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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: James Lorden on October 20, 2011, 11:27:20 am

Title: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: James Lorden on October 20, 2011, 11:27:20 am
Every year I sit down and look back at my last year in brewing and think of ways to modify my process or to try new things out.  Last year for instance was the year of the filter.  Just about every beer I made was filtered.  It was a huge pain in the but; however, I liked the results.  This year I've decided that I am going to use whole hops in every beer!  I realized the other day that I've been brewing for 10 years now but in ten years and well over 100 batches I've never used anything but pellets.  This year that changes.  I just bought a ton of whole leaf hops from Hops Direct and Fresh Hops and I can't wait to start!  One exception that I may allow is dry hopping.  I will dry hop in the 10 gallon conical with whole hops but I am thinking that when I do 5 gallon brews in a carboy that logistically I still may need to use pellets.

This should be fun - anyone selling a hopback?  Might as well go all in at this point!
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: majorvices on October 20, 2011, 11:44:54 am
Somethings to consider. Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them. There is less organic matter in pellets due to the fact that the pellatizer removes se of the excessive vegitative matter during processing. Also pellets tend to stay fresher longer because you can purge them easier and there is less surface area to aerate the volatile oils. Also whole hops absorb a lot more wort so anticipate you efficiency to go down as far as final collection in the feenters go.

Not saying you shouldn't switch, just don't expect it to be an improvement necessarily over pellets. I know there are those who swear flowers over pellets bit there are also those of us who swear the other way round. ;)
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: tschmidlin on October 20, 2011, 11:50:42 am
Whole hops work better on my system, which has a false bottom in the kettle that strains them out but pellets pass through.  I tend to dryhop with pellets though.  It's good to try new things, and in the end you'll end up using what works for you.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: James Lorden on October 20, 2011, 12:11:50 pm
I'm excited to try something new - but if it becomes a major pain in the A$$ then it won't become part of the permanent process (like filtering).  Hoping to just find certain scenarios where I may actually prefer it!  What I'm sort of nervous about is whether those hops will dislace a lot more space in my kettle since, with a 90 minute boil, my kettle gets filled pretty high.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: tygo on October 20, 2011, 12:12:39 pm
Yeah, whole hops work better for me too.  Using a kettle screen as opposed to a false bottom but same principle.  I do use pellets but they get bagged otherwise running the wort into the fermenter is a nightmare.  
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: rjharper on October 20, 2011, 12:12:42 pm
Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them.

+1000!
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: blatz on October 20, 2011, 12:16:34 pm
 I will dry hop in the 10 gallon conical with whole hops

be sure to bag them.

Quote

This should be fun - anyone selling a hopback?  Might as well go all in at this point!

actually, not sure if you were kidding, but I am in the market to sell mine - it is the same one pictured here:

http://morebeer.com/view_product/15781//Hop_Back_with_1_2%22_Female_Threads

and I would also include SS NPT fittings which were not included in the original purchase.

I'm selling because I am switching to an electric brewery with Blichmann kettles and Blichmann has a hopback that works with his system.

Somethings to consider. Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them.

as Tom said, not if you have a false bottom or bazooka screen - in fact Whole is actually preferable.  I can use a decent amount of pellets in my current false bottom based system, but I never have a problem with the whole.  Keith's other points are very valid though.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: James Lorden on October 20, 2011, 12:26:18 pm
I use a Morebeer 15 gallon kettle with a U-shaped pickup that pulls wort from close to the wall.  Currently when I whirlpool I end up pulling in very little hops and trub.  Anyone have any experience with a setup like this when using whole hops?
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: blatz on October 20, 2011, 12:26:58 pm
What I'm sort of nervous about is whether those hops will dislace a lot more space in my kettle since, with a 90 minute boil, my kettle gets filled pretty high.

Mine too - but I usually don't add hops until the 60 min mark, at which time the level has dropped down enough to not be of concern.  I've never had a boilover b/c of a hop addition.   Other things yes, but never a hop issue.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: denny on October 20, 2011, 12:29:39 pm
Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them.

+1000!

I use a Bazooka T in my kettle with loose whole hops.  No clogging...yet!
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: Slowbrew on October 20, 2011, 12:39:38 pm
I switched to all (well almost all) whole hops during 'the great hops shortage'.  They worked well, I made good beer but I went back to pellets.  My paint strainer bag was just another piece of equipment to setup and clean with very little gain IMHO.

