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Whole versus Pellet Hops..matter of preference?

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adamjackson

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I've always used pellet hops but, in trying to get some Citra, the whole cones were all that were available so I had to buy those. Is there anything I should keep in mind when brewing with whole hops? Why do people use one or the other? Is one cheaper?
 

ETCS

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I used pellet hops for a long time. I now use whole leaf. The reason being is that I have now have a plate chiller and the false bottom on my brew kettle still let all of the pellet hop residue through and it gums up the plate chiller. Whole leaf hops work better with the false bottom of the kettle. I haven't notice any difference in taste......

Standing by for post to the contrary.....
 

Brulosopher

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ETCS is right. Also, pellets get better utilization, so keep that in mind. I use a pump/plate chiller setup and just do the pellets-in-a-sack work around. Cheers!
 

voltin

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I use primarily pellets, because I have had a couple bad experiences with whole hops clogging up my ball valve, hoses, etc. I do not have a false bottom on my kettle though. When I do use whole leaf hops I use a hop bag.
 

BoomerHarley

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I use both. I always use a hop bag as I have learned that lesson the hard way, more than once. I prefer pellets, but whole leafs work well. I suggest tossing them in a bag and weighing the bag down with some marbles. Granted I never do this because I am lazy, but whenever i open my fermenter and see that hop bag floating on top I think "Damn, I need to get some marbles."
 

Mojzis

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I also stick to pellets. The whole hops gave me hard times with clogging, wort absorption, etc. Also like others said pellets get better utilization because of their ability to roll around and break down in the kettle. Whole hops seem to sit on the top and they don't seem to roll around enough. And when adding pellets they are immediately utilized and broken down. Since the flowers float at first I feel like the timing is also off a little.

This is just my experience anyway. I also don't have a false bottom in my kettle or a plate chiller.
 
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adamjackson

adamjackson

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Thanks for these tips. Sounds like pellets are fine and great and leaves are also fine and great, each have their pros and cons.

Guessing I'll stick with pellets for utilization and not fear using whole leaf when varieties I need aren't available.

I imagine no one here would say it's not fine to mix the two? If I have 2 ounces of citra pellets and 2 ounces of leaf citra, I can still use those in the same batch?
 

voltin

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I imagine no one here would say it's not fine to mix the two? If I have 2 ounces of citra pellets and 2 ounces of leaf citra, I can still use those in the same batch?
Nope, no problem with using both. In fact a lot of people use the whole leaf hops as a sorta filter.
 

MVKTR2

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As for your 2 oz pellet/2 oz whole leaf absolutely use them however you want. There is a prevailing thought that leaf hops are better for dry hopping, but I'm not so sure. I do know pellet hops at DH additions tend to leave a fair bit more hop particulates than do the whole leaf. All of this of course makes me miss the days of the hop 'plugs' which were great for DH. :(
 

unionrdr

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In my opinion,pellets get some bittering at a lower threshold than leaf hops do. It's the fact that they're ground & pressed into shape that makes the lupulin glands do the same. I think leaf hops are a bit mellower & more flavorfull from still being in their natural state. It def smoothed out the dry hop I used them in once or twice.
But I've also used both in the boil out of necessity with good results. I put whole leaf (also called raw) hops in muslin grain sacks due to their larger volume for the same weight. Made the mistake of using raw hops loose once was enough for me.
 

tinytowers

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Whole cones are definitely more mellow, but I think they lend a much more natural flavor. Pellets are almost too potent and almost fake tasting -- they remind me of extract.

I have a new found respect for Sierra Nevada after finding out they use whole hops exclusively.

If you're worried about clogging your system with leaf just use a hop spider.
 

W0rthog

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Mojzis said:
Whole hops seem to sit on the top and they don't seem to roll around enough....Since the flowers float at first I feel like the timing is also off a little.
I wonder if pre-soaking the whole hops would help with the absorption and sinking of the hops?
 
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adamjackson

adamjackson

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..one more question. Why is that whole hops cost more than pellet hops? IT seems pellets take more processing so wouldn't they cost more due to the process?
 

Horseballs

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Or maybe it has something to do with how much bigger packages of leaf are vs pellets. It costs money to store and transport things.
 

unionrdr

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Yeah,larger volume for the same weight. Truck shipping also goes by size if I remember right. Had to pay more to ship a pair of reclining racing buckets by truck because tyhe boxes were about the size of a fridge all total.
 

jheld00

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I used to flip flop back and forth between whole and pellet. Now that I buy in bulk I almost always use pellets. I have about 15lbs of pellets in my freezer which would be about 5lbs of whole. Also I find much less wort is wasted while brewing and dry hopping. The only time now I would use whole would be fresh wet hops for dry hopping.
 

jiggs_casey

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Just my opinion. I've used both. I like pellets. A big ol' bag of whole leaf is friggin' sexy but, pellet really is a lot less of a hassle to deal with.
 

CityOChampBrew

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I've always used pellet hops but, in trying to get some Citra, the whole cones were all that were available so I had to buy those. Is there anything I should keep in mind when brewing with whole hops? Why do people use one or the other? Is one cheaper?
I worry more about variety than the form as both work well.
 

Mojzis

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I wonder if pre-soaking the whole hops would help with the absorption and sinking of the hops?
I'm sure it would. My LHBS was out of pellets for an ounce I needed, so I picked up some whole. I'll give this a shot.
 
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