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sanitation issue?

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daddyzero

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I was thinking and a question has come up in my mind :confused: . I realize how important it is to make sure that everything that goes into your wort in sanitary to avoid infections, but what about adding dry ingredients either to your primary or secondary? If I wanted to drop a few star anise, some finishing hops, or what-have-you into my secondary, how do I know there's not some terrible hidden funk that I'm inadvertently sealing in there too? I'm sure there's a very simple explanation, but I don't know what it is.
 

Janx

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Unfortunately there isn't a sweet and simple explanation. Dry hopping is the most common way of adding additional ingredients to the beer in the secondary, and it can sometimes introduce infections.

There are a couple of reasons why adding ingredients to the secondary is less scary than it might seem. The alcohol is present by this time, so that discourages growth. The beer is now very acidic, which also discourages growth. Most of the nutrients are already gone, leaving little for micro-organisms to feed on. And the yeast has overrun the beer by then, muscling out most any competitors.

Still, when I dry hopped my Rye, I lightly steamed the hops. This step does certainly damage some of the volatile aroma oils that you are trying to get from dry hopping, but I figure the benefit of severely cutting down the number of nasties outweighs any harm to the hops. I steamed mine for just a few minutes.
 

Swervo Maneuver

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Still, when I dry hopped my Rye, I lightly steamed the hops. This step does certainly damage some of the volatile aroma oils that you are trying to get from dry hopping, but I figure the benefit of severely cutting down the number of nasties outweighs any harm to the hops. I steamed mine for just a few minutes.
What about a microwave? Bad idea? Might you burst your little lupulin sacs?
 

lalenny

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I have read that the hop flowers are a natural preservative, and the original reason that they were added to beer was to help prevent infection. So, I think that dryhoping at any point would be ok. I have also heard that the leaves float on top and create a bacterial barrier. In addition when siphoning you should sanitize a copper scrubber and put it on the end of your racking cane so that the hops don't plug the cane.
 

Janx

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Well, for hops, the primary is not ideal anyway, since the fermentation drives off many of the volatile oils you want for aroma. So later is better for dry hops. Other stuff, I would personally want to make sure it was boiled...

Microwave - no idea. It's an interesting thought, though. It should definitely sterilize the hops effectively.

And good point about the preservative qualities of hops, lalenny. That's another reason dry hopping usually works.

Cheers! :D
 

wwgiese

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daddyzero said:
I was thinking and a question has come up in my mind :confused: . I realize how important it is to make sure that everything that goes into your wort in sanitary to avoid infections, but what about adding dry ingredients either to your primary or secondary? If I wanted to drop a few star anise, some finishing hops, or what-have-you into my secondary, how do I know there's not some terrible hidden funk that I'm inadvertently sealing in there too? I'm sure there's a very simple explanation, but I don't know what it is.
Adding things like dry hops after fermentation is generaly ok because the alchohol level is high enough that most bacteria will not survive.
 
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