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I have so far only done bottom-fermented beers without transferring into a second vessel for secondary fermentation. If I wanted to do some dry hopping with this technique, when is the best time to put the hops? Towards the end of fermentation into the fermenter or into the bottles when it is bottling time?

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So does this mean you've only done lagers and left the beer on the entire yeast cake for the lagering process? I am confused a bit by the wording of the question. –  brewchez Mar 19 '10 at 16:46
    
I agree. Bad wording. Here's what I do: I ferment in a locked fermentor until I have anywhere between 50 and 70% fermentation (depending on the beer), the yeast has settled and the the foam has gone down. Then I fill the beer in bottles and have it condition there at cold temperatures for at least 2 weeks. So I guess, I am doing something like a combined bottle-conditioning/secondary, right? I worked in a big, industrial brewery in Germany many years back, so I am kinda downscaling an industrial process, I guess, and adding some of the good stuff, like dry-hopping. –  Tobi Mar 20 '10 at 10:41
    
Oh, and usually I get a bit of yeast in the bottles by accident but the majority of the yeast cake I throw out. –  Tobi Mar 20 '10 at 10:45
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2 Answers

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I started dry hopping in primary as a rule. I add my dry hops after the most vigorous part of fermentation is over, about 3-4 days. Waiting a bit helps prevent more foaming I have found. However I do add the hops before the ferment is done. The reason for this is that when adding whole hops to the fermentor they are filled with a lot of air. That air can lead to some oxidation/staling. By adding the hops while there is still signs of fermentation the yeast tend to consume the oxygen limiting the oxidation of the beer some.

Yes the ferment activity does "scrub" some of the volatile aromatics out of the beer, but who cares, you just add more hops to compensate. Its a recipe issue not a process issue. Increase your normal dry hop addition by 10-15% to compensate.

I can't take credit for this technique. I heard about it on The Brewing Network from Mike McDole. I had heard about it prior to the BN, but it has been best explained there.

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I suggest you do it a week or a few days before bottling. Hop aromas are volatile and the less time they are in an "open" environment the better. If you throw the hops in without a bag allow a little extra time for them to settle as well.

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