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Pellets Or Whole Hops?

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Wax

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I picked up Randy Mosher's "Radical Brewing" last night, very good book IMHO for those who haven't read it. In his intro to hops Randy states pretty clearly that the home brewer should try to use whole hops and not pellets.

One of his main reasons for this is it is too hard to filter out the fine hop particles released from pellets after the boil. What is the general consensus here? Do you use pellets or whole hops? How do you filter out your hops after boil?
 

dickTed

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Hi Wax.

For dry-hopping into secondary, I use the coffee plunger. (pellets)

For the boil, I use cheesecloth for both pellets or petals.

When I finish boiling, there are 2 hop bags floating on the wort. They need to be squeezed because combined they hold a couple of litres of wort which won't drain out, and can't be wasted. I pluck them out, and drop them into a saucepan.

I put on a pair of cotton gloves, with rubber gloves over top, and gently squeeze them out. This is slow and tricky, because they try to squirt everywhere.

There's a better way. I just don't know it yet.
 

pint of lager

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I use pellets.

They take up less space in the freezer. There is no hopback in my boiler, and one cone would block the connecting tube between the boiler and cfc.

To remove the hop debris from the boiled wort, after the boil is finished, I whirlpool, run 1/2 the wort through a cfc into a spare fermenter, allow that to stand for 30 minutes, drop into primary fermenter leaving any trub behind, run the rest of the wort off leaving most of the hops in the boiler, allow the wort to stand for an hour or two or overnight in winter, then drop the second half of the wort into primary, once again leaving the trub in the spare fermenter.
 

Peter Wadey

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Hi Wax,
I have only used pellets, primarily because:
1) they store better
2) there are more varieties available to me in hop form
3) they are generally cheaper

Fine hop debris from pellets is not a problem for me.
I have a S/S perforated mesh screen in the bottom of my kettle
that holds back most of it.
Despite the kettle having a flat bottom and the outlet being right on the bottom,
I generally tip up the kettle to get the last remaining wort.
This is when I'll get some hop sludge/ break material.
Prior to emptying the kettle, I boil a very fine dbl mesh strainer for 20+ min on the stove and put this under the kettle outlet to capture this sludge/trub.
This also has a spraying effect.

Prior to the dbl strainer, I used to used the feet out of pantyhose as a post filter.

Flowers (which I have recently picked up) will be a breeze with the screen.

Rgds,
Pete
 

BRAD T

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I use pellets mainly, I find I don,t have too much trouble as I strain the wort into the fermenter when it has cooledand this removes most of the debris, also help aerate the wort.

Cheers
BradT
 

Sean

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pint of lager said:
I use pellets.

They take up less space in the freezer. There is no hopback in my boiler, and one cone would block the connecting tube between the boiler and cfc.

To remove the hop debris from the boiled wort, after the boil is finished, I whirlpool, run 1/2 the wort through a cfc into a spare fermenter, allow that to stand for 30 minutes, drop into primary fermenter leaving any trub behind, run the rest of the wort off leaving most of the hops in the boiler, allow the wort to stand for an hour or two or overnight in winter, then drop the second half of the wort into primary, once again leaving the trub in the spare fermenter.
[post="66159"][/post]​
I used to use whole hops in England - pellet hops are virtually non-existant in the homebrew scene there - so getting used to pellets took a few brews and adjustments to the hop back, but now I don't find they are a problem at all.

At the end of the boil, the wort is dumped into the hopback (by bailing it by hand, I don't have a pump) often with some extra hops on the sitting on the false bottom first. Then leave alone for 30 mins and then run off - and it runs off crystal clear every time. If I try to run off early, or interfer with it while it's settling, or whirlpool it, it just clogs, which it also does if I mix pellets with whole or plugs - seems I have to use one or the other.

Pictures of hop-back (simple bucket in a bucket job) can be found at:
Brewery Equipment Pictures
 

Ross

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I use homemade hop bags made from net curtain - so much easier than messing around with loose hops - just a gentle squeeze with the tongs when removing from the brew & there's nothing wasted.
 

sluggerdog

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Ross said:
I use homemade hop bags made from net curtain - so much easier than messing around with loose hops - just a gentle squeeze with the tongs when removing from the brew & there's nothing wasted.
[post="66212"][/post]​

After seeing ross do it, this is how I do it too.

ALSO it is nice to see a super clean trub at the end of a brew to rack your next wort onto or save for a few days later...
 

Ducatiboy stu

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After seeing Tony ( Tamworth ) run his boiled wort thru a 100micron ( might have been 200 after a few beers ) filter bag from the kettle into the ferm, it caught everthing, including the break, so from now I shall be using a filter bag when transfering into the ferm...



Amazing to see how much the bag caught...
 

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