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Dry hopping...

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mlager:
I'm about to do my first dry hop. My primary fermentation has completed. Can I just throw the mesh bag with hops into the same primary fermentation vessel? I'm not a big fan of racking the beer to secondary, I'd rather just keep the risks to a minimum and dry hop in the already sterilized and oxygen free environment, and keep the beer on the yeast cake for cleanup purposes.

Are there downsides to this when compared to dry hopping in a separate secondary vessel?

pinnah:
While I think you should not really worry about transferring and O2 exposure....

I cannot think of any downside of what you propose.

Personally, I always crash,
and then transfer and rack on top of a bunch of whole flowers....just seems more el'natural to me.

Keep her warm and good luck.

kingofgix:
Can't really answer the question as I am also a newbie dry-hopper, but this raises another question for me.  It sounds like both posters are dry hopping with hops straight from the bag.  Are the hops sufficiently clean that you don't have to worry about them contaminating the beer?
The only time I previously dry hopped I used pellets, boiled the hop bag, added the pellets to a bit of boiled water and poured the water/pellet solution into the boiled bag.  Then I dropped the bag into the secondary, all sterile like.  Is all this boiling a waste of time?     

denny:
Yes, it is.  By the time you dry hop, the alcohol content and low pH of the beer make it very resistant to infection.  In addition, hops have antibacterial properties.  Bottom line is that I've dry hopped hundreds of batches, never sanitized the hops, and never had a problem from it.

alikocho:
Denny, do you sanitize the bag?

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