Dry Hopping Advice

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IsaacM

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Hello Braumeisters,
I'm in the middle of fermenting 5 gallons of Vinnie Cilurzo's Pliny the Elder double IPA (found here in this file: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/6351/doubleIPA.pdf) and it calls for dry hopping with a bunch of hops.

I've never dry hopped, so I have quite a few questions I hope you won't mind:

- Do you prefer to dry hop with pellets or leafed hops if it even makes a difference?

- Do you throw them into a muslin bag, or let them free float?

- Is it true that hops are anti-microbial like I heard from a friend (yeast killers)?

- Is double pitching as effective as a yeast starter if the massive amounts of hops in this recipe really do kill the yeast off?

- With a small batch like this, does it really make that big of a difference to add dry hops at 2 separate times days apart, or can I just dump it all in at once and have it taste pretty close and avoid the hassle/risk of reopening my fermenter?

- I don't usually rack my ales to a secondary, but this seems like a good time to consider doing that, being a pretty light/clear beer with the hops going in. Do you like to rack to secondary before adding dry hops?

Current plan is wait 7-ish days for fermentation to die down (1.071 gravity will take a bit to settle my airlock down!), rack to secondary, throw all the hops into a muslin sack/brew in a bag mesh and drop them in, and wait the full 12-14 days the recipe calls for.

I feel like I've got a pretty dang wide margin of error here since the $20 of hops on this recipe will probably cover up any of my mistakes, but I at least want to try to do it right :)
Thanks all
 

Homergah

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Unfortunately, that large amount of hops can cause a few problems. I've brewed PTE many times.
Hops will not kill your yeast.

Follow the recipe.

Pellets in stockings.

Unless you transferred most of the trub to fermentor, don't transfer to secondary. This beer is very delicate. Keep O2 exposure to a minimum.
 

Kent88

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I don't usually brew IPAs, but here are some thoughts:

-I've seen people use pellets, leaf hops, and whole cones. From what little I've looked into this style, I get the impression that whole cones or leafs hops are best, but pellets should be fine.

-I've seen people use bags or let them float free. I bet that with whole cones or leaves bags help when it comes time to transfer the beer, but I don't know how well pellets hold together so the bag might not help much. (^Homergah says that it's fine).

-Hops are anti-microbial, but they shouldn't mess with brewers yeast in fermenting wort (...much). I think the only scenarios I've heard of where brewers get concerned about hops having a negative impact on their fermentation are when they make starters (and just the starter wort) and when they make sours.
 
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IsaacM

IsaacM

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Unfortunately, that large amount of hops can cause a few problems. I've brewed PTE many times.
Hops will not kill your yeast.

Follow the recipe.

Pellets in stockings.

Unless you transferred most of the trub to fermentor, don't transfer to secondary. This beer is very delicate. Keep O2 exposure to a minimum.
Got it - the only times I've royally jacked up a beer seem to be because of racking to secondary. There really wasn't much trub into the fermentor, so I'll just skip secondary. I'll just boil or star san the stocking and go with pellets it sounds like.

Thanks for the advice!
 

dirtydingus

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I'm getting ready to make PTE myself. Read a post that said dump the pellets in for your dry hop. When you rack to the bottle bucket, cover the end of the tubing with a sanitized hop bag. No trub in the bottling bucket.
 
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IsaacM

IsaacM

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I'm getting ready to make PTE myself. Read a post that said dump the pellets in for your dry hop. When you rack to the bottle bucket, cover the end of the tubing with a sanitized hop bag. No trub in the bottling bucket.
That sounds like it could work pretty well too - as long as the tube doesn't get clogged up
 

Bubman

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I'm getting ready to make PTE myself. Read a post that said dump the pellets in for your dry hop. When you rack to the bottle bucket, cover the end of the tubing with a sanitized hop bag. No trub in the bottling bucket.
This i what I do using pellets or leaf that I just throw in the fermentor.

Works well.
 

z-bob

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Hops are antibacterial. Yeast are not bacteria; don't worry about that. Put the hops in a mesh bag. If you don't have a bag, a 1-gallon paint strainer ought to work, tie a knot in the top or tie it shut with some string.

I've only done dry-hops once. I racked to a secondary before I added them, but I use a secondary for most of my beers.
 

