Dry hopping - Primary vs keg

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
119
Reaction score
62
Does anyone have experience with both methods that can weigh in on the pros/cons? I am considering dry hopping in the keg.

I have muslin bags, but also found metal tubes on Amazon that I may buy.. but what I don't like is the tubes have very fine mesh on the sides, but the top/cap of the tube has huge holes, defeating the purpose of the mesh. Maybe put the hops in a muslin bag in this tube, or just a muslin bag?
 
Last edited:

Beerd Bro

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Messages
62
Reaction score
24
I have not dry hopped in a keg, but I personally don't like the idea of hops possibly floating around for a month or more, say your keg lasts a while I'd imagine clarity would be rough and you might start getting some off flavor. I know guys do add hops and adjuncts to keg, but to me I'd rather keg a "finished product" I just toss in hops naked in primary or secondary, crash, and than rack to keg before adding gelatin. Curious why you want to dry hop the keg?
 

JoeSpartaNJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
405
Reaction score
36
Location
New Jersey
I have done both.

When I dry hop in the keg, I use a 1 gallon paint strainer bag.

I honestly cannot really taste the difference between the two methods. The only time I do it is when we brew as a group and cannot dry hop in the primary (1 BBL.) I have had dry hops in a keg for close to 2 months with no grassy or off flavors developing.

The only problem I have ever run into was the dry hop bag getting sucked into the dip tube causing restriction. Otherwise, no clarity issues or hop debris in my pints.

Personally, I like to dry hop before kegging.
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
119
Reaction score
62
I just think it would be easier since I'm using a glass carboy, and one less exposure to oxygen..and maybe the hoppiness will stick around longer. I could always use a muslin bag in the keg and pull it out after 2-3 weeks, to prevent potential unwanted flavors.

I am the only one in my house who drinks beer, and I don't drink heavy. When it's all said and done, I think I'll end up with 4 or so gallons of drinkable beer, so I am thinking 3-5 weeks it'll last me.

I could always zip tie the muslin bag close to the top, so it'll be exposed to the beer for only until I drink past where its tied to on the dip tube.
 
Last edited:

shoreman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,300
Reaction score
323
I’ve done both and find I get way better results with my stainless tube right in keg. For any nepa or neipa it works great bc I just do a huge whirlpool addition, then straight from primary to the keg with the tube loaded with 3-4 oz hops. I have 2.5 gallon kegs though - never had grassiness from the hops since it is kept cold.

Really helps to reduce the oxygen pickup in those styles.

I’ve had good results with spice bags too if you want to try that before buying a tube.

You should probably use whole hops if using a muslin bag, getting a stuck keg from hop particles in the out post sucks
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
13,309
Reaction score
1,449
Location
Living free in the 603
When I would dry hop in keg (was my primary method for some time) I would simply put it into one of the small nylon mesh bags most HBS sell (with the draw string) and let it float in the keg. Recently I've been using a CO2 purged hop dropper into conical for adding hops post fermentation. I wait until after I drop the yeast (since I harvest that as well) and then add the hop pellets. Seems to be working out well that way. I do have the batch chilled to about 50F when I add the hops. I usually let them go for a day (or so) before chilling to carb temps and get carbonation going. Then package up leaving the hop matter behind. Actually packaged a batch yesterday where I did this. Hops were in there a few days longer than I had planned due to some other things happening (working to make sure they don't happen again). Got the full target batch size out (six gallons total) into keg and can. :)

I also found, when dry hopping in keg, that leaf hops seemed to behave better for a longer keg life. IF the keg won't last very long (under a month or two) then pellets are fine. If longer, I preferred leaf hops. Of course, I was using the two week 'set and forget' carbonation method. Since I have beer fully carbonated, and ready to drink, when it goes into can, I have less issues there. Especially helpful when you plan a gathering and want to have a recipe on tap, but there's only a few days between when it gets kegged and will be poured. At least if you don't want to toss your back out shaking a keg and other crap like that. ;)
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,535
Reaction score
1,491
Location
Redding Ca
I have done both A LOT! I have moved away from the keg simply because of the mess. I want my beer to be cleared before goin into the keg. So I ONLY (unless odd circumstances) dry hop in the fermenter any more. Never really found any benefit that outweighed the mess/issue of having the hops directly in the keg.

Cheers
Jay
 
OP
RyPA

RyPA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
119
Reaction score
62
Maybe for this batch I'll just drop the pellets in a muslin bag into the carboy when fermentation is nearly complete. This will allow the yeast to purge out the oxygen while the hops do their business for a few days, and then keg, hopless.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,535
Reaction score
1,491
Location
Redding Ca
Maybe for this batch I'll just drop the pellets in a muslin bag into the carboy when fermentation is nearly complete. This will allow the yeast to purge out the oxygen while the hops do their business for a few days, and then keg, hopless.
Sounds like a good plan to me.

