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Hop Plugs

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Boots

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When I've used hop plugs, I've always broken up the plugs. When I haven't, it's taken ages for them to break up fully, and I've been worried this would affect utilisation, and aroma / flavour additions.

When I break them up, i break them horizontally, and then "mince" them with a good knife as you would herbs.

My question is based around utilisation rates.... you get better extraction from pellets because the leaves are already broken up, so there is more surface area / the oils / acids get into contact with liquid easier (i guess). So does mincing up plugs do the same thing as the pelleting process?

By mincing them up, should I be using the "Pellet" option in my brew software, or would the difference be negligible between a raw plug, and a minced up plug?

And on the same vein, plugs are regarded as having better aroma characteristics than pellets, would mincing them affect this?

Thanks in advance

Boots
 

Gough

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G'day Boots,

Not being from a Science background I'm going to have a GUESS :rolleyes: -albeit one that I have thought about and put into practice myself with results I've been happy with.

I stick with the lower utilisation figure for plugs even when broken up because I figured that because the pellets almost dissolve in the boiling wort, you should get greater surface area than even the best broken up/minced plugs.

Just a GUESS only though. Having said that I haven't had a problem with overly bittered beer when using plugs with lower utilisation figures factored into the recipe. Just 'fresher' flavour when used in flavour/aroma additions.

Hope that helps a little. I await howling down from the scientists on the forum :lol:

Shawn.
 

MAH

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Hi Boots

Can't give many answers, but I mainly use plugs. I've found that if you take them out of the freezer well before you need them, and let them come to room temperature, they take hardly anytime to break up in the boil. Plus you can just give them a quick stir to aid the process.

Avoids the need to mince them up and worry about different extraction rates etc.

Apart from that, maybe Chiller can help. He pulversises plugs in an electric coffee grinder if he's forced to use them.

Cheers
MAH
 

Boots

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Gough, that's largely what I've been doing, and what I've been experiencing also.

I hadn't tried getting them out long enough to thaw out MAH, so I'll give that a whirl tonight when I brew.

I couldn't figure the difference would be more than the odd 1-2 IBU in the final beer anyway, it was more out of curiosity than worry that I posted :)
 

Darren

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Boots,
No idea here either. My worry with breaking up the plugs with your fingers is that quite a lot of the oil comes off onto your fingers (just smell them). Probably doesn't make too much difference though.
Good rolling boil breaks the plugs up fairly quick anyhow.
cheers
Darren
 

warrenlw63

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Just a personal thought YMMV. I'd be inclined to stick with plugs for later additions.

Main reason is the AAU rating you get on them could be questionable. Who's got any idea of their actual age/condition and how much bitterness has been lost? Being basically a compressed leaf/flower hop deterioration would be fairly rapid. :unsure:

Have barely used any plugs, however pellets seem saner for the bittering charge. Save the finer hops for where they're needed. This is where plugs would really excel. :beerbang:

BTW I'm picking Chiller's coffee grinder smells nice. :lol:

Warren -
 

Gulf Brewery

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Boots

Part of making the pellets bursts open the lupulin glands which I think goves you the better utilisation. This doesn't happen with plugs, regardless of how you carve them up.

MAH's method is the best one of the lot - I take mine out of the freezer just as I start my brewday and let them warm up while mashing, then use them in the boil.

Cheers
Pedro
 

Boots

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I forgot to get them out to thaw. Just about to sparge so I don't think they'll thaw out in time. I'll see how I go without chopping them up.
 

Gough

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Watcha brewing tonight Boots? I gotta wait till Sunday... ^_^ Hope it has gone well,

Shawn.
 

Boots

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Gough said:
Watcha brewing tonight Boots? I gotta wait till Sunday... ^_^ Hope it has gone well,

Shawn.
[post="72467"][/post]​
Hi Gough,

Just finished it, anEnglish Pale ale / ESB. 95% MO, 5% Crystal. Northdown pellets for bittering (last minute change of heart), an ekg plug at 30, 15, 10, and 5. 34ibu, og 1057.

Would have finished a half hour earlier but the damn hop plugs got stuck in my CFC :angry: Because I've always minced them up, it's never been a problem before. I guess that's 1 reason to mince them up :)

I mentioned to my wife that i was a bit worried because the evening had been going exactly to plan. I'll never say that again!

Good luck for the weekend. What you brewing?
 

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