Dry hopping involves adding hops, usually during the secondary fermentation stage, to enhance the hop aroma of beer. While traditionally used in styles like pale ales and IPAs, this technique is now being utilized in various other beer styles as well. Since the hops are not boiled, they do not contribute to the beer’s bitterness by extracting oils. Instead, they add flavor and aroma. Given that nearly 75% of human taste comes from smell, it’s evident why people choose to take this extra step with their beers. If you are a fan of hops, dry hopping is a must.
There are different methods for dry hopping, so you can choose the one that you believe produces the best results. Our preferred approach is to add the hops 3-5 days before bottling or kegging the beer. This allows the hop aroma to infuse into the beer without fading. By adding the hops just a few days before bottling, you get the freshest hop aroma throughout your beer with minimal loss of taste.
Another method is to add the hops to the secondary fermentation vessel two weeks before bottling. This gives the hops enough time to blend well with the beer. However, we feel that this much time can result in some loss of hop aroma, although it does create a better blend.
Dry Hopping Tips & Tricks
We are often asked which type of hops is best for dry hopping. Most of us prefer using leaf hops as they are easier to handle during transfer, but pellet hops work well too. As for the hop variety itself, it’s up to personal preference. Most brewers use the same type of hops they used in brewing the beer, particularly those used for aroma in the recipe. You may want to buy an extra ounce or two of the aroma or bittering hops used in the beer-making process.
Be cautious of the quantity of hops you use, as too much can easily overpower the beer. Usually, one or two ounces are sufficient. Start with one ounce and then decide if you need to add more next time.
Another common question is how to add hops to a carboy. In most cases, we use a funnel to pour them directly into the secondary fermentation vessel. A hop bag cannot be used because the hops will absorb liquid and expand in the carboy. Retrieving the swollen bag from the carboy becomes challenging, and besides, most of the hops will settle out naturally.