Lets get real about dry hopping

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cani0501

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First off, hey fellow homebrewers.

I'm asking this question because I've been pondering it for years. I have been brewing more then 12 years, all grain, love everything about it. Batch per week average. My favorite beers have recently become NE IPAs, no surprise. I had a chance to drink many of the finest, Treehouse, Trillium, Hudson, Hill, Bissel, Foam, Equilibrium...you get the point.

What secret technique could all these breweries be utilizing for their dry hopping that no one else knows about. There HAS to be something. I know all about dry hopping under pressure, dry hopping for short time to reduce vegetal flavors, dry hopping cooler. I've tried all of these multiple times but can never get near the impact that these breweries get.

Come on fellow homebrewers...let's solve this conundrum once and for all. What are these breweries doing that we can't do at home. Anyone have some insider knowledge they can share?
 

day_trippr

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I would think anyone brewing a "batch per week" would know more than most about dry hopping techniques...

Cheers!
 

FatDragon

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Water chemistry, yeast strain, dry hop length, when you add the dry hops, temperature, pressure, leaf vs. pellet vs. cryo vs. hash vs. oil, how many dry hop additions, grams per liter, variety of hops, freshness of hops, freshness of the beer at serving, etc. There are a lot of variables to mess with.

AFAIK, the big ones with NEIPA are huge whirlpool and dry hop additions, biotransformation with the right kinds of hops added into beer with the right strain of yeast at the right point in fermentation, and being absolutely, deathly afraid of any stray O2 molecule that even thinks about going near the beer post-pitch. Things like pressure and temperature might make a small difference at that point, but if you nail the basic techniques (thorough prevention of oxidation probably most of all) and drink fresh, you should be right there.
 

505-Brewer

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Good chance they are using more hops than you too. Multiple dry hops at 7lbs/bbl total loadings. Try that.
 

JLeuck64

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Water chemistry, yeast strain, dry hop length, when you add the dry hops, temperature, pressure, leaf vs. pellet vs. cryo vs. hash vs. oil, how many dry hop additions, grams per liter, variety of hops, freshness of hops, freshness of the beer at serving, etc. There are a lot of variables to mess with.

AFAIK, the big ones with NEIPA are huge whirlpool and dry hop additions, biotransformation with the right kinds of hops added into beer with the right strain of yeast at the right point in fermentation, and being absolutely, deathly afraid of any stray O2 molecule that even thinks about going near the beer post-pitch. Things like pressure and temperature might make a small difference at that point, but if you nail the basic techniques (thorough prevention of oxidation probably most of all) and drink fresh, you should be right there.
Ya second this. The O2 contamination has to be a big part of it. For me I've had the best result when filling small kegs (like 2 gallon size) with a bag of dry hops. I also use sugar to carb naturally, which I think helps to scrub out some if not most of any O2. The first glass I pull from these kegs has the best hop aroma... but it fades quickly as the rest of the keg is consumed.

I would like to try oxygen free transfers at some point... just not ready to buy the equipment to make it happen.
 

FatDragon

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Ya second this. The O2 contamination has to be a big part of it. For me I've had the best result when filling small kegs (like 2 gallon size) with a bag of dry hops. I also use sugar to carb naturally, which I think helps to scrub out some if not most of any O2. The first glass I pull from these kegs has the best hop aroma... but it fades quickly as the rest of the keg is consumed.

I would like to try oxygen free transfers at some point... just not ready to buy the equipment to make it happen.
Carbing with sugar might eliminate most of the remaining O2, but if you're picking up O2 in the transfer it's probably already too late for such an oxygen-sensitive style as the NEIPA, especially since it takes a while for a beer to carb with priming sugar. Closed transfer is going to make a big difference, though you could probably purge the keg thoroughly before and after transfer to help eliminate O2 more quickly than naturally carbonating will in future batches.

Caveat: I brew about 30 gallons a year these days (no time to make more), bottle, and don't drink a whole lot (would never get through a batch of NEIPA before it went south even in the best of conditions), so I have never tried to make an NEIPA and will never do so until my equipment, free time, and drinking/sharing habits are more suitable to the task. In other words, I'm basically giving advice based on what I've heard, read, and researched without any actual hands-on experience making an NEIPA.
 

Jag75

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I've done Neipas and @FatDragon is right . Water profile , hops wp , flameout , bio transformation ect... closed transfer are a huge plus in heavily hopped beer.
 

Rob2010SS

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so I have never tried to make an NEIPA and will never do so until my equipment, free time, and drinking/sharing habits are more suitable to the task. In other words, I'm basically giving advice based on what I've heard, read, and researched without any actual hands-on experience making an NEIPA.
Instant solution to your problem above @FatDragon , send it all to me!
 

