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I'm making an IPA and I'm going to be dry hopping it this weekend in the secondary fermentation phase. I've been thinking about the dry hopping process alot, mainly about the diffusion of the hoppiness throughout the beer during this phase. I plan on putting the pellets in a nylon sachet to keep them contained for easy removal, but by doing this is it possible that the beer immediately surrounding the sachet will be more hopped than the rest of it?

And should I stir it lightly in order to make sure there is more even hopping?

Also, how can I be sure the dry hopping won't contaminate my beer?

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For what it's worth, hops inhibit the growth of lactobacillus and pediococcus, two of the most common contaminants that will spoil your beer. By that logic, IPAs are going to theoretically be pretty safe from contamination. You seem like you're pretty conscious about sanitation, I'd be surprised if you ran into problems in this regard. –  Scott Jul 30 at 19:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

While some claim that the addition of hops to their beer have contributed to contamination, it is quite rare considering how hops are anti-microbial in nature. While not having any way of confirming it, I would suspect contamination on those situations occurred due to some other unsanitary practice (didn't sanitize the bag, weights, or it was already infected before dry-hopping, etc). If you're concerned about contamination, you could soak them briefly in vodka, sterilize your hop bag using Star-San (or even the vodka if you can get sufficient coverage on the bag), add the hops to the bag, and pour the hop-infused vodka into the beer along with the hops.

You shouldn't have to stir the beer. Doing so would simply kick up the yeast and proteins that have settled out, resulting in more cloudy beer. When you go to rack the beer off into a keg or to your bottling bucket, it'll get sufficiently stirred during the racking, especially if you are bottling and adding sugar in bulk to the beer before pouring off into bottles, since you'd need to stir in the sugar anyways.

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Thanks for the help, Chose your answer because you addressed my concerns more directly and you were first. Also good point on the priming sugar part, I forgot I would be doing that haha. –  Tory Hill Jul 30 at 19:46
    
You're welcome. –  Scott Jul 30 at 20:14

There is no need to stir your beer after dry hopping. Especially when you consider, that in your scenario, you will definitely be racking the beer yet before it reaches it's final storage destination (keg/bottle).

RE: contamination, just make sure your sachet is sanitized, and when you open the sealed hop bag, use sanitized hands/scissors, and then pour the hops right into the sachet or fermenter.

Lastly, using a nylon sachet is a great practice for reducing the amount of hop debris in your final product. Also, if you ever have difficulty placing or hanging the bag into the fermenter, you can always leverage the same bag when transferring your beer to keg/bottling bucket instead, placing the output of your siphon tubing into the sachet.

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