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Pellet vs. Leaf

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Dude

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I think there is a huge difference in the two. Especially aroma qualities in the finished product.

For use in the boil, pellets seem more concentrated to me (more than the 10%) when used for bittering.

If I had my druthers, I'd use whole hops 100% of the time. Especially for late kettle additions and ESPECIALLY for dry hopping.
 

Dionysos911

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Is there much difference in long term storing of pellet vs leaf? I am tinking about making a bulk buy.
 

bradsul

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I've never used whole leaf hops, I'd certainly like to try them though. My understanding is that the only real difference is as Yooper said though. Though physical differences mean some systems will handle one type better than the other. Pellet hops are tough to strain out of the kettle for example.

I applaud your choice of leaf, Sir! :mug:
 

HOOTER

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I prefer pellets. Their more readily available (for me anyway), you get more utilization out of them, and their easy to work with (easy to pour into a carboy for dry hopping, for example). Many purists are die-hard whole hop users, but I'm just not sure it makes that much of a difference. For each his own.
 

conpewter

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I only use leaf, works well in my system to filter them out, and I like them for dryhop better. They will last as long as pellet if stored correctly (vacuum packed in the freezer). I buy 1lb packages usually and vacuum seal them into 1 oz bags.
 

flyangler18

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Is there a huge difference between pellets and leaf?
Not a huge difference, but a difference just the same. I much prefer using leaf hops in the kettle because of the filter bed that they provide as I pump the wort through a ball-valve and through my heat exchanger. Pellet hops would run the risk of severely clogging my March pump and CFC, so I use pellet hops in the kettle in very minimal amounts if I can manage it.

Pellet hops do store better in a more compact form, though I find their flavor (all things equal) slightly more vegetal because of the manufacturing process.

YMMV.
 

Dionysos911

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I only use leaf, works well in my system to filter them out, and I like them for dryhop better. They will last as long as pellet if stored correctly (vacuum packed in the freezer). I buy 1lb packages usually and vacuum seal them into 1 oz bags.
Unfortunately I will only have ziplock storage bags and my freezer to keep these. Right now debating between order from Niko (pellet) and Freshops (leaf) ..
 

ifishsum

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I only use whole leaf hops myself, the one time I tried pellet hops it was a disaster as far as clogging my racking tube. I haven't ever seen pellets at my LHBS anyway, and they have a good selection of leaf hops. What they don't have I order from Freshops.

Even if they're not vacuum packed, whole hops will still keep for months if put in a ziploc bag with as little air as possible and kept in the freezer. I usually do vacuum seal them though, because I can.

Freshops is a great place to order from, everything I've received from them have always been top quality and very fresh.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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Unfortunately I will only have ziplock storage bags and my freezer to keep these. Right now debating between order from Niko (pellet) and Freshops (leaf) ..
You should have some type of oxygen barrier bag to store your hops in. If you can smell them through the bag they're in, whether or not you freeze them, you run the risk of oxidation. Personally I like pellets, it seems that when they are processed into pellet form they have more uniform resins and essential oils in each pellet opposed to whole leaf where some may have more Lupulin glands than others.
 

BierMuncher

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I prefer pellet if I can get them. But I'll order whole cones if I can't:

Pellets:
  • Longer shelf life
  • Less storage room in my cooler.
  • Get more immediate release of flavors and aromas in the boil (cones seem to float around forever before going under)
  • More compact in the boil...important since I use a hanging hop bag.
  • They rinse down my shop sink drain very easily.
  • I prefer them for dry hopping because they really saturate the beer.

On the other hand, there's something about whole cones that reminds me of a simpler time in my life. ;)
 

the_bird

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Leaf hops are a lot easier to filter. I just put my pellets in a hop bag, which likely negates any potentially greater utilization; every filtering device I have mocked up fails when it comes to pellet sludge.

Often, the biggest difference is just availability, seems that often you can only get particular varities in pellet form.
 

ArcaneXor

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Unfortunately I will only have ziplock storage bags and my freezer to keep these. Right now debating between order from Niko (pellet) and Freshops (leaf) ..
Ziploc makes vacuum bags that come with a little handpump. The failure rate is pretty high (i.e. many bags just don't work), but when they do, they work fine. If you don't want to invest in one of those vacuum food sealers , these are your next-best bet.
 

