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Should I use hop pellets or whole hops? Dry hop question too.

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Andysam

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I have been using hop pellets in a fine mesh bag for my brews. I use the bag so I dont have much material in my wort.
First, does using the bag not allow all of the hop flavor/bitterness to be absorbed?
Second, is there any benifits to using whole hops during the boil?
Third, I have noticed lots of people dry hopping with whole hops, must you use whole hops? Also, when dry hopping, do you have to sanitize the hops first?

Thanks!
 

Homercidal

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Ok, my opinion (not necessarily based on science fact:

Bag may not allow for as efficient hop isomerization if it's not big enough and spread out. The better methods involve having it hang from a ring, so that it remains open at the top and the hops can swirl around.

I prefer pellets for boiling because they are easier to package. Whole hops are good too, but can clog a siphon or spigot unless you are prepared.

I have dry hopped with both and the whole hops came out better. Might only be the amount and method I used, but people do dry hop with pellets just fine. I find the whole hops a bit easier to avoid while siphoning.

YMMV of course. Each person has their own preference, depending on their methods.
 

BioBeing

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I have been using hop pellets in a fine mesh bag for my brews. I use the bag so I dont have much material in my wort.
First, does using the bag not allow all of the hop flavor/bitterness to be absorbed?
Just make sure the bag is big enough so the wort can flow through it and reach all the hoppy goodness. I use a 5 gallon paint strainer.

Second, is there any benifits to using whole hops during the boil?
Not if you are using a hop bag. Pellet hops can clog some screens though.

Third, I have noticed lots of people dry hopping with whole hops, must you use whole hops?
No. But whole hops can be thrown straight in; pellets need to be in a bag (as I found out last time!).

Also, when dry hopping, do you have to sanitize the hops first
No. The alcohol content and pH of the beer and anti-bacterial properties of the hops themselves will take care of any possible infections.
 

Netflyer

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1. No, the bag is fine.
2. No - both are fine but neither is wrong or better although fresh whole hops can be fresher if you grow them :)
3. You can dry hop with either... pellet hops will fall out down to the trub but whole hops will remain floating around... you can also put either in a hop bag for dry hopping too.
You do not have to sanitize the hops first... there is a lot of literature on the subject but hops, although they are not 'clean' do not cause infections so hop away w/out fear.
 

EricCSU

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You can dry hop with pellets, either in the secondary or primary. However, if you are siphoning, you can suck up small hop fragments which will be visible in the pint of beer. At the beginning or middle of the keg, you may get one little (very small) hop fragment that is visible in the glass (approximately 3-4 sq millimeters). Near the end of the keg, I usually get 2-3 little hop fragments. If that bothers you, or you plan on submitting the beer for competition, you need a way to filter the beer or use whole leaf hops. Personally, it doesn't bother me, so I don't filter it, but I plan on doing so when I start entering competitions.

Eric
 

BioBeing

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^ What he said.

I tried putting a hop-bag over my siphon, but still got little bits in my bottles.
 

schristian619

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I prefer to use whole hops for everything. When i do use pellets, I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag to make sure the wort can flow freely through them. It has been my experience, in my beers at least, that whole hops have given a fresher, more pungent hop flavor/aroma when used as late hop additions than pellets do. I tend to get a more grassy hop flavor from pellets, but that is just MY observation in MY beers, YMMV. For the same reasons, I NEVER dry hop with pellets. I've done side by side comparisons with my beers and there is a clear difference to me, even with blind taste tests with friends. Try both and see what you like, you may not even notice a difference. remember though, that whole hops soak up a lot of wort, so plan accordingly.
 

pkeeler

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When hops are made into pellets, certain oils are destroyed. Some (all?) of these oils are the ones you are trying to extract during dry hopping. So, use whole hops if you can find them.
 

GIusedtoBe

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When hops are made into pellets, certain oils are destroyed. Some (all?) of these oils are the ones you are trying to extract during dry hopping. So, use whole hops if you can find them.
Maybe but pellets are like concentrate and they keep longer. Also the oils they retain are preserved better than whole hops . Apples to apples I'd say whole hops but for home brewers pellets make much more sense. Most micro breweries use pellet hops as well.

All that said, I prefer to dryhop with whole hops. When I've done it w/ pellets a healthy percentage do NOT fall into the trub, I just get a green sludge everywhere.

Regards,
Alan
 

Marsdude

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My wife and I toured a local microbrewery (Odell's) a few weeks back. I was interested to find that they use pellet hops for their beers. They do use whole hops to additionally hop some beers, like their IPA. During the tour we were went into their hop storage room and there was a HUGE amount of cases of pellet hops from Hopunion. The guy giving the tour knew I was a home-brewer, he is one also, and asked the group to keep an eye on me make sure I didn't try to make off with one of the cases - got a big laugh.

So a long introduction to just say, if Odell's can make the great beer they make using pellets, that is what I will use for my boil. I may someday use whole hops to dry hop or what-ever.
 

Beezer94

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Sam Adam's uses pellets too, and I'm sure most breweries do. It's a storage issue as much of anything else.

I enjoyed some delicious Odell's last year at the brewery (didn't have time to take tour); shame it's not available on this side of the country.

I use pellets in the boil, just thrown in, no bag. Just whirlpool and siphon from the upper half, until you get down low, then put siphon along the side. Or pour through a bag into the fermenter. I just account for wort lost in my calculations. Whole hops seem to absorb more than pellets.

Neither whole hops or pellets is really a bad choice.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Hop_Filter is another good way.
 

pkeeler

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The OP asked specifically about dry hopping. Pellets are perfectly fine for boiling. The oils that are destroyed making hops into pellets, would also be destroyed by boiling. So, it is not an issue when it comes to boiling.
 

Marsdude

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The OP asked specifically about dry hopping. Pellets are perfectly fine for boiling. The oils that are destroyed making hops into pellets, would also be destroyed by boiling. So, it is not an issue when it comes to boiling.
Yup, dry hopping was his third question, second one was about using pellets during the boil.

Pellets do contain the same oils as whole hops, just in different levels depending on the pellet used. Hopunion produces a T90 and T45 pellet. It seems the T45 has higher levels of oils. They suggest either can be used as a direct replacement for whole hops.

The info is here:

http://www.hopunion.com/hoppowderpellets.html
 

griffondg

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When hops are made into pellets, certain oils are destroyed. Some (all?) of these oils are the ones you are trying to extract during dry hopping. So, use whole hops if you can find them.
Do you have evidence of this? Not challenging you, just would like to see it since I always use pellets.

Eric
 

MattHollingsworth

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Do you have evidence of this? Not challenging you, just would like to see it since I always use pellets.

Eric
I remember reading this like 10 or 12 years ago and used to always use whole hops. But since I've been brewing in Croatia I've used 75% or more pellet hops and I certainly haven't noticed the beer tasting worse. And the hop component is great on these beers.

I've never seen anything that provided solid evidence that any hop oils are diminished during pelletization. Anybody have any solid info on this? Not just "I heard", but a link to a well sourced article?
 

pkeeler

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Do you have evidence of this? Not challenging you, just would like to see it since I always use pellets.
It is in Fix's book. Again, anything destroyed in the pellet process is destroyed by boiling. So, this isn't an argument to use whole hops in the boil or FWH. It would only be a consideration with dry hopping, or maybe a hop back.
 
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