Advice on Secondary Fermentation & Dry Hopping

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Mooseman

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
This looks like a great site, got a novice level question:

I'm fairly new to this activity, I've made about eight batches of relatively decent ales and stouts over the past 5 years. When buying supplies for a batch of Pale Ale the other day the idea of dry hopping some leftover hops came up.

I took a verbal beat down from the store clerk because I wasn't familiar with secondary fermentation and when exactly to add the extra hops, and how.

I've heard/found that dry hopping can be done at the time you add the yeast. I've also been told that you must do secondary fermenting to dry hop....

I'd be very interested in input on basic techniques for secondary fermentation and also any do's and don't when dry hopping. Can dry hopping be done without secondary fermenting? Pros and Cons, etc.

Thank you in advance for your time and information,

Mooseman
 

Bearcat Brewmeister

Pour, Drink, Pee, Repeat
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
693
Reaction score
28
Location
Gaitherburg, MD
Dry hopping can be done in the secondary (it is where I think most people do it). Hops are typically free of bacteria, but putting them into beer that has already fermented, and therefore contains alcohol, provides an extra layer of protection.

The only downside is that you want to make sure they stay out of your finished beer by moving your beer carefully to your bottling bucket or keg. Some people will put a sanitized nylon stocking over their racking cane to act as a hop filter. Very helpful if you are using pellet hops.
 

malkore

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
6,924
Reaction score
53
Location
Nebraska
1. its 'secondary' not 'secondary fermentation' fermentation needs to finish in Primary before you ever rack it.

2. dry hopping in secondary is a good approach. I've not done it myself, but you just need to sanitize the bag you're putting hops in, and any weights you plan to use (plain glass marbles are popular). the hops themselves are actually a preservative and should not infect the beer with anything.

I usually see people dry hop for a week. also some hops are very 'grassy' when dry hopped, but that will mellow out after a few weeks.
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,768
Reaction score
12,520
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I love dryhopped beer- so I do it fairly often. You do not want to dryhop when you pitch the yeast. The reason is because the vigorous fermentation will blow off the hops aroma along with the co2 produced. You can dryhop at the END of primary, though. After the fermentation is done (about a week or 10 days), you can add the hops to the fermenter. I usually go a week or so, and then taste it. If it tastes good, then I rack. If it needs a little more, I'll add some more hops. Usually it's good, though! I usually dry hop in the carboy, after I rack from the primary, though. Racking is a bit of a pain as it is, and it seems to me that it would be even more difficult to rack off the trub in the primary, and avoid all the hops junk too.
 

Beerthoven

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
2,173
Reaction score
39
Location
Cary, NC
Mooseman said:
I've heard/found that dry hopping can be done at the time you add the yeast.
You do not want to dry hop at the same time you add the yeast. Fermentation will drive off the hop aroma you are trying to achieve by dry hopping. Wait until fermentation is over (after the krausen falls) to add the dry hops.

Mooseman said:
I've also been told that you must do secondary fermenting to dry hop....
Dry hops can be added to the primary fermenter after fermentation is over, or added to the secondary. Either way is OK.

Mooseman said:
I'd be very interested in input on basic techniques for secondary fermentation and also any do's and don't when dry hopping. Can dry hopping be done without secondary fermenting? Pros and Cons, etc.
Here is some info on the beer brewing process that contains information on secondaries and dry hopping.

Here is more info on fermentation in particular as well as dry hopping.
 
OP
Mooseman

Mooseman

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Thanks to all for sharing your information.

It seems that using pelletized hops may not be the way to go for dry hoping...?

Do most brewers use whole hops and bag them in the secondary? It would seem that pellet hops would create more sediment in the secondary.

Beerthoven,

Thanks for the links, I'll study up, I certainly need it. I think I'll just finish up this batch without the dry hopping, and try it on the next batch.

