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When making an IPA yesterday, I decided to throw in every last hop leaf and pellet I had laying around. It turned out to be quite a bit. Also, due to a lack of space, I decided to use my kettle as a primary fermenter. So at the end of the boil, I tried getting as much hops out as possible. We had a small taste of the cooled wort, labelled it as "incredibly bitter" and moved on.

Today, about 14 hours after pitching, this hopstrosity looks like this:

hop monster

My question is, Should I try to remove all the hop leaf / sludge floating on top of the krausen?

Basically, I don't want the green / leafy taste from leaving plant material in the wort for too long. And while this vigorous fermentation is taking place, it has presented me with an opportunity to reach in and pull the hop material out with a ladle.

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    Ahhh... The good old "Everything but the kitchen sink" recipe! :p – Atron Seige Oct 22 '15 at 6:53
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You've made your bed of hops, now lay in it.

Now is not the time to be messing about in your fermenter. Or, frankly, opening it up to take pictures of it. The beer is very susceptible to infection right now. Your massive dose of hops might be a little protective, but you can only get so much alpha acid in your beer, so you haven't made some super-immune beer.

BTW, that kettle looks a lot like a bucket. Do you have some tricky way of boiling in there?

  • By kettle, I should have said, "plastic bucket with an element shoved into the side of it". Do you think leaving them in would bad? While I don't want an infection, I also don't want a really crappy beer – TomSelleck Oct 21 '15 at 13:10
  • You're all good. Just wait for the bubbles to slow and rack into a secondary, leaving all the crud behind. – BoilerBrad Oct 21 '15 at 13:57
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    Too much hops in the fermenter can give you a grassy flavours. However, for now, just leave it. If the beer is too bitter then leave it for a few months; the bitterness will mellow and the beer should be great. – Atron Seige Oct 22 '15 at 6:56
  • @AtronSeige unfortunately it needs to be ready in 5 weeks from today.. – TomSelleck Oct 22 '15 at 7:16
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the Basic Brewing Radio podcast did an experiment to test the difference between the fermentation of a batch with all the trub removed (or as much as possible) and all the trub left in primary.

The BBR experiments page: Look for Jan/Feb 2012. I cannot find the results page, but I remember the results showing that while both batches finished at the same terminal gravity, the batch with the trub fermented to completion faster. I haven't listened to it in some time, but I think there were no noticeable difference in flavor.

As BoilerBrad said, you'll be fine. Racking to secondary will clean up the beer nicely.

  • Thanks for the reply, eases my mind a little. I've never done a secondary fermentation, is it okay to use another plastic bucket for it rather than a glass carboy? – TomSelleck Oct 21 '15 at 20:35
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    @Tomcelic - Any clean container is okay for secondary, glass just keeps out oxygen better than plastic. And if you're not worried about it being super clear, then just bottle or keg after primary finishes. – Rube Oct 21 '15 at 22:00
  • Glass also lets you more easily observe the clarity of the beer, No other advantages. – BoilerBrad Oct 22 '15 at 5:03

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