1 Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2018 8:48 PM

Righto you blokes..(and Sheilas)…I have recently started adding late hops to my brews, I have a mesh tea ball which I chuck in the electric kettle and boil up before I use it, I usually add it to the brew at about day 6-7 a few days before I bottle. It has been successful about 50% of the time but I have been getting infections in the other half. If I get to it quick enough and bottle it seems to be OK I have one in the brewer now which I think I will have to tip. This one I actually gave the tea ball a good spray of sanitizer after the boil but I still got an infection.
So a couple of questions, should I add the hops earlier, maybe the brew has stopped producing Co2 and therefore letting infection in when I open the top to add the hops, would it be a problem to add the hops when I put the brew on, eliminating the need to open the brewer at all before the brew is finished, or should I simply add the hops at about day 3-4…keen to hear your thoughts,
Ross

2 Posted: Friday, February 09, 2018 8:44 AM

Try adding them around day 3-4 when there is still some fermentation happening.

Also, the infection may be caused by something other than the mesh ball.

3 Posted: Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:25 AM

Thanks Hairy, yeah the infection only seems to appear a couple of days after I add the hops, not too sure what else would be causing the infection that coincides with the hop addition….

4 Posted: Monday, February 12, 2018 12:19 PM

rossm:

Thanks Hairy, yeah the infection only seems to appear a couple of days after I add the hops, not too sure what else would be causing the infection that coincides with the hop addition….

I'm a little neurotic about these things and usually douse my hop containers in boiling water first then sanitise them.

5 Posted: Monday, February 12, 2018 2:43 PM

On the other hand, if you're only getting infections in half the brews done with this dry hopping method, obviously the other half that are done with the mesh balls have been fine. The mesh balls are a possibility but with those stats they can't be considered the only cause, especially if you boil them first. If it was every brew that used these mesh balls then they'd be almost the only cause you'd look at, but not when it's only half. Look at other possible causes as well.

Also, this magic “CO2 blanket” over the top of the brew is a bit of a myth. You will find that the CO2 temporarily fills the headspace of the fermenter, pushing out oxygen during active fermentation, but once fermentation stops, oxygen can re-enter if it pleases because there's no positive pressure stopping it, regardless of the lid being opened or not.

FWIW I've routinely opened my fermenter 2 or 3 times after fermentation has stopped to add dry hops and fining agents and never once had a batch end up infected from it.

Cheers

Kelsey

6 Posted: Monday, February 12, 2018 6:05 PM

Yeah thanks fellas, I too am a bit puzzled why it only happens around half the time, I did think that perhaps it was something in the fridge, although I normally spray the inside of the fridge with a bleach spray to kill off any nasties in there before I put the fermenter in, this last one I actually took the fermenter out of the fridge and added the hops but this one was probably the worst looking infection of them all. Having said that I did smell and taste the brew, while I doubt it will set the world on fire, it did taste alright so I bottled about 25 longnecks to see how they go. I did do that a few years ago, a brew looked a bit sus and I started tipping it, about halfway through I thought I would check the taste and it was ok so I bottled it, bugger me it turned out pretty well so I don't know.

7 Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:32 PM

rossm:

Yeah thanks fellas, I too am a bit puzzled why it only happens around half the time, I did think that perhaps it was something in the fridge, although I normally spray the inside of the fridge with a bleach spray to kill off any nasties in there before I put the fermenter in, this last one I actually took the fermenter out of the fridge and added the hops but this one was probably the worst looking infection of them all. Having said that I did smell and taste the brew, while I doubt it will set the world on fire, it did taste alright so I bottled about 25 longnecks to see how they go. I did do that a few years ago, a brew looked a bit sus and I started tipping it, about halfway through I thought I would check the taste and it was ok so I bottled it, bugger me it turned out pretty well so I don't know.


Why do you think the brews are infected? What are the things you are seeing, smelling and tasting? For example if it is just a flavor of green apples that is the acetaldehyde that has not been cleaned up by the yeast yet in the secondary stage.

Are you fermenting in the right temperature range or are the temps changing? Are you getting off-flavors from the yeast at higher temps?

How are you storing your hops? If the hops are adding the infection then look to storage conditions. If they are in sealed packets then sanitising the packets or scissors before opening might help.

Cheers,
James

8 Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 5:41 PM

Gday James, yeah been over all that, the only thing I can put it down to is something getting in while the lid/ cling film is removed, as for what I am seeing it is the common white skin starting to form on the top of the brew, I have been brewing for over twenty years now and while I have had a few infections over the years, they just seemed to be getting a lot more frequent since I started dry hopping.
I am wondering if I should be changing the cling film when I add the hops, I use insulation tape to hold the film in place rather than a rubber ring and when I add the hop ball I have been just lifting the top enough to get the ball in then slipping it back on, maybe it is dragging something back in off the outside of the fermenter that has lodged there during its time in the brew fridge. I will sort it, I just thought someone may have had personal experience, I have had all the theories myself…..….thanks anyway…

In the early days I used to brew in buckets with just a tea towel or similar over it, no temp. control to speak of and in a shed in Alice Springs, while the beer might not have been as flash as what we strive for now, it was certainly better than VB!…..had very few visible or detectable infections those days, though I have heard that a lot of beer gets infected and nobody even knows it!

9 Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 10 PM

Hi Rossm, have you tried hopping without your mesh ball? Either dry hop commando or use the chux method Coopers suggest. That would take the mesh ball out of the equation. I use a mesh ball myself, I boil it for 10 mins to ensure no bugs in it.

10 Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11 PM

Hermoor:

Hi Rossm, have you tried hopping without your mesh ball? Either dry hop commando or use the chux method Coopers suggest. That would take the mesh ball out of the equation. I use a mesh ball myself, I boil it for 10 mins to ensure no bugs in it.


Just used a mesh ball for the first time and it seemed to be OK. Then after bottling I soaked in perc for about 24 hours. I had intended giving it a spray with Starsan next time just before I put it in the FV. Would that be enough or is boiling necessary also? The FV etc doesn’t get boiled so I’m wondering what about the mesh ball?

Last edited by DonPolo (Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11 PM)