Jayjay1976

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I'm getting ready to brew a double IPA with hopping schedule inspired by PTE, I'll be using pellets in wilser hop bags to contain most of the hop matter.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I am guessing you ferment in something like a bucket (or something with a wide mouth). Do you transfer out with a spigot or a siphon?

I ferment in glass carboys, so while in some cases I can squeeze a bag of hops into my carboy, it is a massive pain to get them back out once they are all swelled up. If you can use a large hop bag, you will probably be happier with the end result. Weigh it down so it does not just float on the top. I find that 1 or 2 oz of loose pellets is not much of an issue, but above that the volume of dry hops is a pain to deal with. Do note that 3 oz of dry hops will swell up a LOT, so don't use a small hop sack.

I have used whole hops about once. They are a massive pain to deal with.
 

z-bob

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I am guessing you ferment in something like a bucket (or something with a wide mouth). Do you transfer out with a spigot or a siphon?

I ferment in glass carboys, so while in some cases I can squeeze a bag of hops into my carboy, it is a massive pain to get them back out once they are all swelled up. If you can use a large hop bag, you will probably be happier with the end result. Weigh it down so it does not just float on the top. I find that 1 or 2 oz of loose pellets is not much of an issue, but above that the volume of dry hops is a pain to deal with. Do note that 3 oz of dry hops will swell up a LOT, so don't use a small hop sack.

I have used whole hops about once. They are a massive pain to deal with.
I use plastic carboys that have a larger mouth than my glass ones. I think they take a No. 10 or 10½ stopper. I had no trouble fishing out a hop sack with 2 ounces of hop pellets; I think I could have gone at least 3 oz without a problem.

Thanks for the warning about whole hops, I was going to order some just for dry-hopping.
 

Staylow

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I've never used whole hops, so I can't comment much in them, other than they will absorb more beer than pellets. If you do use whole or leaf hops, you may want to account for that volume loss.

Dry hop loose. Hop bags limit or restrict flavor extraction. If you have the ability to cold crash, do that, then simply rack above the trub for clear beer. If not, then a hop bag or other mesh filter over your siphon should work.

Do not secondary, and do add both hop additions at once. The reason is to limit oxygen exposure and infection chance as much as possible. Dry hopping in stages may provide a slightly more layered hop flavor and aroma, but I dont think it's worth it.

Also, dry hop time really doesn't need to be more than 1-2 days. Extraction is quick. Longer contact time may provide harsher and/or grassy flavors. If using a bag, 4 or 5 days would be better due to the restriction. Also if using a bag, allow way more space than seems necessary for hop expansion, and use something to weight the bag so it doesn't float.
 

Jayjay1976

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I'm using fermonsters which have 4" openings and dry hop with loose pellets or cones, then attach a hop sock to the end of the siphon tube during transfers. I really don't mind a bit of hop material ending up in the bottles so long as its leaf particles and not pellet mud. If you use pellet hops you might want to rack off to secondary for a couple days before packaging, to let the crap drop out of suspension. This also might speed oxidation and hop fade, so it might be better to hop in a bag and compensate for the lower extraction with a bit more hops.

Disclaimer: I have not yet produced a satisfactory IPA so take all this with a grain of salt :)
 
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IsaacM

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I am guessing you ferment in something like a bucket (or something with a wide mouth). Do you transfer out with a spigot or a siphon?
I'm using a FastFerment, so a spigot basically. The $0.50 muslin sack with lots of headroom seems to be the way to go to keep the beer clean and not risk clogging the valve. It's fairly easy to clean... well... other than the ball valve which isn't too bad to disassemble/reassemble once you figure it out.
 
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IsaacM

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Thanks all for the help. Here's what I ended up doing:
- I waited a week for fermentation to slow down, but not complete
- I racked to secondary (it's a FastFerment conical, so low risk)
- I got a large BIAB mesh sanitized
- Put all the hops (pellet hops) into the tied off BIAB mesh
- Tossed the bag into the FastFerment
- Shook the fermentor around until the hops were soaked

I decided to add all the hops at once instead of spacing it out, so I guess it's not a true Pliny now. I forgot to weight the bag down with sanitized marbles, because, well, I forgot. I'll pull the yeast off with the ball valve one more time before bottling in a couple weeks, and the hops should all stay in the mesh for fairly easy/normal cleanup. We'll see.

Thanks again all!
 

