Advice on neipa dryhopping, SS bucket fermenter, pressurized transfer to keg

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Menno

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Hi. I’m describing my practices below and would like to hear from members where I can improve, particular minimizing O2 exposure and optimizing dryhopping. I’m not looking necessarily for comments on better equipment, but in practices.
Recipes are normally Neipa’s ( around 6.5% ABV) that I brew with BIAB, using a total of 6-9 ounces of dry hopping ( 5 gallons).
I’m using a SS brew tech bucket fermenter with dome lid and the pressurized transfer kit (TC fitting), which allows me to transfer under 1-2 psi the beer into keg.
After pitching yeast, I add my first dry hop batch (loose pellets) after 2 days during first part of active fermentation by opening the TC fitting and dropping in the hops. I assume that the active fermentation mininimizes O2 exposure during the short period of opening the TC fitting. Can I improve here on my practices?
I then wait 5-7 days, checking gravity with my TILT until gravity more or less stabilizes. I then move to pressurized transfer into my keg.
I fill the keg up to the rim with starsan solution which I push out with CO2. I then connect my pressurized transfer kit that is connected to the dome lid onto CO2. Connect racking arm of my brew bucket to in-post of keg. I release pressure from keg and put 1-2 psi on fermenter, while opening racking arm. Should I cold crash before doing the transfer?
When all beer is transferred , I’m adding my second batch of dry hops in a hop bag, by opening the keg lid, while having CO2 flow from the gas post over the top of my beer, trying to minimize O2 exposure. I purged with CO2 after closing lid, releasing CO2 enough to seal lid. I let the hops sit for around 5 days at around 65 degrees temperature. Should I do this at colder temperature?
I then open lid, while letting the CO2 flow over the top of beer, pulling out the hop back, close keg, purge and put keg under pressure in fridge to carbonate.
Any comments highly appreciated!
 

Jim R

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I have the same fermenter. I have done a fairly similar process although I do all the dry hopping in the fermenter and then do a pressure transfer to the keg after fermentation and after the second dry hopping. This means that I only had to open the vessels exposing them to some O2 twice instead of the three times in your process.

I eventually bought a Fermzilla All Rounder that I now use for more oxygen sensitive beers like NEIPA's. This allows me to do pressure fermentations, purge my kegs with fermentation CO2, do true sealed pressure transfers and even dry hop with magnets on the side of the clear fermenter wall without opening the vessel. I still use the stainless conical fermenter for other beers.
 

Rob2010SS

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Hi. I’m describing my practices below and would like to hear from members where I can improve, particular minimizing O2 exposure and optimizing dryhopping. I’m not looking necessarily for comments on better equipment, but in practices.
Recipes are normally Neipa’s ( around 6.5% ABV) that I brew with BIAB, using a total of 6-9 ounces of dry hopping ( 5 gallons).
I’m using a SS brew tech bucket fermenter with dome lid and the pressurized transfer kit (TC fitting), which allows me to transfer under 1-2 psi the beer into keg.
After pitching yeast, I add my first dry hop batch (loose pellets) after 2 days during first part of active fermentation by opening the TC fitting and dropping in the hops. I assume that the active fermentation mininimizes O2 exposure during the short period of opening the TC fitting. Can I improve here on my practices?
I then wait 5-7 days, checking gravity with my TILT until gravity more or less stabilizes. I then move to pressurized transfer into my keg.
I fill the keg up to the rim with starsan solution which I push out with CO2. I then connect my pressurized transfer kit that is connected to the dome lid onto CO2. Connect racking arm of my brew bucket to in-post of keg. I release pressure from keg and put 1-2 psi on fermenter, while opening racking arm. Should I cold crash before doing the transfer?
When all beer is transferred , I’m adding my second batch of dry hops in a hop bag, by opening the keg lid, while having CO2 flow from the gas post over the top of my beer, trying to minimize O2 exposure. I purged with CO2 after closing lid, releasing CO2 enough to seal lid. I let the hops sit for around 5 days at around 65 degrees temperature. Should I do this at colder temperature?
I then open lid, while letting the CO2 flow over the top of beer, pulling out the hop back, close keg, purge and put keg under pressure in fridge to carbonate.
Any comments highly appreciated!
1. Adding hops during active fermentation
a. Some people have gotten away from this, myself included. From what I've read here on HBT, it can add to a more unpleasant bitterness as well as when you drop the yeast out, it can take some of those hop oils with it so you're not really getting the full benefit. What others have done is gone to 1 or 2 dry hop additions post fermentation. So once fermentation is finished, do a "soft crash" at 50F for a couple of days to drop yeast out of suspension, warm back up to 60F(ish) and do your dry hopping then. I've now gone to 1 big addition at 2oz/gal for 2 days, crash for a few days to drop the hops and then transfer to keg. There's research that shows that hop oil extraction is damn near completed after 24 hours so the extended times for dry hopping are not necessary. I'm thinking if you wanted to go that route, you could flush your headspace with CO2 prior to adding your hops to minimize O2 getting in?

2. Cold crash before transfer
a. I would definitely do this if you have the ability to. It'll keep a lot of that yeast that's going to settle out of your serving keg. You may also experience a benefit from not having that yeast in suspension while you're dry hopping.

3. 2nd hop addition in keg at 65F for 5 days
a. While I haven't tested it myself against dry hopping at warmer temps, Scott Janish recommends dry hopping at cooler temps. He states they'll typically do it at 58F and sometimes as low as 40F at Sapwood Cellars. This helps with what others have found here as far as reducing astringency/unpleasant bitterness from the hops. If it were me in your shoes, I would not dry hop until after fermentation is complete. Do a soft crash to drop yeast, do one big dry hop at 55-60F to limit O2 exposure in your fermenter, purge the headspace as best as you can, then cold crash 1-2 days later and pressure transfer to keg. Because you don't have the ability to dump the hops out of a bottom port, I would continue to bag them. I'll get some hate for saying that but it will make your life easier when transferring. Lots of people bag them with success. Just my 2 cents. Cheers!
 
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Menno

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Thanks a lot. I will follow these practices in my next brew! Will see if it makes a difference. Don’t get me wrong; my neipa’s are good. No bitterness. Only once I had oxidation problems. Possibly because, while dry hopping in my keg, I agitated the beer too much by rolling the keg every day to get, what I thought was a good idea, more dry hop effect. However I think I oxidized my beer instead.
 
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Menno

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I have the same fermenter. I have done a fairly similar process although I do all the dry hopping in the fermenter and then do a pressure transfer to the keg after fermentation and after the second dry hopping. This means that I only had to open the vessels exposing them to some O2 twice instead of the three times in your process.

I eventually bought a Fermzilla All Rounder that I now use for more oxygen sensitive beers like NEIPA's. This allows me to do pressure fermentations, purge my kegs with fermentation CO2, do true sealed pressure transfers and even dry hop with magnets on the side of the clear fermenter wall without opening the vessel. I still use the stainless conical fermenter for other beers.
I have the same fermenter. I have done a fairly similar process although I do all the dry hopping in the fermenter and then do a pressure transfer to the keg after fermentation and after the second dry hopping. This means that I only had to open the vessels exposing them to some O2 twice instead of the three times in your process.

I eventually bought a Fermzilla All Rounder that I now use for more oxygen sensitive beers like NEIPA's. This allows me to do pressure fermentations, purge my kegs with fermentation CO2, do true sealed pressure transfers and even dry hop with magnets on the side of the clear fermenter wall without opening the vessel. I still use the stainless conical fermenter for other beers.
Thanks! I was thinking of the fermzilla but maybe at a later stages. Will change to once dry hopping
 
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