Thursday, July 8, 2010

Adventures in Dry Hopping

I was gently prodded by another blogger last night that I hadn't blogged in a while. I knew that, and one of these days I'll explain why (hint: long hours). I do have a backlog of exciting and provocative topics in the queue. This is one of them.

Having ready access to firkins in their beautiful simplicity, seeing as I'm the guy that washes and fills them, I recently conducted raw science on levels of dry hopping in aforementioned vessels. As you all know but I'll say it anyway, dry hopping is a way of increasing the hop aromas in that pint that you are feverishly clutching. Here at the The Brewery I use Type 90 Hop Pellets, for reasons that for the time being will remain in my queue of unposted topics. These (hint: convenient and space-saving) objects are measured out and dumped into the cask prior to hammering home the shive. The last two batches of "This Time For Sure" (BJCP style designation: Hoppy Pale Liquid Refreshment) employed 50g of Cascade/firkin. Batch 3 was the victim of true science, for I bunged 100g in one of the eight casks, and another received 150g.

Take Home Lesson: Don't do it; unless you want to annoy the publican attempting to draw the first few pints. It clogs up the hop filter at the end of the tap, and seems to get stuck in other things as well. After a couple water rinses through the line and a few pints dispensed in the time-honored gravity method out of the cask, a normal state of dispense was achieved. The gravity pints, albeit delicious, were left with a thick green sludge at the bottom.

I'm brewing another batch today, since somebody drank the last eight casks. I think I'll try 75g/firkin this time, across the board.


Dave A said...

It is very delicious sludge I may confirm!

Unknown said...

Whole cone hops behave much better.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

You missed the hints in the text.

I don't have a big warehouse in Millom to store bales of cones.

Jeff Alworth said...

Whoops, and then the prodding blogger is lax about returning. Crimes and misdemeanors. Anyway, I just wanted to put in a vote for thick green sludge. The hopheads in this state, I think you could really sell that stuff.

Mark said...

Can you dry hop in a bag, in the cask?

Better still, wouldn't it work to dry hop in FV / Conditioning tank and then cask ... or does that lock up vessels for too long?

Interesting stuff.


Brewers Union Local 180 said...

We do open fermentation here, so there is no benefit from chucking hops into the fermenter. The hop sock method has its pros and cons. The pros being keeping hops out of the hop filter on the tap and the cons being the cost and availability of the socks and the bugger job of extracting them from the cask.

Another point is that the over-hopping in the cask tips off the balance of the beer and ups the cost to the brewery. I tasted little benefit from the 100g in the firkin over the 50g. And the 150g was silly. In my opinion. On keg at a lower service temperature there would probably be some benefit, as the taste-buds are already numb.