To be successful as a craft brewery in today’s world requires more than just quality beer. Brewers now need to rely on buzz-worthy terminology to attract buyers, and one that is popular right now is “dry-hopped.” But, what is a dry-hopped beer? Though it’s used as a buzzword when marketing craft beer, dry-hopped beer is not a new technique, and it’s quite simple to explain.
What is a dry-hopped beer?
Dry-hopped beer is that which has had an additional supply of hops added into the wort after it has been transferred to the fermentation vessel. The hops could be added early on in the fermentation process or could be added at a later stage of fermentation. The amount of hops, and the point at which the hops are added into the fermenting wort are two primary variables that will impact the resulting flavor that comes from dry-hopping.
See Also: What are hops in beer?
Why are beers dry-hopped?
When it comes to brewing, it’s all about experimentation and making subtle changes to create a desirable end result. Traditionally, hops are added during the boiling process of brewing. When hops are added early in the boil, they are called bittering hops and add to the overall bitterness of the final beer.
When added to the boil with only a few minutes remaining in that stage of the process, they are called aroma hops and really only create a difference in the overall aroma of the finished beer. Brewers can experiment with adding various amounts of hops at different times in the process to achieve the flavor and aroma profiles that they desire.
"Dry-hopping gives brewers another opportunity to create a unique flavor profile."
Similarly, dry-hopping gives brewers another opportunity to create a unique flavor profile and almost supercharge the hoppy flavor and aroma of the beer. Depending on the type of hops used for dry-hopping, the technique may result in a floral or tropical effect on the aroma. The good news is, dry-hopping beer does not add to the overall bitterness of the beer, as the bittering actually occurs during the boil when the alpha acids of the hops are converted into iso-alpha acids.
Popular Dry-Hopped Beers
Whether they are marketed as such or not, there are many popular craft beers that employ the technique of dry-hopping. Here are some that you may have had had or seen on the shelves:
So, while the term “dry-hopped” has become almost a popular and marketable buzz word, you can now see that there is a real technique behind the name. Not only does a dry-hopped beer appeal to an audience of enthusiasts who can’t get enough of that hop flavor and aroma, but it gives brewers another means of experimentation and another variable by which they can tweak and really hone in on a specific flavor profile.
Which dry-hopped beers do you like best? Do you prefer the punchy hop aromas of dry-hopped beer, or do you like to keep it to a minimum? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our other beer-related posts to learn more about craft beer!