Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hop Oil

What is it? how its made? how to use it? and most importantly how the fuck do you take a clear picture of a bottle so small?

I picked up a small dropper of this stuff at Steinbarts a few weeks ago and it's taken me a while to get a good handle on it. The only information the bottle gives is that it adds aroma and flavor without bitterness and to use it at a dose of 1 drop per 12 oz finished beer. hmmm not alot to go off of. The most info homebrew shop guy could offer up is that its fun to put in peoples budweisers at parties, not being a huge fan of secretly dosing peoples beers with mysterious chemicals at parties I thought i might try it out in some commercial beers as well as homebrews.

All in all I think this stuff is great.
Whatever the stuff is that Steinbarts is selling its 100% Centennial based.
At first I didn't care for the extract because I felt it had a twang. Now that Ive been using it for a while i realize that the twang is really just the total purity of this stuff. It basically tastes like the concentrated yellow lupulin that gather's at the bottom of whole hop packages. whats different about it is that nothing is mellowed from fermentation and therein lays it's weakness. It's awesome but only when used in the presence of many other aroma and dry hops, otherwise the flavor and aroma seem too focused. 1 drop in 12 oz. of an other wise non hoppy beer is going to make said beer taste like you dry hopped it with upwards of 4 oz of centennial. Mix it into an IPA though and this stuff is great. At 5 bucks a batch i think this stuff is a steal.

so what is it?

acording to Hop Unions website

Preparation: Oil - fractionated from whole LCO2 extract and purified by vacuum distillation
Essences - fractionated from whole oil by column chromatography
Major Role: Enhancement of hop aroma and flavor in beer
Method of Use: Oil - addition to the kettle or added to the final beer as in dry hopping
Essences - addition to beer at any post-fermentation stage


Oils - pure varietal oils or a blended oil
Essences - 1% solution of hop oil fraction in 80% ethanol
Late Hop Essence Spicy - terpene and sequiterpene oxides and alcohols
Late Hop Essence Floral - the ketone fraction


Oils - easy to handle and store

- standardized and consistent

- available in variety specific or generic forms
Essences - easy to handle store and use

- standardized and consistent

- available in generic and now variety specific forms
Both - provide means for precisely adjusting and controlling the flavor of beer

- produced totally by physical means with no chemical processing

- free of residues and foreign matter


Oils - require emulsifying or shaking with alcohol-based solvent prior to use
Essences - costly shipping of flammable materials in small quantities
Both - minimum quantity and notice required for variety specific product

I'm curious to try thhe hop oil pre fermentation. I'd be willing to bet it's like adding food grade lactic acid. gross post fermentation but not too bad when fermentation has mellowed and rounded its character.

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