Hop Topic: Dry Hopping
Dry hopping is a science unto itself, but through experimentation we’ve seen (and tasted) great results. It’s used to add hop oil character that is otherwise impossible to achieve with kettle additions.
Whether you’re adding pellets or hop cones, the key is to dose hops by essential oil content rather than quantity.
To put it into perspective, the oil content in any hop variety can vary significantly from one growing location to another, or sometimes even more so from one crop to another.
To provide an example, if the total oil content of a hop was to change from 1.6ml/100gm to 1.2ml/100gm, and the same weight of hops are added to the beer, then there has just been a 25% reduction in hop oil addition – which will typically impact both aroma and taste. Likewise if the oil content of a variety increases then more hops may be added than is necessary to achieve target flavour.
High oil content is an excellent indicator of good harvest and processing practices and may suggest a superior quality product and dosing by essential oil content will improve consistency of hop aroma batch to batch or season to season.
While every hop variety has unique aroma characteristics, the composition of hop oil is genetically set. So far more than 400 oil components have been identified and can be quantified and their sensory attributes can be defined.
Dry hopping is garnering quite a lot of research these days. At the Young Scientist Symposium, researchers highlighted how different methods of dry hopping can achieve quicker results.
Pellets produce a faster and more concentrated aroma and flavour than flowers when dry hopping. Stirring pellets will also increase the intensity of results, producing a punchy hop character. However, if you want more subtle results, try static dry hopping of the flowers instead.