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Hop bags

In a recent BYO magazine article, I read about building a homemade hop sack holder so that hops can be removed from the wort prior to chilling. I’m assuming this is to minimize trub in the primary fermenter, maximize fermenter space and eliminate a secondary fermenter. Are there any other positives that I’m not thinking of?

Also, are there any negative effects to removing hop additions post boil? IOW, do the hop additions made to the kettle during the boil, continue to add to beer flavor in the primary fermenter which would make the hop sack a bad idea?

I use a simple pickup tube in my keggles and don’t have a pump to do a whirlpool (and force hops to the center), so I use bags to keep whole hops from clogging the valve.

We actually just built this thing and used it for the first time. The amount of hops you pull out even with just two ounces is crazy. We always assumed pellets were more water soluble; they are not.

Anyways, I would recommend it. It’s easy to build and is way better than dealing with pulling a boiling bag out your wort and opening it with your hands for every hop addition. My only recommendation would be to make sure the PVC piping is high enough that it doesn’t dip into the boil. We drilled ours wrong off the bat and it would have been partially submerged during the beginning of the boil. Not sure if that is really bad but it didn’t seem like a great thing so we had to redo it.

I’ve never heard of anyone saying that leaving pellet hop trub in the fermentor made a significant difference. You could theorize that the late additions might contribute just a little more flavor/aroma, but really I don’t think you would be able to tell the difference. Could also give you a bit of grassiness if there is a lot of plant matter, kind of like can sometimes happen with a long dry hop treatment. Mostly removing the hops is a matter of convenience, and is standard practice in commercial operations. I’ve done it both ways although never in a side-by-side to try and tell if it made a difference.

I built the same thing and tried using it. The only pain was that you can’t throw in your immersion chiller at the last 15 minutes because this thing is in the way. Plus I want the hops in there during the cooldown (especially those 0 minute hops). I’m just going to use multiple muslin bags…its just easier.

+1 on the location of the holes…I did mine at an angle so the bolts lifted up the PVC collar. BTW, I know that PVC isn’t approved for Hot Water (Domestic use hot water), must be for some reason…I’ve got to think that it getting splashed with boiling water/steamed with condensation and dripping back into your brew has got to cross the same issue/reason for why it can’t be used with hot water (chemical leaching?)

[quote=“bguzz”]I built the same thing and tried using it. The only pain was that you can’t throw in your immersion chiller at the last 15 minutes because this thing is in the way. Plus I want the hops in there during the cooldown (especially those 0 minute hops). I’m just going to use multiple muslin bags…its just easier.

[/quote]

Instead of using the muslin bags, which are one time use, you can go to your hardware store and buy 1 gallon, nylon, paint strainer bags. When I’m done brewing I’m clean the hops out and clean the bags with my other equipment. Just make sure that no matter what kind of bag you decide to use that you don’t overfill them. The pellet hops expand a lot when they break down and this can cause you from extracting all of that hop goodness out.

I got a larger 5 gallon sized paint strainer bag-it is designed to fit over a 5 gallon bucket, so I had to put a drawstring on it to keep it on the PVC, but it lets the hops float around better and never gets too full. It is pretty east to lift the whole apparatus up, slip the wort chiller in and then put the whole thing back in and let the hops settle down into the chiller. Once the wort has cooled, you can lift the bag up and let it drain. It seems to take a lot of trub with it as well. If I am making an IPA or something similar with a lot of leaf hops, I use my stir paddle to squeeze wort out of the hop mass.

Instead of using the muslin bags, which are one time use, you can go to your hardware store and buy 1 gallon, nylon, paint strainer bags. When I’m done brewing I’m clean the hops out and clean the bags with my other equipment. Just make sure that no matter what kind of bag you decide to use that you don’t overfill them. The pellet hops expand a lot when they break down and this can cause you from extracting all of that hop goodness out.

Why do you say muslin is a one time use? I’ve used mine multiple times, boiling in clean water after. Just curious if you’ve heard something about them that I haven’t.

+1 to the 5-gal paint bags. Make sure the stitching is on the outside to make them easier to clean.

I pull the hops out after the chilling. Place a copper scrub pad over the inlet for the spigot last 5min during boil to filter out the hops. The only thing I’ve noticed with leaving hops in during chill compared to pulling out before chill is it takes about an extra 5 minutes to chill.

