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Old 03-14-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
jdebonth
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Default Dry hopping an already bottled off the shelf beer

Is it possible to buy off the shelf beer, empty say 20L worth of pale ale or pilsner into a carboy and dry hop this beer several times to add hoppy goodness? Is it then possible to recarbonate by adding sugar before re-bottling?

Is it possible and what potentially could go wrong?

If possible this would be a great way for hop heads to get their fix with reduced effort in between full scale homebrews. Also would be an easy way to quickly make several batches of single hop beers to get a better idea of flavor profiles of different hops. Thanks.

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Old 03-14-2013, 01:04 PM   #2
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You risk oxidation and infection. Plus there's usually no yeast left in commercial brew (it's filtered), so you'd need to add that.
Aside, from it being possible, why would you?
You can make a much better beer brewing it yourself, and probably for less money.

On a much smaller scale, I've spiked common lager with "hop tea."

Experiment #1:
For this I made a hop tea by steeping hops (e.g., .5 oz Cascade and .5 oz Belma) in a good quart of 180°F water for an hour or so.
Strained the hops out and added 1/2 oz of cooled hop tea to a glass of Yuengling Amber Lager (16 oz can). It tasted very differently and the fresh hop flavor and aroma were out of this world. I'd say it was better.

Experiment #2:
The next experiment was simmering the same hop bill for a few hours (2-3 hrs) to isomerize the alpha acids and create bitterness as well as flavor and some aroma. This was another wonderful and tasty concoction.

When mixing the potions from experiment #1 and #2 together you can control bitterness, flavor, and aroma in your "hop-spiked" beer. Add to taste.

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Old 03-14-2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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Sierra Nevada does something similar, but keeps the beer in the bottles. They take a very light and bland beer and empty just the neck out, then push two or three hop cones into the bottle and cap it. It sits in the fridge for a few days and then they drink it. It gives them an idea of how the hops will perform for dry hoping.

I would not try to empty bottles into a bucket primarily because of oxidation.

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Old 03-14-2013, 01:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I will try the hop tea method next week.

Will the Sierra Nevada method work with pellets? Presumably you would need to use a little mesh filter when pouring the beer to make sure none of the hop pellet residue ends up in the beer?

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Old 03-14-2013, 01:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdebonth View Post
...Will the Sierra Nevada method work with pellets? Presumably you would need to use a little mesh filter when pouring the beer to make sure none of the hop pellet residue ends up in the beer?
You could strain the beer through a fine mesh filter when you pour it into a glass. Never tried it, and it may foam up quite a bit.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:33 PM   #6
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The guys from Anchor Brewing were on The Brewing Network recently and said they do this with Bud Light bottles. Uncap, add some hops to the bottles, recap and sample a few days later.

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Old 03-14-2013, 03:06 PM   #7
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Also, this blog post (not my writing, but I think the author posts on the forums here): http://www.bertusbrewery.com/2013/03/dry-hopped-bud-light.html

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Old 03-14-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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Thanks for sharing. I am gonna have some fun with this pellet bottle dry hopping method of the next few weeks!

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Old 03-14-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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How To Make a Hop Tea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Cfm2r1VYeUU

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