Avid of hop heads and homebrewers are always looking for ways to up the hoppiness of their beer. For homebrewers who want all the fresh scents and flavors of hops, but not necessarily the bitterness that they produce, dry hopping might be the perfect addition to your next homebrew. But what is dry hopping, and how can you make it a part of your next beer? Join Bräu Supply as we discuss this popular technique, and how you can use it with your UniBräu brew system!
What Is It?
Basically, dry hopping is the process of steeping hops in your homebrew beer between the fermentation and bottling or kegging stages. It is also referred to as “conditioning” or “secondary hops.” Dry hopping is an ideal choice for beers that are known to be hoppy, like Pale Ales and IPAs.
How It’s Done
While some brewing techniques require precisely-timed additions of ingredients and controlled temperature conditions, dry hopping is actually a pretty straightforward process and there are several ways you can do it.
The Most Common Method
Perhaps the easiest method of dry hopping is simply adding the hops to your fermenter. While moving your beer from your primary fermenter to your secondary fermenter, you can add a handful of fresh or pellet hops to the beer. For our UniBräu brew system, you can add the hops straight to the kettle. If you’re using whole hops, we suggest you place them in a bag or a strainer so that they don’t break apart and cloud your beer. For pellet hops, they will likely disintegrate and float to the bottom of your beer, so that’s something to be mindful of when you’re preparing your beer for kegging or bottling.
When To Dry Hop
How much hop aroma and flavor you want in your beer dictates when you should dry hop your homebrew. Typically, you’ll want to add the hops three to five days before you plan to keg or bottle. This provides your beer a fresher hop taste and aroma than if you were to add them earlier.
Which Hops To Use?
This is where you can get a little creative. For an easy addition, you can simply add more of the aroma hops you used in the initial brewing process. This will help to amplify the presence of that hop note in your beer. To push the limits of your beer, find a complimentary hop. Let’s say you used a hop like cascade, which is a spicy, citrusy hop. You’ll want another hop like Citra, which is known for its bright fruity aromas and characteristics. Using a complimentary hop brings out the flavors of the hops you used in your brew and adds subtle notes and tastes you wouldn’t get without dry hopping.
Try It In Your Next Homebrew!
Dry hopping is a great way to get more hops in your beer without making it any more bitter. Your beer will have a pleasant, fresh hoppy character that compliments nearly any style. It’s easy to do, doesn’t take much time, and the results are spectacular. The next time you fire up your Bräu Supply brew system, give dry hopping a try before you bottle or keg your beer!