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Dry Hopping Confession

When it comes to dry hopping, I have to admit that I am a virgin.

GASP!  I know.

I have been brewing for over ten years and I have never dry hopped a brew.

I tend to use big hop additions at 1-minute or flame out when I want good hop aroma. However, I am really beginning to feel like I am missing out on something. Recently, I enjoyed on of my favorite commercial brews Troegs Nugget Nectar.  Man, that’s tasty and hoppy.  However, most of the hop profile is in the flavor and aroma end not in the bitterness end; and I like it that way.

I am also not a big fan of over the top citrusy American hop flavors.  I like solid hop flavor, just not grapefruit ripping dryness.  The weird thing is that I love the aroma that hops like Cascade, Columbus and Centennial bring to the table.

So with that said, maybe my German inspired Amber Ale needs a blast of cascade in dry hop.  I was thinking 2 oz of whole leaf hops in the keg may be in order.  I’m concerned that cascade aroma may not sit well with the late Tettnanger additions I made in the recipe though. Any thoughts would be appreciated.  I am likely to just go for it though after I get a taste of the finished beer on its way into the keg.  Maybe I’ll split it into two batches and dry hop half of it.


German Hopped Amber Ale


Flame Out Kettle Additions


  1. For the longest time I never dry hopped anything. I think I was afraid. Then one day I dropped a few ounces of Centennial dry into an IPA. I have never turned back. I even give my Wheat beer a little bit of dry hops now and then. Of my last ten batches, probably 8 of them have been dry hopped. It’s really a wonderful thing.

    I don’t dry hop in the keg though, I add them to the primary after about a week, when fermentation is almost done, and then let it sit for another week until it’s time to keg. I would recommend you leave yourself a way to get the hops out of the keg should you dry hop in the keg. It may depend on how fast you go through a keg.

  2. I’ve only dryhopped a beer once, and it developed a gusher infection. I’ve heard everybody swear up and down that dryhopping is safe because of hops natural antimicrobial properties and the alcohol content of the beer you’re adding them to, but I’ve also heard a lot of other people have the same problem dryhopping.

    It’s purely anecdotal evidence, but I switched to flameout additions for aroma instead of dry hopping for the same reason I sanitize my bottle caps – why risk it?

    That said, prior to the infection taking hold, it was a really good beer, with a great hop character.

  3. Just remembering that beer… it took a 28 in competition even with the gusher infection well established, eroding the body.

    One judge said it was “overcarbonated” and I wanted to smack him for not seeing the obvious, but alas it is difficult to smack someone through the mail.

  4. I started dry hopping a few months ago and like Keith said, haven’t looked back. You are going to love it.

    Now I haven’t dry hopped in a keg, but I know a lot of people who do use those metal tea balls. A nylon bag probably works too though.

  5. tim stuemke

    For me, dry hopping makes for great experimentation with very little effort. Just remember to use pellets, whole hops are a pain to get out of a carboy. In addition, if you are looking to use up a partial bag of hops, why now throw them into a 2 gal. portion and see what happens.

  6. Dusty

    Ahhh, the wonders of dry hopping! I recently began to dry hop, and as most who have replied, I’m loving it as well. A few things to consider…..

    Make sure you sanitize your muslin bag prior to dropping it in your carboy. Just give it a hard boil for 10 minutes and then let it cool. I used pellets and a plug in my last batch of IPA. I also added orange peel and a few sticks of clove. The result was a VERY drinkable brew! It was some what of a pain to get the bag out of the carboy, but I managed to pull it out.

    Secondly, the idea of splitting into separate carboys is not a bad idea. I went out and bought a few one gallon jugs for experimenting, along with muntons DME tablets for carbonating. The only down side is that the more we handle our brew, the more we risk infection……..as I’m sure you are aware.

    Brew on!

  7. Spencer

    I’ll be doing my first dry hopping with my next pale ale. The dude at the brew shop recommended using whole hops for the dry hops. Huh?! I’ve heard other folks, including Tim above, say that pellets is where its at. Brew Shop Dude said the whole hops float at the top of the carboy and shouldn’t get sucked into the racking cane, while Tim and others say that pellets dissolve or sink to the sediment. Ahh. . . the joys of home brewing!

    Let us know how the dry hop went.

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