To Sack, or not to Sack.....

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Feb 23, 2009
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I am patiently waiting for my wines to age, and have started a couple batches of beer in the meantime. First was an american pale ale from Coleridge. Not a bad kit.. Came with 3 hop additions although they were only labelled flavoring(pellet), bittering(pellet) and aroma(whole hops flowers), 3.3lb UME, 3 lb bag of DME and 3 lb bag of "specialty grains".. Followed directions to the tee and used the supplied hop sacks for the specified additions.. The thing that always worries me about using hop sacks is the amount of utilization I am getting from the hops.. I have read that some people just drop the hops into the boil. That is fine, but I am a little worried about the amount of particles that may end up in the final product.. I have always used the sacks and have always wondered if I am missing some of the potential hop goodness in my beers.. Getting ready to start a Sierra Nevada Celebration clone later this week(extract kit) and am looking for any opinions.

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Well I just kegged a Sierra 10 gal AG. Nice beer.
As far the hops go bittering is in the whole boil Flavor are in for 15-20 min and aroma are in 5-10 min. When in the mood I use hop bags other times I just dump them in the boil. Once finished you should cool and swirl the wort. In doing so all the hops cold and hot break matter will drop and form a come and that is left behind.
Hope this answered what you are concerned about.
Thankyou Tom.. That is very helpful info.. I have one other dry hop(cascade pellet) question.. If you dry hop, how do you handle it.. Just drop them in the secondary?? They should float to the bottom I assume.. Or sanitize a hop sack and toss them in that way. I am transfering the APA to secondary tonight and plan on using 2 oz for the dry hop.. BTW, In the past I have always hop sacked them...
Sanitize the hop bag and then add hops to the bag. Toss it in and let it sit for a week or 2
If ya got one, use it. If not just dump them in. Sanitize the sock first. I personally never use one for dry hopping. I just dump them in, let sit for a week and then give it a stir and they settle to the bottom in a couple days.
I've never used a hop bag or sock. Using both hop pellets and whole (dried) hops...never had any particulate matter in the final beer.

Like wine, sufficient secondary time for clearing, and maybe a crash cooling, should get you clear beer. Shouldn't need to filter it.
You could put a screen in your boil pot attached to a bulkhead then a ball valve and that will eliminate it also.
Thankyou for the advise all! I ended up just throwing in 2 oz of cascade hop pellets in the secondary.. Will stir in a week and wait for them to settle. On a side note.. Went to our local beverage center and picked up some Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.. You must like hops in order to appreciate this beer! One of my new favorite beers, and one I would like to clone in the future..

Just an update.. I dry hopped the cascade without a hop sack on the Coleridge American Pale Ale and the beer came out great! Nice hop smell and flavor.. Not quite as hoppy as a SN Pale Ale, but pretty close! Will be making this kit again if it ever becomes available on again.. At ~ $.60/bottle it can't be beat... Some of the un-sacked hops made it into the bottling bucket and even a smaller amount into the bottles.. By the time the beer was ready to drink, all the particles were absorbed by the thin layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle, and if poured into a glass gently, none make it into the finished product. The tradeoff was a much more flavorful and aromatic beer. Will be using this method on my future batches! Thankyou again for all the great advice!

Sounds good. If it never comes up for sale just make your own recipe. It is pretty easy.
dry hopping, I would use a sack. reason being: you get 0 utilization either way since there's no heat to issomerize the alpha acids.

dry hop in a sack for 'less particulate matter' especially if you do that in secondary.

in the kettle, I still say just drop em in, as the yeast flocculation, finings, and a secondary should all remove that stuff.

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