How to dry hop your beer

by Daniel on May 13, 2012

Today I dry hopped my beer for the first time (my first all grain batch, as well), and wanted to share the experience.  Here’s a little background info:  Most often about 1/2 oz of hops per 5 gallons is adequate.  Also, you typically want to add it when fermentation has already mostly slowed down, or when you are transferring to a secondary fermenter.

Like anything in brewing, a little planning goes a long way, so here’s a laundry list of what you need:

  • Your hops
  • Nylon hop bag (inexpensive and found at most local home brew shops)
  • Sanitizer
  • Stainless steel washer – I use this as a weight inside my hop bag to be sure my hops don’t just rest on top of my beer.  You can use something else as you like, as long as it can be sanitized and is inert (glass marbles are another good option)

The recipe that I copied (see my post here) called for 1/2 oz of Centennial hops being placed in after about 7-9 days of fermentation.  Since I bought a 1 oz package and only used 1/2 oz for the boil, I still had 1/2 oz left over.  Here are the steps of what to do (or at least the way I did it):

  1. To prepare, mix up a sanitizer solution, put the SS washer in the hop bag, and put that in the sanitizer to soak.
  2. Bring that and the hops over beside the fermentation bucket.
  3. Using a spray bottle of sanitizer (I recommend these for lots of uses in brewing), spray the lid of the bucket where you will open it to stick in the bag, then douse your hands in hand sanitizer.
  4. Hold your breath–you don’t want any bacteria from you to get in there either!
  5. Carefully crack open the lid, sink the hop bag into the beer, holding the end of the draw string outside the bucket, and reseal the bucket lid.  If you let your hops go down to the bottom, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s nicer if you don’t stir up the trub at the bottom of your bucket when you take it out later.

That’s it.  Now just enjoy sweet dreams of the wonderful aroma that the hops will impart to your beer!

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