There’s no secret that many breweries use dry hopping in their IPAs; whether they want to bring out more hop aroma or more stone fruit/ floral characteristics, it’s a very common practice among home brewers and craft breweries alike.
So what is dry hopping? After the fermentation or kegging of the beer, hops are added, either in leaf form or pellets, and that allows the beer to really soak in all the flavors of the hop themselves. Dry hopping doesn’t add any bitterness to an IPA (generally), but it can also lose that aromatic oil during the boiling processes.
Something else has been hitting the market lately and, frankly, it’s changing the dry hop game all together.
Breweries around the country are experimenting with Lupulin Hop Powder for dry hopping and it’s absolutely delicious. Lupulin is the little yellow pods inside of the hop cone that really hold all the flavor and aromas. While hop pellets are just powdered Lupulin, they still have to go through an intense process to actually form them… and that tends to bring out some of those bitter elements in hops. Dry hopping with pellets has a higher likelihood of adding bitterness and metallic-like flavors compared to this lovely little powder!
This powder can also help to produce more beer. I know, it sounds a bit nutty… just hear me out! Without the powder, more beer is absorbed by the hop and can’t be salvaged during the dry hopping stage; so, in turn, using a powder that just dissolves into the beer helps to eliminate that unwanted waste! Yep! That means we get to drink more…
Of course there are drawbacks to using powder; some brewers have experienced a less-than-desired hop flavor (lacking flavor.. or whatever), while the aroma was through the roof delicious. While we still figure out this hop powder business, it seems like a lot of brewers are experimenting with 30%-50% powder and the rest with the pellets. Compromise, right?!
While beers brewed with this powder are just up-and-coming, definitely keep a look out for them! I remember having one from a Washington brewery a few weeks ago (blanking on the name) and it was definitely something way tasty!