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Hops Forms for Brewing Beer

Hops for brewing beer are available in four different forms. Hops can either be processed or un-processed. Processed hops are preserved to last from one to three years, depending on storage conditions. Processed hops have more predictable aroma and bitterness, giving the brewmaster more control of the beer recipe.

Wet Whole Hops

Wet hops are full hop cones that remain un-dried/un-processed, so they have full moisture content. Wet hops are added during the Boiling step of the Brewhouse Stage of the beer brewing process. Industry standard stipulates that wet hops take less than 24 hours to get from harvesting the bines to adding the cones into wort. Wet hopping, as it's often called, uses the freshest hops possible, and produces limited release beer. Wet hops tend to add a fresh grass aroma to beer, regardless of hop variety.

Dry Whole Hops

Dry whole hops are full hop cones that are dried/processed. This involves removing water weight in a hop kiln to preserve the acids and essential oils. Dry whole hops can be added either during the Boiling step of the Brewhouse Stage, or added a few days into the Fermenting step of the Cellaring Stage (Dry Hopping). Dry whole hops can be challenging to brew with, as the bracts absorb more wort than other processed forms. Dry whole hops

Plug Hops

Plug hops are dried/processed and compressed into fat discs. This involves removing water weight in a hop kiln to preserve the acids and essential oils. Plug hops can be added either during the Boiling step of the Brewhouse Stage, or added a few days into the Fermenting step of the Cellaring Stage (Dry Hopping).

Pellet Hops

Pellet hops are dried/processed and compressed into small pellets. This involves removing water weight in a hop kiln to preserve the acids and essential oils. Pellet hops can be added either during the Boiling step of the Brewhouse Stage, or added a few days into the Fermenting step of the Cellaring Stage (Dry Hopping). Pellet hops are the most common form of processed hops for a few reasons. They have the longest shelf life. They have the most predictable characteristics, leading to repeatable recipes. They are the most concise form, taking up less space in inventory, and absorbing less wort during brewing.

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