Author Topic: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops  (Read 1889 times)

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2021, 04:55:21 am »
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).

You make good points, for sure.

However, in my brewery whole cone hops play a vital role in filtration. This helps us in our goal of clear wort, starting in the mash tun, going to the boil kettle, and ending up in the ferment vessel. As the chilled wort runs into the ferment vessel, it passes through a final filter which is a very fine mesh bag located inside the fermenter. This catches what the boil kettle filter bed allows to pass by.
Based on past results, this works for us extremely well. Thus the use of whole cone hops will be continued going forward. This was initially a technique we employed, but now it has become standard operating procedure.

Again, you make good points.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 04:59:36 am by TXFlyGuy »
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2021, 05:02:01 am »
I am not saying whole cones are better, or pellets are not as good. These just work so well in our particular brewing system.
Like they say..."If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

It's all good. I can appreciate that they work better in your system. I used to have two kettles, one for whole hops and one for pellet hops. The one for whole hops use a fine stainless steel mesh which did an excellent job of filtering out the whole hops without the need to bag the hops (I hate bagging hops) but in the kettle for pellet hops the whole hops had a tendency to clog. I ended up converting the whole hop kettle into a mash tun when I basically quit using whole hops. Whole hops are also great if you are using a hop back.

+1 on the comment of breweries buying up hop lots. Even small breweries do this. While I have never done this myself I have been able to piggy back a very talented brewer's lot selection and get some of his hops. They are pelletized, but you can certainly keep them whole if you wish. Pretty much this is what Ted does at Hop Heaven.

If you are making very hoppy IPAs or Double IPAs you are going to have serious losses with whole hops. I remember doing a IIPA with whole hops trying to dry hop them in the keg. All I can say is ... lol.what a disaster.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 05:15:08 am by majorvices »

Offline Fire Rooster

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2021, 05:25:07 am »
Ordered 1 lb 2021 Liberty Whole Cone from Hops Direct.
Never used Liberty before.
Will make a hop tea using water just as if they where dried tea leaves,
filtered, then added to cooled wort.  First try using this method with whole cone.
Bittering with hop pellet, not sure which one yet.
So far in my limited experience, whole cone has a more distinct flavor and aroma
with very late additions. Not so much for bittering.

For a while I've switched between 2020 Mt Hood pellet and 2020 dried leaf.
I could tell a difference.  After all, how can they be the same, when they
are different ?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 10:03:01 am by Fire Rooster »

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2021, 05:50:21 am »
I am not saying whole cones are better, or pellets are not as good. These just work so well in our particular brewing system.
Like they say..."If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

It's all good. I can appreciate that they work better in your system. I used to have two kettles, one for whole hops and one for pellet hops. The one for whole hops use a fine stainless steel mesh which did an excellent job of filtering out the whole hops without the need to bag the hops (I hate bagging hops) but in the kettle for pellet hops the whole hops had a tendency to clog. I ended up converting the whole hop kettle into a mash tun when I basically quit using whole hops. Whole hops are also great if you are using a hop back.

+1 on the comment of breweries buying up hop lots. Even small breweries do this. While I have never done this myself I have been able to piggy back a very talented brewer's lot selection and get some of his hops. They are pelletized, but you can certainly keep them whole if you wish. Pretty much this is what Ted does at Hop Heaven.

If you are making very hoppy IPAs or Double IPAs you are going to have serious losses with whole hops. I remember doing a IIPA with whole hops trying to dry hop them in the keg. All I can say is ... lol.what a disaster.

IPA or a Double IPA is simply not in our brewing vocabulary. The beers brewed are typically German / Czech style Pils & Lagers. And more rarely, an English Imperial Stout or an English Barleywine.

