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Pellet hops in the wort

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rightwingnut

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The guy at the brew shop said to put the pellet hops in a bag, but I just threw them into the boil. Lot of hop gunk at the bottom, and I didn't let it settle completely, so a lot went into the primary. That's not bad, right? I'm going to rack to secondary, and figure that'll get rid of the remainder. Seeing how the pellets dissolve into such a fine powder, I don't see how the bag would've helped anyway.
 

Dark_Ale

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rightwingnut said:
The guy at the brew shop said to put the pellet hops in a bag, but I just threw them into the boil. Lot of hop gunk at the bottom, and I didn't let it settle completely, so a lot went into the primary. That's not bad, right? I'm going to rack to secondary, and figure that'll get rid of the remainder. Seeing how the pellets dissolve into such a fine powder, I don't see how the bag would've helped anyway.
I have tried this both ways, not using a bag but straining on one of my favorite recipes. I did notice a stronger aroma of the hops in the beer that I (left all the gunk in). I would'nt say its a bad thing, I am by far no brew master, I guess depending on your style of beer, freshness of hops, and length of boil would all come into play here. I have never heard of putting your hops inside a bag, I have been brewing for a while now.
 

strat40

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From what I've read, as well as alot of personal experience, I don't use a bag with pellet hops. The bag inhibits hop utilization.
Instead throw them in, and when the boil is finished, stir in one direction for a couple minutes(taking care not to splash), then let it sit for 10 minutes or so. The trub, along with the hops, will form into a mass at the center of the kettle. You just siphon from one side, and voila no trub in the fermenter.
Those with a drain on the kettle can block the kettle to tilt it, then whirlpool. The trub will collect towards the back(or wherever the kettle is tilted), and can be easily let out.
If you can, try to keep it out of the fermenter. You'll get e cleaner flavor.
You'll have a bit less conditioning to do as well.
Brew on dudes..
Tom
 

Janx

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Yeah, that's why I really don't like pellet hops. Don't get me wrong. Your beer will not be ruined by their presence in the fermenter, but I have often experienced a harsh bitter taste from pellet-trub. Racking to a secondary will definitely help alleviate any potential badness.

Now, most of the big-boy microbreweries use pellets, simply because anything else would displace too much of the space in their kettle. But, then, they have filters and all sorts of things we don't generally use.

I use whole hops exclusively, because I think they provide better flavor and are definitely easier to keep out of your fermentor. Also, intuitively, it makes sense that whole hops, being less processed, would provide a cleaner, better flavor because they'd be less oxidized and abused. I guess I see it as one of the luxuries we homebrewers can afford that the big guys can't. :D

I get my hops from www.hoptech.com. I'm not affiliated, BTW...just where I get my hops ;)

Janx
 
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rightwingnut

rightwingnut

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Hey, thanks for that, Janx. I'm going to order ingredients for beer #2 tonight (from richanne's website), and now i know to get whole hops (hope they have them). The pellets smell ok, but like no commercial beer I've had. Maybe it's just that homebrews are unique, and maybe it's that it hasn't finished fermenting. BTW, after the boil, I cooled with an immersion cooler and threw the yeast in while it was still pretty warm (90-some degrees). It started bubbling in the airlock in maybe an hour! Don't know the exact time, but man, it was fast! It was just a pack of dry yeast. Could it have started so fast because of the temp.? Or does it just happen that way sometimes? Also, that was Sunday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon there's almost no activity at all. Only two days!?? :confused: Anyway, to secondary it goes!
 

smorris

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90 is kinda warm to pitch the yeast but it appears to have worked. At that temp I would be concerned with fusils that could be generated in the brew.

I've been using the pellet hops and don't have any real complaints and I do use a bag for the final steep at flame out. I just swish it around, seems to work fine for me, but then I'm not a fan of big hops, I like it to be a bit more subtle than some.
 
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rightwingnut

rightwingnut

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Uh-oh. What are fusils? Now I'm scared. That's not gonna make my beer look like that picture of yours, is it? :eek:
 

smorris

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Fusil oils will give it a very sharp taste (may not be overly noticable) and promote a beer headache, they are produced by brewing at elevated temperatures. Best to pitch the yeast when it has cooled to 80 or below. Don't worry, have a home brew. :D
 

Janx

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We end up fermenting pretty darn hot during the summer out of necessity. (outdoors in a shed in California). Sometimes you get some off-flavors, but it's never a deal-killer. Not ideal, maybe, but good, fresh homebrew all the same.

Pitching at 90 shouldn't be a big deal, but one thing that's a drag about wort that continues to cool is that it can pull water out of the airlock as it cools (if your primary has an airlock). When possible, I like to chill it enough so that, if anything, it warms up a little as the yeast becomes active, so the water from the lock never gets sucked in.

Disregard that if you use a bucket :D

And to clarify: You can use pellets and make the best beer in the world. GREAT breweries use pellets. Lots of homebrewers make great beer with pellets. I just don't because with my setup I've had better luck with whole hops. And I'm weird like that. And I just like whole hops ;)

Janx
 
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rightwingnut

rightwingnut

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How are leaf hops? I assume they're not quite the same as whole. And could the fact that I started off warm, and now it's around 66 degrees have anything to do with my quick, short ferment?
 

Janx

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I imagine leaf hops means the same as whole hops. IE not pellets or plugs. They look like the hop in your avatar :)

The drop in temp will slow the ferment, but it may just have finished quickly because of the warm initial temps. We've had beers finish in under a week when it's hot. Certainly not ideal to ferment so hot, but they always turn out.

Janx
 
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rightwingnut

rightwingnut

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Well, I racked to secondary last night (2.5 days after pitching) because there was very very little activity in the primary. There is very little in the secondary, but I'll let it sit. It's only 4 gallons, by the way, in a 5 gal. fermenter. Lot of air space. Don't know what happened, I think my pot markings don't jive with my bucket markings. Anyway, any downsides to all that airspace in the fermenter?
 

Janx

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Airspace really isn't a big deal. When the beer is fermenting, it quickly displaces the air with CO2.

Janx
 
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