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Old 03-24-2011, 02:19 PM   #1
Apr 2007
Mobile, AL
Posts: 65

I'm planning some future beers and don't currently use a secondary. So I was doing some research on past theads concerning dry hopping in a primary. A couple of interesting topics came up in those threads and I'd like to see some discussion on them:

1. While it seems like dry hopping in a primary is no problem, there is a big dispute between those that think it's a must that you wait until fermentation is done so as not to remove the esssential hop oils needed for aroma, and those that swear by dry hopping when fermentation is still going on (but slowed way down). Some have stated that they had poor results with harsh aromas and flavors by dry hopping any other way. This seems odd since the most common procedure for dry-hopping is in a secondary.

2. I like the idea of dry-hopping using a bag, or better yet an stainless herb/tea ball (seems like sanitation would be very easy....I'm not sure the best way to sanitize a bag). But there is some dispute between this method, which makes racking a clear bear (with no hop pieces) easier, and just dumping the hops in the fermenter to make sure you get the proper beer/hop contact.

I know there's no one right way to do this stuff, and most is personal preference, I just like to see the discussions by you folks with a lot of experience.

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Old 03-24-2011, 02:26 PM   #2
dale1038's Avatar
Sep 2008
Louisville, KY
Posts: 428
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I have dry hopped every way possible. All I can tell you is what works for me....and that is dry hopping in primary with pellets. I usually start about day 7 but every beer is different. Throw them right in and give the fermenter a little nudge every day. I like to do 2 rounds for about a week each. Rack off the top and enjoy!

I've had good and bad results with all sorts of different techniques, but this is old reliable for me. Never had any problems.

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Old 03-24-2011, 02:32 PM   #3
Jan 2011
Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 166
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I do the same as dale. The beer clouds up a bit but autosiphon does a good job keeping large particles out. After a few days chilled the beer clears up just fine, no soggy hops in the mouth.

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Old 03-24-2011, 02:40 PM   #4
TTB-J's Avatar
Oct 2010
Houston, TX
Posts: 589
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As to #1 - I would definitely wait until fermentation is complete. If fermentation is ongoing, it will, as you said, result in a less effective dry hop simply because CO2 will still be pushing hard out of the fermenter and it will carry off the aroma of the hops along with it.

As to #2 - there are a million ways to reduce particles in your finished beer, either of the ones you suggested would most likely be fine. You can sanitize a bag the same way you sanitize anything else - dropping it in a bucket full of sanitizing solution. I just dump the hops right in to my primary and then I siphon into the bottling bucket with a 5 gallon paint strainer bag tied off on the auto-siphon. If you do that, make sure you tie off the siphoning portion (i.e. the one that's going into your primary/secondary) and not the output end that's in the bottling bucket. If you do it on the output end, you might end up aerating the beer during the transfer, which is a no-no. Of course, some people are skilled enough at racking that they don't need any fancy products to prevent sediment from getting into the bottling bucket, but I do not possess such magical racking skills, thus the crutch of a paint strainer.

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Old 03-24-2011, 02:59 PM   #5
Feb 2009
Scarborough, Maine
Posts: 884
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I too have good luck throwing in my pellets/leaf hops stright into my fermenter. I typically throw them in around day 7 and let them ride for another 7+ days. No need to sanitize the hops if you don't put them into something as they are naturally antiseptic.

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Old 03-24-2011, 03:06 PM   #6
Jan 2011
Glendora, CA
Posts: 862
Liked 15 Times on 14 Posts

I dry hopped my IPA with whole leaf and initially tried to use a bag but it was a no go to get them into the carboy in the bag so I ended up just throwing them in. If you are using a bucket you could just toss the bag of whole leaf hops in. Next time I will use pellet hops and put them in the carboy in a bag.

As far as santizing a bag, there is nothing to it. Either soak it with star sans or just boil it.
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Primary: 2 Row IPA
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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unionrdr's Avatar
Feb 2011
Sheffield, Ohio
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I dip my hop bags in a small saucepan of boiling water for a min or so. Then add hop pellets,tie off & toss. Weather it's in the brew kettle or dry hop. Brew is a lot cleaner that way,imo.
I even dump the spent hops out of them,rinse under the faucet inside out,& boil them again to clean. They come out looking good as new! Hop residue seems to wash out of the loose weave of the sacks quite easily.
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:41 PM   #8
wolverinebrewer's Avatar
Jan 2011
Oxford, MI
Posts: 599
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Originally Posted by TTB-J View Post
If you do that, make sure you tie off the siphoning portion (i.e. the one that's going into your primary/secondary) and not the output end that's in the bottling bucket. If you do it on the output end, you might end up aerating the beer during the transfer, which is a no-no.
I don't quite understand your method of using a 5 gal. bag on the outlet hose but using a small 1 gal. bag on the outlet hose works wonderful. The hose and bag lay flat on the bottom of the bucket. The gentle flow creates no possible way for aeration and after about 10 sec. the bag is already covered up. I've tried it both ways and it works much better this way. Even with hunks of fruit or hop cone particles, they just flow through the siphon and get caught in the bag at the end.
One reason is that when the bag is in with the trub, there is a much greater chance of the excess bag material moving around inside and touching or stirring up the trub. I use the utmost caution when racking by not creating any motion to the beer and having the bag on this end is just one more thing to worry about. The only thing that ever goes into the beer is just the black tip of the auto siphon and I gradually lower it as the level of the beer goes down.
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