Paul
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: jaybeerman on October 20, 2011, 01:05:31 pm
one more whole hop fan who never bags hops.  I have a false bottom in my kettle and when I dry hop I simply let them be, racking is as simple as using a short piece of string to tie a hop sock around my racking cane.  As far as storage goes I vacuum seal hops and freeze them.  I guess I don't get what all the nightmares are about, the only clogging problems I've had have been with pellets.  anyway, cheers to whatever works in your system.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: mabrungard on October 20, 2011, 01:14:57 pm
I've found that pellets with whole hops is a good way to go.  Pelletized hops produce a loose and unstable trub pile after whirlpooling.  Adding an ounce or two of whole hops per 5 gallons adds 'fiber' to the trub pile and it seems to hang together better for me.  I do use a peripheral wort intake along the wall of the kettle, so keeping that pile together at the center of the pot is important for me.

I do prefer pelletized hops for freshness and their ability to hold less wort when the kettle is drained.  Whole hops are like a sponge, so I don't like to have too much in the kettle.  The higher IBU utilization is also another nice factor for pellets.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: majorvices on October 20, 2011, 02:19:39 pm
I don't know what Paul is talking about - all my points were valid, especially the clogging issue. ;) seriously I used to have two kettles, one for pellets and one for whole with a screen. Only ever had one clog with the screen. But it's still a PITA when it does clog. I agree with the comment that you need to be sure your system works with either or. I also agree that one should use whatever is easier and brings the brewer the most joy. I still use whole hops occasionally but only ever when bagged due toy system configuration.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 20, 2011, 02:55:07 pm
Whole hops work great on my conv. keg with a false bottom.  Pellets, well I can get by with some, but too many clog the pickup tube or the pump.  A blend works fairly well.

I use either to dry hop.  A 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag is what I use over the racking cane, and this keeps both whole or pellet particle out.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: bo on October 20, 2011, 02:56:37 pm
I've never bagged whole hops, but I prefer pellets and I do bag them. Not a clogging issue with either.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: calpyro on October 21, 2011, 08:30:01 pm
Every year I sit down and look back at my last year in brewing and think of ways to modify my process or to try new things out.  Last year for instance was the year of the filter.  Just about every beer I made was filtered.  It was a huge pain in the but; however, I liked the results.  This year I've decided that I am going to use whole hops in every beer!  I realized the other day that I've been brewing for 10 years now but in ten years and well over 100 batches I've never used anything but pellets.  This year that changes.  I just bought a ton of whole leaf hops from Hops Direct and Fresh Hops and I can't wait to start!  One exception that I may allow is dry hopping.  I will dry hop in the 10 gallon conical with whole hops but I am thinking that when I do 5 gallon brews in a carboy that logistically I still may need to use pellets.

This should be fun - anyone selling a hopback?  Might as well go all in at this point!


Here are a few tips:

I coarsely chop all my whole hops to improve the utilization and reduce the wort absorption. I use a cheap food processor from Walmart just for hops.

Use a Surescreen: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/surescreen.html It allow you to dry hop in a Corney Keg. It allows you to use insane amounts of hops. I chop all the hops I use in dry hopping.

I Cask Condition (add Sugar) while dry hopping in the Corney. Whole hops contain a bunch of Oxygen and the action of the yeast does a good job of scrubbing all of the O2 out of the beer.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: majorvices on October 22, 2011, 06:35:09 am
I coarsely chop all my whole hops to improve the utilization and reduce the wort absorption. I use a cheap food processor from Walmart just for hops.


I had though about doing this before but was worried about leaving too much of the sticky resin behind in the food processor. Is this not a problem?
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 22, 2011, 07:27:06 am
Use the whole hops with the false bottom and you will have a natural filter for the wort - maybe then you won't have the need to filter the finished product - I never have clarity issues now that my boil keggle has a false bottom.  Just great clear wort comes through.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: denny on October 22, 2011, 09:56:33 am
I coarsely chop all my whole hops to improve the utilization and reduce the wort absorption. I use a cheap food processor from Walmart just for hops.


I had though about doing this before but was worried about leaving too much of the sticky resin behind in the food processor. Is this not a problem?

And how much does it increase utilization, anyway?  It may be one of those things that seems like a good idea, but in reality doesn't make enough difference to be worth the effort.  Has anyone ever seen a study about how much increase you get?  And if you don't know, how do you accurately calculate your hop additions?
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: kgs on October 23, 2011, 08:16:39 am
I've never bagged whole hops, but I prefer pellets and I do bag them. Not a clogging issue with either.

The few times I've used whole hops in the boil, I found they made a natural filter (using a very large strainer over a bucket). I also think (without any empirical evidence) that the process of pouring the hot wort through the bed of whole hops gives the beer an extra hit of hoppiness.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: Malticulous on October 23, 2011, 08:45:15 am
I don't like whole flowers. The don't whirlpool nicely and plug my runnoff. Worse they suck up more wort.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: calpyro on October 27, 2011, 08:49:01 pm
I coarsely chop all my whole hops to improve the utilization and reduce the wort absorption. I use a cheap food processor from Walmart just for hops.


