Author Topic: Think I'm going back to whole cone  (Read 2058 times)

Online Robert

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Think I'm going back to whole cone
« on: July 29, 2018, 01:08:25 AM »
Been thinking (I know, dangerous.)  Switched to pellets a couple of years ago, after nearly three decades of resistance, because it seemed inevitable.   Whole cone availability and variety on the wane, "everybody else is doing it...."  But I just never dug it.  I missed the more elegant flavor, bitterness and aroma, the natural filter bed, the clearer wort, the smoother, clearer beer with less ageing... oh yeah, better boil over prevention with FWH and cleaner yeast crop... I may just be an old fogey, but I missed whole hops.  So I just ordered a bunch. I'll make all my beers with fewer varieties if that's what it takes. The only drawback is, I kind of liked having room for food in the freezer.  Anybody else gone back, or felt the urge?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 01:22:34 AM by Robert »
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Offline Bilsch

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2018, 01:41:36 AM »
Never left.

Offline RC

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2018, 01:42:29 AM »
I don't really see the upside of using whole cone hops except for history/tradition--which, to be fair, matters a lot, at least to me. So there's that. Still, I think that pellets have become the dominant hop form for many, many, many good reasons. If whole cone hops make better beer, I'm sold. But that's a tough argument to make against quality T90 pellets. I'll be curious what your results are, so keep us updated!

Offline BrewBama

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Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2018, 01:46:29 AM »
I’ve always used pellets but want to use whole hops. I got pellets with my first kit back in the 90(s) and just stuck with them when I picked the hobby back up in ‘13. I keep saying I am going to order my next batch with whole hops but don’t for one reason or the other.  I am not sure how the change will affect my whirlpool, fermenter volume, IBU, etc.

https://fifthseasongardening.com/hop-pellets-vs-whole-hops

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« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 11:54:01 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline coolman26

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2018, 03:04:39 AM »
I always preferred cone, but pellets allowed food space. I had always heard cone shelf life was short. I don’t agree with that completely. I bought a pound of Crystal cone and had no issue at 18 months. I have mostly unopened 17 cones.


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Offline James K

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2018, 07:44:01 AM »
You aren’t the first to say that whole cone hops leave your beer much clearer than pellet hops. I only used whole cones once as a beginner, but from what I understand I didn’t use enough because you need more than an ounce of whole cone to equal and ounce of pellets.

I want to try them again, and probably will soon because my lhbs is about to sell fresh hops. Wild hops grow here as well and i might go forage for some. That seems like the best way and best time for me to try them. If they had mittelfrüh I would probably pony up. That’s the only hop I really use anyways.

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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2018, 01:01:06 PM »
I use my homegrowns almost exclusively for bittering.  I use pellets for flavor and aroma.  I could also try doing the reverse.  To be honest, I don't mind much either way and don't necessarily have a preference.  If anything, pellets take up less space, and don't require a bag in the boil, so I see more advantages to pellets.  But they're not huge advantages.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2018, 03:12:47 PM »
I get less of that grassy/stemmy character in highly-hopped IPA's when I use cones instead of pellets. If I could get Vic Secret, Galaxy and Nelson in whole cones, I'd probably make a full switch. Right now I'm at about 50-50 in utilization, with most of my domestic hops being cones and imports as pellets.
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Online Robert

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2018, 03:40:27 PM »
I use my homegrowns almost exclusively for bittering.  I use pellets for flavor and aroma.  I could also try doing the reverse.  To be honest, I don't mind much either way and don't necessarily have a preference.  If anything, pellets take up less space, and don't require a bag in the boil, so I see more advantages to pellets.  But they're not huge advantages.
Dave, whole hops want to go commando in the boil.  One of the beauties is, you let them settle, rack from underneath them, and they filter out the break, which will have settled on top of the hops. You also thereby recover more wort, not having to leave a sludge layer in the kettle.
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Offline goose

