A friend sent me this article about hops and their purpose in brewing, along with a list of every variety out there and their general purposes.
Inside that article is this link that goes to a Google doc spreadsheet which has overviews of damn near every ingredient one might put in a beer.
Which seems pretty helpful to me!
I, like most other homebrewers, have been told that to make a good IPA and sometimes even a good pale ale, dry hopping is a necessary step because it offers the nose that the style is looking for. However, doing so just adds aroma, not bittering qualities so we didn’t have to worry about making the beer less palatable on the back end.
Or so we were told.
But Jeff Alworth differs on this and tells us why here. There’s science and everything!
Now, the impact of dry hopping in Jeff’s article applies a little more to commercial breweries but clearly has ramifications for homebrewers who are throwing as many hops as the wort can take. It also means that there’s a space for research into how dry hopping impacts a beer and what flavors may be produced that might be considered undesirable or even beneficial.
Sure, it leaves me with more questions than answers but at least these things are interesting!
This is just a nice article that I felt pretty clearly delineated the difference between the two subjects. It’s good to remember these things (for myself), especially since hops have multipurpose uses in beer and because I’m starting to work on making a pale.
Reading this also gave me an idea for the next hop-oriented beer I make: Maybe I should try and add the bulk of the ops in the last twenty minutes or so. I’ve had difficulty getting any real hop character in the nose of my ales, so I’m thinking this might be worth a shot.
Forgive me, I am using the size of my picture to make up for the minimal content. My buddy Cedric gave me about 24 ounces of hops that he’d harvested but he didn’t know what variety they were. They smelled spicy to me, with a citrus note so maybe Chinook? A possibility of Galena? I just don’t know but that’s never stopped me before.
So I tossed about half into a beer I was making last Sunday and took the rest to dry out, as you can see in the photo. I’m going to give it a week before tossing them into a plastic bag and storing them for the next beer I make, which will also be an IPA of some kind. Because if you have ten ounces of hops, you might as well overuse them.
On the road this week, so no Friday post, and coming back on Monday at an obscene hour, so I’ll see you in a week!
This article at the Smithsonian is called “In Search of the Great American Beer” but really, it’s about hops, hop growing and the influence of hops on the craft beer market in America.
Misleading title aside, it’s really cool. Check it out.
I found this article at Craft Beer to be a fascinating study on how a hop variety comes to be. It’s not too deep and there’s some nice historical information there as well but there’s also plenty on how plants are cultivated and new varieties are grown.
I had no idea that hops were one of the most labor intensive crops in the world, though! That could mean some very interesting things for the price of beer in the future, as hops become more and more relevant to the styles people want to drink.
This isn’t a bad article from Men’s Journal on the 5 most commonly used hops.
My issue is that 3 of the hops (Cascade, Centennial, Citra) all use citrus as the descriptive baseline for the flavor and the other two mention tropical fruit and leafy qualities.
What needs to be emphasized is the differences, not the similarities. How do we tell that the Citra hops are not the Cascade hops?
On the upside, beers are suggested to taste to help make the comparisons, I just wish they provided more information about the flavors we should be looking for in order to distinguish between the hops. What flavors are we tasting in the Flying Dog IPA that tell us these are Simcoe hops and not Mosaic? The differences seem so subtle in the brief descriptions, I feel that in this instance, more would be better.
Found this story about water saving grains for brewing via the New School‘s Twitter feed.
As a homebrewer, I’m very aware of how much water I have to use in order to create a decent beer. The processes of cleaning and cooling alone probably double the water used just to brew. I do my best to conserve/reuse the water I can but there’s still a great deal of water used in brewing: it’s just the nature of the beast, so I think it is awesome that there are minds bent towards saving water wherever possible.
Next, from the OBC feed I find a report on a new business marketing hops specifically to craft brewers. The money quote for me is this:
However, Solberg said the industry has primarily overproduced alpha varieties used for bittering — Indie Hops doesn’t see the same problem with aroma hops that are used to convey flavors and smells.
Good to remember that there’s more to hops than just making really bitter IPAs.
Going to Seattle for the holiday so I won’t have a Friday post but hope to have some cool Seattle stories upon my return.
But I want one. Preferably to hang on the wall in the basement where I can use it for easy reference.
Thanks to rethwyll for bringing that to my attention.
Fuz alerted me to this slideshow and article at the New York Times about this year’s hop harvest. It’s a cool collection of ideas and images for the beer lover.
One thing I got from the article that I think is very interesting is that some breweries have started planting their own hops. I like this for a few reasons; the entrepreneurship and the connection to growing food being the two biggest ones. People need to know how much effort goes into making the food they love and what steps might need to be taken to keep the people making that food paid well enough to continue with their efforts. If beer can provide an avenue for more people to realize how important it is to pay farmers well and take care of the land so the substances grown are tasty and good for us, then all the better.
But if you don’t care about any of those things, you can just say ‘Neat!’ and be done with it too.
As an interesting coincidence, the local paper had an article on what’s now become a glut of hops being harvested and in some cases unused. A glut that won’t even lower the price of beer! In a larger sense, I think this helps illustrate how complicated and interrelated the world can be.