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Old 11-28-2008, 10:54 AM   #1
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Default Dry hopping in primary?

I know typically people dry hop in secondaries (or at least thats what people talk about far more often). Can you dry hop using only a primary? If so, how do you do it? Just wait the final gravity is met and then toss it in and let it sit for days/weeks?

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Old 11-28-2008, 10:59 AM   #2
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There is an article in BYO that says the BEST time to dry hop is just after the big fermentation has started to slow down. Thus - yes. In fact I'm Dry hopping in 5 minutes. It's been 5 days in the primary.

The reason mentioned is that since hops, even pellet hops are not sterile (according to Mark Garetz "Using Hops") you have less risk of contamination at this point.

He points out that really - the only WRONG time to add hops is before fermentation.

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Old 11-28-2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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The exact mantra on dry-hopping is subject to individual tastes, but from what I've ascertained...

...there are a number of reasons why a secondary is a preferred vessel for dry hopping -- but for all intents and purposes, yes, you can dry hop in a primary. Give your beer 3 weeks for primary fermentation and conditioning, and 1 week after the hops are added to the primary for dry hopping (4 weeks total). Feel free to add or subtract from the hop "contact time" as you feel necessary.

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Old 11-28-2008, 12:13 PM   #4
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I prefer to dry-hop in the secondary simply for ease of mixing. I add a syrupy hops slurry - made with pellets and damn-near-boiling hot water - just after I start to rack the beer. The constant motion ensures the hops particles are well-dispersed in the beer.

YMMV!

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Old 11-28-2008, 08:53 PM   #5
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There is the risk of infection if added before primary fermentation, and the general rule of thumb is that active fermentation / C02 tends to blow off and reduce the impact of the aroma. I either dry hop in secondary, or in the primary after 5 days or so and let it sit for at least three days or more.

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Old 11-28-2008, 09:44 PM   #6
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The main concern with dry hopping is that primary fermentation is complete so the CO2 release doesn't blow off all the hop aroma. If you like oxidized beer go ahead rack it into a second vessel and run another risk of infection. If you like ease of use and fresh tasting beer throw those hops in the primary after fermentation is complete.

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Old 11-28-2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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If you're going to dry-hop in the primary, allow two to three weeks for fermentation then add the hops and sample after one week. If it's to your liking, go ahead and bottle. If not, wait a couple days and check it again.

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Old 11-28-2008, 10:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonedef131 View Post
The main concern with dry hopping is that primary fermentation is complete so the CO2 release doesn't blow off all the hop aroma. If you like oxidized beer go ahead rack it into a second vessel and run another risk of infection. If you like ease of use and fresh tasting beer throw those hops in the primary after fermentation is complete.
If you have a good quality auto-syphon, there's no way you'll oxidize your brew racking to a secondary. Secondaries have been around so long; if there was any real risk in using them, they wouldn't be so popular.

Why do I use a secondary? A few reasons. The first is that when you open your primary after primary fermentation is complete, the CO2 blanket is removed from the airspace and filled with ambient atmosphere, which is rich in O2. In short, the risk of oxidation is much more real when dry hopping the primary, as a secondary has little or no airspace (and that airspace is quickly filled by out-gassing).

Also, a secondary allows for clearing that would not be possible in a primary, on top of a yeast cake (and fruit refuse in the case of fruit beers). One can keep the brew in a secondary indefinitely and not have to worry about autolysis. And the list goes on.
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
If you like oxidized beer go ahead rack it into a second vessel and run another risk of infection.
You are kidding right?

I bet you don't put your hand out the window when you are in a car either LOL.

Seriously - I have never heard of anyone really oxidizing their beer with a secondary unless they are totally drunk and stupid. However - I'm on Tonedef131 side when dry hopping.

As you can see there are many schools of thought's - some experts say hop right after fermentation and some say in the secondary. Dealers Choice. there is no right answer.
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelikan View Post
The first is that when you open your primary after primary fermentation is complete, the CO2 blanket is removed from the airspace and filled with ambient atmosphere, which is rich in O2.
Actually, since CO2 is heavier than air, the CO2 layer will stay in the primary fermenter, even after opening. There's really no risk of getting outside air in just from opening the primary. You'd have to really try to get air in there.
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