I had though about doing this before but was worried about leaving too much of the sticky resin behind in the food processor. Is this not a problem?

Some of the resin does stick to the food processor. I just swirl some hot wort in it at the end of the boil to clean it up and return it to the kettle.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: calpyro on October 27, 2011, 09:10:24 pm
I coarsely chop all my whole hops to improve the utilization and reduce the wort absorption. I use a cheap food processor from Walmart just for hops.


I had though about doing this before but was worried about leaving too much of the sticky resin behind in the food processor. Is this not a problem?

And how much does it increase utilization, anyway?  It may be one of those things that seems like a good idea, but in reality doesn't make enough difference to be worth the effort.  Has anyone ever seen a study about how much increase you get?  And if you don't know, how do you accurately calculate your hop additions?


How much does it improve the utilization is difficult to quantify. In late additions, the chopped-whole hops perform similar to pellets. The hop resins are almost instantly available to the boil. I find that late in the boil this technique dramatically improves whole-hop performance.

The only person that has done a study about using a food processor to chop whole hops is me as far as I know. However, it is simple logic that by breaking the hop cone structure exposes the luplin that would otherwise be somewhat hidden inside the hop cone.

By coarsely chopping the hops, and leaving the majority of the hop petals intact retains one of the qualities that I prefer in whole hops, which is the filtering effect on the false bottom of my kettle and result is much less wort absorption in regular whole hops.
I accurately calculate my hop utilization like any other brewer. I carefully weigh them and use brewing experience to do the rest.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: James Lorden on October 29, 2011, 07:34:27 am
Here we go - first shipment received

(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6035/6290739246_192b4f64ef.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorden_family/6290739246/)
Hops (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorden_family/6290739246/) by jclorden (http://www.flickr.com/people/lorden_family/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: blatz on October 29, 2011, 08:30:26 am
SWEET
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: pinnah on October 29, 2011, 08:39:10 am
Looks like two shipments? Freshops and some Puterbaugh Pounds? ;D

Pardon a quick thread drift, those of you who know Dave @ freshops, what is the best way to get a hold of him?
Telephone?  Thanks

I love whole hops BTW.  The packed freezer is a sickness at my house.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: denny on October 29, 2011, 09:57:55 am
My experience is that Dave can be slow to answer emails.  Give him a call.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: James Lorden on October 30, 2011, 12:07:38 pm
First brew with whole hops - as predicted by many here - complete disaster.  Doing a lager with only an ounce and a half of hops and still completely clogged my therminator and pump!  Going to have to go to the drawing board!

(http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6100/6295028920_d3e66b255f.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorden_family/6295028920/)
Perle hops (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorden_family/6295028920/) by jclorden (http://www.flickr.com/people/lorden_family/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: blatz on October 30, 2011, 12:14:56 pm
any screen on your pickup? false bottom?  

sorry for the tough time though.  I had a tough runoff friday night and had to rack out (not hop related though - equipment)
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: James Lorden on October 30, 2011, 12:34:47 pm
Nope, just a U shaped pick up that pulls from the wall.  I didn't get a good trub pile I guess.  It was still fun and by the end of the year hopefully I'll have a good system down. 

Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: blatz on October 30, 2011, 01:43:45 pm
Nope, just a U shaped pick up that pulls from the wall.  I didn't get a good trub pile I guess.  It was still fun and by the end of the year hopefully I'll have a good system down. 



yeah - that type of setup is not going to work with whole - you'll need some type of screen to have a better chance of success.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: denny on October 30, 2011, 01:51:35 pm
Nope, just a U shaped pick up that pulls from the wall.  I didn't get a good trub pile I guess.  It was still fun and by the end of the year hopefully I'll have a good system down. 



yeah - that type of setup is not going to work with whole - you'll need some type of screen to have a better chance of success.

Or use hop bags.
Title: Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
Post by: calpyro on October 30, 2011, 09:02:56 pm
Nope, just a U shaped pick up that pulls from the wall.  I didn't get a good trub pile I guess.  It was still fun and by the end of the year hopefully I'll have a good system down. 



A false bottom works really well with whole hops.
I use a immersion chiller and the whole hops drop pretty quick to form a nice filter bed on the false bottom. The protein settles last on top of the hops. It takes me around fifteen minutes to get the wort to pitching temp and another ten to fifteen to get the wort to become bright. As soon as it clears, I runoff the wort into the fermenter.
Whole hops and a false bottom make a good combination for clear wort.