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I'm brewing an IPA that calls for the addition of hops when I rack to secondary. I have pelletized hops still sealed in their plastic packaging and I'm wondering if they can be added to the secondary directly or if anything needs to be done to them first from a sanitation standpoint?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You don't need to do anything to sanitize the hops. By the time your beer is going into a secondary, the alcohol and pH make it very resistant to infections. Just make sure to use a fine mesh bag. I didn't do that during my first attempt at dry hopping and it was almost impossible to get all of the hop particles out of the finished beer :)

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Yes. Hop bags are your friends when it comes to dry hopping. I usually sanitize the bags, but don't bother with sanitizing hops. – Hopwise Jan 4 '11 at 1:07
Good point about sanitizing the bag. I forgot to mention that. – RobM Jan 4 '11 at 14:44
If you're using pellets you shouldn't need a bag. After a couple days the hop pellet particles will all be at the bottom of the fermentor. – Tom McCann Jan 5 '11 at 19:58

Nope, add them directly. Hops are supposedly antibacterial. In addition, the alcohol content and low pH of the beer makes it resistant to infection at this point.

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