To Late Hop, Dry Hop or Both?

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Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2007
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Lincoln, ND
While I wait another day or two for my brewing ingredients to arrive from Midwest Brewing Supply, I'm trying to figure out to do in regard to late hopping or dry hopping. At this point, I'm pretty sure I'm going to do some late hopping with low to moderately low AA hops. What am debating is whether or not to dry hop an ounce or two in addition to late hopping. I'm already going to be making an unusually hoppy Belgian pale ale (think Americanized), but I don't want to go crazy and destroy any of the essence of the Belgian biscuit and aromatic malts, possible candi sugar or the esters from the yeast.

Right now, I'm thinking of using Fuggles, Saaz, Tettnang, Willamette and Cascade. More than likely I'll use some of my hop suey hops for bittering. Anyone here experienced with late hopping or dry hopping, as well as Belgian ales, want to comment?
A touch (.5oz) of Saaz or Tettnang should add a little bit of aroma for complexity, without taking away from the yeast character, which is very important in Belgian ales.
First, I would stay away from Willamette and Cascade for a Belgian, they would mask the basic Belgian flavors. I confine my late/dry hopping to hoppy styles. What's the point of making a specialized style like a Belgian and drowning it in Cascades or any other hop?

If you do decide to dry hop it, stick with Saaz or Tettnang and small amounts.
The goal is to experiment with the style. To balance the qualities of the malts and yeast profile with the greatest possible hoppiness without going overboard. I know that this is atypical for the style, but I think it may work if executed correctly, which is why I'm trying to cautiously consider my options and ask you folks for ideas. I suppose if I late hop, it should be with a lot of very low AA hops.
The AA% of a hop has nothing to do with the contribution to flavor/aroma. Hops identified as flavor/aroma hops tend to be low AA%, because it doesn't make sense to breed high resin production into a hop that will not be used for bittering. Nor does dry hopping change the bittering.

Should you go down that road, do multiple small dry hoppings & give each a week to work. Sneak up on it.