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I am working from an ESB recipe that says to put 1 oz of whole leaf tettnanger hops in to dry hop during the secondary fermentation. I accidentally got pellet hops instead.

Can I get away with dry hopping with the pellet hops? And if so, should I scale back how much of it I use?

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3 Answers 3

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Regarding essential oils for flavor and aroma, pellet hops typically have less than whole leaf hops due to processing, so you may want to add a touch more.

This BYO article on dry hopping techniques says

Since pellet hops are more highly processed than plugs or loose hops, there is some concern that volatile oils are lost. When using pellets for dry hopping, you may want to add a little more than usual.

You don't have to use a bag with pellet hops, since they do sink to the bottom and can be avoided with careful racking. But if you're going to use a bag, be sure to boil the bag and add 10-15% more hops:

Another issue with bagging is that it tends to reduce the hops exposure to the beer. To account for this, you may want to use 10–15% more when bagging.

Keep in mind that dry hopping is not an exact science - 1oz is a safe starting amount but you will discover in time whether this is the right amount for you. Regardless of the amount, be sure to remove the hops after 2 weeks max to avoid harsher grassy flavors (at least, that's my experience when using European hops.)

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I don't agree that dry hopping longer than 2 weeks will necessarily give you harsh grassy flavors. I routinely add dry hops to a keg where they may sit for 2-4 months and have not had a problem from doing that. –  Denny Conn Aug 1 '13 at 19:31
    
I can say from experience that it does. On more than one occasion I've left the hop bag in the keg and it was like liquid grass after a couple of months and that was with 1oz of hops. –  mdma Aug 1 '13 at 21:35
    
Then I guess we've had different experiences. I keg hop 75% of the beers I make and I've never experienced that grassiness. –  Denny Conn Aug 1 '13 at 21:45
    
Maybe you don't leave it long enough? But I can say without reservation that hops left in the keg for more than a month takes a definite downward turn. Same is true for cucumber - starts out light and fresh, ends up tasting like broad beans. I dry hop seldom, and it's always better if I remove the hops rather than leave them in. –  mdma Aug 1 '13 at 21:55
    
I've dry hopped well in excess of 250 batches. 2-4 months should be long enough if it's going to happen, shouldn't it? Maybe it's the varieties you use? I seldom use British or continental hops for dry hops and I've heard they have more problems than most American varieties. –  Denny Conn Aug 1 '13 at 22:29

If your recipe is written as one once by weight, which I can't think of any reason why it shouldn't be. You should be fine with dry hopping and late additions. So as long as the pellets are the flavor you are going for you should be fine.

I dry hop all the time with pellets and I don't use bags or strainers and I get excellent flavor and no haze problems.

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There are some great points in this answer, I've edited it to keep it focused on question asked. –  mdma Aug 1 '13 at 10:41

Try putting them in a paint strainer bag or muslin bag. Since the pellets will fall apart to small shreds, they are likely to funnel through when you siphon off the beer. If you keep them in a bag, only a little bit of the hops will come through and settle out to the bottom quickly. The rest won't make their way through the bags.

As far as pellets vs. hops, there are claims made in the efficiency difference between the two, claiming pellets have better efficiency than whole leaf, but when it comes to dry hopping, as long as the whole leafs are submerged, you likely won't notice the difference. The pellets will sink easily, whereas the leaves will take much longer, well after the recommended 1-2 weeks for dry hopping, reducing the efficiency of the hops. Either way, throw either of them in a bag, weight it with sterilized and clean marbles or coins, and you're good going forward with the amount you planned for.

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