Author Topic: Just switched to all-grain  (Read 2688 times)

Offline Charlando

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Just switched to all-grain
« on: September 28, 2014, 09:29:17 AM »
Hi all. My brother-in-law and I brewed for the first time almost 10 years ago. We've had a good time and have enjoyed the results, but still have only brewed a handful of times. We were doing extract brewing and bottling and just recently made the switch to all grain and kegging. We're trying to scrounge together equipment to increase our volume a bit and make it more of a regular habit.

My parents have some hops growing in their backyard. No idea what variety. They gave me all their cones the last time I saw them, and I was wondering what advice you might have about brewing with whole cone hops--so far we've only used pellets. I know sticking them in a bag is a good idea to keep the chunks out of the wort, but I guess my big question would be about quantity. Are pellets more concentrated? Would I have to use more ounces of the cones than I would of the pellets? Or am I just overthinking this? I know that without a clear picture of what variety of hop I'm using here that we'll be doing some experimentation/trial and error anyway, but if any of you fine folks have advice, I'd certainly appreciate it. Thanks!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Just switched to all-grain
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2014, 12:40:24 PM »
Without knowing what kind of hops they are, there is no way to tell how much bitterness they will add to the brew.  Well, there is. But it would involve buying an acid titration kit and figuring out how to use it (a quick google came up with kits for testing the acidity of wine, but not much for hops), or sending some off to a lab (which costs money).

I would suggest using them for flavor or aroma hops, as in the ones you add towards the end of the boil, and continuing to use pellets for the first additions.

It might not be a bad idea to make a tea with them first, so you can see if you like the flavor or not.

As far as quantity goes, because pellet hops are pulverized, you get better utilization from them. A quick google suggested using 10 to 20 percent more whole hops than pellets.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Charlando

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Re: Just switched to all-grain
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2014, 04:01:12 PM »
Awesome, thanks for the advice. All of my whole leaf vs. pellet searches gave me arguments about which is superior, but no specifics on quantity. Thanks for being better at Google than me :)