I am super new to brewing but extremely ambitious. I just have a dry hop question so I hope you see this. So I'm currently fermenting a double IPA with Columbus for bittering and Cascade for aroma. Well i'm a huge fan of citrus in my IPAs and I want to dry hop with 2 oz Citra and 2 oz Cascade to bring up my hop aroma. The question is, I am waiting until i rack to secondary, but I want to just drop the pellets into the carboy without a bag since its a narrow neck glass 5 gal. When would you recommend throwing the hops in since i wont be able to extract them. I am going to filter on my racking cane when i siphon into bottling bucket. Can I just toss them in, and rack on top of them from the primary? Should I wait until the last week in the secondary? Should I rack into secondary, pitch the hops in and seal it up for the entire 14 days? Hope someone can help!
It isn't clear from your post what your fermentation schedule is, but it seems like you plan to allow primary fermentation to finish and then rack to a secondary vessel for two weeks. If that's your schedule, then your questions are (1) how long should you dry hop and (2) how should you add the hops to the vessel?
The answer to the first question is, "It depends." Usually one week of dry hop contact time is plenty. Some people go as short as a few days. Some commercial beers are known to be dry hopped for several weeks with multiple hop additions along the way. I suggest you start with one week for this batch and adjust for future batches as you see fit.
As to how to add the hops to the beer, I'm not sure it matters much. I prefer to add the hops on top of the beer because they tend to float on the top at first and then fall through the beer as they saturate. I feel like that makes for better contact, but I don't know that to be true.
Cold crashing is a very effective way of getting pellet hops to settle to the bottom when it comes time to rack off the dry hops. If you have a way to cold crash, I highly recommend it.
One final point I'd like to make is that, despite the advice pretty much every newcomer receives, you don't need to rack your beer to a secondary vessel at all. You'll be packaging this beer in three weeks or less. There's no need to risk contamination and oxidation by racking; the beer can sit in primary for the full three weeks without issue. You can dry hop in primary, too, by just dropping the hops on top of the beer.
When would you recommend throwing the hops in since i wont be able to extract them?
For 1 or 2 weeks before you bottle.
I am going to filter on my racking cane when i siphon into bottling bucket. Can I just toss them in, and rack on top of them from the primary?
You can if you want to.
Should I wait until the last week in the secondary? Should I rack into secondary, pitch the hops in and seal it up for the entire 14 days? Hope someone can help!
Totally depends on how you feel, as you fancy trying new things and ambitious brews, you could add half on day 1 then half 7 days later and stagger the additions.
Or for extra experimentation if you have a 5 gallon batch you could split it into a number of batches an vary the dry hopping in each batch.
The aim of dry-hopping is to get as much of the essential oils of the hop into your beer without extracting bitterness and without driving the volatile compounds off through heat, ie during the boil. So its simply a matter of adding hops to the beer when its cool enough.
I think your question is mainly concerned with the practicalities of cleanly siphoning off when you might have hops floating around. You could use a 'hopback', which is based on the idea that you pass the beer through a sealed vessel which contains the hops and also filters it at the same time, in order to force the liquid into contact with the hops as much as possible:
You could also try adding the hops inside some sort of sanitized perforated bag that you can then lift out when it comes to bottling, but I'm not sure that will be as efficient (potentially less contact with hop surface area).
If you use a pressure barrel rather than bottling, some people throw a handful of hops in the barrel after transferring the beer into it.