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This question is a little late but, when dry hopping in the secondary do you add your hops loose or in a hop bag? I added mine in a bag but failed to weight it down so it just floated around on the surface, and may have contaminated the batch. Any advice

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I just throw my hops in and when I rack out I put a hop bag around the end of the racking cane. If I use pellets, they usually sink to the bottom and are not a problem. When I use whole hops, they tend to float on top.

I am about to dry hop a beer with my homegrown hops. I am thinking of doing it in a keg and using a hop bag weighed down with marbles. The only reason I will use a bag in the keg is that I can't protect the dip tube from sucking it all up.

How did you contaminate it? Did you sanitize the hop bag? I wouldn't worry too much. Sanitize your racking cane and push the hop bag into the beer a couple times a day. This will help anything from growing on the top of the hops.
-I've been using One-step which in hindsight isn't really a sanitizer. I bottled it yesterday and there was a skin across the top I moved the hop bag to make a clear surface area so the skin didn't get on the raking cane, and left more beer in the fermenter then I usually do. I'll just have to wait and see what happens. But this does bring me to my next question how to properly use Star San. The directions say it is no rinse but does the equipment have to be dried after sanitizing and when it is used, or can it be used wet. When I've brewed before I keep a pail with the One -step solution on hand and leave my tools in there until I need them, out of ten batches I've only had one with a problem.
I am a Star San user. I prefer to do things in 2 steps. I like to clean my equipment right after use and then sanitize before I use it.

I could explain using Star San or other chemicals, but there is a podcast that can do it so much better and with the maker of star san. I recommend downloading and listening to this episode (and all episodes).

Brew Strong Covers Sanitation
Broadcast Date: 2009-01-05
Running time: 01:34:17
Download: (37.7MB)

In this episode of Brew Strong Jamil and John Palmer cover the all important processes of sanitation in brewing. To help clarify all the techniques and chemicals that can be used, Jon Herskovits of Five Star Chemicals joins the program.
Star San is the bomb! When diluted to the proper concentration, it is extremely safe and effective. When using it, DO NOT LET IT DRY. You're only sanitized if everything is wet. Contact time is only 30 seconds (even though the label says 2 minutes).

I keep a spray bottle of it around while brewing and always keep things on the cold-side wet including my hands.

Oh, and listen to the show that Jeff mentioned. There's also a show with the inventor of Star San - Charlie Talley. I actually liked this show more. It's a 4 hour show and I think they start talking to Charlie at the beginning of the 2nd hour (don't hold me to it though). You can find the show here: Sanitation with Charlie Talley
I've dry hopped a few times, and I've found I prefer to do it in a bag to avoid the extra hop sludge. I like Jeff's idea of putting the bag on the racking cane, so I might try that.

My hop bag has always floated on top (even with a couple of marbles in it), with no signs of infection. Usually, I leave the bag in for 3-5 days in the secondary, but I recently had a moment of excessive hop hunger and left 5oz in 4gals for 8 days. It has made my teeth green. :)
































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