Make hoppy kit beers

When embarking on the quest to make craft beer with extract kits, chances are you want something hoppy.

Kits by themselves have no noticeable hops aroma or flavor, but we can introduce it a number of ways.

Adding Hops in the boil

Adding hops to the boil can impart a lot of character in your final beer.

Adding hops to the boil can impart a lot of character in your final beer.

We can introduce hop character when steeping or mashing grains.

For a hoppy beer, simply add a charge of hops (usually 1 oz or 28 g) 15 minutes before the end of the boil and another charge at the end of the boil.

When using specialty malt only, you may need more liquid in the brewpot to help extract the hop character.

Add an extra half gallon (2 L) of boiling water at the start of the boil.

Impact on overall bitterness

You will extract some bitterness from the hops in the 15 minute boil, but the overall impact on the beer will be small.

The extra depth from the malt will help offset this bitterness boost for a well-balanced beer.

Leave hops in the pot

Leave as much of the sludge behind as you can.

Leave as much of the sludge behind as you can.

When you chill the wort after the boil, the hops will settle to the bottom of the pot.

Try to leave as much of the hop solids behind as you can when pouring into the fermenter.

Some is okay, but too much can lead to grassy flavors in your beer.

Bitter balance

You extract some bitterness when boiling hops, as well as flavor and aroma. If you are finding the end beer too bitter try:

  • Reducing the first flavoring addition and increase the second aromatic late addition.

  • Use a low alpha hop variety.

  • Add extra dry malt extract to help balance the beer.

Dry and wet hopping

If you are chasing the full hop experience, consider also adding hops after fermentation has finished.

This will draw out delicate aromas and flavors for hoppy happiness.

Dry hopping

Dry hopping is simply adding hops to the fermented wort. These can be thrown in loose or sealed in a pre-boiled hop bag to make bottling or racking easier.

The fermented wort’s low pH and hops’ antibacterial qualities will help prevent infection.

Wet hopping

Steeping hops for wet hopping.

Steeping hops for wet hopping.

Although dry hopping is a low infection risk, wet hopping is a safer alternative. Boil one quart (liter) of water in a pot. Turn off the heat, add the hops and seal with the lid.

Leave to steep for five minutes, then pour in the liquid and hop bag into your fermented wort.

Again, hops can be added loose or in a bag.

How much to add?

Around an ounce of hops (28 g) wet or dry hopped will give noticeable impact.

Leave the beer on the hops for three to five days and then rack, bottle or keg as per normal.

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