The Perfect Time to Dry Hop
Dry hopping has been done for centuries, but never before has dry hopping been more exciting than now. With a bigger selection of hops and technology than ever, brewers are creating some of the best beers the world has ever seen. But there is still one aspect of dry hopping that is a bit of a dark hole for many, and that is the question of when is the perfect time to dry hop.
As a brewer, you want to make sure the height of fermentation is almost over before you start the process of dry hopping. But how do you know when the fermentation starts to slow down? Do you just wait 3 to 4 days after you put the beer into the fermenter? Do you watch for the kraeusen to start to diminish? With the PLAATO Pro, you take the guesswork out of the equation, and you can make a data-driven decision that will make sure you can dry hop at the right time to get the most out of your hops.
Dry hopping at the wrong time will in the best case be a waste, as the Co2 will scrub the hop aroma and flavors out of the liquid. In the worst case, you can get contamination in your beer, as hops are not a sterile product, the organisms in the hops can survive and ruin the beer.
Dry hopping at the right time will make sure the pH in the liquid has dropped to the right point, a point where the organisms in the hops will not have survived. There will also be alcohol present in the beer that kills bacteria, and a healthy amount of yeast that also tends to starve out other organisms. So from a safety aspect dry hopping at the right time is hugely important, to minimize the bacterial risk of dry hopping.
But it is not only the bacterial aspect of dry hopping which is important of course, making sure you get the best aromatic result from the hops is the main purpose of dry hopping.
While the technology for dry hopping has developed tremendously in the last few decades, many brewers use this technology without clear data as to when they should dry hop.
A brewer wants the optimal contact time for the hops they are adding to get the right aroma extraction, and both temperature and time are essential. Several studies have shown that even just 24 hrs of contact time will extract a lot of components from hops, so timing is key. Hop thiols are highly aroma-active compounds derived from hops, and after just 2 days of dry hopping, most of these compounds are found in the beer.
If you also consider the risk of hop kreep when over attenuation dry hopping, knowing when to dry hop to get the desired result is essential.
The Plaato Pro delivers real-time data to your smartphone and computer, so you make this decision just at the right time. You can even set notifications based on real-time data that will send you a message directly to your smartphone, that way you do not need to check in to find that perfect time to add the hops. In the PLAATO Pro Webapp, you can also compare up to four batches, thereby comparing different timing of dry hopping across batches and how it impacted the overall result/ flavour of the beer.
Interesting, but I had expected more practical hints derived from all the data Plaato Pro is collecting…
October 20, 2022