Brewing with Hops: Don’t Be Creeped Out [Stan Hieronymus]

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Brewing with Hops: Don’t Be Creeped Out [Stan Hieronymus]

#1 Post by ryanmetcalf » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:47 pm ... eeped-out/
Shellhammer, Bodah, and Allagash Brewmaster Jason Perkins told the story at CBC in 2017. When their presentation, “Unintended Over-Attenuation from Dry Hopping Beers,” was complete, the second brewer to ask a question began, “We are all slaves to the creep.” The phenomenon has been called hop creep from that day forward, “creep” referring to an ongoing and slow reduction in final gravity. (There is not a single word to describe this reduction in German, so German brewers also call this “hop creep.”)

An (oversimplified) explanation of what is happening goes like this:
  • Dry hopping liberates fermentable sugars in beer (glucose and maltose, mostly maltose), and hops contribute a small amount of sugar themselves.
  • A higher hop load adds more sugars.
  • Longer dry-hopping time and higher temperatures result in more sugars.
  • Dry-hopped beer with high residual extract produces more fermentable sugars.
  • Enzymatic activity varies across varieties and may be influenced by farming practices.
Max Kravitz, quality manager at pFriem Family Brewers, has talked to brewers across the country and previously summarized what he learned in a presentation for members of the Brewers Association of the Americas. He’s heard the stories about how hop creep seems more common with California ale yeast, from whatever the source, or Amarillo hops—but that doesn’t mean a brewery will want to swap out a yeast strain common to many of its beers or abandon particular hop varieties.

He recited the list of variables to consider: yeast cells in suspension, timing of dry-hop additions, dry-hop quantities, dry-hop temperature, total contact time, and agitation (rousing). Ultimately, he offered the same advice as other brewers on the panel. “The way we approach it isn’t going to work for every brewery,” he said. “Every brewery needs to develop their own strategy.”
and finally, for homebrewers
Avoiding Hop Creep at Home
Blaze Ruud, director of key accounts and brewing innovations at Yakima Chief Hops, still brews his own beer, although not necessarily five gallons at a time. He noticed hop creep several years ago and adjusted his recipes and process for heavily hopped beers accordingly. He offers this advice:
  • Keep the grain bill simple, limiting the amount of unfermentable sugars for the hops to work on in the first place.
  • Mash at a lower temperature, again limiting the amount of unfermentable sugars.
  • Use T-90 pellets during active fermentations and Cryo hops toward the end (1–2° Plato from anticipated terminal gravity).
  • He suggests a combination of pellets and Cryo hops (which reduce the enzymatic potential of the hops and brighten the aroma), replacing 2 ounces (57 g) of pellets with 1 ounce (28 g) of Cryo. A recipe that calls for 6 ounces (170 g) of dry hops would then include 2 ounces (57 g) of pellets and 2 ounces (57 g) of Cryo.
  • Do not cool beer until it has passed VDK/diacetyl sensory. If this takes more than five or six days, check the yeast health.
  • Get beer off the trub within one to two days of crash cooling.

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Hieronymus, Stan. “Brewing with Hops: Don’t Be Creeped Out.” Craft Beer & Brewing, 19 Oct. 2020,

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Re: Brewing with Hops: Don’t Be Creeped Out [Stan Hieronymus]

#2 Post by JMcG » Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:17 am

CB&B is a very good mag. Stan has a lot of articles in it and the publisher (Jamie Bogner) does podcasts. I listened to the one with Stan recently.

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