Double Dry Hop, Because Why Not?


It’s been a while since I last talked about Bandito. I made a bunch of modifications to the recipe, including replacing Citra hops with Mosaic and futzing with the yeast and grain bill. The latest recipe (for version 1.5) is here.

This afternoon, I am in the processing of adding the second round of dry hops to this beer. I initially added the first round of dry hops (1.5oz each of Simcoe and Cascade) on Saturday, and today I am adding 3oz of Mosaic. I’ll only keep the beer on the hops until Saturday when I will bottle it.

So why two rounds of dry hops? The technique of having two rounds of dry hop additions is known as “double dry hopping.” A lot of well known breweries (Stone, Firestone Walker, Russian River) use the technique with the purported benefits of a bigger, longer-lasting hop aroma. The danger (at least with homebrewing) is that multiple dry hop additions means multiple transfers for the beer from vessel to vessel. These transfer expose the beer to oxygen (bad) and to also contamination (very bad).

So why risk it? Good question, and the answer is as simple as it is… simple: I wanted to try it. I have a good/bad habit in my homebrewing of experimenting. It’s a good habit because it keeps things interesting and keeps the hobby from getting even remotely boring. It’s a bad habit, because I don’t experiment scientifically; meaning I don’t have any controls to measure my experiment against. So if, theoretically, this beer comes out amazing I won’t know if the double dry hopping was the reason for it, until I try a single dry hop version. And then I’d probably want to test the value of that against a no-dry-hop or hop-bursting version. And so on, turtles all the way down.

I have a inherent inability to keep things simple, apparently.

But here’s hoping (hopping)  that things turn out well.

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7 Comments

  1. I have a couple questions and a personal observation from my own homebrewing experience to share. First, you list transferring as a risk for double dry hopping. I’m not sure why you’d be moving the beer and not simply removing and replacing the hops. Perhaps this relates to your specific setup? The oxygen risk is real but not that significant with relation to opening the secondary this late in the game. The greater concern rises from O2/air introduced into the beer itself as the hops are submerged. I’ve never actually gotten an infection from hopping, but i’m dilligent about soaking the fine mesh bag and vacuum packed hop packages in santizer along with the knife i use to open the hops.

    In my own experience, there is one risk that I’ve battled and gone around and around on. Loss of liquid volume. Dry hopping a 5 gallon batch with a couple ounces of hops will cost you by my estimates even when recapturing as much liquid as possible 2-3 12 oz beers. One of my favorite recipes calls for a total of 8 ounces dry hopped which I’d say absorbs the absoulutely unfortunate amount of roughly a half case of bottles. I’m hoping to start putting some better numbers to this through weight measurment of the hop bag before and after. I’m also planning to split a batch pre-boil to compare a straight aroma addition (flameout) to a straight dry hop with no aroma addition and then the combo if possible. I’m hoping to actually reduce the amount of dry hop necessary to achieve the desired aroma and flavor.

    Reply

    1. Great comment!

      I transfer the beer to avoid keeping on the hop crub for too long. I’ve heard after a certain number of days (5-7 usually) the beer take take on a “vegetable” quality from the amount of hop matter. So the idea is to move it off the hop sludge and into a fresh bucket.

      I DEFINITELY saw a loss of volume with the first dry-hopping stage, so that actually had me worried about doing the second round. I’m expecting to end up with about 3.75 gallons when it’s all said and done. So it’s a pretty expensive proposition.

      I just dump the pellets straight into the bucket; maybe using a mesh bag would help cut down on the liquid loss but I’d be worried about the hops on the interior not getting exposed to the beer.

      I also want to start doing some split-batch brewing, but I don’t have enough small volume vessels for it at the moment (easily remedied by not being a cheapskate), but it is definitely something I want to try, especially with this Bandito IPA.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply

  2. There probably is a fine line between the perfect amount of hops, and too much….but it is most likely skewed way up the hop scale. Double dry hop away!

    Reply

  3. Ah, so that’s why. i always use a bag, to make removing/adding more a simpler task. it’s a ver large bag, similar to one i use for mashing but fine mesh instead of coarse. no risk of dry hops, i’ve gone as high as 8 ozs with expected dispersement and saturation.
    There’s no issue squeezing the hop bag (unlike squeezing a grain bag, which is very bad) to reclaim as much liquid as possible.
    I wouldn’t worry to much about over exposure, many beers are dry hopped in the keg or cask with no off flavors. I’d say that 2+ weeks exposure is safe for sure.

    Reply

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