Author Topic: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops  (Read 1890 times)

Offline redrocker652002

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Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« on: October 07, 2021, 11:41:43 am »
My first attempt was a kit, so I think they had the pellet hops, but I don't remember.  My second attempt is buying ingredients and doing it myself, kinda.  LOL.  I was lucky enough that a member here provided me with a recipe to try, so I went to my local MoreBeer and ordered everything.  I ordered whole cone hops I believe, but now am wondering if I should have done pellets instead.  Any input on differences and when pellet's are more appropriate?  Again, I am very new to this and trying to learn as much as I can.  Thank you in advance.  RR

Offline denny

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2021, 12:09:29 pm »
Living in the PNW I started off as a whole hop snob.  As I progressed inbreeding, I learned that pellets are almost always better quality than whole.  These days I almost never use whole hops.  I have found that pellets give me better quality.
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Offline Richard

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2021, 12:52:47 pm »
If you are buying from MoreBeer, as I usually do, there is very little selection (8) in whole leaf hops and a very wide selection (209) of pellets. I used whole leaf hops once because the store didn't have the one I wanted in pellets. The leaf hops plugged up my system and made a big mess out of things, and I have never used them again. I could probably figure out how to deal with them but I don't see any point to it.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2021, 02:21:36 pm »
We will take the other side here...as only whole leaf hops are used in all of our brews. The leaf hops perform very nicely for us. Never an issue with quality. They are readily available from several online retailers.

The largest benefit we have is the leaf hops act as a natural filter for the wort after the chilling process is over. You would be shocked at the thick mud like material (cold break) that is trapped by the hops as the wort runs into the ferment vessel.

The BK is a 15.5 gallon SS keg, with a false bottom and double fine mesh SS screens installed. The hops will settle on top of the screens.

But this is just our practice and experience. Works for us. You may or may not like it. Try it and see.

edit: Yes, I admit to being biased for whole leaf hops. Personal problem, of course. I am dealing with it as best as I can.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 02:23:31 pm by TXFlyGuy »
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2021, 02:40:33 pm »
I prefer pellets for all the right reasons, but... I use a ton of whole hops because, well, they grow out back behind my garage and they're free.   ;D ;D

So honestly, I use both, a lot, and pretty much interchangeably.  With whole hops, I use a hop bag.  For pellets, I usually do not.  That's the only real difference in process.  I honestly have no preference when it comes to final beer flavor.  Pellets might be a little bit better... but might not.  I'm not really sure.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 02:43:05 pm by dmtaylor »
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2021, 03:21:10 pm »
Pellets take up less space, and since I have about 20-30 pounds of hops in my freezer at all times, I keep the majority of my hops as pellets. They both work fine. You will lose more wort to absorption with whole cone hops, but they do make for a nice filter bed depending on your kettle design.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2021, 03:37:24 pm »
Pellets take up less space, and since I have about 20-30 pounds of hops in my freezer at all times, I keep the majority of my hops as pellets. They both work fine. You will lose more wort to absorption with whole cone hops, but they do make for a nice filter bed depending on your kettle design.

That is my main problem…storage space! We probably have 25 pounds of whole leaf hops in various freezers. I buy them in bulk when available.
We probably lose a pint of wort due to absorption with the hops.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 03:40:02 pm by TXFlyGuy »
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Offline denny

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2021, 04:48:26 pm »
Pellets take up less space, and since I have about 20-30 pounds of hops in my freezer at all times, I keep the majority of my hops as pellets. They both work fine. You will lose more wort to absorption with whole cone hops, but they do make for a nice filter bed depending on your kettle design.

That is my main problem…storage space! We probably have 25 pounds of whole leaf hops in various freezers. I buy them in bulk when available.
We probably lose a pint of wort due to absorption with the hops.

I understand wanting to use whole hops for filtration, but you get much better quality from pellets.  Look at the HSI for each.  When was the last time you used pellets?  Like I said I live in prime hop country in the PNW.  I was a whole hop snob for years.  Then the guy who made by far the best beer in our club told me he used nothing but pellets.  I figured it was worth trying them for a few batches to see.  I haven't  gone back to whole and that was maybe 20 years ago.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2021, 05:20:05 pm »
I have been preaching the same thing for years and years. The folks stuck on whole hops have a mistaken "mystique" that whole hops are better. Pellets are superior in almost every instance (except filtering).

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2021, 05:27:19 pm »
It is not my position that whole leaf hops are better in any way. I just like the way they function in our brewing system.
Just for grins, pellets will be tried at some time in the future. I have used pellets before. Did not notice much difference in the finished beer.

Yes, pellets are more economical from a storage standpoint.

Before I always used hop plugs. Those were perfect!

I wonder what the folks at Sierra Nevada think on this subject? But...what do they know!

Found this on Brulosophy...pellet vs whole cone.
21 people participated. 12 people could tell a difference in the two beers, one with pellets, one with cones.
3 taste testers preferred the whole cone hopped beer, 3 preferred the pelletized beer, and 6 had no preference either way.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 05:46:15 pm by TXFlyGuy »
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2021, 06:12:13 pm »
 I personally don't allow myself to fall for beer marketing. Sierra Nevada's "whole hop" stand isn't any different than "cold filtered" ... it's marketing.

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2021, 06:47:58 pm »
Thanks all.  Well, I am going to use the whole hops this time and see what happens.  I guess I should get a hop bag as well to keep the debris to a minimum?  I am pretty excited, next brew is scheduled for saturday afternoon. 

Offline majorvices

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2021, 06:53:47 pm »
Thanks all.  Well, I am going to use the whole hops this time and see what happens.  I guess I should get a hop bag as well to keep the debris to a minimum?  I am pretty excited, next brew is scheduled for saturday afternoon.

Yeah, I'd use a hop bag unless you have a screen in your boil kettle. You are going to lose about 10% IBU efficiency using whole hops over pellets hops and the bag could cause more loss. Use the biggest bag you can find to minimize any IBU loss.

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2021, 07:10:43 pm »
I literally throw the hops in the boil kettle, around 3 ounces for a 10 gallon brew.
Then create a whirlpool at the end of the boil.
As stated, in addition to the false bottom, I have a double stainless steel screen to catch the debris. But the hops make a wonderful filter , catching most (if not all) of the hot-break and cold-break material.

Based on my reading, the slight loss in efficiency with whole hops is not measurable for the average home brewer.

I am not saying whole cones are better, or pellets are not as good. These just work so well in our particular brewing system.
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Offline RC

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2021, 08:30:45 pm »
Found this on Brulosophy...

Brulosophy? I totally respect those folks and what they do, but homebrewers put way too much stock in what Brulosophy says.

Pellets are superior in every way. Yes, some big breweries use whole hops and they make great beer, but these big breweries get to choose exactly which lots to buy. We homebrewers don't have that luxury. If you are hell bent on using whole hops, good on ya, but realize that your brewing would be vastly easier if you used pellets, and you would have made the same beer (except for the obvious adjustments needed for whole vs. pellet hops).