Do Hop Bags Reduce Hop Utilization / IBU?

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ultravista

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Do hop bags (e.g. paint strainer) negatively impact hop utilization / IBUs?

If so, to what degree?

Using a 30 plate chiller, I need to keep my wort clean.

For those of you with plate chillers, what are you using to pre-filter? I am wondering if a combination of bag and something else will help.

Since moving to mashing in a bag (voile curtain), the pre-boil wort is clean.

I was thinking about building one of Lil Sparky's hop blockers; pvc collar and paint strainer bag.
 

beeber

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I am sure utilization would be down a bit inside a bag *vs* no bag in the boil. To what degree I don't know. It would be a good experiment to make two batches, one with a bag and one without.
 

jsweet

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I think there is widespread agreement that if you pack the hops too tightly in the bag, then you will potentially get decreased utilization simply because less surface area will be exposed to the boil. But most seem to feel that it's not a significant issue if you leave enough space in the bag for them to churn around a bit.

I've never done it, so don't ask me. But that's what I've read others say.
 

unionrdr

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I don't put more than an ounce of pellets in the bag. And tie the not all the way out at the end of the bag to leave plenty of room. Works just fine. I'm experimenting with this batch to see how much effect timing additions has on extract brews,vs hop teas at the beginning of the boil. Or dry hopping for that matter. I'm referring to using a pre-hopped can of LME with plain DME & hops added. So it needs some more aroma/flavor hops with minimal bittering to balance it all out.
Anyway,we use hop sacks for any & all additions,be they hops,citrus zest,spices,whatever. Works fine if you don't overload them. You just have to account for their saturation volume. It helps keep things a lot cleaner. Won't clog things up quite as fast.
 

Russtang

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I think there is widespread agreement that if you pack the hops too tightly in the bag, then you will potentially get decreased utilization simply because less surface area will be exposed to the boil. But most seem to feel that it's not a significant issue if you leave enough space in the bag for them to churn around a bit.

I've never done it, so don't ask me. But that's what I've read others say.

+1

The first couple of IPAs I brewed came out very underhopped. I had packed the hops into bags that were way too small, limiting the surface area.
 

beergolf

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I do what uniondr does.... no more than 1oz per bag... tie it as far out to the end as you can. seems to work for me.

My take on this is if you do it the same way every time you can adjust to you process.

I take good notes for every brew so I know if I need to adjust my hops.
 

Yooper

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I like my "hop spider"- it works great and doesn't impact utilization. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/hop-spider-cheap-207803/

I usually through any pellets into the boil, but a stray leaf hop or two will clog up my pump so I have to use the hops spider for leaf hops. I also have used a bazooka tube, which works great with leaf hops but pellets will plug it up.

The bazooka is nice because the leaf hops will settle on it, filtering out any hot break material (I have a CFC so I don't get cold break in the kettle). But I have to choose which to use- either the spider or the bazooka, and I've been using the spider.
 
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ultravista

ultravista

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The spider seems to be the way to go. The 5 gallon paint strainer bags are pretty, and possibly overkill or a few ounces of hops.

I just want to keep my plate chiller as clean as possible. Break material is flushed out easier than pellet pieces.

Next I need to move the pickup tube form dead-center off to the side. I'll keep the leftover wort for a starter.
 

ArcLight

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I put 3 ounces of hops in a bag - but it was a very big bag, like 8 inches by 9 inches, and I added the hops here and there in small amounts
 

BradleyBrew

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most grocery stores sell "reusable" nylon produce bags... perfect for hops and still plenty of room to tie off or knot up.
 

krenshaw

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lowes 5 gallon paint strainers are what i use on my spider.. hangs nicely into the boil even on 5 gallons with my keggle.. i also have a small piece of copper pipe in there to keep it weighted down, seems to work well
 

Foosier

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The rule of thumb is a 10% reduction in utilization. So not a huge difference either way.

I don't think anyone has done any experiment to prove/disprove this. The only way to do it would be to take 1 batch of wort, split it into 2 boils with the exact same hop schedule. 1 batch would use a bag, the other the hops would be free. Then you would need to submit it for IBU testing. Outside of doing something like this, taste testing would be rather subjective even if the difference was 10% which I highly doubt it is. I use a 5 gal nylon paint strainer for my hops like others do and there is plenty of freedom for the hops within the bag even with 3-4 oz in the bag.
 

brewbama

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I use a paint strainer bag in a homemade hop spider as well. I've not noticed any difference in the same recipe with or without the spider. But that's not real scientific.


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