Sanitizing for Dry Hopping?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by IPAphilic, Apr 4, 2013.

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  1. IPAphilic

    IPAphilic Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2010 Minnesota

    Long time IPA drinker, first time brewer.
    I find myself being completely paranoid about contaminating my first batch of beer.
    How much do I have to worry about sanitizing during dry hopping?
    Multiple threads have suggested dry hopping in muslin sacks; do people sanitize the bag prior to adding hop? Also, I'm planning on leaving in the 2nd'ary for 3 weeks, should I dry hop for the 1st wk or the last wk? (1oz Willamette, 1oz Cascade)
  2. rmalinowski4

    rmalinowski4 Disciple (329) Oct 22, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I would dry hop the last week. Boil the bag for 5 minutes or so before adding the hops to secondary.
  3. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,028) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I let my hops go free when I dryhop. A lot of guys like to throw their hops into primary and skip the secondary. I never had any luck with that. I let my beer go in the primary for a week or two after I reach terminal gravity, throw my hops into the secondary, rack the beer onto thehops and dryhop for about a week. But that's me, and it seems iam in the minority. If you use a sack sanitize it first, and use a stainless steel weight to hold it down, also sanitized. I wouldn't dryhop for three weeks though. I'd go a week tops.
  4. fuzzbalz

    fuzzbalz Disciple (315) Apr 13, 2002 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Just dump them in, just needs 5 to 10 days or so, do it near the end of secondary. You can cold crash to help with floaties, or just do what I do and sanitize a 1 gal paint strainer bag and put it over your auto siphon when you transfer.
  5. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2006 Michigan

    I'll tell you what I'd do. Just throw them dang hops right in the fermenter. No bag, no worries. Leaf hops will float and are easy to siphon beer from underneath and pellet will settle out and you can siphon the beer out from off the top of them.
    nickfl and billandsuz like this.
  6. randal

    randal Initiate (80) Apr 21, 2004 Colorado

    If this is your first beer I would skip the dry hops. If anything goes wrong you will have one less point of failure to troubleshoot. The beer will still be good without them.
    Duff27 likes this.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There is absolutely no need to transfer to a secondary for dry hopping. By eliminating this transfer you eliminate the potential for oxidation which could occur during a transfer. Oxidation is very bad for all beer styles but even worse for hoppy beers.

    I personally use pellets to dry hop and I place them in a muslin bag weighed down with marbles. I boil the muslin bag and marble to sanitize them.

    I let my beer finish primary fermentation and then I simply drop the dry hops (in the bag) into the primary fermenter for the intended time duration.

    As others have mentioned it is not a requirement to place you dry hops in a muslin bag but if you dry hop with pellets you could experience clogging during racking; the dry hop bits can clog up the racking cane. Some folks place a paint strainer bag over their racking cane to mitigate clogging.

  8. Reneejane

    Reneejane Devotee (440) Jan 15, 2004 Illinois

    if pellets, throw them in the fermenter. If whole leaf hops, do bag them, I have clogged up all my siphon tubes around those things, inevitably they dont' all float, IDK why someone else has no trouble with it, but I sure did. And, yeah boiling the bag should work fine. I used a nylon paint strainer.
  9. leedorham

    leedorham Crusader (701) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

    I will respectfully disagree with that. If op loves IPA's, he should dry hop his beer.
  10. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (688) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Hops help preserve beer if anything...I've dumped homegrown hops with spider webs, bugs, etc in with no problem...if using a bag, dunk in Starsan and drain before filling with hops.
    Duff27 likes this.
  11. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    When you brew outdoors in the woods (like I do) there's usually some sort of critter that attempts to get into the beer (usually during mash/boil). That's how we made "yellow jacket ale" one day. :rolling_eyes:
  12. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    This is an excellent place to start. :slight_smile: Just remember that sanitation doesn't matter so much on the hot side of brewing. Yes, everything should be clean, but it's all going to get boiled and sanitized. As for the fermentation and the packaging, you should stay smart and try to be sanitary. I personally don't use muslin bags. I use pellet hops and they always sink to the bottom of the fermenter after a week of dry hopping.

    Dry hop the last week to 10 days and you'll do fine. Just make sure you don't splash at all when you rack off a hop-forward beer like an IPA. oxidizing hoppy beers is a BAD thing. Regardless, RDWHAHB and you'll be fine.
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  13. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (295) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I dry hop in the serving vessel, so this won't be relevant from a technique perspective. But as to sanitation, I use a big grain sack - the size you would use to steep, maybe, 2 lbs of grain. I like to leave plenty of room for the beer to get around the hops. I keep a spray bottle of StarSan solution in my brew house. I lay the sack on a clean surface, then spray it with StarSan, just enough to wet it. The hops, themselves, are not a source of worry - they're sanitized by nature. I then add the pellets to the bag, tie the top loosely, and drop it in the keg. Pellets will sink after a while, so there's no need to weigh it down. After two weeks or so, I remove the hops by transferring the beer to another keg (I push it with CO2 so there's no risk of oxidation). Some hop 'dust' escapes the bag, but not enough to worry about (indeed, about 20 minutes after dropping the hops in the keg, I draw the most insanely hoppy beer imaginable! This, to me, is one of the highlights of any batch of IPA. It's analogous to licking the spoon. :slight_smile:)
  14. EdH

    EdH Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2005 Utah

    Kind of a tangent, but: Don't let the internet scare you over sanitizing so much. Yes, it's really important--so just do it, and you'll be fine. Going in to panic mode won't do your beer any favors.
  15. Brewski

    Brewski Zealot (533) Jul 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    When I dry hop I add my hops to a hop bag. I sanitize the hop bag by soaking it in Starsan for a couple of minutes. Hops are a natural preservative so no need to sanitize them. At least I never do and never had any problems. Add them to the secondary during the last week. Happy Brewing!
  16. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Aspirant (295) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    While the techniques and anal retentiveness of many here regarding sanitation is often over the top, IMO, I think it's safe to say that nobody has ever ruined a beer because they over sanitized.
  17. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (300) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    bees love sweet boiling wort, like a moth to the flame.
    the first few times i was annoyed.
    then i learned that the bees have zero interest in the brewer, and it reminds us that beer is, after all is said and done, still a mystery from nature. bees, spiders, yeast, meh.
    AlCaponeJunior likes this.
  18. EdH

    EdH Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2005 Utah

    But needlessly freaking out over it can lead to other mistakes/oversights. Pretty sure it was on the old forum, but: I remember a "What's wrong with my beer?" thread in which the dude never took any gravity readings because he was scared shitless that opening the bucket and sticking a sanitized hydrometer in it would ruin the beer. So yeah--overdoing it can be problematic.
    nickfl likes this.
  19. augustg

    augustg Initiate (190) Sep 15, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    F'ing Gross!
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