How to Dry Hop with our Extracts
Hop extracts have been used for many years as a clean way to add bitterness. I, for one, have used my fair share of “hop shots” back in the day of bitter beer. Many of the bittering extracts were non-variety specific because all we really cared about was getting the bitterness. With variety specific extracts from Mass Hops we can not only get the bitterness but can now add flavor and aroma.
You can achieve this punch of flavor and aroma by whirlpooling with extracts while getting clean bitterness. I generally add 10-30mLs of extract to my whirlpool for my hoppy IPAs. The temperature of the whirlpool is important. If added between 190-180° you will isomerize more of the alpha acids in the extract creating more IBUs. Adding the extract between 170-160° will still give some bitterness but you will lose much less of the precious volatile aroma compounds. Below 150° there will be very little isomerization.
Whirlpool additions are great, but what about dry hopping? Can it be done? How much? How the heck….? Let’s talk about it. Yes, you can dry hop with Mass Hops extract but it takes some effort.
Squirting the sticky goo into the fermenter is not going to make much of a difference. The problem is the very thick consistency and the extreme hydrophobic nature of the extract. On the hot side, the boiling or near boiling wort helps loosen the extract and get it incorporated. Even if you warmed the extract before you put it in the fermenter it would just float on top. You have to put it into a solution before it can be added. The best way to do that is with high proof alcohol. Everclear, 151 rum, high proof vodka or any other high proof alcohol would work.
I warm the syringe of extract in a water bath so it will flow better and then squirt the desired amount into a high proof liquor to dissolve the extract. After it is mixed in it’s time to add to the fermenter. I tend to add it towards the tail end of fermentation. As the beer finishes fermenting the solution will get fully incorporated. One could use the same process but add the extract/alcohol solution to a clean keg and rack the finished beer on top.
I use a guide of 60ml = 1lb of dry hops. So if my recipe called for 8oz of dry hops I would add 30ml of extract mixed into the same (or a little more) amount of alcohol.
So why mess with it? People have been dry hopping the traditional way for so long why do something so different? Well, after doing it a few times and getting the feel for it, it’s not really much harder than normal dry hopping. My yields are so much better because there is very little hop vegetal matter soaking up all my beer. Transferring the beer was smoother because of less hop debris in the fermenter. But the kicker really is the huge punch of variety specific flavor and aroma that everyone is looking for!
Caleb Whitenack MD
Psych Doc Brewery