I always brew my house Pils with whole-cone hops… It’s been a while, but just brewed my most recent batch this weekend since getting my pump for recirculation/whirlpool for cooling and such… The clarity on my wort going into the fermenter, thanks to the “filter bed” by the whole cone hops was something I had never, ever seen before. It was clearer than any professionally filtered beer I’ve seen. I never have problems getting crystal clear lagers and such after lagering, but I had never seen wort this brilliant and clear going into that fermenter. Makes me really excited to see what the final result will look like after it’s done being cold conditioned.
I also find, now having brewed a Pils with pellet hops as well, that I have preferred my whole-flower variants. It could have just been the hop crop I had for my whole-flower vs. pellet, but the taste was more vibrant/bright and complex than the pellet. I use pellets for all my ales, but debating about trying an IPA with whole flower to compare here soon as I had never done that aside from my wet-hop IPA I do every harvest, which will be in two weeks or so here with my Chinook and Cascade plants.
Once I work through my large pellet hop inventory, I may buy more non-German varieties in whole leaf form… Citra and Simcoe, for example. Since I dry hop in the keg at times now, it would be nice to pack my hop canisters with whole flower vs. pellet and have less issue/risk with any particulate going rogue to clog up the poppet or faucet (flow control, sensitive to debris!).
Count me as a fan for whole-flower, though. Storage and wort loss with whole flower does suck, but usually for lagers and stuff that is never a huge deal when only using say 6oz total in the boil for say my Pils. An IPA on the other hand would get pretty bad, though.