Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Attention! Dried Hops are NOT Fresh Hops

I'm going to milk this month of fresh hops for all it's worth. Partly because I love fresh-hop beer; partly because I don't have time to generate original content for you.

A commenter on the Fresh Hop Map said:

I sense the level of confusion rising between fresh hop (freshly dried hops) and wet hop (freshly picked hops).

Some people might be confused about this, but those of us who have tasted the delights of Fresh Hop beers are not confused.  Hops that have been dried are not fresh.

What the hell is a "wet hop"?  A hop that slipped and fell in the bathtub?  A hop that got rained on?  If you've ever touched a hop on the vine, it's not wet, in fact it's kind of papery and rough like a cat's tongue.  But it isn't wet like a fresh tomato or a fresh berry.

If there's any damn confusion, it might stem from Sierra Nevada, who promotes their Southern Hemisphere Harvest thusly:  "the fresh hops in this beer are dried right after being picked" (emphasis mine).  Are you kidding me?  Do you consider beef jerky to be fresh?  Dried apples?  Evaporated milk?  Powdered garlic?  Let's put this another way:  what other dried item do you think of as fresh?

Fresh hops have not been dried.  Accept no substitutes.

More ranting at the bottom of this post.


  1. Bill, how do you feel about beers that have been dosed with a "bitter charge" of conventional hops and then had a bunch of wet hops added later? This is probably the wave of the future, and definitely the way I'd go if I were brewing. The dried hops just give the beer a stable foundation without adding much character; the wet hops do that. You can tell how much they offer by comparing the Lupulins, which have that bitter charge.

  2. Good point. I don't know how many "Fresh Hop" beers are 100% fresh, but Lupulin is always a favorite.

    Hey, I'll drink any beer that tastes good. Fresh hop season is a special time, and it's fun to see the difference. So I guess I won't complain too much as long as the flavor from the dry hops doesn't overwhelm the fresh flavor. That has been my complaint in the past about Bridgeport Hop Harvest the year they went big (07 I think?), and sometimes I have my suspicions that other "fresh" brews have more dry hops than fresh.

  3. I am pretty sure almost every fresh hop beer is still using dried hops for their bittering. That certainly doesnt make them not fresh hop.
    But yeah, there should be no confusion between wet and fresh hop, they are the same. Though in defense of the hop they are much more oily fresh so thats a form of wet i guess.

  4. I think I read this info on a Pub Napkin at Rogue? Oh, probably not, that would of require me to eat their horrible food! Not much chance of that.

    Keep up the good work Bill!

  5. This also raises the question of how long can a fresh hop beer in a bottle be shelved and still be called fresh. I've seen some of that Great Divide Fresh Hop or BridgePort's Fresh Hop on the shelf into spring. It might've been brewed fresh or wet, but I've found it to become a bit veggie.