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Hopping beer---hop sacks, commando or both?

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As a hop head I naturally use lots of hops in both my boil and fermenter. I use a strainer to get as much out as I can and usually, if I'm using more than 5-6 ounces in the boil, use a bag for the late additions.
I've read that some people feel using a bag inhibits the full amount of hop oils from being released. I'm not sure I believe it but I've not done a brew with ALL hop sacked hops so I don't know.

Since i often wash my yeast, I definitely see hop trub and wonder if using all sacks would be better and if using them doesn't get 100% of the hop oils, should I just increase the amounts of hops used. I'll likely keep doing what I have since I really enjoy my beers and should just leave well enough alone.

So, as I'm curious, I thought I'd take a poll to see what the rest of you prefer.

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First, one reason some say they don't get as much usage when they use hop sacks is because they don't know how much the hops expand. If the volume of your hops does not exceed 1/4 of the space available in your sack you should be fine.

Second muslin bags will not contain all the hop particles. You will still end up with hops in your trub. After much experimentation I have decided just to go commando and strain afterwards. My IPAs are a pain in the rear though.

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It would be helpful to add a fourth option 'fine nylon mesh bags' since that is all I ever use anymore. Commando is just too messy to deal with and muslin sacks are way too porous. But the new nylon mesh bags are both large enough to handle expansion and fine enough to contain all but the tiniest bits of hop particles.


I get plenty of hop additions using these bags and my beer is cleaner too, especially important when washing yeast. They're easy to clean to, jst rinse out the hops and give in overnight soak in a weak solution of OxyClean and they're nearly good as new.

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I recently got 6 of these, 6" x 8" fine mesh nylon bags with drawstrings and used them for the first time this past week. I like them. Actually, the mesh looks bigger than the muslin bags but my LHBS said 3 oz max for this size bag.

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Definitely sack my dry hops.

Had two too many bottling problems when going commando. The bottling wand spent more time in pieces to be cleaned than it did bottling beer!

Also, always use a sack or "spider" to add to the boil, so I don't have any problems siphoning to the fermenter either!

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I use the fine mesh nylon hop sacks and have had no issues with hop utilization. They greatly cut back on hop gunk as well.

At the end of the boil, I tie them off so that they are out of the wort and draining. I'll then give them a little squeeze against the kettle wall to get most of the liquid out.

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Anything before T-20 I put in a sack for sure.

Anything up to 1/2 or sometimes even up to 1oz after T-20 I often throw in commando.

If it's more then an ounce of hops T-20 or

I've only gotten a clogged wand one time in 3+ years. But I typically don't bottle until 2.5 to 3 weeks, so most everything has time to settle.

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I always go commando from start to finish, and don't really have any issues with the process. From the kettle I have a very fine mesh handheld strainer, and from the fermentor I cold crash and then use a nylon mesh strainer bag over the end of my auto siphon. Beers are always hoppy and clear.

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I use a DIY stainless hop spider with a 5-gallon paint strainer bag for my hops.

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I do both. With my Hop To It elixirs I have gone up to 24 oz of hops in a 5 gallon batch. That does tend to clog the kettle screen and strainer both!! :laugh: :laugh:

A hop spider is going to be a winter project. It is starting to look like the brewery is going to need to be put off another year :( Russki how did you do the SS spider?

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I'm a sack man. But i like Screwy's idea too. Cheers
[attachment=14172]IMG_20130510_181542_2013-07-10.jpg[/attachment]

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Hop spider.

Unless I'm FWH, in which case I use a sack, because I don't think the bag will stay submerged in the first runnings while I'm doing the sparging.

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I do not recommend going commando if you use a bottling wand. It will clog. I use a hop sack. However, for those who do go commando:


[attachment=14175]Commando04.jpg[/attachment]

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"haerbob3" post=385610 said:


A hop spider is going to be a winter project. It is starting to look like the brewery is going to need to be put off another year :( Russki how did you do the SS spider?


Stainless garbage disposal flange, threaded stainless rod, and some stainless nuts. Easy as pie:
[img size=500]http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/3523/dv29.jpg

Edit: all parts are available at Home Depot for under $25 total.

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I used to go commando but my last few brews i used the nylon bags like screwy and i love them much less hop particle in the pot and in the yeast.

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I feel that I get good hop utilization by stirring my muslin hop sacks frequently during the hop boil. When I tried commando in a small test batch, I used a strainer, but the hop particles were still distracting even after cold crashing.

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Muslin hop sacks here as well...

Commando is too much of a P.I.T. you know what...

Haven't built or tried a hop spider as it's just another thing to wash I guess...

Looks like it works great though...

:)

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I will use a hopsack if using one of my buckets. Commando if in a carboy.

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You need a "none of the above" in your poll. :laugh:

I use stainless tea and spice balls because they are easy to clean, have a good seal, sink, and come in several sizes. If I'm not going to wash yeast I commando the dry hop and tilt the LBK way up and cold crash; haven't had a clogged wand.

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"russki" post=385690 said:

"haerbob3" post=385610 said:


A hop spider is going to be a winter project. It is starting to look like the brewery is going to need to be put off another year :( Russki how did you do the SS spider?


Stainless garbage disposal flange, threaded stainless rod, and some stainless nuts. Easy as pie:
[img size=500]http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/3523/dv29.jpg

Edit: all parts are available at Home Depot for under $25 total.

This is exactly what I did and used it for the first time last week. Worked like a charm. I did, however, use SS carriage bolts with the end hook ground halfway off so that the hop spider sits nicely on top of the kettle without any possibility of moving. I had this project on my to-do list for quite some time. I should have made it sooner.


Rick

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