Bine to dryhop (dry hopping with wet hops)

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by GeeL, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (182) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts

    This is my first crop of hops, so I'm new to this. A quick search has given me answers all over the map. So, I thought I'd keep trying for clarification.

    I want to dry hop with wet hops...

    Should I rinse them and let them air dry a bit before I put them in the beer? Should I microwave them a minute or two to kill anything that might be on them? Maybe dunk them in some starsan? Put them in the food dehydrator for a couple hrs?

  2. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (182) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts

    And, I'll be flushing the headspace with CO2 as I open it and put in the hops.
  3. telejunkie

    telejunkie Aspirant (240) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    You can dry them for 5-7 days on screen or use the dehydrator if you want, or you can just add them right away with no drying. The drying process does alter the flavor profile of the hop, many people appreciate the change, but some enjoy the wet hop character.

    No sanitation organism lives on hops that is a potential threat to your already fermented beer.

    If you have mutli-blad processor like a Ninja and don't mind some extra cleaning, you may consider processing them hops through it. Give better extraction of oils imho...
    InVinoVeritas likes this.
  4. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (182) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts

    Great thanks. I thought I might roll them in my hands to open them a little and tear some open too. I do have a food processor, maybe I'll run some through that.
  5. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (398) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I would be concerned with possible contamination from insects.
    Spider mites, lady bugs and others can be on Or n your hop cones.

    When I use wet hops, I usually use them from 15 to flameout.
    Witherby and JackHorzempa like this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am in 100% agreement with @GormBrewhouse here.

    Every year I brew a wet hopped Harvest Ale. I pick the hops when the wort is boiling and I add them at the end of boil (and conduct a 40 minute hop-stand).

    I personally would never use my wet hops for dry hopping out of concern there may be tiny insects on (or in) the hop cones. I am not too concerned about the insects themselves but more-so they may be carriers of unwanted microorganisms (e.g., bacteria). I know that fruit flies are carriers of unwanted microorganisms so I figure that tiny insects like spider mites would be carriers as well.

    Witherby and GormBrewhouse like this.
  7. telejunkie

    telejunkie Aspirant (240) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    So question for you guys...why don't you think they would be found in commercially grown hops? In the grape world they're known as MOGs (material other than grape) and are well known to be found in grapes you purchase and some end up in the crusher. There is some percentage of bugs that get into the crusher that is "acceptable" you feel that commercial hop growers somehow can get around this aspect of agriculture? (not trying to sound snide here)
  8. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (398) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Oh be snideish Telemann, hahahahah.

    I do know some commercial hop growers use a lot more systemic insecticides than I. I was in CO at a small operation and it was like walking into a clean room. Awsum hops, no sign of any fungus or insects or weeds for that matter.

    My field does not look like that at all. I do weed and mow, use neem oil and very seldom use chems, but do see insects on the plants and cones when I harvest. And u can't use oils once the burrs start forming.

    That. Could b one way to get around it, but not with mine.

    Drying hops with forced hot air drives off the insects for me, yep I have watched and seen.
    telejunkie and JackHorzempa like this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dave (@telejunkie), I will share my thoughts about the hops I purchase:

    Commercial hops are processed

    The first thing that occurs after the hop cones are harvested are they are dried. During this drying process I am hoping that tiny insects will decide to leave the hop cones.

    I solely purchase hop pellets so the dried hops goes through a pelletization (compression) process. During the compression process a fair bit of heat is generated; I view this akin to flash pasteurization from an microorganism killing perspective.

    The hop pellets are then packaged either via a vacuum sealing process (i.e., air is removed) or they are packaged in nitrogen flushed bags. This is an environment not conducive to microorganism that need air to survive (e.g., aerobic bacteria).

    The hop packages are stored at my LHBS in refrigerated conditions. When I get these packages home I place them in my freezer (e.g., 0 degrees F or colder).

    I have no expectations that the hop pellets would be sterile but I do expect that the amount of unwanted microorganisms would be very, very low due to the stuff I detailed above.

    When I pick hop cones off of my hop plant I have no expectation that the amount of unwanted microorganisms would be very, very low.

    Do you have a link to any scientific articles that quantify the amount of unwanted microorganisms on 20-ish ounces of freshly picked wet hops?

    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  10. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (733) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Personally, I'd rather have the bugs in my hops :slight_smile:...wet hopped many times with homegrown organic hops and never had a problem...other than a little grassiness.
    sharpski and GormBrewhouse like this.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Barry, just to clarify: you dry hop your beers using wet hops? If so, how many batches have you done this?

  12. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (182) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts

    After reading some of these replies, now I'm nervous. When I get home from work, I'll need to RAHAHB...

    As I fluffed them up and smelled them I didn't see any creepy crawly things. But I have seen things on the leaves in the past. I forgot about those. I gave the cones a quick whirl in a food processor, most got chunked up a bit. No doubt there are some bug parts in my beer. It's no longer vegetarian.

    We'll see what happens!

    Siphoning off the beer will be a pain...

    In hindsight, I think I've read of people putting wet hops in a hop bag in the keg. I'm going to trust that the 5.5-6% ABV, Ph, etc. will be enough to keep any critters from doing their thing. I'll keg in three days and then it'll be chilled and carbonated too.
  13. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (454) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    I just wet (dry) hopped my latest IPA and it got contaminated... I poured the keg down the drain yesterday. It was perfectly fine up until I dry hopped. I wouldn't personally do that ever again and stick with hot side only... I'm guessing insects were probably the culprit.
    GormBrewhouse and JackHorzempa like this.
  14. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (182) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts

    Well, Invertalon, hopefully I don't have the same outcome, but now I'm scared I might.

