In the craft brewing industry there are several methods for creating the many delicious craft beers we love. From wet hopped brews to dry hopped brews, and everywhere between, the resulting brews are out of this world and getting better every year. Brewers like Funky Buddha, Twisted Trunk, Cigar City and more have been ramping up their game every year, pounding out one amazing brew after another in order to meet the growing demands of the craft beer community.
The most obvious difference is the style used to create these great brews. You may think that wet hopped is obvious, as hops are obviously wet once they are added to the process. However, “wet hopped” does not mean what you may think. Wet hops are entirely, though not completely, different. Wet hops have not been dried, at all. They come straight from the bine and are added to the process wet. Wet hops have a more subtle aroma and flavor, though they do imbue several oils and such that create the delicious flavors and aromas you’ve come to love.
Dry hops are also not exactly the same as typical hops. Dry hopped refers to when the hops are added to the process. Dry hopped means the hops were added during the fermenting period, while the brew is cooling, rather than during the boil. As the brew is cooler, it does not impart the same amount of oils and flavoring nor does it do so in the same manner.
Therefore, a “wet hopped” brew literally uses wet hops, while a “dry hopped” brew has had hops added to the wort during fermentation and cooling. So, the next time you see a pub touting they have “wet hopped” beer, you’ll know that this really is different from simply adding hops to the boil. The same can be said of those taprooms featuring “dry hopped” brews, as you’ll know the hops was added very late in the process, leeching its delightful aromas and flavors into a cooling brew and creating a deep flavor profile that you’ll notice in the brew.
Why is it important to know the difference between wet hopped and dry hopped?
With so many craft breweries popping up with a huge variety of brews to fill the ever-growing demand for craft beer, it helps to know exactly what you are getting. If you assume that all hops is “wet”, then you’re not going to understand why that “wet hopped” brew tastes a bit different than most other brews, nor why that “dry hopped” brew seems to be more aromatic than others. By knowing, you have a better chance to understand the flavor profile and aroma of the brew, as well as how it differs from a brew that does not include either of these practices.
We hope you enjoy your journey through the craft brewing world as you taste different brews and find the ones that really catch your attention. We’ve been doing exactly that and since our own brewery will eventually open later this year, we thought we’d impart a bit of what we’ve learned over time to our readers. After all, sharing knowledge is a great practice in this industry and we love to make sure our fellow enthusiasts know what they’re in for when they head out to try something new.
Check back regularly for more posts on hops and how it affects the brewing process, as well as other practices that help to create the many interesting brews we’ve the joy to taste all over the United States. Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment about some of the great wet or dry hopped brews you have found. They just might make it into our next feature!
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