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I'm planning on dry hopping a bitter in a corny keg. East Kent Golding pellets around 50g. Can you just chuck em in. Is there a risk of blockages? Is it worth adding the hops after a 5min steep in boiling water to kill any unwanted bugs? If you guys use hop bags- are they just loose or do you tie 'em? of so how.
All comments appreciated
You will need to put the hops in a bag. Loose hops may not cause an actual blockage but you will get a lot in your glass and probably stop your tap from sealing. I sterilise the bag and string in boiling water, but not the hop pellets. In Sankey kegs, I tie the bag to the perforated part at the top of the spear so that the bag can easily be removed, but with a long enough string so the bag can reach the bottom of the keg.
Yeah, bag 'em up.
I've tried throwing loose pellets into a corny a few times, each time getting blockages, not to mention a crap load of hop material in the glass.
I'll use a nylon/swiss voille bag, sanitise in starsan, then with clean and sanitary hands I'll wring the absolute crap out of the bag, chuck my hops in, then throw the bag into the keg. Yeah, kinda gross but that bag sits cold in the keg from it going in to the beer being served so I don't worry about germs. Never entered in comps and I'm usually the only one drinking them. No need to sanitise dry hops either, more likely to get an infection from having the keg/fermenter open than the hops themselves.
A good little trick similar to Smiffy's is to get a single piece of thread, tie it to the bag, and then just run it through the opening in the keg. Most of the time the rubber seal will seal around the thread, if it doesn't move the thread about a bit and it should be fine.
Be warned though, beers hopped in the keg never seem to clear.
I agree with everything Smiffy and denimglen have said. Bag 'em & tie off the bag. Just make sure you leave enough room for the hops to swell.
Are you gonna dry hop it cold or warm (room temp)? The only time I dry hopped in the keg I did it cold (in the fridge) and the flavour was completely different to warm dry hopping. A lot grassier and more vinous, although it was Nelson Sauvin and I may have left them in for too long.
Thanks for your advise guys,
i'll give it a try, i suppose the other alternatives are to chuck the hops in the fermenter? The last brew (20L ordinary bitter) i put the 20g of EKG hops in the boil kettle when i turned off the element. But wasn't enough of the EKG aroma. so really trying to get the most out of the hops without using heaps. any suggestions? is 20g a bit mean?
I throw my hops in the fermentor while chilling, you lose a bit of beer as hop sludge but not much. I suppose the amount you need depends on style, but to give you an idea, I use 125 g Amarillo 125 g Simcoe for 40L in my Pale Ales.
Thats bloody hoppy and undrinkably angry for another month in the cornie.
Dont forget to keep an eye on your out valve if it's not connected to a tap, hop grit can sneak in, you come home to find precious beer all through your fridge.
I was happy with dry-hopping in the fermenter when I was using bottles, but when I switched to kegs, I found the hop aroma tailed off as the barrel got lower, hence trying in the keg.
As for adding hops at "flame out", you will loose most of the aroma, and add some bitterness while the wort is between 100 and 70 C. The argument for adding the dry-hops after at least some fermentation is that the alcohol will kill any bugs in the hops.