What form of hops do you like?

Grains, malts, hops, yeast, water and other ingredients used to brew. Recipe reviews and suggestions.

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What form of hops do you like?

Postby HardcoreLegend » Tue Apr 16, 2002 2:09 pm

I am interested to know which form of hops the brewers here prefer to use. Which is best/ Pellets, plugs, leaves, or whole? And also, I use nylon bags during the boil for my hops. Is it better to add the hops directly to the boil, then try to strain them out of the wort later, or does it even matter? I just want to make world class great beer. Your comments are appreciated.
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No easy answer

Postby andytv » Tue Apr 16, 2002 5:52 pm

To answer your inquiry... I like pellets. They are easy to use and you don't have to worry about straining (or burning nylon bags). Understand though, that there is no easy answer to your overall question. The "problem" is that there are so many quality ingredients available to homebrewers that it is difficult to resist the urge to buy "whole" or plug hops. It just sounds better/fresher. I think that is more important to know that you hops (pellets or whole) are fresh and stored correctly. If you want to brew world class beers, do this..... learn about hops varieties, and their utilization/ contribution to the beer. My brewclub had an event where we boiled hops in small qtys of water for different durations and added the "hops solution" to crappy beer (coors lt) to be able to taste the hops, we tried 29 varieties in three different apps; bittering-60min, flavoring-30min, dry hopping (1 min). By learning about and tasting different varieties, you can build your world class recipes. Maybe after a few batches you'll feel that whole hops will be better than pellets, but for the most part, I can't tell them apart in a well crafted beer.


Prosit,

Andy
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Results?

Postby jdbooth » Tue Apr 16, 2002 8:21 pm

What did you find in your little experiment? I am interested to know what your groups opinions were.
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my choices

Postby Azorean Brewer » Wed Apr 17, 2002 2:28 am

Hi HCL, you are going to get a lot of differing opinions on this subject so take them with a grain of salt and find what works best for you.

My preference is pellets, they are easier to use and my beers come out great. I know that using fresh flowers or plugs gives you flavors you can not find in pellets, but I am completely happy with what I make, and my recipes are proven and stable.

For IPA's I like "Target" for bittering and "E.K.Goldings" for flavor and aroma. For English and American pale ales I use, "E.K.Goldings", "Fuggles", "Willamette", all around.

For my Steam beer (Cal. Common)I use "Chinook" for bittering and "Cascades" for flavor and aroma

For my German beers I use either "N. Brewer" or "Perle" for bittering and "Hallatauer Hersbruker" , "Styrian Goldings", or "Saaz" for flavor and aroma.

It all comes down to your own preferences. You are doing the right thing though, ask for peoples preferences and then define your own, we are all different and make just a wee bit different tasting brew, but ya know what, IT'S ALL GOOD ...

Check out some of my all grain recipes, IPA,HELLES,PORTER,PILSNER, "Full Head of Steam" (Cal. Common), they will all start with "Azorean Brewer's ... etc"

Good luck and cheers.

Paul ...
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Duh ... I almost forgot ...

Postby Azorean Brewer » Wed Apr 17, 2002 2:33 am

When using pellets there is no need to use musslin or nylon bags. The hops will settle out completely. Be sure to read about Irish Moss, and how it helps in the settling out process.

Dry hopping is an altogether totally different subject, and my preference there (when I do dry hop, which is rare) is to use flowers or plugs. I only dry hop when I am making higher alcohol beer compared to normal. I just don't feel comfortable intentionally contaminating my beers...

Paul.
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Results

Postby andytv » Wed Apr 17, 2002 7:27 pm

Unfortunately, our note taking was pretty much free-form. If we do it again, I think I'll spend a little more time writing down my impressions of the different varieties.

To sum it up though, we each got an idea of what we liked, disliked, or could take or leave. Some notable favorites of mine were Northern Brewer for bittering lagers (and ales), spalt & tettnanger for those bavarian and belgian beers, and of course the great American cascade, which I really didn't care for when used to bitter, but is fantastic for flavor/aroma. Of course, the other two guys had some different impressions. Our goal was to basically get an idea of what we liked, and to that extent it was a good experiment. Unfortunatley, flavors of 30 types of hops are tough for your brain to catalogue, and of course the alcohol doesn't help. If we do it again, I'd rather try small groupings based on use or region.
As far as methodology, we tried to maintain boil temp by putting the samples in "cupcake pans" in the oven. It may be little better to fashion a double boiler type setup, nevertheless, the longer in the oven, the more bitterness was extracted.

Again, for the price of few ounces of pellets, I'd recommend that you try a few similar hops side by side and formulate your own opinions.

Prosit

Andy
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Whole hops & siphons

Postby jayhawk » Wed Apr 17, 2002 7:28 pm

Paul, Just wondering if you have problems when siphoning beer dry hopped w/ whole hops. I have heard they can plug a siphon. Personally, I have only had a couple oppurtunities to dry hop and I used pellets. Tasted great. Dry hopping can add a whole new dimension to beer flavour.

A common combo I use for aroma & bittering is Goldings/Cascade. Have tried whole but found that the straining process can be a real PIA, so I stick with pellets. So many hops to use, so little time.
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The whole works

Postby Stretch » Wed Apr 17, 2002 8:07 pm

I like using whole hops, but I have a special situation. I live in hop country, and several of my neighbors let me fill my gunnysack with hops right out of the kiln. Varieties are limited, so I use pellet and plug hops from the store as well. I'm not sophisticated enough as a beer drinker to taste the difference. Running the batch slowly through the bed of whole hops that build up in the sterilized strainer seems to help cool and aerate the wort, but that may be wishfull thinking. Anyway, my wife holds the strainer and she likes the smell, so it works for me.
An interesting side note; from being surrounded by hop fields from birth, an unusual number of locals like beer but are allergic to hops. Anyone have a good hop-free recipe, maybe with herbs?
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Getting out the whole hops

Postby Azorean Brewer » Thu Apr 18, 2002 2:29 am

Jay, When I dry hop, like I said I try to use whole hops, and if I do I put them into a musslin sack and push them into the carboy opening before racking, then syphon the primary right on to the sack. The problem is fishing them out when you are done ... I use a clothes hanger and "hook" the sack and then the battle begins LOL ... it takes a little while but it will all come out. I have tried using pellets too, and usually drop them in just as the whole hops without the sack and what I have found is that they expand in size and after 5 days they completely settle out. Is this your experience too ?

Paul.
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Check out my heather ale

Postby Sven » Thu Apr 18, 2002 3:43 am

I posted a heather ale on this site a while back that has no hop additions. I still have yet to have the opportunity to make it.
On a side note, I just started growing my own hops. I live in the California desert just North of Los Angeles, so hopefully they will produce SOME yeild. I've started with Cascade hops and if they do well then next year I will be planting a lot more varieties.
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Pellets

Postby jayhawk » Sun Apr 21, 2002 10:22 am

Paul, I did the same thing as you when using the pellets. They floated at first, but then settled out nicely after a week.
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