Author Topic: Hop Pellets  (Read 5525 times)

Offline fmader

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Hop Pellets
« on: January 01, 2013, 06:15:17 PM »
Since I've started brewing about a year ago, I've suspended my hop pellets in a fine mesh hop bag for the boil. Recently I've become more observant that these bags can hold a lot of water in them. If they hold water within them, are they also restraining a lot of the hop flavor and aroma from reaching the wort? I've done this method because I was told to do this. I've watched videos of brewers just pitching the pellets directly into the wort. I have been afraid of doing this, because the pellets leave a messy sludge in the bags, and I don't really want this in my beer. Will there be a mess of a sludge left behind in the bottom of my brew pot or even in my carboy or do the pellets dissolve more when pitched directly into the wort? What do you do?
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Offline andrew000141

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 06:20:16 PM »
i just throw them in, a lot of people are scared of it getting out of the brewpot into the fermentor but ive let it go through with no issues. Itll become part of the "trub" at the bottom of the fermenter just dont leave the beer on the hop pelets for too long if its a really hoppy beer
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 07:09:52 PM »
I just chuck them in loose, both in the boil and when I use them for dry hops. If some makes it into the fermenter, no big deal. They will just settle out with the trub on the bottom.
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Online theDarkSide

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 07:35:30 AM »
I use a hop spider (cheap 'n' easy to build ):


The bag is loose enough for water to exchange during the boil.  It seems to work well for a several ounces hop recipe, but something like Pliny would be pushing it (1 gallon paint strainer bag).
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Offline majorvices

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Hop Pellets
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 07:50:25 AM »
For hop pellets there is no reason not to put the directly in the kettle. No bag or gadgets needed!!!
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Offline dean_palmer

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 08:31:42 AM »
For hop pellets there is no reason not to put the directly in the kettle. No bag or gadgets needed!!!

The issue some of us have experienced with pellets is that when enough of them are used they will clog up just about any filter used in the kettle, including a false bottom. If you are using a filter device in your kettle the paint strainer bags are the way to go for larger quantities, and every system is different. For my false bottom setup I can just throw smaller pellet loads in, but for larger quantities I need to mix in some whole hops so a filter bed is set up. My new kettle will have a side pickup and I'll be whirlpooling to settle the debris in the center before draining rather than using a filter or false bottom. That said I'll continue to use the debris filter outside of the kettle so the gunk into the pump and chillers is reduced.

Offline majorvices

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Hop Pellets
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 09:01:58 AM »
but ... why would you need a filter in a BK?
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Online davidgzach

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 10:04:30 AM »
+1 to just tossing them in the boil or fermenter.  However, if you are dry hopping and going to reuse the yeast, I would use whole hops.

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Offline seajellie

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 11:01:12 AM »
I can't whirlpool worth a damn, and I don't like sludge in my fermenter, either.

Lately, I've been throwing pellets into 1-gallon paint strainer bags directly into the boil, and for flowers, relying on a mash screen filter screwed into the port w/ a 90 degree stainless steel elbow joint to tilt it appropriately for the batch, so that the intake is just above the sludge/break level at the bottom. I'll use a spider with a 3-gallon strainer bag for brews with lots of additions (by weight or by time), because the other methods become a mess as the additions go up. For winter lagers, I'll also let the kettle sit a good long time outside, covered, to let all the junk drop out.

I repitch yeast from four of five of my ferments on average, and so want the wort as clean as possible before it goes into the fermenter. Also, this fall I did four batches where I take the first clear gallons of runoff into one fermenter for a very clean pitch. Then the later runoff, I've either dumped it all into a second fermenter, or just let more trub and sludge into that fermenter. I have noticed a flavor difference in each of these tests. Not always a huge difference, and it might decrease over time (TBD), but it seems to be there and I really think it's due to how much pellet and break material got into the fermenter (vs. different fermenter geometries, slightly diff pitching rates, etc). I say this because the flavors aren't what I'd call yeast characters like esters, phenols, etc. I'm no judging expert that's for sure, but for whatever reason, there is a difference.

You can also just super-size your batches, using settling time, and plan on leaving more behind. But for small batches, it's super annoying to make a 3 gallon batch and leave 25% of your wort behind.

I guess others have a superior solution or think this is a lot of work for a problem that doesn't exist. But I think this is a great subject.

Offline In The Sand

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Hop Pellets
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 11:16:43 AM »
For hop pellets there is no reason not to put the directly in the kettle. No bag or gadgets needed!!!

+1  like others have said, the spent pellets will become part of the trub. I've always just dumped mine right in the BK and/or fermenter.  This IPA had about 25 ounces of hops in it that'll settle eventually.

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Offline In The Sand

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Hop Pellets
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 11:17:18 AM »
For hop pellets there is no reason not to put the directly in the kettle. No bag or gadgets needed!!!

+1  like others have said, the spent pellets will become part of the trub. I've always just dumped mine right in the BK and/or fermenter.  This IPA had about 25 ounces of hops in it that'll settle eventually.

Trey W.

Offline seajellie

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 11:44:41 AM »
Even if you don't believe that there are flavor diffs, and even if you don't repitch yeast, sooner or later, you still have to separate your wort or beer from the junk. So if that's the only question, then it becomes a matter of your process and convenience.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 11:51:27 AM by seajellie »

Offline blatz

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 11:53:14 AM »
Even if you don't believe that there are flavor diffs, and even if you don't repitch yeast, sooner or later, you still have to separate your wort or beer from the junk. So if that's the only question, then it becomes a matter of your process and convenience.

do you want to lose wort in the kettle or beer in the fermenter, that is the question  ;)
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Hop Pellets
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 12:16:53 PM »

...This IPA had about 25 ounces of hops in it that'll settle eventually...


Did you dry-malt for a bit of balance?  :o
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Hop Pellets
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 12:18:26 PM »
Hey, to each his own. But there is really no need to use a bag for pellets, unless you use a plate chiller. Then maybe.

There's no trick to Whirlpooling, either. Ya stir. It's pretty simple! ;) I use pellets, WP and leave most of the hops and trub behind in the kettle when I brew. I do have a diverter plate installed in my B3 14 gallon kettle though.AA
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