If you’re brewing using extract kits, try adding a “dry hop” of fresh whole leaf hops or pellet hops in a strainer bag to your next brew. Dry hopping adds additional hop aroma and some flavour as well, so is better suited to flavoursome Ales than clean lagers.
The process is very simple – dry hopping is simply adding hops straight to the fermenter without any boiling, this adds additional hop aroma which is normally lost during a boil. The best way to do this is to wait until your primary fermentation is complete and the airlock has stopped bubbling, fill a mug with boiling water and drop your “finishing hop” addition (a sort of hop teabag) into the mug making a sort of hop tea, you should only let the hops steep for a few minutes so as not to lose any aroma, then tip whole thing, hops bag and liquid, into your fermenter. Some brewers prefer to not bother with the tea and just add the hops directly to the fermenter; that’s is ok too, but we like the tea method as it provides a little extra reassurance that the hop bag is somewhat sanitised, and the short immersion time shouldn’t extract any noticeable amount of additional bitterness. You should leave the dry hop addition in the fermenter for about 4-7 days before bottling or racking to a keg – some brewers detect a “grassy” taste being extracted if the dry hops are left for too long.
As dry hopping adds to the aroma of the beer, it’s a good idea to use a variety that’s aromatic. For dry hopping, one of our favourite varieties is Cascade – Often described as floral and citrusy, it’s a classic variety for IPAs and Pale Ales. Try this or another hop that’s in keeping with your beer’s style. If you’re not sure what to use, drop in and ask us!