From the HBD Archive
From: polstra!jdp@hplabs.HP.COM (John Polstra)
Subject: Re: Small scale mashing, dry hopping, etc.
Date: 1990-01-25 03:31:19 GMT

In HBD #340, enders@plains.NoDak.edu (Todd Enders) wrote this about
dry-hopping:
> On the subject of dry hopping and its infection potential: Why
> couldn't you give the hops a bath in everclear before pitching
> them into the primary? That should disinfect them at least somewhat.
> I don't know just how solulable (sp?) the hop oils are in ethanol, but
> I don't think a 5 min. bath would wash out all the good stuff.
> Comments?

Both in this digest and among the brewers in my local club, I have heard
many concerns voiced about the infection potential of dry-hopping. As
someone who uses this practice in almost all of his ales, I would like
to suggest that you all just relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew. I
have never, ever gotten any infection as a result of dry-hopping, and I
am convinced that its potential for infection is very small.

Most beer infections get established during the first 24 hours after
boiling and chilling the wort. That is the time when (A) the yeast is
not well-established yet, and (B) there is no alcohol in the wort yet.
Once the yeast becomes established in the wort, it is very difficult for
an infection to take hold. Later, at racking time, the alcohol level
further hinders the organisms that could otherwise cause infection.

Also, bear in mind that hops are a natural preservative. In fact, the
whole reason brewers centuries ago began using hops was because they
had discovered that the hops would prevent their beer from spoiling.

Finally, look around you. I doubt there's a brewery in England that
does not use dry-hopping. It's standard procedure over there. They
don't do anything special to their hops, they just dump them in. They
have found through experience that it doesn't cause a problem. All of
the microbreweries I have toured in the US (5 so far) use dry-hopping in
at least some of their brews. They all say they've never had infection
problems from that practice.

You like hops? You like hop aroma? Give dry-hopping a try. It works
great!

- John Polstra jdp@polstra.UUCP
Polstra & Co., Inc. ...{uunet,sun}!practic!polstra!jdp
Seattle, WA (206) 932-6482

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