CascadesBrewer

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Come on fellow homebrewers...let's solve this conundrum once and for all. What are these breweries doing that we can't do at home. Anyone have some insider knowledge they can share?
What are you doing? I have my first NEIPA on tap and I think it is a wonderful beer. I just followed the "standard" NEIPA process (minimal kettle hops, whirlpool hops at 180F, dry hops on day 2, dry hops 3 days before cold crash, protection from oxidation during cold crash and keg transfer...lots of Mosaic and Citra). Next time I brew I will likely increase the day 2 hop amount and hope to play around with different hops.
 

Dgallo

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Good chance they are using more hops than you too. Multiple dry hops at 7lbs/bbl total loadings. Try that.
Ummm who uses that much man? That is absolutely false. On average, tree house, hill, other half, Sloop, equilibrium, and trillium are using 3-4 lb/bbl which is about 9-10oz per 5 gallon batch. However commercial breweries have larger volumes so they have an increase in hop utilization due to surface area. So to scale down to 5gallon batches you need to use 25-30% more hops to compensate. That would put you at 12-14oz per batch.
First off, hey fellow homebrewers.

I'm asking this question because I've been pondering it for years. I have been brewing more then 12 years, all grain, love everything about it. Batch per week average. My favorite beers have recently become NE IPAs, no surprise. I had a chance to drink many of the finest, Treehouse, Trillium, Hudson, Hill, Bissel, Foam, Equilibrium...you get the point.

What secret technique could all these breweries be utilizing for their dry hopping that no one else knows about. There HAS to be something. I know all about dry hopping under pressure, dry hopping for short time to reduce vegetal flavors, dry hopping cooler. I've tried all of these multiple times but can never get near the impact that these breweries get.

Come on fellow homebrewers...let's solve this conundrum once and for all. What are these breweries doing that we can't do at home. Anyone have some insider knowledge they can share?
Aroma and flavor have so much to do with the fermentation health, yeast choice, hop pairing and most importantly the ability to minimize oxidation.
 
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Jayjay1976

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I brewed several lackluster attempts at an IPA before realizing I was being far too conservative with whirlpool additions and especially with dry hops. Seriously, double what you've been using and see where that gets you. Also make sure you bottle within a few days, 3 days max, after the last addition to successfully capture all that fresh hop aroma.

Edit: Just noticed you're kegging, do you do any keg-hopping? When I get set up for kegging I'm definitely going to do closed transfers onto hops in a purged keg.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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I brewed several lackluster attempts at an IPA before realizing I was being far too conservative with whirlpool additions and especially with dry hops. Seriously, double what you've been using and see where that gets you. Also make sure you bottle within a few days, 3 days max, after the last addition to successfully capture all that fresh hop aroma.

Edit: Just noticed you're kegging, do you do any keg-hopping? When I get set up for kegging I'm definitely going to do closed transfers onto hops in a purged keg.
How does one put hops into a purged keg (or purge a keg with hops in it)?
 

Dgallo

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How does one put hops into a purged keg (or purge a keg with hops in it)?
Drop them when kegs empty. Purge with co2. Pressure transfer through the liquid line from your fermenter and either hook up the gas to another keg to save the co2 or pull the release tab while racking
 

Hwk-I-St8

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Drop them when kegs empty. Purge with co2. Pressure transfer through the liquid line from your fermenter and either hook up the gas to another keg to save the co2 or pull the release tab while racking
Ah...prevailing wisdom is that the only way to properly purge is to push out sanitizer and that simply introducing CO2 will not fully purge.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Ah...prevailing wisdom is that the only way to properly purge is to push out sanitizer and that simply introducing CO2 will not fully purge.
I have wondered...what if I filled my keg with a StarSan solution, attached a dry hop bag suspended to the keg lid, then attached the lid just as I was ready to purge out the solution? Would the hops suck up enough solution in that time for it to be an issue? I have one of those stainless "tea balls" so I would not have a bag soaking up solution. I have not tried it...but I also did not have the best results the one time I did dry hop in the keg.
 

Dgallo

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Ah...prevailing wisdom is that the only way to properly purge is to push out sanitizer and that simply introducing CO2 will not fully purge.
That’s been debunked. I’ll find the study, it was posted in the NEIPA Thread. As the purge the keg, then rack the beer and repurge the head still space, the oxygen amount in the airspace is something like .02. You’ll gain more oxygen from what’s trapped in the hop pellet than the amount in the gas
 

Hwk-I-St8

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That’s been debunked. I’ll find the study, it was posted in the NEIPA Thread. As the purge the keg, then rack the beer and repurge the head still space, the oxygen amount in the airspace is something like .02. You’ll gain more oxygen from what’s trapped in the hop pellet than the amount in the gas
I don't think the concern was the amount of O2 left after the keg was full, it was residual O2 in the keg while it was being filled. If people are worried about the small amount that gets into the keg during a cold crash, then residual while filling the keg is probably a concern.

