To dry hop, or not to dry hop

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Immocles

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Pretty easy question, but I've had mixed results.
I'm brewing a lighter amber (or darker pale, whichever), and I have a good amount of cascade leftover that is going to sit in the freezer for awhile, so I'm debating tossing in a dry hop. I made some tasty 1G ales early this year, with a small dry hop. They drank quick and easy. When I scaled the recipe up, I had horrible results, with quick oxidation taking over. My gut tells me it was a boneheaded move of dry hopping a 2.5G batch in a 6.5G bmb, and just having more bottles to drink though. So perhaps this is more of a question of how much headspace is too much headspace. I'll have about 2.25-2.5G of ale in a 3G fermonster, should I feel safe adding a dry hop of cascade 3-4 days prior to bottling? or just stick with my original plan and save my hops for a rainy day brew?

As usually, thanks for any input.
 

Queequeg

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I noticed a significant difference in dry hop aroma quality when I moved from bottle to keg.

IMO it's very difficult to avoid oxidation associated with dry hopping and bottling without the ability to have the very small purgible headspace of a keg.

My advice would be skip the dry hop on this one. In future add the dry hops at the end of fermentation, say 10 points prior FG. This will allow the yeast to mop up the oxygen added during the hop addition.

When it comes to bottling, bottle straight from the fermenter using a spigot above the yeast cake if you can. Add the priming sugar directly to separate bottles.

If you want to take it to the next level, use CO2 to purge the bottles with a bottle filler connect to the fermenter spigot and replace the headspace with CO2 as the fermenter empties via the blowoff using a step down regulatory for a CO2 canister.
 
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Immocles

Immocles

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That is the way I am currently leaning. I'd rather not have a repeat of a couple of the ales I made over the summer. First few bottles were excellent but they sharply fell off after that. My non dry hopped, similarly hopped beers have turned out well though.

Bottling from the fermenter has been something I have been kicking around lately. Had decent luck with bottle priming small, 1 gallon batches. I worry about the flimsy feeling plastic on the fermonster when I push up on the bottling wand. Not that it will break, but that it'll cause a leaky spigot. Maybe its time to start practicing.
 

Queequeg

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If you are using a bottling wand, support it with one hand to aviod putting pressure on the spigot.

Using a bottling bucket is really unnecessary and it an out of date practice for home-brewing. Do doing so you are effectively adding an areation step to the bottling process.

Also make sure you are using non- pvc bottle caps with an oxygen scavenger liner

Also do you use leaf or pellet hops? Leaf cones trap a lot of air, I tend to avoid them whenever possible for dry hopping.

After these changes all that is left is CO2 bottle purging and counter pressure filling, but honestly if you are going to spend that money you are better of investing in kegging.

You can also expirement with adding sodium metabisulphate and asorbic acid to the priming solution. Check out the LODO forum for dosage rates.
 

Dgallo

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Pretty easy question, but I've had mixed results.
I'm brewing a lighter amber (or darker pale, whichever), and I have a good amount of cascade leftover that is going to sit in the freezer for awhile, so I'm debating tossing in a dry hop. I made some tasty 1G ales early this year, with a small dry hop. They drank quick and easy. When I scaled the recipe up, I had horrible results, with quick oxidation taking over. My gut tells me it was a boneheaded move of dry hopping a 2.5G batch in a 6.5G bmb, and just having more bottles to drink though. So perhaps this is more of a question of how much headspace is too much headspace. I'll have about 2.25-2.5G of ale in a 3G fermonster, should I feel safe adding a dry hop of cascade 3-4 days prior to bottling? or just stick with my original plan and save my hops for a rainy day brew?

As usually, thanks for any input.
When you bottle are you going from primary to bottles or primary to bottling bucket to bottles?
 
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Immocles

Immocles

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My process has been from fermenter to bucket to bottles. I have a spigot on my fermonster though, so I’m open to trying. Especially if it can result in better quality
 

Dgallo

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My process has been from fermenter to bucket to bottles. I have a spigot on my fermonster though, so I’m open to trying. Especially if it can result in better quality
Yes that should certainly help. One less rack will help plus there is some co2 in your primary to lend some protection against oxidationbut when you rack to your bottling bucket, it’s all o2. As suggested earlier since you are bottling and have limited means to minimize o2 pick up, you are probably better off dryhoping when you still have about 10-20 points left before hitting FG. This way you can scrub the o2. Though this isn’t the best form of dryhoping, it still works and helps against oxidation.

I too used a fermonster to ferment. Whenever you switch to kegging, message me and I can show you how to turn your fermonster into a complete closed system.
 
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Immocles

Immocles

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I might have to try skipping that bucket step. May or may not dry hop this batch. Still undecided. Especially since I’m unsure when bottling is even going to occur anymore.

I hope to take you up on the kegging advice offer! Part of the reason I got the siphonless was to be able to have a closed system if/when I move to kegs. I made a deal with the wife that if I win my fantasy league, I’m getting a cannonball keg set up for my beer fridge haha.
 

SundayBrewer

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I got lazy and started skipping the bucket and use sugar cubes. Seems to work good. Turn the co2 on/off when needed and turn the bottles a few times to mix the sugar.


 
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Immocles

Immocles

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Bottling straight from the fermonster was way easier than I had imagined. I still attached a hose to the end of the spigot because I have a habit of inverting the spigot and I was worried the quarter turn might cause a slow leak. It worked really well. More importantly, the beer sampled really well, so I'm hoping the extra precaution makes a difference. I opted to not dry hop since I bottled later than I had originally planned, but I think next time I might try again. Thanks for the suggestion, folks. It's much appreciated.
 
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