Dry hopping is the done after the beer has completed its primary fermentation. During the dry hop your beer process, hops are added to the beer mixture to steep, much like making tea with tea bags. This is the process that gives your home brewed beer much of its aroma. For those of you who love IPAs or Pale Ales, read this article even more closely. While there are many subtleties and tricks to dry hop your beer, there are three easy and effective ways to get the job done.
The French Press
Price – $34
Using this method is not the preferred technique by expert brewers. However, it does have the advantage of being a quick way to figure out just what aromas you want in your beer. In order to experiment with aromas in your beer concoction, simply pour some beer in the press and put some hops pellets in with it, wait a few minutes then press the plunger and pour. The result will not be a perfect representation, but it should give you a good starting point to the aroma profile you should be searching for with that particular brew. Get one from Bodum CHAMBORD for $34.
Price – $439
This method was pioneered by the master brewers of Dogfish Head Brewing. The Randall is a device that you hook up to your the tap lines and push beer though some whole hops. The idea is that you funnel your beer into another chamber that is sealed, sanitized, and contains hops.
The beer flows into the chamber and then out, making contact with the hops on the way to your glass. It is a great system which you can replicate if you have kegerator and some specialized pieces of kit. The EdgeStar KC2000 ($439) is a great place to start your Randall set up.
Dry Hopping During Primary Fermentor
Price – $24
Most home brewers will tell you that this is not a preferred method due to the criticism that by doing in the primary fermentor, the brewer allows carbon dioxide bubbles to carry off the aroma compounds from the beer. This theory has never been conclusively proven. Proponents of this system would suggest that the aroma compounds change, but do not diminish by using this method. Grab a half pound of Amarillo Pellet Hops ($24) and give it a try.
Now that you have seen 3 simple and easy ways to dry hop your beer, get home and get to work. Whether you like one over the other, we would love to hear your recommendations and results.