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First off, I'm new to kegging.

I made a mistake and added my dry hop pellets straight into the keg (I should have used a bag or something, I know)

So, I believe the problem is that the pellets have clogged up the dip tube. The beer doesn't come out, despite there being pressure, and what does come out is incredibly cloudy.

Is there a way to fix this?

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bags have never helped me with pellets. how wide is your dip tube? –  Jeremy Holovacs Feb 21 '12 at 18:56

2 Answers 2

You can unclog the diptube in place, but it'll just clog right up again. I'd say your best bet is to siphon the beer to another keg, trying to leave as much sediment behind as possible. I would also stick the keg in your fridge for a few days to help coax the hops and proteins to the bottom of the keg.

If that's your only keg, siphon to a sanitized carboy/bucket, take the keg apart and clean it thoroughly, then re-sanitize and siphon the beer back.

If you've never taken apart a keg, I've made some videos on how I work with Cornelius kegs. Anatomy of a corny keg, Disassembly and Cleaning, How I rack beer to a keg.

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When racking, place a sanitized/boiled hop sock over the end of the racking cane to help filter out much of the hop material, or you'll just have the same problem after racking to a new keg. Also, you can add gelatin finings which will help hold the hops at the bottom of the keg. –  mdma Feb 21 '12 at 19:18

Joe's answer is great and I would rack to a new keg if all else fails. There's something simple to try first:

  1. bleed off almost all the CO2 in the keg then blow out any hop material in the beer dip tube by connecting the CO2 tank to the beer out line. (You can put the CO2 connector to the beer out post on corny/firestone kegs, don't know about pin lock kegs.) Turn the pressure up until you hear the tube clear.

  2. Use gelatin finings (if you're not adverse to that) to clear the beer and keep the hops at the bottom of the keg. It's important not to move the keg after the gelatin has settled, so put the keg in it's final serving place after adding the gelatin. Leave for 5 days.

  3. Bleed off most of the CO2 again, and pour a half pint or two. Use minimal dispensing pressure so not to pick up any loose hop particles. With successive pints you can increase the CO2 pressure. You should notice each successive glass becomes clearer.

This isn't 100% guaranteed, but pretty simple, especially if you don't have a spare keg to rack into. Even if you do have a spare, you still get the benefit of a clearer beer. Over time, the hops will give the beer a very strong grassy taste if left in, so the gelatin is helping out here also. (I've left 1/2oz of hops in a bag at the bottom of a keg - initially the flavor was great, but after a month the overpowering grassy taste made the beer undrinkable without diluting with something else.)

In future, as well as using a bag, tie a string to it so you can pull it out after a week or so. The string can be tied to either the gas dip tube, or simply hanging out the top of the lid - wedged between the O-ring and the keg mouth. If the string is thin it won't affect the seal.

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Agree with the 'blow out any hop material...' I had this happen at a friend of mine's house just before a big party. I don't think he dry hopped a whole bunch, but what we did, and it worked, was to rig the CO2 to the output of the corney keg, so that CO2 was forced down the dip tube. The first pint or two could be eaten with a spoon, but it flowed. And the party went on with the keg pouring. –  Dale Feb 22 '12 at 21:56

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