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A dramatic experiment

Ive read quite a bit about the different types of hopping recently and i figured I'd experiment.  I do love most types of beers, but recently I seem to brew almost exclusively IPAs.  And with any IPA the more hops the better.

Everyone, yes everyone, loves my Overly Dramatic Rye Pale Ale, so I decided to use that as the basis for my experiment. (I will note that my Step Dad's review was "that's pretty dramatic all right." He then gave it back.)

The experiment:

I don't remember where I got the idea, but it wasn't original. The idea was to, instead of dry hopping, make a "hop tea" by brewing some ~1.040 wort and steeping the hops at about 180 degrees F for 30 minutes or so.  This tea is cooled and added directly to the secondary for several days before bottling.

I wanted to have some sort of control for this experiment, so I split the batch into two 5 gallon fermenters and added the same amount of 1.040 wort and dry hopped with the same amount and type hops.  I also would have liked compare to the original, but I drank it all...

Brew day:

The recipe used was the same as the Overly Dramatic Rye Pale Ale.  That original recipe used 1 oz each of Cascade and Warrior for dry hop. I split that into 2, for half an oz of each in the tea and half an oz of each for dry hopping. I didn't record the Alpha Acid on these, sorry.  I think that makes me a terrible scientist.

For the tea, I boiled 1lb of golden light DME in 1 gallon of water.  I now know that the pot I used wasn't designed for that much water.... I poured half of the wort into a coffee press.  (over the sink because I spilled a bunch. The pot was not designed to pour either.) I split the dry hops into 2 and let half steep for 30 min starting at 180 and ending at about 165.  I used the press to separate the hops from the wort. This didn't quite work because the large amount of hop pellets clogged the mesh filter. I cooled

everything down and added the plain hops and wort to one 5 gallon fermenter and the tea to the other.

If I had to do it again, I would have used less water and strained a second time through a paper coffee filter.

The results:

I took a sixer of each to Matty's on the barrel fill day for some blind tasting.  For some reason, it was easy to get the rest of the Awesome Brewers to drink my beer. I set up a blind taste test and promptly forgot which was which. Luckily Matty helped me pour and corrected my mistake.

Dry hopped Ale:  Awesome!

Hopped Tea Ale:  Awesome!

Seriously though, both are great beers. The hop tea had a little more of the hop flavor while the dry hopped ale had more of the hop aroma.  However, the differences were extremely subtle.

From Mark:

"I preferred the taste of the hop tea, the aroma of the dry hopped, and if I had to choose, would choose the hop tea"

I think if I use this method again, I'd use it in conjunction with dry hopping.  I'd also boil less water and either use whole hops or filter through a paper coffee filter.

I also need to take better notes. Or notes at all.

Tags: Hop Tea, IPA


1 comments on this page. Add your own comment below.

Sep 12, 2011 6:19pm [ 1 ]

The dry hopped one was better. Just sayin'.

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