Author Topic: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?  (Read 355 times)

Offline Joe_Beer

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First timer here. I'm on day six of ferment and thinking about how to go about the process of dry hopping. My kit directions say to dry hop with 3-5 days before "packaging" (guess that's a generic term for bottling/kegging/racking). The directions also recommend secondary ferment. So, in regards to dry hopping, are they talking about 3-5 days before primary ferment ends, or secondary?

Oh, what's the best way to tell when ferment ends? Things are still perking away in the fermenter - about two bubbles a minute. Should I take a gravity reading (have a spigot so that makes it easier) soon and another in a few days and compare them?

Also, kind of wondering what others do for the dry hop process (I have a mesh bag).  I've seen people use ping pong balls to make the top of the bag float (making it easier to retrieve), and a marble to keep the hops submerged. Seems to make sense.

Offline BrewBama

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Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2020, 01:41:54 PM »
Ck SG with a hydrometer then a cpl days later ck again. When you see no drop in the consecutive readings you’re done. I monitor fermentation with a Tilt floating hydrometer so completion is easier to determine. Some package a cpl point shy of completion to help eliminate oxygen in the package.

The ‘3 days’ dry hop refers to contact time. You can add them before fermentation is complete but I believe most add them after fermentation is complete. I like to add them after I keg and cold crash (I cold crash in the keg).

I tie unwaxed dental floss to a mesh bag and run it past the lid seal. I tie the tag end to the keg handle. I have used marbles but never ping pong balls.

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« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 01:48:43 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline Joe_Beer

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 03:36:23 PM »
I tie unwaxed dental floss to a mesh bag and run it past the lid seal. I tie the tag end to the keg handle. I have used marbles but never ping pong balls.

Can I ask how are you doing your keg transfer? It seems like you wouldn't be doing a closed transfer if opening it up to put the hops in anyway. I've been wondering if closed transfer is worth the expense of a keg full of star san, CO2 and more equipment.  Should probably be a different thread I suppose, but maybe I can find a discussion about transfers from the search page.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2020, 04:19:24 PM »
I actually do closed transfer. I may be shooting my self in the foot by opening the keg but I don’t know of a better way to get the hops in without opening the container the beer is in. I figure have to do the best I can.


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Offline denny

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2020, 04:25:30 PM »
I actually do closed transfer. I may be shooting my self in the foot by opening the keg but I don’t know of a better way to get the hops in without opening the container the beer is in. I figure have to do the best I can.


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That's my theory, too.  You do what you can and don't worry about the rest.
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Offline Joe_Beer

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2020, 03:04:00 PM »
I tie unwaxed dental floss to a mesh bag and run it past the lid seal. I tie the tag end to the keg handle. I have used marbles but never ping pong balls.

I ended up using your method in the keg. Worked great! I kept the co2 connected with about 10PSI on it to so I would have co2 coming out instead of O2 going it when I took the lid off. Hoping for the best.

Do you remove your hops from the keg after 7-10 days then?  I think I'm on about day 10. Forgot to write it down. Oh that's right, we straighted out the directions in the original post. Yep, I left them in there too long.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 03:05:46 PM by Joe_Beer »

Offline denny

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2020, 03:22:29 PM »
I tie unwaxed dental floss to a mesh bag and run it past the lid seal. I tie the tag end to the keg handle. I have used marbles but never ping pong balls.

I ended up using your method in the keg. Worked great! I kept the co2 connected with about 10PSI on it to so I would have co2 coming out instead of O2 going it when I took the lid off. Hoping for the best.

Do you remove your hops from the keg after 7-10 days then?  I think I'm on about day 10. Forgot to write it down. Oh that's right, we straighted out the directions in the original post. Yep, I left them in there too long.

When I dry hopped in the serving keg, I left them in til the keg kicked, a couple months or more.  I no longer do that, though, since I get better results with a short cold dry hop.  So I guess if you wanted to you could remove them after 48 hours to achieve the same thing.
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Offline Joe_Beer

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2020, 03:43:18 PM »
When I dry hopped in the serving keg, I left them in til the keg kicked, a couple months or more.  I no longer do that, though, since I get better results with a short cold dry hop.  So I guess if you wanted to you could remove them after 48 hours to achieve the same thing.

Thanks. So, in your experience, you prefer just a couple days of dry hop contact? Did you ever run into the "Grassy Flavors" leaving the hops in there a couple months?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 03:52:47 PM by Joe_Beer »

Offline denny

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2020, 03:58:25 PM »
When I dry hopped in the serving keg, I left them in til the keg kicked, a couple months or more.  I no longer do that, though, since I get better results with a short cold dry hop.  So I guess if you wanted to you could remove them after 48 hours to achieve the same thing.

Thanks. So, in your experience, you prefer just a couple days of dry hop contact?

Yeah that has been my experience.  The short, cold dry hopping wprks better for me than anything I've tried.  One theory ive read is that after 48 hours you've pretty much reached maximum extraction and leaving them longer will cause the oils to be reabsorbed.
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Offline BrewBama

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Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2020, 05:44:47 PM »
I tie unwaxed dental floss to a mesh bag and run it past the lid seal. I tie the tag end to the keg handle. I have used marbles but never ping pong balls.

I ended up using your method in the keg. Worked great! I kept the co2 connected with about 10PSI on it to so I would have co2 coming out instead of O2 going it when I took the lid off. Hoping for the best.

Do you remove your hops from the keg after 7-10 days then?  I think I'm on about day 10. Forgot to write it down. Oh that's right, we straighted out the directions in the original post. Yep, I left them in there too long.

I have both 1) tied the string short so as I drink the hops are no longer in the beer effectively removing them as I pull pints and, 2) physically removed them after 3 days.  Both methods have worked but I prefer the first option simply to reduce opening the keg again.

I’ve also seen a lid with a tab on the underside that can be quickly swapped out when it’s time to dry hop. Though I’ve not pulled the trigger yet, I am thinking that’s the way to go. I think I can tie the bag short, pop off the original top, and pop on the ‘hop top’ pretty quickly.


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« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 05:50:35 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline Joe_Beer

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Re: Dry hop recommendations and telling when fermentation is done?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2020, 06:13:04 PM »
I’ve also seen a lid with a tab on the underside that can be quickly swapped out when it’s time to dry hop. Though I’ve not pulled the trigger yet, I am thinking that’s the way to go. I think I can tie the bag short, pop off the original top, and pop on the ‘hop top’ pretty quickly.

Brewbama and Denny - Thanks both for the insight. I pulled the hops out 10 mins ago. Sheesh, the hops must have doubled in size at least. The beer still smells awesome. If it tastes as good as it smells I'm in for a treat. Are you supposed to squeeze the hop bag? I wasn't sure so just let it drain for a few seconds and took the hit on a few oz of beer.

Regarding the 'hop top' I've seen those too. That oughta make things quicker.