Author Topic: Mesh bags for hops?  (Read 2097 times)

Offline bluedog

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 52
    • View Profile
Mesh bags for hops?
« on: May 10, 2013, 10:31:39 AM »
I have a question about bagging hops for the boil. I typically use hop pellets and just drop them into the boil kettle. Recently at big brew I noticed a lot of brewers using mesh bags to contain the hops for the boil. I also saw someone using a hop "spider" which was basically a large mesh bag attached to a PVC collar with posts to the edge of the kettle. The hops were just dropped into the bag and later the whole bag removed and the wort drained. My question is there any loss of efficiency or extraction by bagging the hops?

Online HoosierBrew

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2251
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 10:41:13 AM »
I have a question about bagging hops for the boil. I typically use hop pellets and just drop them into the boil kettle. Recently at big brew I noticed a lot of brewers using mesh bags to contain the hops for the boil. I also saw someone using a hop "spider" which was basically a large mesh bag attached to a PVC collar with posts to the edge of the kettle. The hops were just dropped into the bag and later the whole bag removed and the wort drained. My question is there any loss of efficiency or extraction by bagging the hops?
I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag in my kettle, clipped to the side.  The hops are about as free to circulate in the pot as if you just dumped them in. So I don't notice or expect any real utilization loss. However some of the small nylon hop bags would pack the pellets fairly closely together, so I'm sure there would be some loss there. Put it this way - I don't add extra hops into my recipe for using the paint strainer bag. They circulate pretty loosely.
Jon H.

Offline bluedog

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 52
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 10:47:02 AM »
That's pretty much what I was thinking - a bigger bag would probably have no noticeable effect. Thanks.

Offline beersk

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1878
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 11:24:36 AM »
Wouldn't the bag melt if it touches the bottom? Or do you keep the bag off the bottom somehow?
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Online theDarkSide

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2074
  • Derry, NH
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 11:31:08 AM »
Wouldn't the bag melt if it touches the bottom? Or do you keep the bag off the bottom somehow?

I use a hop spider now and the bag doesn't touch but when I used the plain bag, I would tie the string to the handle and make sure it was high enough.  I got sick of trying to untwist the bag when adding more hops (that sucker got hot!!) which is why I went to the spider.

I don't feel like I'm losing anything using the spider, but there is a ton of room in a 5 gallon paint strainer bag and the hops do get tossed around during the boil.
Sergeant - BNArmy Member
AHA Member
Seacoast Homebrew Club Member
https://www.facebook.com/SeacoastHomebrewClub
Stephen M.
------------------------------------------------

Online HoosierBrew

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2251
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 11:35:54 AM »
Wouldn't the bag melt if it touches the bottom? Or do you keep the bag off the bottom somehow?
I keep mine clipped to the side using small but strong little clamps so that it doesn't touch the bottom. I'm assuming it could, but honestly the turbulence of the boil tends to push it up a bit.
Jon H.

Online Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2328
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 11:47:15 AM »
I've never melted a bag in 20 years of using them.

I've tied them off to the pot handles, tied the to spoons laid across the pot, clipped them to the side, etc.  Everything but the hop spider.

If you use the muslin bags they let a lot of hop material through into the wort.

I've heard/seen people claim that the bags can reduce hop utilization by 10%.  I have no idea if that's true.  I have no problem making hoppy beers when I want them.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Online HoosierBrew

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2251
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 11:49:23 AM »
I've never melted a bag in 20 years of using them.

I've tied them off to the pot handles, tied the to spoons laid across the pot, clipped them to the side, etc.  Everything but the hop spider.

If you use the muslin bags they let a lot of hop material through into the wort.

I've heard/seen people claim that the bags can reduce hop utilization by 10%.  I have no idea if that's true.  I have no problem making hoppy beers when I want them.
+1.  I've got an IPA on tap now that has hops to spare. Definitely no perceptible loss to me. Those 5 gallon bags are plenty big.
Jon H.

Online morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5691
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2013, 12:01:28 PM »
I pinned a hop bag against the bottom of my kettle with the IC for the last 15 minutes of the boil once and it actually burned (it was cotton, not nylon). It charred and blackened as did some of the hops inside and that hefe tasted like campfire forever. However if you can manage not to physically pin it down to the bottom of the kettle you're probably pretty safe.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline Jeff M

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • Currently upgrading to Brewery 3.0
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 12:47:22 PM »
ive done that with partial mashes before.  silly muslin bags!
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline jeffy

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2445
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 03:45:35 PM »
I built a hop spider and used it first for an IPA.  It seemed to get clogged with hop pellets and the resulting beer had less bitterness than I had originally calculated.  I'm sure it would be fine with whole hops.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline duboman

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 786
    • View Profile
Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 03:58:10 PM »


I made this, it's an insinkerator disposal collar and paint strainer bag and work great!
Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Online HoosierBrew

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2251
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 04:10:42 PM »
I built a hop spider and used it first for an IPA.  It seemed to get clogged with hop pellets and the resulting beer had less bitterness than I had originally calculated.  I'm sure it would be fine with whole hops.
I bought the paint strainer bags years ago to use in a hop spider, but after using them this way, I think it's better - I'll tell you why.  After choking the bag into a 3 or 4 inch piece of PVC with overlap at the top, it effectively shrinks the bag maybe in half, negating the ability of the hops to circulate freely. I put 2 clips at each end of the bag as permanent clips, and then a clip in the middle which I remove to add hops at each stage, and then attach when done. There is probably a measureable loss in IBUs, but perceptively, none. Sometimes low tech is a good thing.
Jon H.

Offline leejoreilly

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Washington, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2013, 07:58:48 AM »
I just toss my hops (usually pellets) into the boil kettle and let 'em rip. After boiling, I line my pail fermenter with a 5 gal mesh bag, and pour in the hot wort from the kettle. Then pull the bag out and hold it above the fermenter for a minute or so until it drains, filtering most of the hop debris plus hot break material etc, out of the wort. I then drop in my chiller and cool the wort to pitching temp, which avoids having to chill a hot kettle. And I end up with very little trub in with my yeast cake.

Offline ccfoo242

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 765
  • I drank what? - Socrates
    • View Profile
Re: Re: Mesh bags for hops?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2013, 09:57:38 AM »


I made this, it's an insinkerator disposal collar and paint strainer bag and work great!

That is a thing of beauty. Simple and functional. I made something similar with a large cookie cutter.

Sent from the future using Tapatalk


Intra cervisiam est deus.