I've got a valve on my brew kettle. I just wirlpooled the wort and let it sit for a minute or two before draining. I didn't have any porblems with clogging.

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