From the HBD Archive
Subject: Dry Hopping and Infection
Date: 1989-02-06 15:30:50 GMT

The finest hop aroma I ever got came from dry hopping: adding whole hops
to the carboy while fermentation was proceeding. Adding hops to the
brew kettle while the wort is still hot and letting the wort sit a while
before chilling doesn't work as well. Adding hop tea made by steeping
hops in boiled, 180 degF or so, water and then straining off the tea
to be added to the carboy is okay, but still doesn't compare to dry hopping.
I have not tried adding the hops along with the tea: I strained them out.

I quit dry hopping when I lost a batch of beer to infection.
Withing 48 hours of adding the hops, the beer had a raging bacterial
or wild yeast infection. (I don't have a microbiology lab, so don't
ask me what it was.) I discarded it a couple of days later. It seems
logical that the hops did it.

After running the wort chiller, I boil every ingredient and sterilize
every instrument that touches my beer/wort. But I can't boil the hops
for fear of degrading the aroma, and I sure can't use chlorine, etc.,
to sterilize them. Sulfites are used for winemaking, but I thought
they were a no-no in brewing.

It seems logical that hops, an argicultural product, could have all kinds
of bacteria on them. Is there any reason to suppose that pelletized hops
might present a lower risk? (I can't see why.) I prefer whole hops but
would be willing to experiment with dry-hopping pellets if I could be
convinced that it could be worthwhile.

How do you get that flowery aroma found in some lagers and most pale
ales without infecting the wort?

- Len Reed

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