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Old 09-25-2010, 10:39 PM   #1
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Default Hop infusion using N2O?

I stumbled across this the other day:

http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/08/11/infusion-profusion-game-changing-fast-%E2%80%98n-cheap-technique/

I wonder if this could be a way to get quick hop aroma/flavor. Perhaps right before bottling, draw off some of your beer and use this method to infuse it with hops, add it to the bottling bucket, rack and bottle.

Thoughts?



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Old 09-25-2010, 11:19 PM   #2
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Sounds like a cool idea. If I were to try it I would:

1. Get a 20oz soda bottle and a carbonation cap (http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/the-carbonator.html)
2. Add the hops and warm vodka (maybe 100F or so) to the bottle
3. Charge up to 30psi, give it a good shake for 30 seconds. Hold for 30 seconds, and then quickly remove the top

Since I'm adding to beer and the vodka is warm anyways, residual carbonation shouldn't be an issue



Super poor man's version of this (not guaranteed to work, but worth a shot if you don't have a whipped cream charger or a CO2 setup).
1. Get a bottled water bottle
2. Add the vodka and hops to the bottom half
3. Cap the bottle, and twist it until the pressure builds up
4. Shoot the cap off
5. Maybe have some infused vodka
Video of the bottle cap shooting technique:



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Old 09-25-2010, 11:24 PM   #3
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The carbonation cap is a good idea. Except I'd do it with beer since I don't want to dump vodka into an APA.

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Old 09-25-2010, 11:51 PM   #4
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1oz of vodka will only add ~0.15% ABV to the beer. With such a short contact time even a little extra ethanol might really help with the extraction of some of the more hydrophobic resins.

Without actually trying it, I can't really say anything else. I've got a CO2 setup with a carb cap, so I'll give this a shot with a few different EtOH levels and a Miller Lite control Monday night.

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Old 09-27-2010, 05:03 AM   #5
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerMcAllen View Post
1oz of vodka will only add ~0.15% ABV to the beer. With such a short contact time even a little extra ethanol might really help with the extraction of some of the more hydrophobic resins.
It's not the ABV, it's the vodka I don't want in me APA. I like vodka, just not in my beer.
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:15 PM   #7
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Ok, here goes. No pics yet, but I should have some later.

Procedure
1. Label 4 taster glasses and 4 - 5 mL test tubes A, B, C, and D respectively

2. Cut 4 equal portions of Magnum hops, 1.1cm each (I had to do it this way since my balance does not have this tight of a tolerance. I also would rather Cascade, but Magnum was all I had in the freezer).

3. Pour 2 jiggers of Miller Lite into each of 4 taster glasses, pour remainder into control glass

4. Float test tubes in warm (probably around 120F) water and add:
A - 2mL filtered water
B - 2mL Miller Lite
C - 1mL Miller Lite, 1mL 80 proof Rum (I don't like Vodka, so I use Rum for airlocks and as my source of concentrated EtOH around the house)
D - 2mL 80 proof Rum

5. Fill a 20oz soda bottle with ~18oz of warm water (This way I have less head space, and I can float the test tubes so they all experience the same pressure cycle)

6. Add hop pellet to each test tube, swirl, and gently drop into bottle so that test tubes float at the surface

7. Attach carb cap, and apply 30psi of pressure (Took 5 min to get the tubes floated right, the cap attached, and the tank pressure set to 30psi since I forgot to set the pressure first and I screwdriver)

8. Hold at 30psi for 4 minutes (Could probably have been less, but I figured I might as well wait)

9. Quickly release pressure

10. Take aliquots from each labeled tube, and place in the respective labled taster glass (probably about 0.1mL, all portions were equal, but my pipette does not have resolution towards the bottom)

11. Taste

Results
Sample A tasted slightly hoppier than the control, barely noticeable. 1
Sample B was hoppier, but not much. 2
Sample C was significantly hoppier. 5
Sample D was significantly hoppier, but the rum flavor was also noticeable. 6

Physically, the hops were able to absorb a significant amount of the liquid. There is almost no free liquid. The 0.1mL of liquid was about all I could get out of Sample A. The amount of free liquid was A<B<C<D.

Conclusions
A 50:50 blend of beer and 80 proof ethanol provides the best extraction with the least off flavor. EtOH also seems to be absorbed by the hops less, so a 50:50 blend allows for a higher level of usable hop extract. Since hops are paper thin and the resins are on the outside, it was decided that the pressurization step was probably unnecessary.

Recommendations
1. Don't use a pressure set-up
2. Find a way to press the hops to release the liquid
3. Use a 50:50 blend, but do not blend first. Extract the hops with 80 proof EtOH to extract the most hydrophobic resins. Dilute this mixture with an equal portion of beer to increase the extraction efficiency of the hdryophilic portion.

I know you don't want to add the extra EtOH, but with such low volumes you pretty much have to in order to efficiently extract the hop resins and to keep the hops from sucking up all of the moisture.

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Old 09-27-2010, 11:20 PM   #8
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I don't think CO2 will work as well, since the idea is that the rapid depressurization causes the N2O to come out of solution and carry the flavor with it. CO2 will tend to stay in solution more than N2O.

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Old 09-27-2010, 11:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klyph View Post
I don't think CO2 will work as well, since the idea is that the rapid depressurization causes the N2O to come out of solution and carry the flavor with it. CO2 will tend to stay in solution more than N2O.
CO2 and N2O are almost equally soluble in water. Since I was using warm water, the solubility is negligible (heat a beer to 120 F and see how long it stays carbonated). The only reason the original guy uses N2O is because that is what they sell for the whipped cream whippers. You do make a valid point on the pressure difference though. Not sure what the whipper gets to, but it is almost certainly higher than 30 psi. Either way, I don't think the pressure helps out with hops since most of the good stuff is on the outside.


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