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Old 10-03-2008, 09:30 PM   #1
jrakich87
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Default dry hopping help

I'm on my first brew, doing an amber ale, but perhaps want to experiment with dry hopping? My ingredients were:

1 can hopped amber malt extract (3.3 lbs?)
2 lbs muntons light extract
1 oz cascade hops
muntons yeast

It's been in primary for 3 days and airlock activity is dwindling, and the smell coming out of the airlock seems a bit weak. I don't know if its the ingredients I used, but the stuff almost smells like a commercial light beer (exaggeration). I want a pronounced hop character and am thinking I may be in for an unpleasant surprise... should I go out and buy some strong hops and try to dry hop? I've heard it can be unsanitary, and would I need to do a secondary ferment in another container?

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Old 10-03-2008, 09:42 PM   #2
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You aren't going to get a pronounced hop character with only 1 oz of Cascades (which probably went to bittering - at least, most of it). Dry hopping will help, though. Put an ounce or two in 7-10 days before bottling. The more you use and the longer they are in there, the more hop aroma you will have. Just keep balance in mind.


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Old 10-03-2008, 09:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrakich87 View Post
I'm on my first brew, doing an amber ale, but perhaps want to experiment with dry hopping? My ingredients were:

1 can hopped amber malt extract (3.3 lbs?)
2 lbs muntons light extract
1 oz cascade hops
muntons yeast

It's been in primary for 3 days and airlock activity is dwindling, and the smell coming out of the airlock seems a bit weak. I don't know if its the ingredients I used, but the stuff almost smells like a commercial light beer (exaggeration). I want a pronounced hop character and am thinking I may be in for an unpleasant surprise... should I go out and buy some strong hops and try to dry hop? I've heard it can be unsanitary, and would I need to do a secondary ferment?
Certainly not unsanitary. In fact, hops are by nature anti-septic. It will help keep it from infection and provide better clarity in the secondary. Use whole leaf hops and they will just float on top. since you only used 1 oz, (I'm guessing on the boil for 60min?) you should dry hop to provide better aroma. I dry hop all my IPA and APA's.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:45 PM   #4
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hops were origionally added in mass to Indian Pale Ales as a way to preserve them on their journey across the ocean. Hops are used as a preservative and are NOT unsanitary. Also the alcohol present in your developing beer should be sufficient to stay off any invaders for the time being.

You know your beers done when the gravity readings stop changing, Take one and wait a few days and take another and if they match then its done fermenting, however dont make the mistake of thinking that no bubbles = no activity. Wait until done and then add around an oz of hops. TxLaw's right- the longer they sit the more arome they have however keep in mind that larger hops aroma = perceived bitterness

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Old 10-03-2008, 09:46 PM   #5
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Do what TL suggests, just make sure to let the beer completely ferment out (2-3 weeks) or the CO2 being produced will carry off a lot of the aroma you're after.

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Old 10-03-2008, 10:01 PM   #6
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Should I just sprinkle them on top or push them down and get them wet? Any suggestions for what hops to use? I was planning on using more hops and perhaps some grain originally for the brew but didn't get around to it. I figured I should stick to the simple stuff for my first time but now I'm wishing I'd taken the other path... I want my first pour to be full of beautiful aromas!

thanks for all the input, this site is GREAT

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Old 10-03-2008, 10:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Should I just sprinkle them on top or push them down and get them wet? Any suggestions for what hops to use? I was planning on using more hops and perhaps some grain originally for the brew but didn't get around to it. I figured I should stick to the simple stuff for my first time but now I'm wishing I'd taken the other path... I want my first pour to be full of beautiful aromas!

thanks for all the input, this site is GREAT
Cascade are great for dry hopping.

Just sprinkle them in. They'll hydrate soon enough. I usually give the fermenter a good rocking to splash some beer over the hops each day. Let em sit for 5-7 days.
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:11 PM   #8
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Will the splashing cause unwanted oxidation, or is that not a factor? Would using 2 or 3 oz be excessive? It smelled pretty malty when I was brewing

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Old 10-03-2008, 10:15 PM   #9
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Will the splashing cause unwanted oxidation, or is that not a factor? Would using 2 or 3 oz be excessive? It smelled pretty malty when I was brewing
I gently rock my secondary to sink the hops. 1 ounce should be sufficient for your recipe. In the future add some aroma additions to your boil.
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:19 PM   #10
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Just to point out one thing, you said you'd go out and buy "strong hops." This might imply a high alpha %, which just means that the hops are very bitter (i.e. strong).

I don't know if I'm reading too much into this, but the best hops to use for dry-hopping are those which will give you a good aroma, not necessarily what are "strongest." Go for Fuggles, Goldings, Hallertauer, Saaz, etc.

If you want to use pellet hops, think about getting an herb ball or one of those loose tea strainers. It'll keep the hops from flying all over the fermenter. Just sanitize the ball real quick in some boiling water, fill with hops, close and drop in.

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