Dry Hop Best Practices: Using Science as a Guide for Process and Recipe Development
MBAA Technical Quarterly
vol. 58, no. 1, 2021, pp. 59-65
I was honored when John Palmer, Technical Quarterly Editor-in-Chief and Publications Director, reached out to me asking if I would be willing to write a peer-reviewed best practices guide for an upcoming MBAA TQ. John is somebody I’ve longed looked up to in the brewing world after reading his books and listening to countless podcasts he’s hosted and guested over the years.
In addition to John’s contributions to the brewing world, I’ve also long been a fan and subscriber of the MBAA. I’ve quoted so many of their articles in blog posts and in The New IPA that I’m thrilled to contribute something myself!
I did my best in this dry-hopping guide to layout our current practices on how we dry-hop at Sapwood Cellars (temperature, time, etc.) with the supporting science cited that influenced our processes. Our dry-hopping technique will continue to evolve as we experiment, talk to other experienced brewers, and continue to stay on top of the latest research, but here’s where we stand as of April 2021!
Big thanks to the MBAA and John Palmer for asking me to write this piece, and an extra thanks for allowing me to post the article on the blog. For those curious about MBAA membership (something I highly recommend) check out their site for details. Also, thanks to Great Notion for sharing their dry-hopping procedure for the article, which takes a different but successful approach in dealing with hop-creep.
Although Sapwood Cellars, located in Columbia, MD, is only 3 years old, we have been using the latest hop-related science as a guide to experiment with our dry hopping methods and procedures. Whether it is targeting a specific profile from a variety by dry hopping mid-fermentation or looking at ways to improve our hop oil extraction efficiency, the science has been instrumental in directing our focus. I spent 2 years researching a book published in 2019, The New IPA: Scientific Guide to Hop Aroma and Flavor, and continue to stay up-to-date on the latest papers focused on brewing hop-forward beers. This guide is a collection of what I have learned to date through the research, experience on the commercial scale, and tips from other experienced experts in the brewing industry.
Hi Scott, thanks for posting! Very interesting reading. I just wondered how your process differs with mid Ferm dry hopping, do you drop the temp for these additions too, and would you rouse with active yeast still in the fermenter? Also do you do your final dry hop after reaching terminal gravity, or when there’s still some activity left? Cheers!
If doing mid-fermentation dry-hopping I wouldn’t drop the temperature (I wouldn’t want to cause the fermentation any problems). I wouldn’t think rousing would be necessary if you have strong fermentation still going. I typically do the final dry-hop after terminal gravity, soft crashing, and dropping out the yeast. Always dry-hopping under pressure and doing my best to avoid any oxygen during dry-hopping. Consider using around .2 grams metabisulfite with your post-fermentation dry-hop to help with oxygen scavenging. Hope that helps!
Absolutely stellar read. Curious about the addition of the metabisulfite. Is that .2 grams/L? Does it matter between sodium/potassium metabisulfite? And how do you introduce it into the beer/tank?
I’d consider trying about .2 grams/5-gallons of potassium metabisulfite.
Thanks for your writings – much appreciated. I’ve heard hear-say about good results from adding ascorbic acid with dry hop in dosage of ca. 2 grams / 5-gallons (10 times your dosage suggestion for potassium metabisulfite). Any experience? Perhaps combine the two?
Thanks for all your informations
Superb paper, Scott. It makes an excellent, concise companion to your book. Thanks for sharing your hard-earned knowledge.
Thanks for reading!
How do you manage the foaming during rousing. Each time I tried to push CO2 to the bottom of my 25 bbl, my beer foams and sometimes blows off even with small pressure. Consequently, I forgave to do it.
Our tanks are always under pressure during rousing, so everything (including the blowoff arm) is closed and there is at least ~8 PSI on the tank before rousing starts.
Great read Scott! I do have one question though. In this paper you mention using a decent bit of hops in the whirlpool in your summary, yet in your previous blog post “Examination of Studies: Hopping Methods and Concepts for Achieving Maximum Hop Aroma and Flavor” you say you were reluctant to do heavy whirlpools, as the pre-dry hopped beer didn’t seem to have the flavor/Aroma from the whirlpool hops post fermentation. I personally agreed with your previous stance on heavy whirlpooling, as I don’t find the beer reflects much of the flavor/aroma from whirlpool additions even when going as low as 145F. Have your feelings on whirlpool hops changed?
