Cold Dry hopping

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Oct 28, 2018
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One of the final steps I do in the fermentation process is to cold crash my beer to collect the yeast and get it out of suspension. After that, I will dry hop for about five days or so. Question is, does dry hopping into cold beer (about 36 deg F) affect the flavor of the dry hop addition.

Altho it can be any hop, it is usually Citra, Cascade, or Centennial, if that makes any difference.
You will get less extraction from the hops and they will drop out as well and sit on the bottom of your fermenter. You could, after cold crashing, let it free rise back into the 50s and dry hop in that temperature range. I typically dry hop at 55f
I tend to soft crash and dry hop around 8-12°C. This has got me the best balance of utilisation and limiting hop creep. Where possible I try and dump out my yeast and trub, though.
The only beer that I have dry hopped when cold is an Italian Pilsner that I made recently (Yes, I know that traditional Pilsners are not dry hopped, but the Italian version is!). I dry hopped it with Saphir hops for 5 weeks when lagering at 38 F. It produced a nice brew with a mild hop flavor.
Question is, does dry hopping into cold beer (about 36 deg F) affect the flavor of the dry hop addition.
My experience (and what I see from others here and pros like Scott Janish) is that when you dry hop that cold, having a way to rouse the hops helps to extract flavors. I don't have a method to rouse my hops (without also rousing all my settled trub and yeast). When I tried dry hopping cold, I found I was not getting as much hop flavor as I wanted. In my clear fermenters, I could see the hops quickly drop to the bottom. I have found that dry hopping around 60F seems to help reduce some astringency and hop burn while still getting good hop extraction.

Since you can drop out trub and yeast, you might look into a method for rousing the yeast and see how you like the flavors of cold dry hopping.
Rousing hops at a homebrew level is, IME, something that's very easy to overdo. I will rouse with CO2 at maximum once during a 2-3 day dry hop.

And often not at all, because I don't think it makes any perceptible positive sensory difference to aroma or flavour even with huge dry hops of 20g/L plus.

What it does do, IME, when overdone, is threefold:

1) Particularly when dry hopping under a small amount of pressure as many who zero oxygen DH do, is knock a load of CO2 out of suspension and vent it, along with your desirable aroma compounds, out of the spunding valve.

2) By rousing your yeast, you're much likelier to kick off hop creep even at lower temperatures. Fine at like 4°C I bet but most people who soft crash are in the 10-14°C space and it's easy to restart a slow fermentation.

3) This is totally subjective, but IME rousing vigorously seems to promote hop bite and undesirable "green" flavours.

So yeah, I'm firmly on the side of "don't" here.
fwiw, having seen what happens when one drops hop pellets into cold beer in a glass carboy (yes, they sink straight to the bottom, and the denser pellets can appear to not break down) I pulverize the hop pellets before adding them quickly to soft-crashed beer (50°F for two days). That creates a mat of hop fragments that slowly absorb enough beer to gently rain down over the course of a few hours...