Padstack31

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Pellet hops are the way to go for most homebrewers. Unless you can get access to really fresh hops from a farm, then it doesn't really matter. Personally, I haven't found it to be difficult to track down certain varities in pellet form. If my local homebrew shops don't have what I need, morebeer.com or one of the other online retailers always comes through.

Hops will stay fresher for a longer period of time in pellet form because they have less surface area exposed to oxygen then whole leaf. So a good portion of the oils are sealed within the pellet, which helps to protect them from breaking down. With hops, freshness is everything, since the wonderful oils start to breakdown after harvest, giving way to a more vegative taste.

Plus, pellet hops have better utilization, since a good portion of the oils are sealed from the oxygen. So you can use less to achieve the same amount of bitterness or aroma with pellets, then whole hops.

As for them clogging your equipment or drainage issues, these are all things that can be addressed with the proper equipment. I use a hop stopper in my Kettle, works great. I'm not really one to let my equipment dictate my ingredients.

I recommend you conduct a test, and see if you can taste the difference.

If you ask your favorite craft-brewery which they prefer, pellet or whole hop. It's been my experience that most will say pellet. The reasons they give, because the store longer and have higher utilization, so they can use less to save cost.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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Ziploc makes vacuum bags that come with a little handpump. The failure rate is pretty high (i.e. many bags just don't work), but when they do, they work fine. If you don't want to invest in one of those vacuum food sealers , these are your next-best bet.
I'd still make certain they are the oxygen barrier type, if you can smell'em through the bag they can stale.
 

giligson

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Ziploc makes vacuum bags that come with a little handpump. The failure rate is pretty high (i.e. many bags just don't work), but when they do, they work fine. If you don't want to invest in one of those vacuum food sealers , these are your next-best bet.
Ziplock stadard freezer bag, flush with co2 then suck out with a straw.
 

HSM

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Ziploc makes vacuum bags that come with a little handpump. The failure rate is pretty high (i.e. many bags just don't work), but when they do, they work fine. If you don't want to invest in one of those vacuum food sealers , these are your next-best bet.
These are dirt cheap and work fine. I've never had a bag fail after bagging 2 lb's of hops. I had to unbag and rebag a lb of cascade that I did in regular zip locks before I found these vaccum bags. THey work!
 

Chad

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I used plug hops for the first time last week and I might become an evangelical convert. They have all of the advantages of pellets (easier to store, higher utilization, lower surface area for oxidation in storage, etc.) and all of the advantages of whole leaf hops (fresher flavor/aroma, don't clog the hopstopper, filtration effect, et al).

The downsides are that the plugs come in .5oz discs that are not easily subdivided, and they are not as readily available as pellets or whole hop cones. However, one of the two manufacturers of hop plugs is in Raleigh, NC, just down the street from my LHBS, so if you are in the area or don't mind ordering from American Brewmaster, give plug hops a try. I was seriously impressed.

Chad
 

the_bird

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How 'bout this? Anyone try out Northern Brewer's hop extract?



HopShot is CO2-extracted hop resin that can be used for bittering or late additions to boiling wort — treat it just like leaf or pellet hops added during the boil. The HopShot syringe contains 5 milliliters of extract. One milliliter of HopShot yields approximately 10 IBUs in 5 gallons of 1.050 wort when boiled for 60 minutes. Test batches indicate that this bitterness may be slightly less agressive on the palate than your average hop addition.
When did they start selling that?

I've never used plugs in part because I've never seen much of a variety made available; it's usually one or two hop types at most, and right now NB (where I buy most of my stuff) has nothing in stock for plugs. Might give them a shot, though.
 

Beerrific

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I've never used plugs in part because I've never seen much of a variety made available; it's usually one or two hop types at most, and right now NB (where I buy most of my stuff) has nothing in stock for plugs. Might give them a shot, though.
Take a look at Ed's supply: http://www.brewmasterswarehouse.com/ingredients/hops. He has quite a supply of plugs. I am a big fan of plugs: quick and easy.
 

ChshreCat

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Ziploc makes vacuum bags that come with a little handpump. The failure rate is pretty high (i.e. many bags just don't work), but when they do, they work fine. If you don't want to invest in one of those vacuum food sealers , these are your next-best bet.
I bought both the quart and gallon sized vacuum bags for this and the quart bags had a very high failure rate, but the gallon bags worked every time. After that, I always buy the gallon bags. Even if you're not putting that much in them, you're sucking all the air out anyway.
 
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