Spencer was inspired by this experiment to try to reproduce it for the club. He got a couple cases of Wolverine Premium Lager (a huge step up from Bud Light!) For each of 11 different hops, he added 2 grams to each of 4 bottles, leaving 4 bottles unhopped. They then sat in an unheated cellar room for about 9 days. How did it work out?
What happens when you dry hop already finished commercial beer?
It wasn’t pretty.
About two dozen members gathered around when the first bottle was opened, it was very happy to see us, and poured itself out aggressively. As Spencer tried to minimize the stream of beer (and members helped with their tiny buckets to catch the ensuing waterfall), our gracious hosts ran to get towels, bowls, pitchers and tea strainers.
Tea strainers? Yeah, when one does this experiment, it first off creates tons of fresh new nucleation sites for carbonation to grab onto. Additionally, as we tried the first dry hopped Wolverine Lager (Amarillo) I head someone say “It tastes good” only to realize they meant eating the actual hop chunks that came out with the beer.
In time Arnold and Spencer got a rhythm going, pouring through the strainer and knocking it out when it got clogged. All in all, it would have been nice if we could have anticipated this, but we succeeded to get through the 11 different hops and all was well.
The tasting notes are transcribed from the huge post-it notes we stuck up. As you can see, some of the hops didn’t get much response. If I was to do it again, I think I’d pour the beer into growlers to decarbonate it somewhat, at the risk of oxidizing the beer. 2 grams per bottle might have been too much, it’s hard to say, but it was the smallest amount that I could easily measure.
|Hop Variety||Tasting notes|
|Amarillo||spruce; floral; cat pee; orange; yum; dank|
|Cascade||grapefruit; cat pee|
|Centennial||slightly spicy; citrusy w/herbal notes|
|Citra||mild spruce; spice; grapefruity; cat pee; pine cone|
|Crystal||floral; delicate; light spice; light citrus; floral; mild herbal, floral; melon|
|Galaxy||fresh grass; peach; hints of cat pee; spice; floral; citrus; fruity|
|Kent Goldings||floral, earthy; grassy, hay|
|Nelson Sauvin||cat pee; grass/lemon; lemon; piney; mild fruitiness; lemongrass; peach|
|Vanguard||mild, herbal; raw fish; very mild & neutral; herbal & floral; lemon/chamomile|
There would appear to be something in raw hops that tastes like cat pee. Those comments were in several different handwritings, so it wasn’t just one person.