Author Topic: Switching to Whole Hops!  (Read 4574 times)

Offline James Lorden

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Switching to Whole Hops!
« on: October 20, 2011, 10:27:20 AM »
Every year I sit down and look back at my last year in brewing and think of ways to modify my process or to try new things out.  Last year for instance was the year of the filter.  Just about every beer I made was filtered.  It was a huge pain in the but; however, I liked the results.  This year I've decided that I am going to use whole hops in every beer!  I realized the other day that I've been brewing for 10 years now but in ten years and well over 100 batches I've never used anything but pellets.  This year that changes.  I just bought a ton of whole leaf hops from Hops Direct and Fresh Hops and I can't wait to start!  One exception that I may allow is dry hopping.  I will dry hop in the 10 gallon conical with whole hops but I am thinking that when I do 5 gallon brews in a carboy that logistically I still may need to use pellets.

This should be fun - anyone selling a hopback?  Might as well go all in at this point!
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 10:44:54 AM »
Somethings to consider. Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them. There is less organic matter in pellets due to the fact that the pellatizer removes se of the excessive vegitative matter during processing. Also pellets tend to stay fresher longer because you can purge them easier and there is less surface area to aerate the volatile oils. Also whole hops absorb a lot more wort so anticipate you efficiency to go down as far as final collection in the feenters go.

Not saying you shouldn't switch, just don't expect it to be an improvement necessarily over pellets. I know there are those who swear flowers over pellets bit there are also those of us who swear the other way round. ;)
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 10:47:18 AM by majorvices »
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 10:50:42 AM »
Whole hops work better on my system, which has a false bottom in the kettle that strains them out but pellets pass through.  I tend to dryhop with pellets though.  It's good to try new things, and in the end you'll end up using what works for you.
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 11:11:50 AM »
I'm excited to try something new - but if it becomes a major pain in the A$$ then it won't become part of the permanent process (like filtering).  Hoping to just find certain scenarios where I may actually prefer it!  What I'm sort of nervous about is whether those hops will dislace a lot more space in my kettle since, with a 90 minute boil, my kettle gets filled pretty high.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 11:12:39 AM »
Yeah, whole hops work better for me too.  Using a kettle screen as opposed to a false bottom but same principle.  I do use pellets but they get bagged otherwise running the wort into the fermenter is a nightmare.  
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Offline rjharper

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 11:12:42 AM »
Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them.

+1000!
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Offline blatz

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 11:16:34 AM »
 I will dry hop in the 10 gallon conical with whole hops

be sure to bag them.

Quote

This should be fun - anyone selling a hopback?  Might as well go all in at this point!

actually, not sure if you were kidding, but I am in the market to sell mine - it is the same one pictured here:

http://morebeer.com/view_product/15781//Hop_Back_with_1_2%22_Female_Threads

and I would also include SS NPT fittings which were not included in the original purchase.

I'm selling because I am switching to an electric brewery with Blichmann kettles and Blichmann has a hopback that works with his system.

Somethings to consider. Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them.

as Tom said, not if you have a false bottom or bazooka screen - in fact Whole is actually preferable.  I can use a decent amount of pellets in my current false bottom based system, but I never have a problem with the whole.  Keith's other points are very valid though.
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 11:26:18 AM »
I use a Morebeer 15 gallon kettle with a U-shaped pickup that pulls wort from close to the wall.  Currently when I whirlpool I end up pulling in very little hops and trub.  Anyone have any experience with a setup like this when using whole hops?
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Offline blatz

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 11:26:58 AM »
What I'm sort of nervous about is whether those hops will dislace a lot more space in my kettle since, with a 90 minute boil, my kettle gets filled pretty high.

Mine too - but I usually don't add hops until the 60 min mark, at which time the level has dropped down enough to not be of concern.  I've never had a boilover b/c of a hop addition.   Other things yes, but never a hop issue.
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Offline denny

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 11:29:39 AM »
Whole hops can cause clogging nightmare if you don't bag them.

+1000!

I use a Bazooka T in my kettle with loose whole hops.  No clogging...yet!
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 11:39:38 AM »
I switched to all (well almost all) whole hops during 'the great hops shortage'.  They worked well, I made good beer but I went back to pellets.  My paint strainer bag was just another piece of equipment to setup and clean with very little gain IMHO.

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2011, 12:05:31 PM »
one more whole hop fan who never bags hops.  I have a false bottom in my kettle and when I dry hop I simply let them be, racking is as simple as using a short piece of string to tie a hop sock around my racking cane.  As far as storage goes I vacuum seal hops and freeze them.  I guess I don't get what all the nightmares are about, the only clogging problems I've had have been with pellets.  anyway, cheers to whatever works in your system.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 12:14:57 PM »
I've found that pellets with whole hops is a good way to go.  Pelletized hops produce a loose and unstable trub pile after whirlpooling.  Adding an ounce or two of whole hops per 5 gallons adds 'fiber' to the trub pile and it seems to hang together better for me.  I do use a peripheral wort intake along the wall of the kettle, so keeping that pile together at the center of the pot is important for me.

I do prefer pelletized hops for freshness and their ability to hold less wort when the kettle is drained.  Whole hops are like a sponge, so I don't like to have too much in the kettle.  The higher IBU utilization is also another nice factor for pellets.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2011, 01:19:39 PM »
I don't know what Paul is talking about - all my points were valid, especially the clogging issue. ;) seriously I used to have two kettles, one for pellets and one for whole with a screen. Only ever had one clog with the screen. But it's still a PITA when it does clog. I agree with the comment that you need to be sure your system works with either or. I also agree that one should use whatever is easier and brings the brewer the most joy. I still use whole hops occasionally but only ever when bagged due toy system configuration.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2011, 01:55:07 PM »
Whole hops work great on my conv. keg with a false bottom.  Pellets, well I can get by with some, but too many clog the pickup tube or the pump.  A blend works fairly well.

I use either to dry hop.  A 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag is what I use over the racking cane, and this keeps both whole or pellet particle out.
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