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Separating the Wort from the Hops

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DuPuma

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Yesterday my brother and I made the biggest, hoppiest beer I've ever made. To commemorate our graduating from college and grad school, we made an IIPA with 11 OZ of hops, 8 of which were whole leaf. Lots of late hop additions, etc., made it one hell of a beer. OG: 1.085, IBU well over 120. It's beautiful, and smells wonderful, but we ran into one huge problem yesterday.

Because we added 7 oz of whole leaf hops in the last 20 minutes, there was simply a TON of hops in my kettle. The spoon could almost stand straight up, and the whirlpool was simply ineffective. We started with 7.25 gallons pre-boil, and ended up with just over 4 in the primary. We lost probably 1.5 gallons to absorption in the hops. Simply put, it was WAY too much hops for my meager 36 qt. brew-kettle. Here's my question:

When making a beer with massive late hop additions, how do you separate the wort from the hops and get the wort in the fermenter?

Our solution was to use a nylon bag as a filter around the auto-siphon. But this led to a LOT of cold break/trub in the primary. Is this the best we could have done?

(Note: This was, by far, the most expensive beer I've made. The massive amounts of hops and malt (10 lb of DME) for a projected 5.5 gallon batch came out to about $80 worth of ingredients. This is our graduation beer, and I won't be making one like it again anytime soon. Given the cost, I was quite dismayed to lose over a gallon to absorption. Nevertheless, it looks like it's going to be one hell of a beer. Any advice to my above question would be greatly appreciated.)
 
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DuPuma

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Bobby_M said:
Use a big 5 gallon nylon paint strainer next time. THen remove the bag and squeeze it.
For the hops? Like a giant tea bag? That sounds like a good idea. Will it affect utilization? With as much hops as we used, I don't think the beer would suffer with a slightly lower utilization, but i'm curious nonetheless.

If anyone wants, I would be happy to post the recipe. The beer looks fantastic! I just hate losing that much volume.
 

Blender

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It is a good idea. I use the straining bag after the wort is cooled and pull a lot of wort out that I could not siphon. Make sure everything is sanitized and you're set.
 

Kevin Dean

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DePuma said:
If anyone wants, I would be happy to post the recipe. The beer looks fantastic!
Feel free to post the recipe but PLEASE don't post it into the recipe section until it's a tried and true GOOD recipe. WE've had a lot of recipes that someone did, got excited about, drank and hated so we'd like to keep it sane, if you know what I mean.

DePuma said:
That sounds like a good idea. Will it affect utilization?
This is my "I've got the ideas down pretty well, but not proof to support this" opinion. :) No, it won't affect utilization in any noticable amount. Hop alpha acids are isomerized during the boil, in which case their acids are already in the liquid - squeezing the bag is merely extracting that liquid.

Finally...

If your fermenter can handle it, I'm in the "let it be" camp. It doesn't look as nice but there's no real reason the trub can't go into the fermenter with the wort - just make sure you give it time to settle and clear before racking (either to kegs/bottles or to secondary stage).
 
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DuPuma

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Thank you for the responses. Next time (which won't be for a while...) I make a beer with a borderline irresponsible amount of hops, I'll use a large, 5-gallon nylon bag. Can I get those from a hardware store/paint shop?
 

Bobby_M

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Home Depot and Lowes has them by the paint supplies. You can make that fancy rig that holds the bag open in the center of the pot but I just use a quick clamp to hold it to the side of the pot so that the nylon doesn't rest on the bottom.
 
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