[quote=“bguzz”]I built the same thing and tried using it. The only pain was that you can’t throw in your immersion chiller at the last 15 minutes because this thing is in the way. Plus I want the hops in there during the cooldown (especially those 0 minute hops). I’m just going to use multiple muslin bags…its just easier.

+1 on the location of the holes…I did mine at an angle so the bolts lifted up the PVC collar. BTW, I know that PVC isn’t approved for Hot Water (Domestic use hot water), must be for some reason…I’ve got to think that it getting splashed with boiling water/steamed with condensation and dripping back into your brew has got to cross the same issue/reason for why it can’t be used with hot water (chemical leaching?)[/quote]
Can’t you just pick the hop bag up, put the IC in and lower the bag into the center?

Is that because it slows the flow?

I’ve been thinking about doing this to reduce the amount of hops that go into my CFC but how do you add the pad while it is still boiling?

I’ve been thinking about doing this to reduce the amount of hops that go into my CFC but how do you add the pad while it is still boiling?[/quote]

I fit the pad over my stir spoon, slide it down over the inlet, then clamp the spoon to the rim of the kettle.

I’ve been thinking about doing this to reduce the amount of hops that go into my CFC but how do you add the pad while it is still boiling?[/quote]

I used one for a while to reduce the hops into the CFC, but found that it slowed down my gravity drain to a trickle. Now, I just clamp a grain bag on the CFC outlet as my strainer and flush the chiller with PBW through an autosiphon when I’m cleaning the pot. I thought about making a squeegee from 3/8" rubber discs on a wire (like a barrel squeegee for a paintball gun), but I’ve found the smooth copper walls don’t really pick up any debris that can’t be easily flushed.

I’m curious why you wait to move the scrubber, though. I just boiled it in place from the start.

[quote=“mrv”]Instead of using the muslin bags, which are one time use, you can go to your hardware store and buy 1 gallon, nylon, paint strainer bags. When I’m done brewing I’m clean the hops out and clean the bags with my other equipment. Just make sure that no matter what kind of bag you decide to use that you don’t overfill them. The pellet hops expand a lot when they break down and this can cause you from extracting all of that hop goodness out.

Why do you say muslin is a one time use? I’ve used mine multiple times, boiling in clean water after. Just curious if you’ve heard something about them that I haven’t.[/quote]

I haven’t heard anything about not using them again, I just never had much luck with them staying put together well after I tied them, and untied them.

[quote=“tom sawyer”][quote=“bguzz”]I built the same thing and tried using it. The only pain was that you can’t throw in your immersion chiller at the last 15 minutes because this thing is in the way. Plus I want the hops in there during the cooldown (especially those 0 minute hops). I’m just going to use multiple muslin bags…its just easier.

+1 on the location of the holes…I did mine at an angle so the bolts lifted up the PVC collar. BTW, I know that PVC isn’t approved for Hot Water (Domestic use hot water), must be for some reason…I’ve got to think that it getting splashed with boiling water/steamed with condensation and dripping back into your brew has got to cross the same issue/reason for why it can’t be used with hot water (chemical leaching?)[/quote]
Can’t you just pick the hop bag up, put the IC in and lower the bag into the center?

Is that because it slows the flow?[/quote]

No, just more mass to chill. But 5 minutes isn’t much.

Because I place it over my kettle spoon, which I kinda need during the boil :wink:

Because I place it over my kettle spoon, which I kinda need during the boil :wink: [/quote]

Ahh, gotcha. I just pinched mine between the bottom of the pot and the pickup tube.

I used to use the strainer bags to catch all the hops, but I did a stove top batch and used the small hop bags and made a great tasting hoppy beer. When I scaled it up to brew a full 5 gallons, the final product was much less hoppy in both flavor and aroma. I can only attribute this to the hop straining bag I was using. Since I stopped using it, I have really noticed my hop-foward ales tasting much much better. I just have to deal with the hop trub now, but I’m ok with that since I have started using a stir plate. I make a larger starter than I need and reserve enough yeast to make a starter for the next batch that way I can just dump everything in my buckets and not feel bad about wasting yeast.

YMMV

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