hop it up

June 19th, 2009

A recent fad to hit the microbrews on our coast is fresh hopping as a finishing step in brewing Pale Ales. In the traditional partial mash brewing technique, hops is boiled with the grains, losing much of it’s floral oils, which this fresh hopping returns to the brew. The green hopped beers have a grassy, fruity, floral note that cuts the normally bitter hoppy flavor. Our favorite beer of this style is Torpedo by Sierra Nevada. They kind of cheat by forcing their fermented beer through a Hopper that washes it in fresh hops, allowing it to soak up a super dose of the oils right before bottling. We can’t do that at home. Or, rather, it would probably be the end of our marriage if Doug built one of these systems. Where would we put it? No, NOT the linen closet!

Allegedly, as home brewer we can achieve a less grassy, but smoother/more floral taste by dry hopping – adding hops to the fermented beer and allowing this to steep for a few weeks before bottling.

If you are a home brewer, you might be interested in this explanation of dry hopping. If you are just a beer drinker, seek out some Torpedo. It goes great with nachos.