Do you need to strain your homebrew if you dry hop or add fruit without a hop sack?

This is a very common question for new brewers who are entering the stage of brewing recipes. You are starting to add hops, and fruits, and all kinds of other cool stuff to your brew. One question that we see quite often is about straining your beer and if you should do it or not.

In our opinion with homebrewing, you should not strain your beer. We really don’t see a benefit to doing that and it seems to only have a negative impact on your beer unless it is done correctly.

I would say that the overwhelming majority of brewers do not strain their beer. I could be wrong on that, but I do think that is a good assumption.

There are 2 main reasons you do not want to strain your beer.

The first being that it opens up another chance for your beer to get infected. Whether you are running it through a cheesecloth or an actual straining system if something is not sanitized properly then you will get an infection in your beer.

So by not straining reduces the risk for infection.

The second main reason is that it can oxidize your beer.

Exposure to oxygen is not good for beer. It can lead to off-flavors in your beer, like a cardboard taste, and those are hard to condition out. So when you filtering or straining your beer it is naturally going to knock it around a little bit which can expose it to excess oxygen. Which can lead to an off-flavor.

So by not straining your beer, it can reduce the risk for an oxidized beer with off-flavors.

The best way to still clear your beer and reduce folates or sediment in your beer is to cold crash.

Put your fermenter in the fridge for 24-48 hours before bottling. This will help all the sediment, hops fruit, or whatever else is in your beer settle to the bottom. You can also prop up the front of your fermenter which will help most of that sediment settle to the back of your fermenter.

So to wrap it up, do not strain your beer, it does not help.