Cheers
Jay
 

Bramling Cross

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Messages
417
Reaction score
1,007
Location
The 51st State
I've settled on the short, cold method of dry hopping. I've found that it's easiest to do this method in an O2-controlled fashion in a keg.

If I had a glycol cooled unitank with all the bells and whistles, I'd likely change my tune.
 

JSmetalcraft

Member
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
13
I can't comment one one vs the other. I have been using the stainless steel canisters in the keg. At first I did 5 gal batches and transferred from fermenter to keg with hops inside. Worked great. But I found I wanted to brew less and be more efficient, so I went to 10 gal batches. I didn't want the dry hops to sit in the keg for weeks on end. So I would wait 3 or 4 days before I needed the keg and opened it to drop in the hops. I welded tabs on all my lids.

I then went to brewing 20 gals on brew day. So I have kegs sitting for over months time. I found they self carbonate. Getting the lid off and adding the dry hopper was a challenge. When adding the hopper the beer would foam up.

This last batch I dry hopped in the fermenter. I have not had time to drink yet to see if it is different.

Reguards to the comments about some of the dry hoppers not having a screen in the lid. I have some of both. I cannot tell a differnce between them as far as letting out any hop matter.
 

Consigliere

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
18
I have done both and I have found keg hopping to create an issue under specific circumstances. A very light beer that is moderately hopped with hops sitting at bottom of keg for extended period (month or longer) and the final 5-6 pints will be quite grassy. This is the only time I’ve had any off flavours. NEIPA, ambers, IPA, saison all keg hopped for over a month without a problem. I think if you suspend the hops in the top half of the keg you would be totally fine to keg hop all the time. For my setup this is easier for transferring to minimize oxygen.
 

Ridenour64

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
505
Reaction score
173
If you decide you want a dry hopper.
$40. I would ship at buyers expense.
 

beersk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,653
Reaction score
688
I can't comment one one vs the other. I have been using the stainless steel canisters in the keg. At first I did 5 gal batches and transferred from fermenter to keg with hops inside. Worked great. But I found I wanted to brew less and be more efficient, so I went to 10 gal batches. I didn't want the dry hops to sit in the keg for weeks on end. So I would wait 3 or 4 days before I needed the keg and opened it to drop in the hops. I welded tabs on all my lids.

I then went to brewing 20 gals on brew day. So I have kegs sitting for over months time. I found they self carbonate. Getting the lid off and adding the dry hopper was a challenge. When adding the hopper the beer would foam up.

This last batch I dry hopped in the fermenter. I have not had time to drink yet to see if it is different.

Reguards to the comments about some of the dry hoppers not having a screen in the lid. I have some of both. I cannot tell a differnce between them as far as letting out any hop matter.
They carbonate on their own?


I prefer to dry hop in the keg with the Clear Beer floating diptubes with the screen. But the issue with that is it keeps the beer hazy, so not ideal for west coast IPA. Basically I just don't dry hop that much anymore, but dry hopping in the keg is more convenient for me and never gets grassy.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
1,099
Reaction score
1,900
Location
Torrance
I was dry-hopping in the keg at 36F, serving temperature for my PA's & WCIPA's. I use a floating dip tube so once I was seeing yeast and hop flakes in the pour, I knew that I was about 2-3 pints away from a kicked keg. Flavors were great, though; the beers changed over time, but didn't go bad. Just matured in different ways depending on all of the other factors (malt, hops, yeast, etc.).

This latest batch I am doing has been cold-crashed to 45F and dry-hopped in the fermenter. I wasn't planning on harvesting the yeast from this batch, so no worries on the 8oz of hops in the fermenter (between the dip-hop and the dry-hop). Tomorrow I keg it, and try out my quick carb, and then hopefully see if there is any difference between the two methods you are puzzling over in about a week or two.
 

Mattpaneth

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
I have done both, in the keg I noticed no off flavors even after a month, and possibly noticed some improved aroma, especially as the keg wore down. I don't like doing it but will if I have less time to get the beer ready for drinking. I once had to pull the dip tube because it was clogged beyond belief, even in muslin bags. The beer oxidized within a week. I also noticed unsightly hop particles appearing in the beer, especially when the keg is almost gone. If you do this, I recommend either a floating dip tube, with hops weighted on the bottom so it doesn't clog, or suspended and tied with floss to the outside of the keg. The problems with tying the floss is you can get keg leaks, which I've had before.
 
Top