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Old 10-01-2012, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Pellet Vs Leaf Hops

So im tempted to buy some of the new crop of hops from hopsdirect but they only have leaf hops. I understand that pellet hops get better utilization but i am only buying these hops for flavor/aroma/dryhop additions. Its pretty accepted that leafs are better for dry hopping but what about late boil additions?


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Old 10-01-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by HopOnHops View Post
So im tempted to buy some of the new crop of hops from hopsdirect but they only have leaf hops. I understand that pellet hops get better utilization but i am only buying these hops for flavor/aroma/dryhop additions. Its pretty accepted that leafs are better for dry hopping but what about late boil additions?
The differences in bittering is negligible, as it really depends more on the AAUs than whether they are pellet or whole flowers.

I use both, pretty interchangeably, depending on what is available at any given time. Right now I have a boatload of whole hops, and not so many pellet. But I have no real preference. They both work well.

I dryhop with pellets with good results, and I wouldn't say that whole hops are "better" for that either.


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Old 10-01-2012, 06:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HopOnHops View Post
but i am only buying these hops for flavor/aroma/dryhop additions.
In my experience, pellet hops are best for late and dryhop additions when used in a good American IPA/IIPA recipe. They release more of their essential oils in a quicker time frame than leaf hops do. When used late, pellets can offer up to 3-1/2 times the typical target IPA aromas vs. leaf hops. http://beersensoryscience.wordpress....08/08/myrcene/

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Its pretty accepted that leafs are better for dry hopping but what about late boil additions?
I don't think it's pretty widely accepted that leafs are better for dryhopping. I'm not sure where you read that. There are a number of downsides (other than any potential aromatic effect) for using leaf hops to dryhop, such as increased beer absorption by the hops, reduced contact with the beer, they don't sink, and it's tougher to get them out of the carboy neck... especially if you bag them. The good thing that leaf hops have going for them is you can assess the quality of them easier than a pellet hop, which has been pulverized beyond recognition where you can no longer see the details of the flowers. Thus it's easier to see the poor quality of a leaf hops vs. a pellet hop because you use your senses (eyes/nose) to gauge the quality of the leaf hop much more accurately.

I have nothing against whole leaf hops. In fact, if you're at your local LHBS, and you determine the leaf hops are of unusually excellent quality (after rubbing the leaf hops between your hands, seeing the flowers, smelling them, etc.) then go with the leaf hops. Especially if the store owner affirms that they are very fresh and at their peak.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
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Putting in my 2 cents, I just ordered four pounds of whole hops from hopsdirect (before they put up the amarillo, darn it!) and when they got here I dumped some into two kegs I have lagering in my keezer. I have had good experience with whole hops and dry hopping but when they are this fresh I am getting a fairly strong "weedy" or grassy flavor along with the other desired attributes. I took one bag out after four or five days, and the taste is subsiding. So one of the knocks against dry hopping with pellets is the "vegetal" taste, but here I'm getting it with whole hops, go figure.

I used to be a whole hops all the way kind of guy, but pellets are just so convenient for use and for storage. If you read Designing Great Beers, there is a table in there that establishes that whole hops have roughly 80% of the bittering power of pellet hops. I have found this to be pretty accurate.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Pelletizing should have no impact on vegetalness from the hops. A number of other variables may cause that.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:48 PM   #6
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I just find the pellets so much easier to handle that I use pellets for everything. Dry hopping with leaf hops always made a mess. Again, sloth is a virtue if practiced in its pure form.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:26 AM   #7
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I dry hop with pellets and find that it leaves my beer pretty cloudy (I bag them in the keg for 4 to 8 days). Would whole leaf help with clarity? Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:31 AM   #8
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I dry hop with pellets and find that it leaves my beer pretty cloudy (I bag them in the keg for 4 to 8 days). Would whole leaf help with clarity? Thanks.
No. Not really. I have ultra clear beer with either pellets or leaf hops. In fact I'm drinking a beer right now that has pellets (bagged) in the keg, and I only kegged two days ago. The beer is clear.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:51 AM   #9
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No. Not really. I have ultra clear beer with either pellets or leaf hops. In fact I'm drinking a beer right now that has pellets (bagged) in the keg, and I only kegged two days ago. The beer is clear.
Thanks for the quick reply. Come to think of it, it may be the hop varieties... I'm drinking a cloudy kolsch dry hopped with smaragd but I also have an IPA on tap dry hopped with centennial that is crystal clear. Interesting.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:22 AM   #10
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I mostly use leaf...this thread did prompt me to get a lb of Amarillos (among others) @ Hopsdirect though!


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