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Friday Video August 14th Mills and Boxcar Brewing – Use of Hops

Posted on 21st August 2020

Hello, Welcome to our Friday video, this week I am drinking a beer from Boxcar Brewery, it is a colab with Mills brewing, 4.5% best bitter. There’s something about the English style that even for a certified hophead, it really stands out. Good flavour from the goldings used in here, thanks Boxcar and Mills.

Last week I spoke about hop derived products, this week we are looking at raw hops and hop pellets, which go under various different titles. This maybe T-90, T -45 or BBC.

These are what we call, for ease and so the most people understand, whole hops, now, there are many arguments about what to call this product but if you hear dried hops, hop flowers, raw hops, hop cones this is the product.

These have been used in brewing for centuries, can be used directly from the bine, and notice I said BINE not VINE, when used like this they actually produce a different flavour in the beer. You will have heard of harvest or green hop beer, this is a beer made with hops freshly harvested. They have to be used as soon as possible after harvest as they degrade and oxidise very quickly. Actually they are used so quickly that no specs are given for alpha etc. As such they are used at the end of boil and dry hop.

These hops that you can see here have been harvested from the field, they then go through a threshing type process to remove as much chaff as possible then kilned to dry them to a specific level, then baled and cold stored. It is imperative that hops, in any derivative, are treated with care, they need to be oxygen free, dark and cold. This is how the valuable aroma, flavour and bittering compounds are preserved in the best way.

Here at TMM all hops are stored at 4’c, we nitrogen back flush and pack in foil with an oxygen barrier film

Whole hops can be used in every stage of the brewing process but always think about separating the hops from the wort or finished beer if dry hopping. You will need to use some type of filter such as the popular bazooka you can see here in the boil kettle or possibly a hop sock, for dry hopping. When used like this they create a filter bed, when done correctly it allows for crystal clear wort into your fermenter.

These hops are know as pellets or T-90, their use is far more common right across the world and for many with really good reason, there are a few pitfalls that as a brewer you need to get around. These pellets once in your kettle or dry hop turn to silt like sludge that want to block and filter, bag, hose you can name. If you are using pellets in your kettle the only reliable way is to whirlpool, this can be done manually with a paddle or with a pump, if you are doing this my advise is to remove your hop filter completely. By whirl pooling you are concentrating the trub to the middle of the kettle, this is likely to be where your hop filter is picking up from and causing issues. Far better to wait for the whirlpool to do its job, then slowly drain the clearer wort from the side of the kettle. When using pellets for dry hopping, and in my opinion they are far superior to whole hops because the contact area is huge, they release aroma a flavour far easier, BUT, if you drop them in the fermenter loose which ideally you will, you will need to be able to chill your fermenter as low as possible to get them to drop out with the trub, that way you will have no problem in the use of pellets.

It is worth noting that they take up less space and actually store better than whole hops, they also contain less of the actual hop that you don’t need, this is taken out during processing.

We do have some varieties that are known as BBC pellets. These were developed with Boston Beer Company hence BBC and Barth Haas. These are a major step up in quality and yield of aroma and flavour in your beer. Save for use for whirlpool and dry hop purposes, rather than the bittering edition.

The main thing I want customers to take away from this video is to be able to use different types of hops easily, whilst giving the maximum flavour profile. The only way you can do that is to understand how to use and store your ingredients correctly, and make sure that your supplier does to.

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