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Tips on adding pellet hops after DME hot break

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I'm sure this has been asked a millions times before, but after searching posts, I didn't quite find what I was looking for. So when using DME with a standard HME, which only calls for a quart of water, and trying to reach the "hot break", a lot of evaporation occurs. Then adding some pellet hops in a hop sack to boil some more, didn't seem like enough water....just wanted some tips on how to improve this. How much water is safe to mix with DME before adding any hops, so the evaporation is limited? I probably got a bit too ambitious with my third batch using DME & hops, but Just trying things out. Any tips are appreciated.

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youre talking about doing a hop boil to augment a mr beer kit? what i did was :


take a half gallon of water in a pot.

bring it to about 170-180f.

remove pot from burner.

take your dme... a pound maybe?  pour it in. stir until well mixed in. you should not be seeing gobs bobbing around.

put pot back on burner and slowly bring to a low boil.


toss your hop pellets in .. no hop sack.


now ask yourself why are you doing this? adding bitter? adding aroma or flavor?


for bittering increase you could boil for about 20 mins. to 40 mins. a low boil wont cause that drastic of evaporation.

for flavor or aroma addition you can boil for 8-15 mins.


remove pot from burner, turn stove off. let the dme cool down just a little so it isnt at boiling anymore, then stir in your hme. mix well.


put your ice cold water in the lbk.  put a sanitized strainer over the mouth of the lbk and ladle your wort into the lbk. or... if you have a steady hand and can safely do a slow careful pour to transfer .... that would be quicker. my hands shake like mad so i use a ladle. i would highly advise against pouring. hot wort makes really bad burns on skin if spilled.


the strainer will sift out most of the hop goop. anything that gets into the lbk will eventually settle out into the trub.


now top off the water level with more cold water to where mr beer says your volume should be.


tada.  unless using gobs of dme in a boil with a large volume of water , i never worried about reaching hot break.  i did low / slow boils.  i didnt boil for an hour. why would i? if i am doing THAT much work i may as well just make a 5 gallon recipe from scratch and skip mr beer kits.  dont over complicate things.  dont worry about evaporation. you will be topping off your water volume.  dont worry about hot break getting into the lbk in a small batch like 2 gallons. you wont have that much usually and yeast will eat it to a degree.


just suggestions... the experts can correct where necessary... i'm too tired mentally to worry about 100% accuracy... how many kits have you got done? you sound like you are jumping into the deep end way too fast.  take your time to develop base skills before going big or more complicated...  but if you feel ready... (shrug).



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more suggestions-


after flame out if you started with a bigger pot than you needed, you could add your cold water to the pot to cool the wort BEFORE transfer to the lbk. this way if you get some splash back on your hands youre not going to damage yourself.


you then just top off the water volume in the lbk with more cold water to make up the volume.


also-pay attention- this is important:  boiling DME will go from 0 to 60 when you least expect it. give yourself plenty of headspace in the pot. if not , you could have a boil over onto the stove. boiled dme is a ****** to clean up.  you can keep a sanitized spray bottle of mineral water near you. if the foam from the boil gets a little too aggressive you can spritz the top of the wort to slightly cool it and settle it down. i would still use a bigger pot than needed to allow headspace.


another warning on dme:  the dust will fly EVERYWHERE. the moment it gets humid or wet you get a sticky mess. pour slowly. the steam rising from your pot will cause some clumping on your dme bag. when done pouring then you can pick it off to add to the pot.  my first dme experience , the dust went flying everywhere coz i poured too fast. not fun.


one last suggestion...  i always found using mr beer's lme pouches more convenient than dme.  match the lme to the style you are making. you wouldnt likely want to add robust to a light colored beer.  you can easily add 2 lme pouches to do a hop boil. each adds about 1 point i think to alcohol content... been awhile.



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I’ll also add to the hop naked (not in a sack). When I do that with pellet hops, a good deal ends up in the fermenter. And that’s ok! If it’s a big batch and I’m siphoning I’ll give the wort a good stir to accumulate most of the hop material in the middle of the pot. If it’s a small batch that I pour into a LBK, I usually just pour it in hops and all. 

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Thanks for all the tips! And I will check out the video. Could be my pot is a tad too big with only a quart of water. Thinking about adding a cup or 2 more water when using DME, maybe not worry about hot break. Mine didn't really do anything dramatic. But then I watched it like a hawk for boil-over. 


I was trying to following an older MRB recipe that had DME & hop sack, for flavor only. Not bitterness. Per insturctions, I left the the hop sack in the Wort, and that was a mess pouring into the LBK! Lost some down the sides of the keg & cleaned up outsides with some Star San cuz I read that if you don't, the bacteria can have a smorgasborg (not sure that's happened to anyone but I didn't want that, or any other creepy crawlies). I really like the idea of just throwing the hops into the wort, boiling for 5-10 min, maybe adding some cold water to Wort, and straining when pouring into LBK.  Adding strainer to my toolkit.


With the hop sack in the LBK, initially it had disappeared (sunk to bottom I'm assuming). My batch is about 6 days into fermentation in a cooler with lots of frozen water bottles (no crazy temps) & I noticed at about day 4 - 5, that the hop sack is now floating on top amongst the Krausen. Should I be worried or is this just all the CO2 from the yeast making hop sack float? Will it sink again? Should I remove with tongs before I bottle? Isn't it going to stop up my spigot?  Thanks again for the help.

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To answer one of Zorak's questions I missed - which I misstyped - this was my fourth batch with DME & pellet hops, and I agree, a bit too ambitious. Obviously hadn't read enough yet to dive into these additions. But I'm learning. And I'm reading more & more whenever I get the chance in between working & other stuff.


I used LME in the Voodoo recipe (which I'm bottling this weekend) & that worked great - agree that LME is much simpler. no hot break or sticky messy fly-away DME. Plus there are more varieties with LME. At my local brew shop, they have few DME varieties: light, amber, dark, one more- wheat? can't remember....

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