Podcast Episode #20 – Dry Hopping

One quart of canned hops

One quart of canned hopsDry hopping

Dry hopping is the process of adding hops into the fermenter rather than the boil kettle. This preserves more of the hop flavors and aroma. This technique is one of the trademarks of India Pale Ale.

Process: Hops can be added to the fermenter at any point. However, timing can affect the character produced in the beer.

  • Adding at the same time as yeast would allow most extensive contact time, which would seem to allow the greatest flavor. However, the primary fermentation will drive off much of the flavor and aroma.
  • Once the bulk of fermentation has completed seems to be the best time to add dry hops. Just make sure you have plenty of headspace.
    • I’ve added dry hops to a carboy and had it overflow and spew the hops out the neck of the carboy.
    • The fermentation process dissolves carbon dioxide into the beer. Even without being capped, the carbon dioxide will build up.
    • Introducing dry hops into the beer provides nucleation sites for the carbon dioxide to come out of solution. The result is a milder version of Diet Coke and Mentos.

Techniques:

  • Using a hop bag
    • Placing your hops in a bag allows you to keep the hops relatively contained, which can make cleanup easier
    • When I’ve done this, I soak the hop bag in sanitizing solution before adding the hops to the bag.
    • Place a sanitized weight in the bag before placing it in the fermenter. This will pull the hop bag to the bottom to increase contact with the beer.
    • A possible drawback is that the hops are contained, which could reduce the effectiveness of dissolving hop compounds into the beer.
  • Dumping
    • This is just dumping the hops into the fermenter
    • Increases the contact between the hops and the beer since the hops aren’t restricted by a bag
    • hop material can float freely to a provide maximum flavor and aroma transfer
    • hop material tends to float on top for quite a while before settling to the bottom, especially with whole hops
    • Can make cleanup more challenging, as the hop material will stick to the fermenter
    • Can also make racking into kegs or bottling bucket more challenging if the hops get disturbed in the fermenter.

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