Hop Bags and Hop Utilization

I used a mesh hop bag for the first time to make a double ipa, I felt like my hop utilization suffered from being in the hop bag. Have other people experienced this?

I plan to brew a barleywine this weekend which will use about 8 oz. of hops and I want to limit the amount of hop trub which could end up in my fermenter. I have considered using multiple muslin bags and the mesh hop bag to limit the amount of trub in the boil kettle. However, I am just worried my hop utilization may suffer. I know I could buy a false bottom for my 10 gallon megapot but I am looking for less expensive alternatives. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


To minimize the impact of using a bag, make sure the hops are very loose in the bag and push the bag down into the wort until it’s saturated and stays under. If you want a DIY project, a “hop spider” is fun to make and works really well to contain the hop material with little loss of character.

Thanks Shadetree! I will look into the ‘hop spider’ for a possible future DIY project. For my barleywine, I will use the mesh hop bags and maybe a muslin bag too.

Is there any difference in utilization between the mesh hop bags or muslin bags?

The ROT I’ve always heard is that bags reduce utilization by about 10%, so I just use 10% more hops.

Wow, good to know!
I had no idea I have been using bags for my last several brews to help keep things easier to clean.

Thanks for the info, Denny! I will have to use hop bags for the time being before I purchase a false bottom for my 10 gallon megapot.

I “thought” I was experiencing the exact same thing this past weekend. I used a hop bag for the first time in this AG batch and it seemed to really limit the aroma in the boil so much so that I took the remaining additions out of the bags they were in and pitched them directly into the pot.

these were very fine bags I DIY’d from voile material. unsure if I’ll try that again or not.