Author Topic: How many people use hop bags?  (Read 6549 times)

Offline aod

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2011, 02:17:57 PM »
I use a fine mesh nylon bag for all hops during the boil.  The bag is labeled as "small fine mesh bag" but it is 9X20 inches or so and can easily hold 5 ounces of pellet hops during a boil.  I've recommended it to as many homebrewer friends as possible because I see the benefit when transfering from kettle to fermenter after cooling.

I'm a clean-freak once the boil has stopped, so I don't like to mess with the beer after I drop a chiller in and cover it with the lid.  This makes a whirlpool out of the question.  I run the wort through a plastic funnel with screen and a second fine-mesh strainer that sits on top of it as it goes to the fermenter.  Without a hop bag in the boil the strainer / filter screen will clog within seconds.  WITH a hop bag it will very rarely clog, needing only a swirl here or there with a sanitized spoon.

I haven't had the IBU's analyzed yet, but I do not detect any lack of bitterness or flavor by using a bag.  Since the hop bag has become part of my regular brewing practice, my recipes are based on this experience.

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Offline bluesman

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2011, 06:01:02 PM »
I use a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer for everything but a FWH addition.  Works great -- minimal mess.

I like this idea, but it seems like it would be somewhat difficult to use with an immersion chiller.

use this: http://www.bayareamashers.org/gadgets/Hop%20bag%20holder.pdf

and then with an oven mitt, you can lift the hops out and sneak the IC underneath - takes a little technique, but its doable.

I made one of these gadgets about a year ago and haven't used it more than a few times. No real reason other than it was kinda in the way during the brew. It actually keeps virtually 99+% of the hop matter in the bag and out of the wort. Works really well for a hop strainer and allows for the hops to float freely within the wort.
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Offline rightasrain

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2011, 06:42:16 PM »
I use a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer for everything but a FWH addition.  Works great -- minimal mess.

I like this idea, but it seems like it would be somewhat difficult to use with an immersion chiller.

use this: http://www.bayareamashers.org/gadgets/Hop%20bag%20holder.pdf

and then with an oven mitt, you can lift the hops out and sneak the IC underneath - takes a little technique, but its doable.

I like this idea I will have to remember it when I can get an all grain setup.
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Offline timo

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2011, 09:45:37 AM »
Its almost a requirement for those of us who pump / circulate / recirculate and chill with plate chillers. Even though I back-flush the plates after each use, I still don't like running any debris thru the pump and plates.

One thing I've tried recently is when I drain the mash, after vorlauf, to drain right thru the bag to catch grain debris. I guess I'm anal about debris in my pump and chiller.

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Offline dee

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2011, 01:00:04 PM »
If you use buckets, these are the best way to filter trub, hops and other break material from your fermenter.  They are cheap, easy to clean and sanitize and at 200 microns they really work.  They also help aerate especially when using a March pump to pump wort in a fermenter.  I've used the same two filters for years without fail.  Carboys are dangerous, expensive and more difficult to handle and clean.  I wouldn't go back to a carboy for anything.   

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Offline richardt

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2011, 01:27:19 PM »
If you use buckets, these are the best way to filter trub, hops and other break material from your fermenter.  They are cheap, easy to clean and sanitize and at 200 microns they really work.  They also help aerate especially when using a March pump to pump wort in a fermenter.  I've used the same two filters for years without fail.  Carboys are dangerous, expensive and more difficult to handle and clean.  I wouldn't go back to a carboy for anything.   

http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=37443&catid=685&clickid=searchresults

This looks perfect.  I like the surface area of the screen in a 5 gallon bucket.   And the price is awesome (<$5).  How did you choose the 200 micron pore size?  Is it the one you'd recommend (or would the 100 micron pore size be even better)?

Offline dee

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2011, 04:26:06 PM »
The 100 micron screens clogged more often so I went to 200.  You may have to clean them with the hose (spray water from the backside)while draining if you have lots of pellet hop material floating in the wort.  That's why it's best to have two screens sanitized and ready should one screen clog.  Almost no trub get through the screen.  In fact, I never secondary a beer and go straight to the keg.  I also harvest yeast with zero hop material and negligible trub.  Regardless, this is a must in my opinion if you ferment in buckets.  They fit perfectly inside your bucket and are easy to use.  The price is great too.

Offline richardt

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2011, 05:14:56 PM »
I bought SS china cap strainers (stackable) of varying pore sizes, e.g., coarse/medium, fine, and buillion/extra fine, with the plan of progressive straining.  Turned out that the pore sizes for SS coarse and fine were still too large.  Buillion/extra fine works well for hop pellets--only the finest hop pellet material continues through, but is caught by the plastic mesh screen on my large plastic funnel. Break material seems to continue through regardless.

Have you ever tried stacking the plastic strainers in series with progressively smaller pore sizes, i.e, 400, 200, 100 microns?

Offline dee

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2011, 05:46:01 PM »
Next to nothing gets through 200 microns so I don't think it's necessary to devise a progressive system.  When you harvest your yeast there will be no visible hop or break material.  Try them.  You will not be disappointed.

Offline mfarringer

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2011, 06:54:53 PM »
When I started using a counter-flow chiller it kept getting clogged with the pellet hops in the boil.  So I started using a hop bag and no more clogs.  From talking with some other brewers I did learn that as a general rule of thumb using a hop bag decreases the hops efficiency by about 10%

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2011, 01:51:35 PM »
From talking with some other brewers I did learn that as a general rule of thumb using a hop bag decreases the hops efficiency by about 10%

I've heard this before. Does anyone know the basis for the 10% figure?  Is it the result of a lab test?  Or just perception?
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2011, 01:59:07 PM »
I believe it has to be perception, and not a lab test.

My own perception, having recently brewed a couple batches without hop bags, is that bitterness is noticeably greater from previous batches of the same recipe.
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Offline blatz

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2011, 02:10:15 PM »
From talking with some other brewers I did learn that as a general rule of thumb using a hop bag decreases the hops efficiency by about 10%

I've heard this before. Does anyone know the basis for the 10% figure?  Is it the result of a lab test?  Or just perception?

does it matter? Denny has had his FWH beers test out to 10% more IBUs than the same beer brewed with a 60 minute addition of the same amount, yet I see posts all over saying "to me FWH is like a 20 minute addition" in terms of bitterness.  (emphasis mine)

point is - you'll need to use a bag and see if it really is any different in your perception - size of bag, apparatus used if any, all come into play. 

I did not notice much difference, but these were lighter hopped beers (helles, vienna, czech pils) so its understandable.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2011, 03:07:01 PM »
Paul,

No, it doesn't matter. And I'm not challenging the notion that there's a utilization difference attributable to using a bag.  It's just that 10% is a rather precise figure that's been repeated many times over. I was curious if this was the result of a lab test.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 03:09:10 PM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Offline blatz

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Re: How many people use hop bags?
« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2011, 03:55:48 PM »
Paul,

No, it doesn't matter. And I'm not challenging the notion that there's a utilization difference attributable to using a bag.  It's just that 10% is a rather precise figure that's been repeated many times over. I was curious if this was the result of a lab test.

 I hear ya! I just meant that you'll have to try it yourself to make the ultimate determination.  That "FWH ~20min addition" stuff has been repeated over and over ad nauseum too, yet lab results suggest otherwise.  That's all I was trying to say.
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