All that said, I just run CO2 into the liquid out post for about a minute prior to filling my kegs and I've never had a problem.
 

Dgallo

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I don't think the concern was the amount of O2 left after the keg was full, it was residual O2 in the keg while it was being filled. If people are worried about the small amount that gets into the keg during a cold crash, then residual while filling the keg is probably a concern.

All that said, I just run CO2 into the liquid out post for about a minute prior to filling my kegs and I've never had a problem.
Everyone has their own process and level of concern I understand that. Cold crash is a bigger issue because of the negative pressure created and the beer temp drops. In a purged keg, it’s no issue. In a fermenter with an airlock it’s a hug issue since the air in the headspace of fermenter will be fully exchanged multiple times allowing for increase oxygen exposure. Also oxygen is dissolved much easier at cold temps than room temps.

All styles will suffer to some extent from oxygen, but hoppy beers get the worst of it unfortunately
 

Hwk-I-St8

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Everyone has their own process and level of concern I understand that. Cold crash is a bigger issue because of the negative pressure created and the beer temp drops. In a purged keg, it’s no issue. In a fermenter with an airlock it’s a hug issue since the air in the headspace of fermenter will be fully exchanged multiple times allowing for increase oxygen exposure. Also oxygen is dissolved much easier at cold temps than room temps.

All styles will suffer to some extent from oxygen, but hoppy beers get the worst of it unfortunately
I cold crash, so I'm kegging at cold temps.
 

FatDragon

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How does that setup work? As a CO2 tank virgin, I would have thought you couldn't have a tank hooked up to your fermenter like that without a constant flow of CO2 into the jug. Or can you set your regulator to a minimal pressure level (i.e. 1.1 atmospheres or something) and just let it do its thing?
 

Dgallo

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My set up isn’t the best choice but it works. The fermenter will hold 5 psi this way and the gas turns off when it hits 5. When it drops below 5psi it will kick back on until it reaches it again. This is what I’m planting to make.
0607968C-56E1-4382-BE0F-6A05A8007530.jpeg
It will be a pressure transfer cap but Instead of how it’s pictured, I will attach gas and liquid ball lock valves with the liquid attached to a floating dip tube. It will allow me to ferment and dryhop underpressure with a spunding valve and be a complete closed system. @SailorJerry
 
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SailorJerry

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We have Fermonsters as our fermentors, and we love making NEIPA's, but I have no idea how to do a closed transfer, or if the fermonster can take, or how much it can take, of pressure to force the beer out and into the liquid post of a keg for a closed transfer.



We're rookies.
 

IslandLizard

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We have Fermonsters as our fermentors, and we love making NEIPA's, but I have no idea how to do a closed transfer, or if the fermonster can take, or how much it can take, of pressure to force the beer out and into the liquid post of a keg for a closed transfer.

We're rookies.
You don't need to apply pressure or not much. The transfer is still by gravity, you're just replenishing the vacant headspace with CO2 instead of air. You could return a hose from your keg's gas post as the source for CO2. The keg should be 100% liquid prepurged, and only contains CO2.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Cold crash is a bigger issue because of the negative pressure created and the beer temp drops.
I agree that cold crashing scared me a lot more than keg transfers, just because a cold crash would pull a significant amount of air into the fermenter that would then be in there for multiple days. I am not an oxygen uptake expert, but that just seems to have a lot more potential for issues than a few minutes of air exposure during kegging. I guess I am curious how fast oxygen uptake occurs.

I have only recently acquired a fermentation chamber so I have the ability to cold crash, and I have been using a mylar balloon to capture CO2 and prevent exposure...it seems to work well after a couple times. I have also only recently had a setup to do a close keg transfer (fill keg with StarSan, purge, fill). With how susceptible beers with large amounts of dry hops are to oxidation, it seems worth it for hoppy beers.
 

CascadesBrewer

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We have Fermonsters as our fermentors, and we love making NEIPA's, but I have no idea how to do a closed transfer, or if the fermonster can take, or how much it can take, of pressure to force the beer out and into the liquid post of a keg for a closed transfer.
I created a system based on this post: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/prevent-oxygen-during-cold-crash.662552/#post-8527464

No pressure required, just gravity.

I posted a picture or two on page 2 of the thread with my 3 gal Fermonster (showing filling the keg here: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...-during-cold-crash.662552/page-2#post-8537239)
 
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