The only reason I ever transfer to a secondary is to help "clean" my beer to try to keep some extra yeast & hop particles from making it to my bottling bucket.
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Do you stir the sugar into the wort? I used to just put sugar solution into the bottling bucket and rack on top and had very inconsistent carbonation. Now I stir the wort (gently, but thoroughly) and don't have those problems.
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I use a stainless tea ball strainer in the secondary. It keeps the particles in and sinks to the bottom. The bigger the strainer ball the better. Those pellets can really expand.
How much do they expand? I'm just about ready to dry hop for the first time, and bought a couple of these http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0047YKGPY/ to dry hop in the keg. They are about 2.5" in diameter.... how many hop pellets can I fit in there? Do they double in size? Triple in size?