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Convince me to start using pellets.

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p_p

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Hi everybody,
I am brewing on a modest, inexpensive system. I have a nice kettle, but no false bottom or any kind of other filters. I am fermenting in a plastic bucket and bottling directly from it.

So far I have been using leaf hops as they are easy to contain. Now that I have started brewing IPAs, the hops volume is just becoming too much not to mention that I have the feeling I could get better dry hop aroma if I was using pellets.

Please convince me I should do the switch. I would be happy to invest a bit more in equipment (quality mesh bags, perhaps a filter). It is not possible for me to keg and I if I could avoid using a secondary vessel, it would be ideal.

Thanks!
pp
 

worlddivides

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"Easy to contain"? I've used both, but I vastly prefer pellets, partially because they're so "easy to contain." You just put them in a mesh bag and voila! Super contained! Unless you mean something else...

I've seen a lot of articles about why pellets are better than whole cone hops/leaf hops, but you could do a Google search and I'm sure a ton of those articles would pop up.

Off the top of my head, though, you can calculate hop utilization very accurately with pellets. You cannot do that AT ALL with leaves. Pellets have the aroma, flavor, and alpha and beta acids equally distributed throughout; leaf hops do not. Leafs soak up a lot of wort, so you end up losing it. If you aren't using hop bags, leaf hops can cause clogging (I've used hop bags from my very first brew, so this has never been a problem for me even when I'm using leaf hops). Pellets are more intense and concentrated, which is what makes my first point above so true: hop utilization and calculation is easy (crazy easy to measure out and estimate your IBUs, etc.). It's also worth noting that pretty much every commercial brewery uses pellets (I can only think of a handful of craft breweries that use whole leaf/cone). Similarly, I have a friend who grows his own hops and he turns them into something closer to pellets than leaves (although his version doesn't exactly resemble the commercial pellets I buy). Pellets are also super easy to store and preserve.

That said, I use pellets about 80% of the time and leaves about 20% (always with pellets also used in the batch, though).
 

Mer-man

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Wort recovery is easier on our scale when you're using a large mass of pellets rather than whole cones, in my experience.

Cones are better when fresh, but pellets are much more stable over long periods.

Pellets are also waaaay easier to store, e.g. vacuum sealing in mason jars. Cones get all over the place.
 

PADave

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Pellets will just break up and settle on the bottom over time. I've never used any sort of hop bag, for the boil or dry hops, and never had an issue.
 

porterpounder

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I've almost always dry-hopped with leaf as they don't clump if I use a mesh or bag to keep the goop out of the finished beer from pellets. In the kettle, though pellets are much more forgiving and settle out nicely before transfers.
 

m00ps

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Hi everybody,

So far I have been using leaf hops as they are easy to contain. Now that I have started brewing IPAs, the hops volume is just becoming too much not to mention that I have the feeling I could get better dry hop aroma if I was using pellets
pp
looks like you already convinced yourself. with pellets you get:
- better storage / generally fresher when you brew with them
- less space
- more varieties (very hard to get imported leaf hops)
- less wort loss
- better utilization esp in dry hop
 

ericbw

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There used to be some plug hops that were sort of halfway between leaf and pellets. Have those disappeared altogether?

Pellets are way easier in pretty much every way.
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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I have used pellet hops exclusively since I started brewing a year ago. I think they are great. Leaf hops are cooler though. Of the things I could "graduate" to, leaf hops and home grown hops and/or barley is pretty high on my list.
 

ericbw

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I have used pellet hops exclusively since I started brewing a year ago. I think they are great. Leaf hops are cooler though. Of the things I could "graduate" to, leaf hops and home grown hops and/or barley is pretty high on my list.
Well, yeah, it's cooler, there's that. :)
 
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