Thanks again,

Mooseman
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,768
Reaction score
12,520
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I've used leaf hops and pellet hops about equally. In fact, the pale ale I'm going to dry hop will be a mix of hops types because that's what I was able to find. I don't bag them at all- I just toss them in. Then I use a sanitized mesh bag over my racking cane when I rack. In the keg, though, I have used a hops bag, but in the next one I'll use a big metal "tea ball" for the dryhopping in the keg. That's only because I don't want to clog up my dip tube with pieces of hops.

It seems to me that the pellet hops disintegrate into sludge anyway, and the leaf hops seem to absorb quite a bit of beer. So, it's a toss up to me.
 

TexLaw

Here's Lookin' Atcha!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Messages
3,672
Reaction score
36
Location
Houston, Texas
I use pellet hops for dry hopping very often, and it's not that big of a deal. Just be a little more careful with your racking cane when the time comes.


TL
 

Ender

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
245
Reaction score
2
Location
Columbus, Oh.
I've just used the tea nall I bought from Northern Brewer. Seems like it doens't seal properly. I've got a ton of hop sludge in the keg. (I put the ball in the keg, not secondary). Not sure what to do with it now.

Should I just take the ball out after the 2 weeks of dry hopping time and get sludge for the first 5 pints or so, or

rack out of this keg into another? I would have to use a racking cane, pressureized transfer would move the sludge too. I dont have a cut out diptube.

Thanks,
 

shortz

Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
21
Reaction score
2
I'll be dry hopping with whatever I can get my hands on tomorrow into the secondary. And since I have a spare carboy i'll transfer off the spent hops in about a week
 

Manzier

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2014
Messages
41
Reaction score
3
Location
Brisbane
I think you dry hop in secondary because breweries find it harder to reuse the yeast if you do it in primary. I don't reuse the yeast so I do it in primary a few points above FG (you shouldn't dry hop when fermentation has completely finished or you risk oxidization when you drop it it). I then cold crash it quickly after because to try and avoid veggie tastes if it's warm for too long, about 7-days contact for me before kegging. Anyway it seems to work well.
 

novahokie09

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2012
Messages
190
Reaction score
34
Location
Centreville
I think you dry hop in secondary because breweries find it harder to reuse the yeast if you do it in primary. I don't reuse the yeast so I do it in primary a few points above FG (you shouldn't dry hop when fermentation has completely finished or you risk oxidization when you drop it it). I then cold crash it quickly after because to try and avoid veggie tastes if it's warm for too long, about 7-days contact for me before kegging. Anyway it seems to work well.
This is pretty good advice.

I find it interesting that Mitch Steele recommends racking off yeast just prior to terminal gravity (i'm guessing a few points from FG) and to not dry hop until you're racked off the initial yeast cake (this was on HBA forum - Ask The Expert). I'm assuming this is because you'll still have yeast in suspension to remove any picked up oxygen from transferring.

He also says to try to keep the temperature between 60F - 65F. Stone leaves the dry hops between 60F - 65F for 36 hours and then crashes to 34F for a total hop residence time of 7 days. There's current research suggesting that maximum hop aroma/flavor is achieved in as little as 12 - 24 hrs.

In terms of hop flavor/aroma, he indicated it's probably best to go with pellets because it's hard to find high quality whole leaf hops.
 

myersge1

New Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Here is my first dry hopping attempt. (It's in my wife's sewing closet. Coolest room in the house.) The hops have been in secondary for several days and it smells great. Question, the pellet hop sludge is floating on the top. Will it eventually fall or do I just stick my racking cane through them (with a bag over the end) and pull from below?

dry-hop1-medium.jpg
 

Agher32

Active Member
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
32
Reaction score
4
Location
Indianapolis
I usually use a bucket for my secondary. I've found that my hops will for the most part clump up on the sides. And the rest to the bottom. I'll usually end up with a clear top. This may not be the case for a carboy though. If they've already been in there for several days, as you said, I doubt they're going anywhere. Maybe next time, rack your beer on top of the hops when transferring to your secondary.

Cheers
 
Top