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WOW Kegging Really Increases Hop Intensity!

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by koopa, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. koopa

    koopa Champion (765) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    I've heard it before from plenty of experienced keggers and want to confirm this well known fact for any new brewers or non-keggers. I just started kegging last Monday and kegged 4 cornies on that initial day - 2xbrown ale and 2xhoppy red. The brown ales were prechilled and I put them onto the kegerator to carbonate right away.

    The hoppy reds were left in primary for 10 days at that point. I transferred 8 total gallons into the 2 cornies (4 gallons in each) and threw 1.5oz of dry hops into each keg. I then force carbonated (at room temperature) for 6 days while the dry hopping commenced.

    Today I hooked them up to the kegerator and chilled them down. I poured a glass, gave it a whiff, and immediately realized what kegging has done to up my hoppy beer game. It was by far the biggest hop nose I have ever gotten off of one of my homebrews. History repeated itself when I tasted the beer.

    Now I know dry hops just add nose, the beer still had the most pungent hop flavor I've tasted in one of my homebrews to date. My conclusions is that (correct me if I'm wrong please) not only has kegging afforded me the chance to drink my beer while it continues to dry hop, it has afforded me the opportunity to drink dry hopped and fully carbonated beer a mere 16 days after brewing it!

    So I attribute the increased flavor to the fact that the hops that originally went into the kettle had only done so 16 days ago. In other words, I didn't have to wait another 14+ days for bottle priming to finish and my kettle hops are tasting more vibrant at this younger and fresher age of the batch.

    The Hoppy Red I tasted today surely has a stronger and better flavor (to me) than lots of commercial beers of the same style I've had before. The difference was so incredibly significant that I am excited to rebrew some of my old batches of hoppy beers that I thought only came out OK. If you are a true hop head homebrewer without a kegging system and have been somewhat disappointed with your past batch hop vibrance, you should really consider making the kegging investment if you can (if not for any of the countless other advantages a kegging system offers). Of course to the discerning palate it won't cover up any real flaws in your process, but it will indeed unlock the true potential of your brew!
  2. Yes, kegging seems to accentuate the dryhopping, but I also noticed a propensity to drink beers too early when kegging...if you think it tastes good now, wait a month (even for IPAs) and see how much better they are then.

    Kegging will also give you some crystal clear beers that don't require you to remember to pour off any dregs.
    barfdiggs likes this.
  3. Agreed, hoppy beers really come alive on tap. I also second the GK's point about drinking beers too soon. Really easy to do with kegging.
    barfdiggs likes this.
  4. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Unfortunately, this is a very accurate statement... I keep drinking my IPAs, wheatwines, etc. way too early, and then realize by the time that I get to the bottles I've beer gunned to save, that I should've waited a month or so to drink from the keg for the flavors to round out.
  5. dmamiano

    dmamiano Savant (410) West Virginia Nov 18, 2005

    I know this may ruffle some feathers, but in my experience my hoppy beers taste better the longer they are on tap. Granted none last too long, but the hops tend to smooth out some over time and loose that dry-hop "bite".
  6. koopa

    koopa Champion (765) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    Point appreciated about not being tempted to keg too early. The hoppy red that I kegged on day 10 had hit its FG and tasted amazing so I didn't think twice about it. My more recent Heady Topper clone attempt I sampled on day 10 was still several points above FG and I could tell taste wise that it would benefit from more time on the yeast cake so I held off on kegging it. Will take that approach moving forward and always try to make the best decision on a batch by batch basis.
  7. No matter how good it tastes on day 10, it will almost certainly taste better on day 30. The thing you want to make note of is where the sweet spot is for each beer. While there are a lot of variables, I think it's fair to say that day 10 is virtually always too soon.
  8. Agreed, unless your beer happens to be a Mild or a Hef. This is why I like fermenting in carboys. I just leave them on the yeast cake for as long as I feel like it and don't worry about oxygen entering...

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