Yes, just purchased very fresh (2021) Hallertau Mittelfruh whole cone hops from Hop Heaven.
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Offline scrap iron

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2021, 06:53:36 am »
 I use a large false bottom in my Keggle that covers the the entire diameter of the keg. I had always used whole cone hops and a few pellets of certain varieties on occasion. My thought was use mainly whole to cover the false bottom and pellet later in the boil if needed. This works well and never really had problems with hop material in the fermenter. The whole hops also do a very good job of filtering the break while whirlpool chilling. I always thought I could not use  all pellets because of the FB in the BK.
Earlier this year I was going to brew a Bo Pils and could only get Saaz Pellets. So I thought I'd give it a try. I used the pellets as I do with whole cones.
After the boil is finished I chill part way and run the pump for a while for aroma hops and then whirlpool chill to pitch temp. I had won one of those SS filter baskets from a competition and thought I'd try it. I pumped  threw the basket into the fermenter which is an Anvil SS bucket. It worked great, filtered out any remaining hop debris. As a bonus pumping through the SS basket aerated the wort very well. I checked the BK afterwards and seen the pellet sludge on the FB with a nice amount of break material. Now I don't worry about the type of hops to use and will be buying more pellets.
   Prost, Mike
« Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 07:12:12 am by scrap iron »
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Offline denny

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2021, 08:22:14 am »
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.

FWIW, SN is using pellets these days, too.  And c'mon....a homebrew experiment is a data point, not a conclusion.  There is no way they can have tight enough control to reach a conclusion like that.   The pellets would have to come from the same lits as the whole hops, for one thing.
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Offline RC

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2021, 12:51:51 pm »
However, in my brewery whole cone hops play a vital role in filtration.

Fair point, this is very true. Whole hops do a great job filtering the wort. I only use pellets (which you could probably tell ;)) and I have found that letting the wort sit quietly for 45-60 min after flameout yields crystal clear wort at knockout. All the trub settles into a very compact layer at the bottom of the kettle and is avoided. Different ways to skin the same cat! Cheers.

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2021, 04:32:27 pm »
Would it be worth while to use some sort of cheese cloth or something to strain the liquid as I put it in the keg?  I am sure I can find some sort of cloth that would work, but would that be adviseable? 

Offline Richard

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2021, 04:43:54 pm »
Would it be worth while to use some sort of cheese cloth or something to strain the liquid as I put it in the keg?  I am sure I can find some sort of cloth that would work, but would that be adviseable?

I haven't tried it but I have read of others who did that and found that the filter plugged with the material they were straining out.
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Offline Fire Rooster

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2021, 05:23:03 am »
Would it be worth while to use some sort of cheese cloth or something to strain the liquid as I put it in the keg?  I am sure I can find some sort of cloth that would work, but would that be adviseable?

I haven't tried it but I have read of others who did that and found that the filter plugged with the material they were straining out.

Others told me they use paint strainer bags from Lowes/ HomeDepot.
I have never used them myself.

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2021, 06:27:51 am »
However, in my brewery whole cone hops play a vital role in filtration.

Fair point, this is very true. Whole hops do a great job filtering the wort. I only use pellets (which you could probably tell ;)) and I have found that letting the wort sit quietly for 45-60 min after flameout yields crystal clear wort at knockout. All the trub settles into a very compact layer at the bottom of the kettle and is avoided. Different ways to skin the same cat! Cheers.

This would have worked in my previous boil kettle, as the pickup tube was raised about an inch from the bottom. Won't work for us now. The pickup is about an 1/8 inch from the floor.

And we run the wort through a hop filter bag as it goes into the ferment vessel. That is the final "catch-all" for anything that escapes out of the boil kettle. The hop filter bag is folded over about four times, so it is very fine.
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Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2021, 06:46:09 am »
I use whole cones and pellets.  I prefer whole cones with one caveat and, that is, they need to come directly from a trusted source on the West Coast (one that also acquires non-US cultivars from trusted sources).  I bought a bunch whole cones from Ted at Hop Heaven earlier this year.  I am a huge fan of EKG, but Ted only had US Goldings, so I bit the bullet.  Man, those hops have made the must authentic British-style beer I have made over the better part of 30 years. I do not know if 2020 was a good year, but every cultivar I purchased from Ted has been off the charts.  There is definitely a difference when a beer is finished with whole cones.  Pellets may bitter better, but whole cones leave pellets in the dust when it comes to keeping the essential oils intact.