Jayjay1976

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Thanks all for the help. Here's what I ended up doing:
- I waited a week for fermentation to slow down, but not complete
- I racked to secondary (it's a FastFerment conical, so low risk)
- I got a large BIAB mesh sanitized
- Put all the hops (pellet hops) into the tied off BIAB mesh
- Tossed the bag into the FastFerment
- Shook the fermentor around until the hops were soaked

I decided to add all the hops at once instead of spacing it out, so I guess it's not a true Pliny now. I forgot to weight the bag down with sanitized marbles, because, well, I forgot. I'll pull the yeast off with the ball valve one more time before bottling in a couple weeks, and the hops should all stay in the mesh for fairly easy/normal cleanup. We'll see.

Thanks again all!
I like the process you followed and I wouldn't worry about not spacing them out or forgetting your marbles (haven't lost them, so that's something!), sounds like it will turn out just fine and these are lessons you'll only learn once. Besides, you'll get some delicious beer out of it too.
 

Staylow

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Never, ever shake and splash a beer that has begun fermenting - I hate to say it, but you've likely wildly oxidized that beer. The hops will soak in fine on their own.
 

Jayjay1976

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Never, ever shake and splash a beer that has begun fermenting - I hate to say it, but you've likely wildly oxidized that beer. The hops will soak in fine on their own.
Indeed. Even a few percentage points of ethanol makes the actively fermenting beer vastly more solvent to hop oils than freshly pitched wort. The hops want to dissolve into beer, believe it to achieve it.
 

SRJHops

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Pellets. Yes, dry hop twice, including final one 3 days before bottling. No need for secondary - not worth the risk of oxidation and infection. I'd generally recommend starting with hop bags, but use a separate bag for each ounce. (As you get more into this hobby, you will eventually decided when/if to add hops "commando" style.) Pitch two packets of yeast if you don't want to bother with a starter.

Enjoy!
 
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IsaacM

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Never, ever shake and splash a beer that has begun fermenting - I hate to say it, but you've likely wildly oxidized that beer. The hops will soak in fine on their own.
You hate to say it but I hate to hear it more :)
I said I shook it, but more accurately I swirled the beer around the edge hopefully in a way that didn’t introduce oxygen. Since reading your comment though, I’ve been reading about oxidizing beer and the off flavors it can cause. Either way, I get why people just weight the hop bags down with sanitized marbles to dry hop.
I’ll report back to all when I get it bottled and conditioned.
 
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IsaacM

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Alright. Today was bottling day. I decided to go with the BSG drops (like the NB fizz drops or the Cooper's carb drops) so I could taste the brew without the bottling sugars that I normally use. Guys, this beer is INCREDIBLE. I encourage all of you to try to make the Pliny clone who haven't yet. Even as a flat ale, it's the greatest thing I've brewed. I wouldn't even say that I'm a guy who's super into IPAs, but this one is now my favorite. I understand the need for dry hopping now. Thanks to all of you for the help you offered through this process!
 

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Add me to the don't bother with hop bags camp. They crash out just great, and I have read enough about hop bags restricting extraction to feel good about just tossing them in commando.
 
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IsaacM

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Alright. Today was bottling day. I decided to go with the BSG drops (like the NB fizz drops or the Cooper's carb drops) so I could taste the brew without the bottling sugars that I normally use. Guys, this beer is INCREDIBLE. I encourage all of you to try to make the Pliny clone who haven't yet. Even as a flat ale, it's the greatest thing I've brewed. I wouldn't even say that I'm a guy who's super into IPAs, but this one is now my favorite. I understand the need for dry hopping now. Thanks to all of you for the help you offered through this process!
By the way guys. When you dry hop, use sanitized muslin bags with lots of headroom for hop expansion. Using a BIAB tied off will be horrible to clean... not worth it man.
 

MaaZeus

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I have always used hop bags with my dry hops and no marbles or bolts to weight it down and I personally never noticed any loss of flavor or anything. Just 30g of Citra still makes any brew a fruit punch. But then again Citra is incredibly powerful dry hopping hop, maybe some gentler hop has issues with bags and not staying below the surface.
 

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To date, I go commando with pellets in end-of-ferm primary. They crash out just fine, esp. if combined with racking to a secondary where I can dodge any floating flecks with the siphon. I got a Depth Charge as a gift for my BMB, but haven't had the opportunity to use it yet. Has anyone else used one?
 
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