At first the bag sank like a stone but now it is inflated and floating. About half of it is above the liquid now although seemingly saturated. Is this going to effect the utilization significantly? If so, does anyone have a suggestion on what I could do to get the most out of the now floating hops?
It's probably going to be okay, did you weigh it down with marbles or stainless fittings? Personally I don't use muslin anymore I use the mesh paint strainer bags from the hardware store, cheaper and seem to work better.
I don't use hops bags, but I have in the past. As long as they are loose in the bag and not packed in there so that the beer can permeate and saturate the hops, it'll be fine. There is no need for them to sink or be weighed down.
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I did not weigh it down with anything, due to the perhaps incorrect advice of my LHBS guy. He said they should become saturated and eventually sink. Should I maybe sanitize my old racking cane and push the bag down a few times or would it be better to just leave it alone? Also the bag is quite packed now that the pellets have become saturated and expanded. The whole thing seems completely saturated now just floating and not submerged/exposed in the beer.