Dry hopping in the keg after it's been carbonated?

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mgillard1976

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So I brewed an IPA and it's in the keg and carbonated but I feel like it tastes a little plain. I was going to toss in a bag of hops to try and boost the flavour a bit and was wondering if any of you had experience doing this.

Will I get much flavor from hops in a cold beer? Will the beer foam out of the keg when I toss it in? Could I steep the hops first to maximize the flavour extraction?

Just looking for a little guidance.

Update for future readers:

I decided to add the hops (1 oz centenial, 1 oz cascade) using a sterilized muslin bag. I was going to suspend the bag mid keg using dental floss but the two threads of floss prevented me from getting a seal in the lid. Maybe the ring needs to be replaced or maybe some keg lube would have helped but I had to abandon it. I ended up just tossing it in. There was minimal foaming when I dropped it in.

3 hours later the beer had gone from crystal clear to completely hazy and the taste had completely changed, for the better in my opinion. I debated pulling it out since I liked where it was but left it in over night. A sample this morning was pushing the limits of what I wanted so I decided to pull it out. After sanitizing everything and opening the lid the bag was nowhere to be seen however after about 3 seconds, thanks to the released pressure and tons of nucleation sites in the bag, it floated to the top and I was able to easily pluck it out. I suspect now that some of the strong hop flavour was due to the fact that the bag was at the bottom and very close to the dip tube.

I'm really surprised at how fast the flavour of the beer changed and I wonder if the CO2 saturation helped with oil extraction. Anyway, hope this helps someone else looking to do the same thing.
 
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Homergah

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I've done that before. You'll need to slowly bleed off keg pressure. Disconnect gas, draw off beer till it stops. Release prv, let it sit for an hour. Steep hops in beer you poured, or find a commercial example of the HB you're dealing with, and use that for steeping liquid. Sanitize everything as you go. You can steep in a mason jar that's been purged. I personally would use whole cone in a mesh bag. Won't clog dip tube, etc.

Or you could just toss the hops in after bleeding off pressure. Just make sure you have enough head space. And yes, it will probably foam. Be prepared for that event. Don't mess around. Pull the lid, put the hops in, replace lid as quickly as possible, foam or no foam. You should spray the outside of the keg generously with sanitizer before you start.

I've done this both ways. I prefer scenario 2. Actually I don't like doing either, but for me, 2 is lesser of two evils.

Be prepared to consume quickly. Who knows what bad things you may have caused by mucking around in your beer.
 

Homergah

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Oh and one more thing. If you bag your hop, put a weight in the bag, or tie it to the outside of the bag. Stainless butter knife works well.
 
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mgillard1976

mgillard1976

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I've done that before. You'll need to slowly bleed off keg pressure. Disconnect gas, draw off beer till it stops. Release prv, let it sit for an hour. Steep hops in beer you poured, or find a commercial example of the HB you're dealing with, and use that for steeping liquid. Sanitize everything as you go. You can steep in a mason jar that's been purged. I personally would use whole cone in a mesh bag. Won't clog dip tube, etc.

Or you could just toss the hops in after bleeding off pressure. Just make sure you have enough head space. And yes, it will probably foam. Be prepared for that event. Don't mess around. Pull the lid, put the hops in, replace lid as quickly as possible, foam or no foam. You should spray the outside of the keg generously with sanitizer before you start.

I've done this both ways. I prefer scenario 2. Actually I don't like doing either, but for me, 2 is lesser of two evils.

Be prepared to consume quickly. Who knows what bad things you may have caused by mucking around in your beer.
Thanks for the tips! Curious why you prefer scenario 2 since it would seem that you would get better utilization out of scenario 1.
 

Jako

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a bit late but i like to rack the beer onto hops in a keg with a short dip tube. then loop transfer after a few days.
 

Homergah

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Thanks for the tips! Curious why you prefer scenario 2 since it would seem that you would get better utilization out of scenario 1.
Technically, you will end up with the same. In the small container you will reach max saturation quicker, but it will be lower utilization because of saturation, less beer to hop surface area, etc. Of course once you dump that into your keg, it ends up being the same ish. Debatable, grab your popcorn. No. 2 is just easier, and it's close to what was, and is used by some commercial breweries for real ale serving. Yes, they are hopping in a serving vessel with a slight bit of fermentation remaining. If you have a spare keg, use method recommended by Jako.
 

HB_ATL73

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If it were me I wouldn't introduce any liquid that has been out of the keg or a steeping solution due to oxygenation. To me this is just asking for problems. I would just toss in like Homergah mentioned
 

CascadesBrewer

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I am curious what works for others as far as dry hopping in the keg.

For the first time, I tried to dry hop a 2x IPA in the keg recently. I guess I learned what does not work for me. I put 2 oz of Citra pellets in a mesh bag at transfer time, and left the bag in the keg. I am not sure if "grassy" is the right word, but it developed a strong and harsh hop flavor that increased over time. I am pretty sure the bag settled to the bottom and I was sucking beer through the hop bag. I seldom got a pint that did not have noticeable hop particles. It was a fairly small hop bag (about the size of my fist) and when I pulled it out it was expanded fully with hops. That said, the Citra hops were stored well but not the freshest, and I was dry hopping in attempt to cover up some other brew day mistakes.

I have read that at cold temps, dry hopping pulls out more of the grassy/vegetative qualities, and I could see that. For now I think I am going to stick with dry hopping in the fermenter. If I did dry hop again in the keg I would either tie the bag so that it was out of the beer after the first gallon of beer was pulled, or I would hook it to a string so I could pull it out. I also might be tempted to leave the keg at room temp while dry hopping. I would also use a bigger and finer bag.

I am curious about hop teas for this. I have played around with making hop teas to spike beer for hop evaluation. In that case I found that you really needed to let the hops soak in the water overnight to get a good hop aroma. I am not sure how much tea you would need to add to a keg...I was making a tea with 1 oz hops and 20 oz of water (the hops sucked up about half that water), and mixing that 1 oz hop tea to 4 oz water.
 

BongoYodeler

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I just found this thread after adding hops to an already carbed keg.

After brewing an ipa I directed a line off my blowoff into a keg to purge with fermentation CO2. I had suspended around 2 oz of hops in the keg, inside a stainless steel hop tube, as it was being purged. The fermentation smelled great, and the sample tasted quite good while taking a FG reading just prior to kegging. But the resulting beer had very little hop character. In an attempt at rescuing it I removed the hop tube, emptied and sanitized it, and added another couple oz of hops, and returned it to the keg. Purged it a dozen times or so. It’s now quite a bit better.

I know it’s now been exposed to oxygen but at this point it’s not showing any signs of that yet. I’m sure I’ve shortened the shelf life a bit so I’ll need to drink it quickly. But I think I’ve saved it. While this process is far from ideal sometimes one needs to take drastic measures to rescue an otherwise blah tasting beer.
 
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