This past summer I brewed a batch of a single hop IPA using the Chinook hops variety. I was a fan of the beer, noting that at ~52 IBUs, as calculated by iBrewMaster, it seemed to be perfectly balanced with its modest alcohol level.
Not being one to leave good enough alone, I recently returned to the same recipe:
This time, however, I changed the hopping a little bit. The recipe actually calls for the beer to be dry hopped approximately one week into fermentation depending upon the activity in the carboy. For my first batch I did not actually dry hop the beer. I do not know why exactly. It probably had to do with some recent sour experiences with dry hopped beers that were over the top in terms of hoppiness.
So, one ounce of Chinook hop pellets were put into the carboy and it was sealed for another three weeks. The results really speak for themselves. This may be the best beer that has ever been made by my hands.
Whereas the first batch was a pretty standard IPA the dry hopped version is outstanding. The extra resinous flavors and aromas, without the accompanying bitterness that would have been contributed via boiling the hops in wort, produce a wonderful assortment of palate sensations. This is a beer that is never boring.
Slowly I have been coming around to the idea of dry hopping beers. It is the effect of having tried beers that use the technique to produce a unique beer without being a gimmick.
What would be really interesting going forward is to execute a similar recipe using another variety of hops, perhaps Citra, or play around with some different malts and specialty grains. As the weather turns toward winter’s cold I might want to see what this recipe would be like using some rye malt. Hmmmm, winter beers…