Dry Hopping

Hey folks. Going to dry hop an IPA for the first time in a second carboy using pellets. If a place the pellets in a muslin bag I was wondering if I need to sterilize the bag (e.g. steam) before dropping it in the second carboy? Should I even use a bag or just drop the pellets in the secondary before I siphon the beer from the primary? Any thoughts would be appreciated. I am planning to dry hop in the secondary for about 5 - 7 days before bottling.

Are you secondarying in a carboy? Honestly, don’t even bother racking it, ‘secondaries’ have been debunked and the risks (oxidation, infection) really outweigh whatever benefits people want to believe exist (better clarity?). People used to do it more because yeast strains weren’t as developed, and cells would break down (autolysis), causing meaty flavors (ugh). I’ve never tasted it (knock wood) and have left beer on yeast for months and months with brilliant clarity.

Just toss the dry hops into the primary. Bags are nice because you can take them out and they restrain leaf hops from getting all mixed up in your beer and clogging your autosiphon (when bottling). If you are using pellets, however, a bag isn’t necessary, the pellets will break up dissolve, and sink to the bottom.

If you do decide to use a bag, yes, soak it in some sanitizer.

Thanks for the quick input. I was wondering if suppliers suggest racking into a second carboy just to sell more carboys. On a previous batch, I just dropped the pellets in the primary about two to three weeks into fermentation. Going to dry hop with citra. Not sure how many ounces to add to have the hops pop. Last IPA I added 1 oz of chinook for dry hop and it didn’t seem to hit the hop smack I was looking for. I already have 1 oz magnum (bittering) and 4 oz of citra in the initial kettle boil for this new batch. Maybe do 2 oz this time.

Yep, just tossing them into the primary is my preferred method as well.

Yes sanitize the bag. I find the finer mesh of a nylon bag works better than muslin for pellets, but others use muslin just fine.

I’m not sure its that insidious of a sales campaign, I mean I think @ one point you legitimately needed to get beer off the yeast. Yeast is much better now though,…

Something to consider: You may want to try adding your dry hops earlier. Like when you are still seeing active signs of fermentation. This can drive off some of the ‘grassy’ flavors you can get from hops (particularly if you do as some people do and ‘dry hop’ in the keg). Grassiness isn’t good or bad, just not what I’m looking for. As far as amounts, if they are ‘late’ hops, you can add A LOT. The below hop bill was on a 1.065 IPA with about 10% crystal, 10% melanoidin, 80% 2-row. Added the hops @ pitch time + 5 days, left them in for 2 weeks. This beer just took 2nd BOS in a local comp. Firm, lingering bitterness, but not harsh in the least. And people are obsessed with the aroma:

1 oz (8.3%) Caliente (17.8%) - added during mash
1 oz (8.3%) Columbus (15.0%) - added first wort
.75 oz (6.2%) Magnum (14.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m
.3 oz (2.5%) Amarillo® (8.5%) - added during boil, boiled 20 m
.3 oz (2.5%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 20.0 m
.3 oz (2.5%) Caliente (17.8%) - added during boil, boiled 20.0 m
.3 oz (2.5%) Amarillo® (8.5%) - added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
.3 oz (2.5%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
.3 oz (2.5%) Caliente (17.8%) - added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
.5 oz (4.1%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
.5 oz (4.1%) Caliente (17.8%) - added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
.5 oz (4.1%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 5.0 m
.5 oz (4.1%) Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 5.0 m
.5 oz (4.1%) Caliente (17.8%) - added during boil, boiled 5.0 m
.5 oz (4.1%) Centennial (10.0%) - added during boil (0min)
.5 oz (4.1%) Cascade (5.5%) - added during boil (0min)
.5 oz (4.1%) Caliente (17.8%) - added during boil (0min)
.5 oz (4.1%) Amarillo® (8.5%) - added during boil (0min)
1 oz (8.3%) Cascade (5.5%) - added dry to secondary fermenter
.5 oz (4.1%) Centennial (10.0%) - added dry to secondary fermenter
.5 oz (4.1%) Caliente (17.8%) - added dry to secondary fermenter
1 oz (8.3%) Amarillo® (8.5%) - added dry to secondary fermenter

Before I began kegging, I would use a muslin bag to dryhop in the carboy. I would dunk the bag in sanitizer and squeeze it underwater a few times, then squeeze the sanitizer out of it. Boiling it in some water in the microwave works too. You may want to add some sanitized marbles to keep it from floating.

BTW, do what you want as far as a secondary. There are people on both sides of that debate. Pietro happens to be on the no-secondary side. If I don’t have a keg free, I secondary to get the beer off the yeast so that I can harvest it. When I didn’t keg, I would always secondary to dry hop to keep the hop particles out of the yeast I wanted to save. Also, if you have limited equipment and have only one fermenter and one secondary, you can get another batch going by moving one beer that is done fermenting to a secondary and ferment a new batch. Don’t let the “risk” of oxidation or infection scare you. If you don’t get infected batches now, chances are a transfer won’t hurt. In fact, you have a higher chance of getting an infection during wort cooling than you do from racking to a secondary. Bugs like high sugar environments but don’t do so well in alcoholic ones.