Home-made Hop pellets

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Home-made Hop pellets

Postby shaggyt » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:01 pm

I just acquired a big ziplock baggie filled with freshly picked Cascade hops. This has got me thinking about how I'm going to use them. The last time I used some whole flowers in the boil, I found that they floated the entire time. Once I strained them out of the wort, I noticed ample amounts of lupulin still remaining in the flowers. Thus, I'm a wee bit concerned about utilization.

My long-term goal is to not purchase hops down the road and develop my own garden (just cleared the area the past two weekends). As such, I will be using a great deal of whole hops in the future.

But I digress, is it possible to create my own pellets? If so, how difficult would/should/could it be?

My initial thought is that a coffee grinder or food processor might be used to obliterate the flowers. Mix with small amounts of h2o to make a paste, then use a couple straws to form the pellets. Low heat dry, package and freeze.

Anyone see any holes in this logic? Please critique or point me in the correct direction.
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whole hops

Postby slothrob » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:56 pm

I just see one hole in your logic:
Whole hops utilization is reduced about 10% from pellet hops, which would be below the taste threshold for any beer of about 50 IBU or less.

Otherwise, perhaps instead of risking spoiling the hops by wetting them and forming pellets, you could simply grind them fresh at the start of the brew day. I think you're worrying for no reason, though.
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Postby bfabre » Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:44 am

Mix with small amounts of h2o to make a paste

I don't think you would need to add water to the mix. There should be enough moisture in the flowers to carry over for the paste. But I do like the advice from slothrob, that is to "grind them fresh at the start of the brew day". It should increase your utilization just the same as pellets is my guess.
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Down off the ledge

Postby shaggyt » Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:31 pm

Thanks gents...you talked me down off the ledge.

I get a little carried away with the thoughts sometimes...although if I get the opportunity with hops to spare, I may try this still minus the water addition...but that may not happen for a couple of growing seasons with any luck.

Because the whole flowers float during the boil, will that decrease their utilization? It seems to me that it would.
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Have you thought of a hop bag?

Postby brewmeisterintng » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:36 pm

I put mine in a "Grain Bag" and secure it with a zip tie. I stir during the boil to ensure that the bag sinks and becomes wort logged. The bag is large enough to ensure that I get full contact and there has never been a dry flower when I finish.
Good luck with the garden. I have been growing for a few years now to help support my hobby. It does require some good soil and special considerations so do your homework before jumping in to the garden.
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Re: Down off the ledge

Postby slothrob » Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:53 pm

shaggyt wrote:Because the whole flowers float during the boil, will that decrease their utilization? It seems to me that it would.

I use whole hops, mostly, and just dump them right in or use a 5-gallon paint straining bag so they can move freely in the pot. They don't seem to float for me. I'd always thought of them as churning with the boil, spending some time at the surface before moving deeper into the kettle.

But, if they do just float, I guess they still are in the wort and the wort is moving around them. Hop bags are usually thought to further decrease utilization by about another 10%, though.

A lot of people use whole hop cones successfully without jumping through a lot of hoops to weigh them down, but try something different and see what you think. None of these things will ruin your beer.
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We'll see

Postby shaggyt » Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:00 am

Seems like I'll just be throwing them in the boil to see how it turns out...the first time I used whole hops was on an amber which wasn't very hoppy by design.

Thanks for the input all...we'll see how it goes.
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