    Maybe I won't wait 3 days to keg. I'll keg tonight and drop in some campden and postassium sorbate.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  15. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (121) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    Has anyone steamed them. I also got my first batch.
  16. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (454) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    I did it last year as well and it turned out OK. This year I wasn't so lucky! I also dry hopped earlier than I did last year, so there was less alcohol present and the pH was not as low to fight off some of the ‘bugs’. Lesson learned, though. If you waited until near or once FG was reached, you may be fine!
  17. GeeL

    GeeL Initiate (182) Aug 27, 2008 Massachusetts

    Fermentation is definitely complete. I brewed it on 8/23, fermented cool at 65 deg then on 8/27 let it slowly come up to 70. I'm guessing it's between 5.5-6% ABV.

    I put the hops in this morning. I'll let it soak up the hoppy goodness for a day, and keg in the am and then carbonate/chill it. Hopefully that'll be enough to prevent any effects.

    Hopefully the CO2 purging will help mitigate anything. The whole time I had the fermentor open I was purging with CO2 (I have a 2nd tank with a tube that I rested on the lip of the fermentor).

    Next time I do this, I'll put the cones in a food dehydrator for an hour just to chase the critters away and heat them a little to kill anything. They won't be as "wet", but at least they're fresh.
    #17 GeeL, Aug 31, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Your other option is to just add them to the kettle (end of boil). If you do something to the wet cones (e.g., I'll put the cones in a food dehydrator for an hour) you sorta defeat the purpose of using the cones 'wet'.

    sharpski likes this.
  19. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (733) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Jack, yes, several years ago, but not many as the grassiness was too much for my palate. As stated in other posts, I now use proprietary pellets almost exclusively. Getting ready to wet hop a Blonde Ale this weekend (friend's batch) that I tried to talk him out of. :grimacing:

    edit: my thinking was that if you were going to put wet hops in the boil, you might as well wet(dry) hop with them also if you are going to call it a wet hop beer.
  20. telejunkie

    telejunkie Aspirant (240) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    Well sure, the ones we purchase are...but there are a lot of "harvest" or "wet-hop" beers that are commercially available where the brewers boast of field to tank time in a matter of hours...
    I no longer have hop bines, but never had a issue with a wet hop-dry hopped beer and don't ever remember seeing floating bugs...but probably didn't look all that hard either.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dave, do you have any personal insight into exactly how the wet hops are utilized in commercially brewed wet hopped beers? For example, maybe many (most?) of the commercial brewers only add the wet hops to the kettle?

    Also, for those commercial breweries that do add wet hops as part of dry hopping maybe they have 'technology' to mitigate a contamination/infection?

    One of the reasons I choose to not use wet hops for dry hopping is from an article that was published in BYO (July-August 2013) where it was stated (with emphasis in bold by me):

    “Stewart and Geran recommend adding the hops in the last 10 to 20 minutes of the boil for the maximum amount of aroma retention but neither says it’s wise to dry-hop beers with wet hops because of the risk of contamination.”

    Maybe it is time for an ‘updated’ article in BYO on homebrewing with wet hops?


    P.S. Needless to say but a commercial brewery that solely uses wet hops and chooses to use wet hops for dry hopping this will require two separate wet hop harvests. One harvest for the utilization of wet hops during the brewing/boiling and a second harvest a few days later for adding wet hops for the dry hopping process. This is pretty labor intensive (i.e., two wet hop harvests with the hops used within 24 hours of picking).
    GormBrewhouse and GreenKrusty101 like this.
  22. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,263) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Just man up and do it please.
  23. jmich24

    jmich24 Devotee (470) Jan 28, 2010 Michigan

    I brewed a tiny saison with 4 pounds of wet hops. 1/3 at flamout, 1/3 at 170 degrees and 1/3 in the fermenter with the yeast.

    I can post results for those interested when I keg it in the next day or two.

    As long as I don’t get a bad vinegar bite, I won’t mind a little tartness or funk.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  24. telejunkie

    telejunkie Aspirant (240) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    I don't be quite honest, when I worked as an assistant brewer, we brewed a normal IPA, then dry hopped with the fresh picked hops for our Harvest IPA. The head brewer had been doing that for years and basically that was the technique I often went with when I grew hops and brewed my Harvest beer.

    I do know SN doesn't dry hop with their wet hops, but some threads on the topic on Pro Brewer imply that several pro brewers also dry hop with wet hops.
    GormBrewhouse and JackHorzempa like this.
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,762) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    That makes sense to me since Ken Grossman is very concerned about potential contamination in the brewery. There is a story about the extraordinary measures that were made at Sierra Nevada when they brewed a collaborative beer with Russian River which included Brett in 2012. My recollection is that they brewed/packaged this beer in a ‘new’ setup within the Chico brewery and after producing this batch the sold off the parts of the brewery that were exposed to the Brett.

    I can certainly see Ken Grossman saying “no way” concerning dry hopping with wet hops.

  26. jmich24

    jmich24 Devotee (470) Jan 28, 2010 Michigan

    Super clean keg sample. Wet Hops and 3711 is a tasty combo.
    sharpski likes this.
  27. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,110) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Not a homebrewer, but have surveyed a couple hundred commercial brewers about their fresh hop beers. The majority are using fresh hops on the cold side (sometimes in combination with some or all fresh hops on the hot side, but plenty using them only on the cold side). My understanding is the heat volatilizes those compounds that are the reason for using fresh hops in the first place at a lower temperature than the rest of the hop flavor/aroma compounds.

    Breakside Brewery in Portland flash freezes their fresh hops with dry ice and shatters them to better expose the oils inside. I could see this being fairly easy and interesting to replicate at the homebrew level.
    telejunkie and Maestro0708 like this.