Dry hopping is the process of introducing dry hops to the wort anytime after the boil. Dry hopping significantly enhances the hop character in aroma and flavor of the beer. It does so without really affecting the beers overall bitterness or IBU rating. The most common style of beer to dry hop is an IPA, whose demands for hop aroma and flavor can sometimes seem endless. Check out our American IPA recipe for detailed dry hop amounts. All hop forms including plug, pellet, or whole leaf can be used when dry hopping.
When to Dry Hop?
The best time to dry hop is after the primary fermentation stage is finished. This is usually 3-7 days after adding yeast to the wort. When dry hopping I recommend racking the beer into a secondary fermenter (preferably a carboy) and then adding the hops. If you do not have an extra carboy, you can remove the top to your fermenter and drop the hop bag right on in.
How to Dry Hop?
By far the cleanest and most efficient way to dry hop is by using a hop bag. A hop bag is usually a nylon mash bag(pictured above) that has draw strings to help contain the hops. You can purchase a hop bag at your local home brew store or on plenty of online home brew sites and usually cost about $3. Using a hop bag will help to contain all of the hops and prevent any clogging issues with bottling later. Another plus behind using a hop bag is that you can drop a few sanitized marbles inside it to submerge the hops completely in the beer. Be sure to sanitize the bag by boiling it for about 3-5 minutes before use.
How Long to Dry Hop?
The hops should remain submerged in the beer anywhere from 1.5 to 3 weeks before bottling the beer or kegging. The optimal time from what I and other brewers I have talked with is about two weeks.
Summary/Things to Take Away
- Dry hopping is an easy way to enhance the hop character in your beer.
- Dry hop in your secondary fermenter if possible.
- Use a hop bag when dry hopping.
- Wait about two weeks for dry hopping to be finished.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr, Brew Day MEH