Using a hop sock

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by JAMC, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. JAMC

    JAMC Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    England
    A quick question on hop socks.

    Imagine two identical recipes being brewed with only one difference in the process. Batch A uses a hop sock during the boil, whilst the hops are thrown into batch B "freestyle". Would identical hops result in different IBU levels simply because of the hop sock?

    I ask because of a perceived stronger bitterness (where recipes had the same or similar IBU) from batches where I've thrown the hops straight into the kettle without a sock.
     
  2. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That might be - they do restrain the boil some. I actually don't mind the filter effect of the hops, but I guess that depends on your set-up. I've done the bags and decided I just like to let the cones surf the boil. Damn, I love hops.
     
  3. chessking

    chessking New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, Colorado
    Theoretically, there would be a difference. With the hops churning around in the boil, contact w/ the hot wort could give greater utilization. However, IMHO, the difference would be minimal. You used the word "perceived". This is appropriate, as it is the perception of bitterness, not the IBU's that influence our experience of a beers bitterness. Taste is the final arbitrator of bitterness. I use a hop strainer that allows the hops to "churn around" in the boil, but at the end of boil, I can remove them to simplify the whirlpool/chill. This is perhaps a middle ground between hop sock, and total freedom. A 3" to 4" PVC reducer, a 1 gallon paint strainer, a 4" SS jubilee clamp, and a belt clip form a 25 foot Stanley tape measure. Total cost about 7 bucks.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. JAMC

    JAMC Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    England
    Eventually of course all the cones sink to the bottom, which causes me grief when I'm trying to keep the cold break protein gunk out of the fermenter when siphoning. Hence why I've reverted to using a sock. Well, I say sock, I'm using a medium sized drawstring bag - but the principle is the same.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,363
    Likes Received:
    6,592
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Also, as long as you know which beer is which, you can't be sure you are telling the difference. There may be an expectation of lower bitterness from the beer brewed with the hop sack, so you taste what you expect. Our taste buds aren't all that good, in general a difference of 5 IBU is barely detectable. So your brain fills in. The only way really to tell is for someone to serve several samples in such a way that they know which is which but you do not and use good old fashioned statistics to estimate the chance you are detecting a difference. That said, I always use a hop sack for pellets and have always gotten satisfactory results - the IPA I'm sipping right now is a prime example!

    Cheers!
     
  6. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,728
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    That is an awesome hop sock!
     
  7. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    No doubt. I just threw bags of hops in the pot. Makes me feel like a frakkin caveman.
     
  8. BronxBrewer

    BronxBrewer New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Love that hop sock ! Don't mind if a steal the idea and make one for myself do ya ?
     
  9. chessking

    chessking New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, Colorado
    Not my idea to steal. I developed it from seeing other versions. My only variation was the tape measure clip which allows easy attachment to the kettle. It is stainless, and is pop riveted to the PVC, which surprisingly, has been a solid joint.

    I also have recently started leaving my long spoon in the bag to keep it stable. The hop pellets tend to float initially, and this keeps the bag expanded and not floating on the top. Over time the PVC has distorted some with the heat. Not enough to effect the usefulness, it only looks funny.

    With a mindset to always upgrade, I am on the lookout for something similar made out of stainless. Something cheap, or even free would be better.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,363
    Likes Received:
    6,592
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    That is a pretty awesome freakin' hop sock! I agree with an earlier post: I bag pellets and let the cones swim. In fact, I've pretty much decided that my bittering hops will normally be pellets and my flavor/aroma hops will be whole cones. As to utilization, I can't tell that there's a real difference between pellets and whole flowers - perhaps the increased utilization of the pellets is made up for by the bag. To tell the difference, you'd have to split a wort into two batches, boil for the same time. At that point if you have a liquid chromatograph lying around doing nothing you could analyze for iso alpha acids and infer differences in bitterness from there. But for most of us home brewers, simply complete the beers using exactly the same process, then have someone help you run a blind taste test, preferably with several testers. Yep, we're talking an experiment here... I'd run it with something light and moderately hopped so the difference in bitterness, if any, would be pronounced. You'll likely get different results, so you'll have to apply non-parametric statistics to test the null hypothesis (equality of bitterness) to determine the difference....

