The 3 best ways to add hops to your beer


When do I add hops to my beer wort?

This guide is focussed on making beer using a kit rather than by doing a boil (when hops are usually added during the boil).

It is dead easy to add hops to your wort.

All you have to do is throw those precious green bullets of bliss into your drum once you have mixed all your ingredients together.

This is called dry hopping.

Many brewers add the hops a few days before bottling, once fermentation is complete.

Boom, you have done your beer a wonderful service by adding a magical green plant that will help give you beer a more discerning and bitter beer taste.

In this context, you are using hops for flavor and not so much for bittering purposes which happens during the boil.

But that's the easy way out to adding hops to your beer kit brew.

There are some other methods that you might wish to try which will add character and flavor to your beer.

The 'wait 5 days after fermentation method' 


Some beer brewers insist that you will get a better bang for your buck if you add the hops in 5 or so days after your beer has begun fermenting.

From what I can figure out, the rationale is that the 'aromatic oils' that can be lost in the popular boiling process of beer are retained in the beer.

The dry hopping method does not add any bitterness to the beer itself. So if you're after a really bitter beer, you'll need a kit that has been designed with that in mind or you could try making a hops tea that removes the bitterness from the hops and then add the tea to your wort.

This method of adding hops to your beer will give your beer a nice hoppy aroma which will surely add to your drinking experience.

Dry hopping works fairly well with IPA style beers.

The negative of simply adding dry hops into your wort is that it does increase the likelihood of there being sediment in your beer but with a good pouring technique and refrigeration before said poor, you'll be OK.

To try and counter that from occurring, you may wish to consider:

Placing hops in muslin bags to reduce sediment

The other method of adding hops to your fermenter is adding the hops secured inside in a muslin cloth bag.

We are not kidding.

If you wrap your hops up into a muslin cloth, the idea is that the sediment stays in the bag, but all the flavors get out and into your beer, meaning that you will have a clearer beer.

There are some arguments that this technique will actually hamper the effect of the hops as they kind of need 'room to breathe' and infuse the beer with their magical bitterness and IBU.

If you feel this is a fair point then I suggest you consider the:

The 'Hop Tea' technique to add bitterness to beer

That's right, before you make beer, you are going to make a cup of hop tea.

Put the hops in the muslin bag (or tie up a square of it) and then boil it for several minutes. The hop pellets will quickly disintegrate.

This is normal.

During the boil, have a good smell and enjoy the aromas. That's the deliciousness you want to impart into your beer.

When you've boiled the hops for long enough, turn the pan off but leave everything right where it is.

At this time, you'll also have prepared you wort, so now put everything you've boiled - the whole muslin bag and the bittered tea that you've made. It will be a green mess, like the Hulk puked up or something.

The idea here is that the great hops aromas and oils have been removed from bullets and will mix easily with your brew. You're throwing in the muslin bag for good measure.

The bag itself will not have any effect on the beer or fermentation process, it can be disposed of on beer bottling day.

The key thing is to not over-think things. Sure you could use a hop chart and worry about boiling times but really, if you a starting out, just relax.

If you are using a starter kit, or have done a few brews, what you are wanting to do is make a good, first up time beer and not worry too much.

Using extra hops already shows you are ahead of the curve, just get them into the fermenter and sit back and wait for the hops magic to happen until you are ready to bottle your beer.

Now you've got a nice brew ready, sit back, grab a glass of healthy Kombucha and watch some Star Wars!

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