Mesh bag or no mesh bag for IPA hops?

Hi All,

I’m making my first IPA in a little over a week and am already psyched about it. It’s a PM recipe that calls for 6 oz. Citra for the FWH and boil, then another 3 oz. CItra for dry hopping in the secondary. Like all IPAs, this is all about the hops, so my main priority is making sure I get good bittering, flavor and aroma from all this Citra. However, I’m simultaneously a little concerned about losing some of the final product due to ankle-deep trub in the carboy. So, should I use a muslin bag to contain the hops and remove them after the boil? Or does that take away from the hop character? Just wondering what your experiences have been. I’ve always just dropped my hop pellets in… never used a mesh bag for them.


I will speak from the two times I did it. I feel it takes away some of the hop flavor and does not utilize all the hops due to the bag plugging up and water not getting through the mesh. It is a bit cleaner, but I just dump everything in and filter it out later with a piece of mesh on the racking cane.

I like to use a large mesh bag that has a lot of extra room, that way you don’t have to worry about loosing hop flavor/bittering .

Sorry…I used a 5 gallon pain strainer bag in a hop spider…it’s not the bag size that matters IMO.

I say OP try it and see what you think.

I’ve never even heard of a hop spider. I’ll have to read up on that. :?

I was actually thinking a larger bag would help, too. I guess that’s not the case though.

After I made my post, I searched around more and found threads here and on other forums about this topic (next time I’ll search before I post!). Sounds like the general consensus is that there is often a slight loss of hop utilization, and Denny said he’s heard it could be up to 10% loss. So I suppose I could add an additional 10% hops, so about .6 oz., if I want to be extra cautious. If I go that route I’ll add it towards the end of the boil, I think. Or maybe I’ll just filter it out when racking, like you suggested.

I’ll have to mull it over for a while. This is a difficult decision for me. lol

I feel it takes away from the hop flavor a bit too. The hops don’t get a chance to go free in the boil. While the difference is small, it is noticeable, I think. I like to use a hop bag for the beers I want to reuse the yeast from. Those are typically low hopped, lighter colored beers, so the hop flavor and bitterness isn’t as huge of a factor.