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2018, 03:58:04 PM »
I use whole cone hops for my Amarillo IPA but have switched to pellets for other beers because of availability and storage issues.  I was thinking of going back because of getting a lot of hop residue from the pellets in my plate chiller but recently installed a stainless filter in front of the chiller that grabs most of the pellet residue.  For the record, my boil kettle has a false bottom and I draw off from the middle of the false bottom so some of the residue gets pumped out of the kettle.  The stainless filter has alleviated that problem.
That said, I really have no preference, I like using both.  Going to make a wet hopped IPA in the next couple weeks and of course will use whole cones from my hop garden.
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Offline denny

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2018, 03:58:53 PM »
Not me...I'm sticking with pellets.  I find none of the disadvantages that you do, Robert.  In addition, pellets will stay in better condition longer than whole hops.  I don't get the vegetal taste that you describe.  AAMOF, I get that more with whole hops.  I've got a freezer full of both kinds, and pellets are my go to.  Just curious, Robert, have you tried cryo hops?
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Offline denny

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2018, 05:29:39 PM »
Another question, Robert..what type of pellets were you using?  What sources did they come from?
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Online Robert

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2018, 06:26:59 PM »
Denny, I don't think the source is a problem, I've found many sources now provide top quality pellets.  It's just a general preference, or habit maybe (like with certain breweries.) I don't like all the sludge, and I think any pellets will lead to more polyphenols in the wort and beer.* Storage is a problem I admit, space mostly,  as I've stored cones well enough vacuum sealed in the freezer to keep me happy till the next crop.  Variety is the biggest drawback, but I thought I'd give it a few batches and if I want to go (more or less) cones, I'll get shopping at harvest time.  That right there is something I didn't miss with pellets.

*On that point, no I haven't got around to trying cryo hops yet.  I will, but I also believe a lot of hop flavor comes from the green stuff.  It's just finding the right balance.

(Short story long, after a couple years all-pellet in the kettle, I just can't say I look back and see it as a major improvement.   Want to make a fair comparison.)
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Online Robert

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2018, 06:38:51 PM »
I use whole cone hops for my Amarillo IPA but have switched to pellets for other beers because of availability and storage issues.  I was thinking of going back because of getting a lot of hop residue from the pellets in my plate chiller but recently installed a stainless filter in front of the chiller that grabs most of the pellet residue.  For the record, my boil kettle has a false bottom and I draw off from the middle of the false bottom so some of the residue gets pumped out of the kettle.  The stainless filter has alleviated that problem.
That said, I really have no preference, I like using both.  Going to make a wet hopped IPA in the next couple weeks and of course will use whole cones from my hop garden.
I use an immersion chiller and then siphon.  That means a big layer (nearly a gallon) lost with pellets.   That really doesn't bother me that much, I've just scaled up my recipes to account for it.  But with whole cones, I just put a screen on the end of my racking cane and put it at the bottom of the kettle after chilling and before settling.  The hops are the filter then.  This reminds me that, in the commercial brewing world, the switch to pellets, or decision to use cones, determines equipment design.  I guess my old-school setup is more suited to cones than homebrew rigs including whirlpool and heat exchanger capabilities.  I basically mimic the old hop jack right in the kettle. 
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2018, 08:40:08 PM »
I use my homegrowns almost exclusively for bittering.  I use pellets for flavor and aroma.  I could also try doing the reverse.  To be honest, I don't mind much either way and don't necessarily have a preference.  If anything, pellets take up less space, and don't require a bag in the boil, so I see more advantages to pellets.  But they're not huge advantages.
Dave, whole hops want to go commando in the boil.  One of the beauties is, you let them settle, rack from underneath them, and they filter out the break, which will have settled on top of the hops. You also thereby recover more wort, not having to leave a sludge layer in the kettle.

I leave nothing in my kettle.  It all goes into the fermenter.  Anything more from me would be... "too much dicking".
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