Re: I hate leaf hops....

Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:10 pm

Your "kick ass boil" is probably overkill, all you should need is surface activity, not some raging, spitting thing.

+1 on multiple bags although last time I used cone hops (it isn't really the leaves you are using) I used one bag and just pulled up the string so it would cool a bit before dumping in the next addition.

The other thing you can do if you find a failed siphon situation is to scoop out your wort quart at a time and pour it through a strainer in a funnel until you can pour the remainder through from the kettle. You really want a ball valve eventually, take some work out of it. You aren't maiming your stock pot, you are making it cooler!
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Re: I hate leaf hops....

Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:55 am

I have a hop strainer fitted to my kettle tap and have exactly the same problem with leaf hops. Always clogs up and blocks. Most recently I had to steralise a spoon a dip it into the wort to move hops out the way of the strainer ... after a minute it would clog again and Id have to keep repeating. In doing so, I clearly must've taken a load of hot and cold break through to FV. What would be the effect of that?
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Re: I hate leaf hops....

Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:18 am

I used to use a bazooka screen in the kettle connected to my ball valve and it worked well for whole hops, but pellets would plug up the screen. When the screen clogged, I switched to the racking cane with a stainless scrubie method and that worked ok. I recently switched to the Bichmann Hop Blocker and it has worked very well for both whole and pellet hops. I am recirculating with the Jamil immersion chiller and that helps to get the hops and trub in the middle of the kettle. I also recommend upgrading your kettle with a weldless ball valve. :aaron
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Re: I hate leaf hops....

Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:31 am

I always found the stainless or copper scrubbie worked well and even filtered the trub to the carboys. But you really have to adjust for how much wort they suck up. I always ended up with about a gallon less.
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Re: I hate leaf hops....

Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:50 am

I have a simple and effective solution for your hate of whole hops. Put them in a food processor and chop them up.

I grow and use my own hops and I have a food processor that I use solely for hops. I got frustrated by the amount of wort absorbed in the kettle and the amount of finished beer lost while dry-hopping, when using whole hops. Putting them in a food processor breaks up the cones and makes them behave like pellets. Faster extraction of their flavor, less absorption and they form a compact cone like pellets.
Told you it was simple.

hopshead wrote:Caution, this is me bitching about homebrewing with leaf hops, the post might be a bit long so if you have anyway better to spend your time don't ready this. I just need to vent.

I have been brewing for over 4 years now (3 years all grain). Until about 5 months ago, I always used pellet hops. So, when I place my last bulk hops order, I decided what the hell, I should try out leaf hops and see if I note any different flavors, aromas, etc. in my favorite brews. So, I bought 2 pounds of Cascade, 2 pounds of Willamette, 1 pound of Nugget, and 1 pound of Cluster.

First, a disclosure about my brewery..... I was a douche when I bought my 15 gallon stainless kettle a couple of years ago, because, "I want to keep that pot pristine, no ball valves for me, I can use a siphon." That wasn't such a bad idea until 5 months ago when I wanted to use leaf hops. Why, guess what, the siphon stays clogged with the hops and you can't get your damn IPA into the fermenter.

I did all my google research to figure out how to separate the hops from the wort (never had the big of issue for me until I got leaf hops). You name it, I tried it, whirlpooling, building a "hop sack" with pvc coupling, and a plain 'ole hop bag loose in the boil. It all sucked.

First, whirlpooling only works well with pellet hops. With pellet hops you get some resemblance of a cone and can siphon your wort from the side of the kettle. With a hoppy IPA, leaf hops don't "pile up" in the center, or if they do, there are too many damn hops in there for the pile to do you any good. On to the hop sack.

So, when I make IPAs, pale ales, etc., I like to have multiple additions starting from mid boil to flame out. When you put a hop sack, in a boil loose with the opening crimped shut with wire - you have to open the bitch up when you add more hops. Can I just say, that is royal pain in the ass, and when you're in a hurry or drunk, it burns your fingers too. I know I saw pictures online where someone used a pvc coupling to suspend their hop bag from the top of the kettle....

So, I bought a 5 inch diameter pvc coupling, a clamp, and a big paint straining bag. I rigged it all up and things were good for the bittering addition only. I put in my first gob of hops at the 30 min. mark and guess what... Leaf hops hate boiling wort. They don't want to get wet, so I go to poking and pushing the little bastards down in the sack an then what... The friggin, clamp popped off the bottom with all the pokin' and the damn hops are free in the kettle. Shit, another bitchin' day siphoning wort. So the next brew day.....

I use the same set up again, but I really really tighten the clamp around the straining bag and pvc coupling. No way that is going to happen again, right. Bittering addition is fine, 30 min. addition fine. At the 15 min. addition, I am poking the hops again - remember leaf hops don't like to get wet - then bang the clamp came off and loose hops in the boil. After further inspection - I saw the root cause was that my kick ass boil, was throwing wort on the pvc coupling and warped the bitch just enough that the clamp fell off. so... lets try something different on the next brew.

Last night I was making an IPA with pile of Williamette hops. I got a tea infuser (mesh steel ball) and slightly bent the frame so that it would form around my siphon. Good idea I thought because it would keep the hops directly off the racking cane and wort could flow freely. "Wrong dumb ass - try again," there were so many leaf hops in the kettle that they essentially made an impassible filter to where the wort will not siphon. So, "F" it, I went the kitchen, got a large measuring cup and strainer. (I know, I know...) I sanitized them both, opened the fermenter and kettle, and proceeded to pour wort over the strainer into the fermenter catching the leaf hops in the strainer. After two pours, I had to dump the strainer because of so many damn hops. 30 F'ing minutes later I have a fermenter full of wort (probably infected with airborne nasty stuff) pitched my yeast and its fermenting away.

The way I see it, my brewery and/or my skills will not accommodate leaf hops. I have two more pounds of hops left and then it is pellet hops here on out. NOW.... for all this trouble did I notice positive flavor and aroma differences in my favorite homebrews? Shit no. First, I realized two brews into my leaf hops bulk order that I needed to correct the quantity of hops in my brewing software because the leaf hops don't equate oz for oz with pellet hops. Then, even though I try to keep my hops fresh in vacuumed sealed bags in the freezer, they just don't smell as fresh as the pellets when I used them. MY Ipa's have been, blah with flavor and aroma for the past 5 months.

Now, if you're still reading this, I am truly sorry you wasted your time - you're never getting that time back by the way. Secondly, if you have any thoughts, words of wisdom, or just want to crack on my lack of brewing skills with these damn leaf hops - fire away! I need to laugh at this point.
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Re: I hate leaf hops....

Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:02 am

Lol, people, stop calling them "leaf" hops...the leaves are not used, it is the cone!!! You really don't want any of the leaf in your bag of hops just like you don't want stem, just cone.
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Re: I hate leaf hops....

Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:46 pm

I'd say stick to pellet :) *slightly biased*
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Re: I hate leaf hops....

Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:36 pm

11amas wrote:Lol, people, stop calling them "leaf" hops...the leaves are not used, it is the cone!!! You really don't want any of the leaf in your bag of hops just like you don't want stem, just cone.


To be fair ... the cones ARE made of leaves! :P :P
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