I used to use whole cones exclusively with a false bottom in my kettle.  Nothing works as well as whole cones when it comes to producing clear wort, nothing, at least not at the home brewing level, not even whirlpooling.  That is one of main reasons why the British invented the hop back and the Peter Austin design employs a type of hop back known as a hop perculator.  I am currently using a hop spider with 1520 mesh that I special ordered from Arbor Fab (one has to ask).  The holes in 1520 micron mesh are 1.52mm or ~0.060". They do not clog like the typical 300 or even 400 micron mesh spider that is used with pellets.  Wort boils right through the spider.  I ordered a 6" spider, but an 8" or 10.5" would be even better.  Unlike 300 or 400 micron mesh, 1520 micron mesh is easy to clean too.  All that is needed is garden hose-level pressure with a nozzle.  I plan to eventually have a custom false bottom made for my DBS 6.6-gallon kettle.

There is a major downside to using whole cones exclusively; namely, significant volume loss in beers with high hopping rates.  Here is one area where using a 1520 micron mesh spider with whole cones pays off as the spider can be lifted out of the kettle and the hops can be pressed with a large stainless steel spoon to squeeze out wort.  I make my knock-out addition with a cloth bag because my hop spider does not fit in the middle of the immersion chiller, the Faucet Flow (a.k.a. the Mantis), I use with my 3-gallon rig.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 06:49:01 am by Saccharomyces »

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2021, 08:07:00 am »
I use whole cones and pellets.  I prefer whole cones with one caveat and, that is, they need to come directly from a trusted source on the West Coast (one that also acquires non-US cultivars from trusted sources).  I bought a bunch whole cones from Ted at Hop Heaven earlier this year.  I am a huge fan of EKG, but Ted only had US Goldings, so I bit the bullet.  Man, those hops have made the must authentic British-style beer I have made over the better part of 30 years. I do not know if 2020 was a good year, but every cultivar I purchased from Ted has been off the charts.  There is definitely a difference when a beer is finished with whole cones.  Pellets may bitter better, but whole cones leave pellets in the dust when it comes to keeping the essential oils intact.

I used to use whole cones exclusively with a false bottom in my kettle.  Nothing works as well as whole cones when it comes to producing clear wort, nothing, at least not at the home brewing level, not even whirlpooling.  That is one of main reasons why the British invented the hop back and the Peter Austin design employs a type of hop back known as a hop perculator.  I am currently using a hop spider with 1520 mesh that I special ordered from Arbor Fab (one has to ask).  The holes in 1520 micron mesh are 1.52mm or ~0.060". They do not clog like the typical 300 or even 400 micron mesh spider that is used with pellets.  Wort boils right through the spider.  I ordered a 6" spider, but an 8" or 10.5" would be even better.  Unlike 300 or 400 micron mesh, 1520 micron mesh is easy to clean too.  All that is needed is garden hose-level pressure with a nozzle.  I plan to eventually have a custom false bottom made for my DBS 6.6-gallon kettle.

There is a major downside to using whole cones exclusively; namely, significant volume loss in beers with high hopping rates.  Here is one area where using a 1520 micron mesh spider with whole cones pays off as the spider can be lifted out of the kettle and the hops can be pressed with a large stainless steel spoon to squeeze out wort.  I make my knock-out addition with a cloth bag because my hop spider does not fit in the middle of the immersion chiller, the Faucet Flow (a.k.a. the Mantis), I use with my 3-gallon rig.

Being very new to all this, would you be able to provide a link with an example of what you are talking about?  I am going to brew today, and would love to find something I can put on the keg so in a week or so when I am ready to transfer it I have it here.  If it is too much of a pain, then no worries.  My thought is, there must be something you can slip into the keg, run the fermented beer thru it, then pull the strainer out and wash and sanitize for the next go around. 

Thanks for reading.  RR

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2021, 09:40:12 am »
Here is my BK, with the SS screen and false bottom. Does a very good job filtering. But might look into another screen, or a custom bottom.



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Offline denny

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Re: Pellet VS Whole Cone Hops
« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2021, 10:11:15 am »
Here is my BK, with the SS screen and false bottom. Does a very good job filtering. But might look into another screen, or a custom bottom.





I use a side pickup.  All the trub settles in the depression in the middle of the BK and I pull clear wort from the side.
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