What is Dry Hopping?
Dry Hopping is a technique used by brewers to increase the hop aroma in their beer. Usually hops are boiled with the wort to give it bitterness and aroma, however much of the aroma from the hops is lost by boiling them, so dry-hopping adds the aroma that cannot be extracted from the hops during the boil. Many inexperienced home-brewers come across recipes that call for ‘dry hopping’ and do not understand how the process works. Dry hopping is actually a very simple technique which can give your beer greater depth of flavour and aroma with very little work.
How do you ‘dry hop’ a beer?
To dry hop your beer, simply add the amount of hops specified in your recipe at the beginning of secondary fermentation.
1. Ferment the beer as usual until it has finished primary fermentation (take a hydrometer reading and ensure that the beer has reached its final gravity).
2. Using a racking cane and auto-syphon, transfer the beer to an empty, sanitised fermentation vessel being careful not to suck up any of the yeast sediment at the bottom of the beer.
3. Add your hops to the beer – either just chuck them in loose, or put them in a hop sock or muslin bag.
4. Leave for at least 3 days.
5. Using a racking cane and auto-syphon, transfer the beer to a sanitised fermentation vessel before bottling or kegging. Try not to suck up any of the hops during this step, as they will be present in the final beer if you do!
Do you have to boil the hops first?
No. Hops are a natural preservative and do not need to be boiled before being added to the fermenting beer. If you are using a hop sock or muslin bag, you may want to boil that to sanitise it first.
Which hops should you use for dry hopping?
Dry hopping does not add bitterness to the beer, but it does add the aromatic oils that are lost when the hops are boiled. Therefore the best hops for dry hopping are aroma hops with low Alpha Acid content. All of the noble hop varieties including Saaz, Hallertauer, Goldings, Fuggles, and Cascade are great for dry-hopping.