    Or just brew the beer and enjoy. Most of us can't tell a 5-IBU difference anyway. When it comes to subtle differences such as the difference in bitterness for bagged and unbagged hops, I quote Charlie Papazian: Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.
     
  11. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,728
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    My only concern with that hop sock design is the temperature rating on the white plastic. Looks like regular PVC, which I do not think is rated for high temps. I would keep the plastic as far away from the boiling wort as possible, as not to melt / dissolve the plastic.

    When I was first learning to brew, I bought a cheap plastic spoon from my local home brew store. I ended up melting the bottom of the spoon in the kettle, and threw out the wort because of that (part of the spoon was gone and something didn't smell right!) I was using a propane burner, and let the plastic spoon touch the bottom - bad idea, good learning experience. I bought a longer stainless steel spoon as a result - been with me ever since.
     
  12. chessking

    chessking New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, Colorado
    I don't know the temperature rating of the PVC, but after about 50 brews, it has changed shape some, but is still intact. With a 6.5 gal pre boil volume in my kettle, there is about a half inch gap from fluid to PVC. Boil temperature in Colorado is about 202 deg F, because of altitude. I believe I got most of the distortion from when I left the lid on the kettle during a boil, and steam temps, which are much higher than liquid temps, warped it some. I normally leave the lid on until I get to a boil, then remove it for DMS reduction purposes, but this one time I put it back. Don't know why. The bag never reaches the bottom of the kettle, and I have always used a stainless spoon. I did one time fry a BIAB trying to step mash some rye malt. Finished the beer anyway and it tasted great. True kettle (and nylon) carmalization. One of those things you could never recreate.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,728
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Mmmm notes of nylon... I wonder if it just settled out with the trub?

    Awesome pic!
     
  14. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    961
    Likes Received:
    578
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Mentor, Ohio
    Another option is to toss all the hops into the boil and get maximum utilization. After the boil and chill, take the strainer bag and wrap it around your auto siphon and then transfer the bulk of your wort to the fermentor.
    The balance will have to be poured through the strainer bag into the fermentor and then squeezed out.
    This way there is no chance of melting your strainer bag or extracting chemicals out of it.
    You also get the benefit of catching all the break material in the bag. This will lead to more compacted trub and in the end, more BEER!
    Hope this helps.
    Brian
    TBM
     
  15. chessking

    chessking New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, Colorado
    I suppose I should update the recipe in the editor to include the nylon. Would I put it under "other ingredients"?
     
  16. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,728
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Tasting notes too... hehe!
     
  17. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    29
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    I used a sack (muslin mesh) in my first brew, it came with the kit. Planning to brew tomorrow, and thinking I'll just toss them in "free form" this time and see what happens. I'm pouring the wort into carboy thru a strainer, so the gunk should get caught anyway, right?

    (1 oz citra leaf, 0.5 oz each Motueka, Simcoe and Cascade ... mmmmmmm .... hopefully it works)

    MrBIP
     
  18. chessking

    chessking New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, Colorado

    You should be fine. The only drawback is the strainer can clog up, slowing down the process. pellet hops clog easier, as they are a fine paste like consistency, where cone hops hold together better.Even if some hop or break material gets in the fermenter it wont effect the taste noticeably. Some say they can tell, but I never could. It should all settle out, and you can rack off it in a couple weeks.
     
  19. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    869
    Likes Received:
    337
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    One trick that works well for me is to use 2 straining clothes.
    The first one I clothes-pin across the top of the fermentor (plastic carboy), and just lay the 2nd one on top of that one. As soon as the filter cloth starts to clog, I just peel off the top cloth, give it a quick rinse, and lay it back across the top of the pinned cloth.
    I don't bag any hops in the boil, and still only have to rinse out the top cloth once if I have used a lot of pellets. Cones sink mostly to the bottom of the pot (I scoop any floaters before pouring into the fermentor).

    Another benefit of the 2 cloth method is better filtering. Even with pellets, I haven't ended up with any break material in the fementor.
     
  20. KnowledgeableDrunk

    KnowledgeableDrunk New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    FOCO, CO
    I free hop it, that way my guess can do what they want
     

Share This Page

arrow_white