I would say that’s still probably true for a good chunk of hop varieties. It seems that the overall makeup of oils in each hop impacts how well they can attribute to post-fermentation flavor when introduced in the whirlpool. If you are interested, check out this post on different hops that are great for the hot-side: http://scottjanish.com/survivables-unpacking-hot-side-hop-flavor/
Congrats on the paper! I have transitioned to 60 seconds of 30 psi gas for rousing so it’s reassuring to see a few other breweries doing the same.
My SOP is almost the same as yours (hop doser, temp, length of time and vessel size) except for the 4.4 lbs/bbl dry hop. I have been doing 2.2 lbs/bbl based on the studies that suggest decreasing returns over the 2 lbs/bbl mark but I believe all those studies were done at fermentation temperature (correct me if I’m wrong). I have to leave a lot of wort in the kettle with a 2 lbs/bbl whirlpool, and after a 2.2 lbs/bbl dry hop my final packaged volume is about 25-30% less than a non hoppy beer. Have you seen enough additional hop aroma and flavour from that 4.4 lbs/bbl versus say a 2 lbs/bbl to justify the extra cost and additional losses? Do you know what Great Notion typically uses as their dry hop rate based on their 70F dry hop temperature? I have been curious if you can push the dry hop load for a short and cold dry hop since the rate of extraction or solubility of polyphenols and myrcene are not as high.
We’ll do 2 lbs/bbl dry-hop on some of our smaller lower ABV hoppy beers. But it seems like as the ABV creeps up, the beer is able to support a higher dry-hopping charge. Doing a five-degree drop in temperature a day and dropping the cone each day, seemed to help our yield a little bit at those higher rates. In a 20 bbl batch of something hoppy, we will usually yield ~16-17 bbls in can and kegs. I didn’t ask about Great Notion’s current rates, but at the time of writing my book, they were at 3-4 lbs/bbl for most of their hoppy beers.
Exelent paper! Anyt example or image of ”burping” device you use?
We just use a 2-inch tri-clamp to 1.5inch adapter—> 90 degree elbow facing up—->and a pneumatic plug tri-clampfitting.
Is there a calculator somewhere to figure out how much acid is needed to adjust the post boil pH?
Not that I’m aware of, I just simply added a little to 7 ounces of beer and measure pH. From there you could scale up the amount for the entire batch since you know your volume.
How do you feel about DIP hopping to reduce unwanted hop compounds?
I haven’t tried DIP hoping out yet at the brewery, but it really just sounds like a cooled whirlpool addition but leaving the hops in the beer for the entire duration. Having some hops in the fermenter on day 1 might actually help to clear up a beer, and you’ll likely blow off most if not all of the hydrocarbons from the hops (which isn’t likely a bad thing). Seems worth trying on a beer where you don’t need to harvest the yeast to see if you get a different profile from the DIP hop, but I’d rather have the hops out of the fermenter at that stage and just load up the whirlpool.
Thanks for your return.
I’m thinking of doing the homebrewer-scale experience because the BYO article intrigued me.
But my first impression is the same as you.
Great article thanks Scott, it synthesises a few points from your book. Have you ever considered sous vide dry hops? It seems reasonable to infer that sous vide at say 80C for 10 min might achieve some of the benefits of whirlpool in mobilising monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes (to be volatilised) but perhaps be achieve a more novel, less extracted flavour & aroma profile. Perhaps if used post-ferment at low temp it may help limit hop creep also? I’ve had a limited test but presently hamstrung by renovations so unable to be more thorough.
Great read Scott! I have a question though. In this article, you mentioned a decent use of hops in the whirlpool in your summary, yet in your previous blog post “Examination of Studies: Hopping Methods and Concepts for Achieving Maximum Hop Hop and Flavor” you say That you were reluctant to do heavy work. Whirlpool, as in pre-dried hopped beer, after fermentation, whirlpool hops did not taste/smell.