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One thing we've learned about brewing is that beer doesn't last forever. All kinds of things can go wrong that lead to the taste of home brewed beer degrading over time. One natural cause of flavor degradation is the natural breakdown of hop compounds. Even under ideal storage circumstances, hoppy beers tend to fade - especially beers that have had a lot of late boil or dry hop additions.
In this experiment we took a good but slightly aged "juicy" summer session beer and added some Ekuanot Hops (formerly called "Equinox" hops). The procedure was simple. We added a simple hop pellet to a tea ball and let it steep in a pint of beer for a couple of minutes. Surprisingly, this short steep was highly effective in transferring hop flavor and aroma to the beer.
What we liked about direct hopping:
- It increased the hop profile of the beer and allowed us to "freshen up" a beer that had slightly faded with age.
- The resulting beer tasted great.
- It allowed us to experience the unique characteristics of a single hop.
What we didn't like about direct hopping:
- The beer had a deep and long lasting spicy after taste that lasted long after the beer was drank. It wasn't actually noticeable while drinking the beer -only after the entire pint was gone. Weird!
Do we recommend trying this?
We absolutely recommend hopping beers with a single pellet. It produces tasty, unique beers that are super delicious.