Over the past few days we have decided when to dry hop and we have decided what variety of hops to use so now the next question is which hop form we are going to use. The options are pellet hops, hop plugs or loose hops.
Plug hops have the convenience of being pre-measured (1/2 ounce each), they fit into a bag easily, and fit through the neck of a carboy fairly easily, too. Plugs were designed with dry hopping in mind and they still work for that purpose.
Loose hops must be measured to the quantity desired for your beer but they, too, fit easily through the neck of a carboy. Not so easily if you wish to put them in a bag, however!
Pellet hops, too, must be weighed but are by far the easiest hop to pour into the neck of a carboy. They also fit through the neck of a carboy easily when bagged. As I said in an earlier blog article, I use a muslin hop bag (these are available on our website at www.bluestemwine.com) and I sanitize the bag and a length of string. After sanitizing the bag I pour the hops into the bag and tie a knot in the top of the bag. I then tie the string just below the bag knot and push the bag through the neck of the carboy. I then use the carboy bung to adjust the bag of hops so that they are suspended in the carboy. The fine mesh of the muslin bag contains the hops as they dissolve. This bag will swell up making it impossible to pull it back out of the carboy. Simply rack the beer out of the carboy to your bottling bucket when the beer is ready to bottle. Then pull the bag up to the neck (using the attached string) of the carboy and snip a hole in the bag with a scissors. Shake the bag up and down, the hop residue will exit the bag so that the bag can be removed. The simply rinse the hop residue out of your carboy.
Tomorrow: Hop Quantity to Use When Dry Hopping
Wine Tidbit: Any formal dinner calls for special wines! Serve Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or any other full-bodied red, Chardonnay which has been oak-aged or any red or white which is special. Always serve a wine which you enjoy!
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