Author Topic: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops  (Read 2261 times)

Offline flbrewer

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Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« on: February 11, 2015, 01:14:50 AM »
From what I've read you get better utilization with pellets. In an effort to closely follow a recipe I'm trying next (which lists whole hops) I'd like to give it a shot at some point using leaf hops. The idea of a less mess in the trub is appealing as well for clean up.

Have you found that you can use interchange pellets and leaf on a 1:1 basis. For example, a recipe calls for 1 ounce of leaf cascade. Would 1 ounce of cascade pellets be a big difference?

Secondly, for longer term storage (~1 year) do they hold up frozen like pellets do?

Thanks!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 01:24:50 AM »
I use ~ 10% more leaf hops than pellets. Which isn't as often - I just like pellets better. They have longer shelf life. Once a bag of leaf hops are opened , the character degrades quicker IMO than with pellets. Lots of people here use leaf hops, though. A vacuum sealer is definitely THE way to go to maximize shelf life of hops, leaf or pellet.
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 01:56:19 AM »
Same here. Also, I tend to buy by the pound on my favorite hops and leaf hops take up way too much space.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 01:59:57 AM »
Yeah, I'd need an appliance department in the garage if all my pellets in the freezer were leaf.    ;D
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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 02:12:50 AM »
I just got 7 lbs from hopdirect, 6 were leaf. Those went into a freezer that is hops, and one that is shared with food. Whole hops work well in my system.
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Offline fmader

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 02:33:00 AM »
Yeah, I'd need an appliance department in the garage if all my pellets in the freezer were leaf.    ;D

I know that looks like a lot, sir, but it's just really light.

Yeah, 20 lbs of dried leaf hops would probably fill a 10 cubic foot freezer lol
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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 06:07:52 AM »
I use whole cones with a false bottom. Pellets are way too messy if thrown directly into the boil.

Offline Stevie

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Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 06:17:05 AM »
I use whole cones with a false bottom. Pellets are way too messy if thrown directly into the boil.
Sure, with a false bottom they are a pain, but with pumps and no false bottom whole cones are a pain.

I've said it plenty of times before, I do like how easy it is to get clear wort with whole cones and a false bottom.

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 01:16:31 PM »
I use whole cones with a false bottom. Pellets are way too messy if thrown directly into the boil.

Exactly. It depends on how your BK is designed. Hop pellets are pulversized enough that they are easily able to go through a 1/4 in opening with no problem. You can't do that with a hop cone. I used to have 2 BKs - one with no screen of false bottom for hop pellets and one with a screen for hop conses. Eventually I did away with the one with the screen because it would clog every now and then anyway (though only on the hoppiest beers).

If you WP properly the pellets will settle out in a cone and are not extremely messy.

As was mentioned in above posts: Hop pellets are easier to use, are more efficient, stay fresher longer and have a much lower absorption rate. Plus they don't clog nearly as easy as whole hops if your BK is set up to use them. I still use whole hop flower hops but only for randals, hop backs and firkin dry hopping.

Offline kmccaf

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 02:18:12 PM »
I mostly use whole hops. They do take up a lot of space, but that is kind of a good thing for me. It makes sure I don't buy too many hops without using the ones I already have. I changed the way I brew partly because of my fondness for whole hops. I start buying hops when the harvest comes in and start my brew year with the freshest cones, and stop brewing around May. So, I brew in the Fall and Spring. No need to worry about the whole cones not storing as long this way.

Also, there is something very pleasing about using whole cones that I do not get with pellets. It's sentimental, but the look and feel of whole cones adds to my brewing experience.
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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 03:18:22 PM »
have a much lower absorption rate.

That's the only serious drawback that I see with cones.  I purchase my cones as new crop, break down pound bags no smaller than 4ozs, and use a vacuum sealer to ensure that the hops are compressed into a block. 

In my experience, cones produce a beer with a softer, smoother bitterness than pellets. Pellets have a rough edge that I find disagreeable, which is the major reason why I continue to use whole cones.

With that said, one cannot beat pellets when it comes to storage space.  If I had to purchase my hops through the home brew trade, I would switch to pellets.  The bags of whole hops that Hop Union sells into the home brew trade leave a lot to be desired.

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2015, 03:24:01 PM »
One last thing, what a lot of brewers do not know is that a large percentage of the pellets that are sold in the U.S. and around the world spent a crop year in whole form.  It's common practice to pelletize the remaining bales of last year's crop when the new crop arrives. 

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2015, 03:25:18 PM »
have a much lower absorption rate.

That's the only serious drawback that I see with cones.  I purchase my cones as new crop, break down pound bags no smaller than 4ozs, and use a vacuum sealer to ensure that the hops are compressed into a block. 

In my experience, cones produce a beer with a softer, smoother bitterness than pellets. Pellets have a rough edge that I find disagreeable, which is the major reason why I continue to use whole cones.

With that said, one cannot beat pellets when it comes to storage space.  If I had to purchase my hops through the home brew trade, I would switch to pellets.  The bags of whole hops that Hop Union sells into the home brew trade leave a lot to be desired.

Interesting. To me cones are far more vegal and grassy. Not necessarily bad, but I prefer the cleaner taste of pellets.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2015, 04:15:59 PM »
I feel like I need to qualify my thoughts up front by saying that I use insane amounts of hops in my IPA's (about 6oz/gallon). Therefore, my results may not be applicable to others.

For the 2013 crop I moved completely to pellet hops to minimize wort/beer loss to hop absorption. Prior to that I used a mix of whole cone and pellet hops without really discriminating between the two. I quickly found that my really hoppy beers started getting a harsh "raw hop" character. If you ever pop a pellet in your mouth you'll know what I'm talking about. Some of them would end up murky with fine hop particles that just don't seem to drop. I also get some of this harshness in certain commercial IPA's, although not to the same extent. Stone's "Go To IPA" is one that comes to mind.

For this past year's crop, I moved to whole cone hops whenever available (unfortunately, some of the NZ hops I use a lot of just aren't available as ones). I haven't tested out any of my huge hop-bomb recipes using primarily cones yet, but I'm hoping it solves my harshness issue.
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Re: Pellet vs. Leaf Hops
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 04:50:07 PM »
One last thing, what a lot of brewers do not know is that a large percentage of the pellets that are sold in the U.S. and around the world spent a crop year in whole form.  It's common practice to pelletize the remaining bales of last year's crop when the new crop arrives.

But they are labelled as the year they are harvested. So no big deal.