Excited to brew a pale ale or test out an IPA? Dry hopping is what makes these beers extra hoppy, giving them their burst of added flavor. The process involves adding hops to the fermenter or keg after fermentation (also known as “secondary”). You can do this process for multiple styles of beer, so if you like that hoppy aroma when you sip your favorite brew, try dry hopping!
The dry hopping process varies, and over time you will find which ways and hops give you the ultimate result you are looking for.
We typically recommend adding the hops between three to five days before you plan to bottle or keg your beer. The reason for this is to prevent the aroma from fading too soon. This method gives you the freshest aroma without eliminating any taste.
You can also add the hops two weeks prior to bottling. This method gives the hops time to blend with the beer. This allows for a great blend, but you may lose some of the aroma from the hops. A third option is to add dry hops straight to the keg, which can result in some “grassy” flavors from overexposure. You can add the hops directly (and siphon them out later) or use something like a straining bag to contain the hops for easy removal later.
What hops should I choose when dry hopping beer?
Whether leaf hops or pellet hops, most people use the same ones they used for the beer. Plug or pellet hops are generally preferred, especially for those using narrow neck glass carboys. Be modest when adding more hops, as you can accidentally overpower your beer. Usually, an ounce or two will do the trick. Less can certainly be used if you are shooting for a mild aroma, and true ‘hopheads’ sometimes use as much as 4 oz of hops per 5 gallons for that extra burst of aroma.We have several hops to choose from and a popular favorite for dry hopping are Cascade hops.