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Old 10-14-2009, 06:09 PM   #1
Oct 2009
Cooperstown, NY
Posts: 6

Hi everyone,

1) I often use pelletized hops in the boil. What are some good techniques or equipment for straining the hop slurry out when going from the boil to the fermenter? It seems to clog anything I use with too small holes.

2) I do extract brewing, and at the end I often have to add at least a gallon of water to the fermenter to bring it up to the 5 gallon mark. Should I be worried about that extra water being non-sterilized?

Thanks in advance!


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Old 10-14-2009, 06:31 PM   #2
Aug 2009
Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 2,509
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1) A 5 gallon paint strainer bag suspended over the boiling wort works great as a hop bag, (search "hop bag"). You can also just put one over the end of your siphon when transferring, (do you siphon), or put the bag in a 5 gal bucket and dump your wort into that, then remove the bag.

2) Yes. Be afraid. You should sterilize top-up water, or use distilled or spring water from a jug. To sterilize top-up water, boil it.

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:40 PM   #3
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Mar 2009
Peoria, AZ
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Another tip is take a sterilized utensil and whirlpool (meaning stir it really fast in a circle) the wort before transferring out. This will cause all hop matter to form a cone in the middle. You'll then get less trub in your fermenter.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:42 PM   #4
Oct 2009
Cooperstown, NY
Posts: 6

Thank you!

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Old 10-14-2009, 10:11 PM   #5
May 2009
Lansing, MI
Posts: 16

I picked up a couple of fine straining bags. Got mine from NorthernBrewer.com. They have a drawstring and are re-useable. I was a little worried about lower utilization, but that has not been a problem. This way all of the vegetation from the hops is contained in the bags. I just retrieve them at the end of boil and let them drain back into the kettle. Cleanup is fast and easy, as long a you don't over-do-it with the knot on the drawstring.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:44 PM   #6
Apr 2008
Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 277
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As far as top-off water goes, I always buy a couple gallons of spring water for this purpose. I keep them cold, so when I top off the wort it brings the temp down substantially as well. I've never had an issue.

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Old 10-20-2009, 01:10 AM   #7
Dec 2006
Springfield, IL
Posts: 80
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I boil my top off water the day before brewday; let it sit covered on my unheated enclosed porch over night.

I never worry about the pelletized hops in my primary fermentor. They will settle out in several days and then I avoid the slurry when I rack into the secondary.

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Old 10-20-2009, 04:38 PM   #8
Apr 2009
Bloomington, Indiana
Posts: 22

If you're worried, boil your water. Neither spring water nor distilled water is sterile. Spring water is essentially tap water; distilled is generally cleaner, but there is no guarantee it doesn't contain contaminants.

If you're okay with assuming the risk of an infected batch, you might as well keep using tap water rather than spending $ on spring water. If you want to prevent infections as much as possible, boil.

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Old 10-20-2009, 06:38 PM   #9
Aug 2009
Houston, TX
Posts: 13

1) i used to use hop bags with very good results, but i still had a good bit of coagulated protein trub. cooling your wort and then whirlpooling works great to settle out hop matter and coagulated proteins. give it a really good swirl and let it sit for 20-30min. then just siphon into your fermenter.

2) i do a full boil and end up topping off to the 5gal mark with tap water on about 1/2 of my batches. never had a problem with infection or clorinated taste. if i were to boil my "top off water", my motivation would be to remove clorine, but since i never have to use more than 1/2gal of tap, i never worry about it. since you do extract and probably top off with 2-3gallons, you may want to pre-boil to remove clorine. some extract brewers will use a bag of ice for the dual purpose of cooling/topping off. i used bagged ice for my first couple partial mash batches with no problem, but your mileage may vary
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:54 PM   #10
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Oct 2005
Madison WI
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Even 'sanitized' things are not 'sterile'. They are merely sanitary. I highly doubt that anyone here is really running a sterile brew house. Even things that are sanitized have contaminants-- those contaminants are merely in such small amounts that they are not significant.

Many many people (I'm willing to bet that most do) use standard potable water from a tap or bottle to top off partial boils. While there is a chance of contaminants it is minimal. A half gallon of clean top off water followed by a solid rapid ferment is really not likely to introduce a significant infection.
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