Hops in Brewing

Fresh Picked (Wet)

  • Picked
  • Delivered immediately
  • Used within 48 hours
  • Used to create seasonal beers
  • Used in fresh hopped beers

Dried Whole Cone

  • Picked and dried
  • Vacuum packaged
  • and refrigerated
  • Used within a year
  • Used to create limited release beers
  • Used in fresh hopped beers


Pelletized

  • Picked and dried
  • Hammered into a powder
  • Compressed into pellets
  • Vacuum packaged
  • Used within several years
  • Used in year round beer production

Advantages

Wet Hops

  • Due to the fact they haven’t been processed, there can be a greater aromatic impact from wet hops due to their retaining most intact essential oils.
  • Wet hops incorporate into the wort much more easily than pellet hops and do not stick to the kettle.
  • Wet hops are usually easier to remove from your beer after dry-hopping.
  • They also will not sink and gum up siphoning efforts when it comes time to bottle.

Advantages

Dried Whole Cone Hops

    • Due to the fact they have been minimally processed, there can be a greater aromatic impact from dried whole cone hops due to their retaining most intact essential oils.
    • Dried whole cone hops incorporate into the wort much more easily than pellet hops and do not stick to the kettle.
    • Dried whole cone hops are usually easier to remove from your beer after dry-hopping.
    • They also will not sink and gum up siphoning efforts when it comes time to bottle.

Advantages

Pelletized Hops

  • More varieties are available in hop pellets.
  • Hop pellets oxidize slower and have better storage potential.
  • Hop pellets take up less space and are easier to store.
  • Pellet hops are generally easier to split into abstract increments.
  • Pellets are easier to add to carboys during dry-hopping.
  • Hop pellets have a slightly higher utilization efficiency (10-15%) than dried whole cone hops

Disadvantages

Wet Hops

  • Wet hops cannot be stored and must be used within 48 hours.
  • Must use 4 to 5 times more in brewing because they have not been dried
  • They can be difficult to get into carboys or fermentors with narrow openings.
  • May need special equipment in larger brewing systems.


Disadvantages

Dried Whole Cone Hops

  • Whole cone hops take up a little more space to store.
  • May need to use 10% more than pelletized hops in brewing
  • They can be difficult to get into carboys or fermentors with narrow openings.
  • May need special equipment in larger brewing systems.



Disadvantages

Pelletized Hops

  • The extra processing due to milling can negatively affect the aromatic quality.
  • A loss of a major portion of delicate aroma compounds occurs during the pelletizing process.
  • The quality of the hop pellets is also critically affected by the temperature and speed throughout the pelletizing process.
  • Hop pellets have a tendency to dissolve into a sludge in a liquid solution which can then cause problems.
  • If not bagged, the pellets may rise to the surface during the boil and form a layer on the rim of the kettle causing them to not be fully utilized.
  • Pellets can be more difficult to remove or separate from your wort/beer at various stages.

Used By:

Wet Hops

Select brewers during harvest season

Used By:

Dried Whole Cone Hops

These brewing companies like dried whole cone hops enough to use them exclusively:

  • Sierra Nevada
  • Anchor
  • Victory
  • Deschutes
  • Pitchfork Brewing
  • Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

Used By:

Pelletized Hops

Everybody else