Dry Hopping

Posted on 10.26.09 8:34PM under Brewing, Hops, IPA

So I made an IIPA and an RIS a week and a half ago on October 17th. This past weekend, I gave them both something special.

The RIS got a dose of oak. Two ounces of Hungarian Oak cubes. I was going for American Oak chips, but Hungarian Oak cubes is all they had at the LHBS. So you get what you get. Toasted in the oven for 20 minutes at 300F, they smelled quite oaky and I gladly dumped them into the still active beer. I am eager for a taste of that tannin-infused vanilla-flavored RIS at kegging time this weekend.

The IIPA got a dose of dry hops. Home grown, baby! I have two two-year-old plants – a Centennial and a Willamette. I didn’t harvest the Willamette, but I got a little off the Centennial plant. I dried them for a few days, and then vacuum sealed them and dropped them in the freezer.

I had planned on a two ounce Centennial dry hop, but I was thinking I’d be using my Centennial 9.1 pellets. Then I realized the opportunity that lay before me. I suddenly knew that this IIPA was the perfect time to use these hops. I decided that if I opened them and they smelled OK, I would use them.

Upon cutting open the bag and thrusting my nose into the freshly cut bag, I was more than pleased. I was downright ecstatic as I took in the greatest hop aroma experience of my life. I practically felt like I should go buy some rolling papers to make the best use of the dank buds whose aroma greeted me from this vacuum packed bag of beery goodness.

I measured, and I had more than the two ounces I needed. I separated two ounces and dropped them into the fermenter containing the IPA. Then I was left with like a quarter ounce of hops. What to do? Leave them in the fridge to die? NO! I must use them.

Having a batch of pale-colored beer in a keg, with a nice hop presence already, I decided the perfect course of action. Dry hop!

I dropped the remaining mass of hops into the keg of Starr Light, and repressurized. Good to go.

That was Saturday. Here it is Monday, and I pulled a pour from the keg. The dry hops presence is already duly noted, in a wonderful way. With just an eighth of the hops used in the IIPA, there’s a notable hop aroma and flavor, after just a few days. I almost wonder if I overdid it with two ounces in the IIPA for a week, but can you ever really overdo an IIPA when it comes to hops?

I don’t think so.

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