For some beer enthusiasts, the fall season means there will be a heavy amount of Oktoberfest and Pumpkin ales occupying space in their refrigerators, but a the new fresh hopped ale craze has begun to join the fold as well. Fresh-hopped ales are brewed with fresh whole cone hops picked only a few days (or sometime even hours) after harvest. When added to your typical American Pale Ales and IPAs, these ales have a huge and extremely desirable fresh hop aromas. However, if fresh hops cannot be obtained, there is another Homebrewing method to add distinct hop aromas to your beer. That process is called dry-hopping.
- Pre/post-boil volume – 6/5 gal
- O.G. – 1.057
- F.G. – 1.016
- ABV – 5.7%
- IBU – 36.4
- SRM – 6.0
- 9 lb Scottish Golden Promise malt 1.7L
- ¾ lb German Munich malt 8L
- ¾ lb Canadian Honey malt 25L
- ½ lb Torrified Wheat malt
- 0.25 oz Simcoe (13.0%AA) @ 60 min
- 0.25 oz Simcoe (13.0%AA) @ 45 min
- 0.50 oz Magnum (13.1%AA) @ 30 min
- 0.25 oz Citra (11.0%AA) @ 20 min
- 0.25 oz Citra (11.0%AA) @ 5 min
- 1.0 oz Glacier (7.4%AA) Dry-hop
- 0.50 oz Simcoe (13.0%AA) Dry-hop
- 0.50 oz Citra (11.0%AA) Dry-hop
- Wyeast 1056 – American Ale
Ferment for 1 – 2 weeks until beer reaches desired finishing gravity. Once fermentation is complete, add dry-hops to carboy for a period of 7-14 days depending on the level of added hop character/aroma desired (sample beer to verify). Rack beer off primary yeast and dry hops and bottle the beer with 3/4 cup of priming/corn sugar.
Grain – Golden Promise (1.7L): This is the Scottish version of the British malt Marris Otter. It has a distinct sweet yet clean flavor when used as the base malt in a low ABV or “lighter” beer. It’s depth of flavor makes it favorable for US Pale Ales and US/UK IPAs. Because of its low Lovibond (color) compared to British Marris Otter (3L), it can even be used in American interpretations of light European lagers and pilsners. There are even some American brewers, including Surly Brewing in Minnesota (which has a huge cult following amongst beer geeks) who are turning away from using typical American 2-row pale malt because of the exciting added flavor of Golden Promise malt.
Hops – Citra: This en vogue domestically grown hop is finding its way into numerous commercial American craft beers. Despite having a high Alpha Acid level, the powerful musky tropical fruit and strong citrus flavors and aromas make this a great middle-to-late addition hop in American IPAs and lighter American Strong Ales. Other flavors and aromas that can detected include peach, apricot, passion fruit, grapefruit, lime, melon, gooseberry, lychee fruit, pineapple, mango and papaya. To sample this hop commercially, look no further than Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA, which should be available at any beer store with a slightly above average selection.
Yeast – Wyeast 1056 – American Ale: This is arguably the most commonly used Homebrewing yeast available on the commercial market today, and for good reason. Originally harvested from the Sierra Nevada brewery, it is the perfect canvas for brewing almost an American style of beer from Pale Ale all the way up to Imperial Stout and everything in between. It can even be used to produce quality Western European styles like Strong Scotch ales, Irish Red ales or even the “odd” styles like Fruit beers or Spice/Herb beers. The reason why American Ale 1050 is so successful in fermenting many contrary styles is that it has a very clean, crisp flavor profile. These flavor properties help to accentuate the malts and hops, compared to some European yeasts that impart distinct phenols (banana/clove) or esters (fruitiness) that can overshadow your beer’s underlying flavors.
Extra – Dry-hopping: For the longest time I was fearful of drying-hopping. I’m not sure if it was because I originally wasn’t crazy about extremely hoppy beers or because I was scared of introducing an ingredient into my beer that hadn’t been sterilized. Regardless, dry-hopping was just something I avoided for the first two years I homebrewed. One day I decided to undertake the dubious project and I was greatly rewarded for my efforts. Some may argue that there is no need to dry-hop when you can just add a great deal of hops in the later stages of the boiling process. While you can achieve similar results, there is no doubt that the aroma of a beer that has been dry hopped is more intense. This is because the hops have not undergone the harsh boiling temperatures and thus less oxidation is involved. Also, the aromas imparted by dry hopping are slightly more stable and thus your beer is more likely to smell “fresh” than when just using solely late hop additions. There are various stages and varying methods in which you can dry hop a beer; racking the beer to a secondary container on top of the hops, adding directly to a keg and consuming directly from there after proper conditioning. However, I think is easiest way is straight into the primary fermentation vessel once primary fermentation has slowed down considerably. This will minimize any excess exposure to oxygen which is always dangerous.
The nitty-gritty: Anywhere from 1-3oz of hops is a good starting point for your average hop fanatic, but some go as high as 5 oz. As far as length of time goes, one to two weeks is the typical length of time to allow the hop oils to assert themselves. But one should not overdo it as your beer will take on an undesirable vegetal aroma and flavor after prolonged exposure.
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