July 24, 2010 by fhsteinbart
It is late July and hop harvest is quickly approaching. Everyone in the shop is excited to see the 2010 harvest come in and to brew some wet hop beers. Many commercial examples of these beers are available in September and October and you have probably tried them. They are referred to as “wet hop”, “fresh hop”, or “harvest” ales. These beers have a unique grassy character and a smooth citrusy bitterness. Fresh hop beers are usually less bitter than their counterparts brewed with cured hops.
Fresh Hop beers are made with we un-dried wet hops. The hops brewers typically use are dehydrated immediately after harvest (usually within a few hours). Hop processors do this for good reason as wet hops have a tendency to “compost”, which does not make a beer taste very good. We only get one hop harvest a year here in North America and we need to dry out our hops so we can make tasty brews year round with them.
Brewing with Fresh Hops:
Fresh hops usually contain about 80-90% water by weight while tried hos are around 13-15% water by weight. This means that you want to use about 5 times as much by weight when using a wet hop. Some brewers like to use pellets or dried whole hops as a bittering hop and follow with wet hops during the last 25 or 30 minutes of the boil. This helps cut down on some of the grassier flavors you can get from using wet hops.
Wort loss to hops is greatly increased when using wet hops. If you use alot of them it is not uncommon to lose 30-40% of the wort to the hops. We don’t suggest using wet hops as a dry hop, as it takes a lot of agitation to release the aromatic compounds in the wet hops, and you will extract lots of chlorophyl.
We are currently taking pre-orders for wet hops here at the store. These hops are being overnighted from the grower to us and we suggest that you use them right away if you order. Mail order customers may want to opt for expedited shipping as we suggest you use these hops within 48 hours of harvest. You can order hops here: http://www.fhsteinbart.com/products/index.php?subgrp=FHP&subgrpdesc=Fresh%20(wet)%20Hops