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Hop It Like It's Hot: Whirlpools, “Dip Hopping,” and More Ways to Squeeze Out Aroma

Pull levers, turn knobs, spin wort—from whirlpools to “dip hopping,” here is a detailed look at some specific hot-side techniques and gear for dialing in substantial hop flavor and aroma.

John M. Verive Dec 11, 2020 - 14 min read

Hop It Like It's Hot: Whirlpools, “Dip Hopping,” and More Ways to Squeeze Out Aroma Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Breakside Brewery

Regardless OF whether you like your IPAs dry, bitter, and pilsner-clear, or dense, soft, and opaque with polyphenol haze, you’re sipping them because of how they leverage the wondrous hop flower. No other beverage so effectively captures the myriad aromas and flavors contained within those pungent catkins. Short of packing a vaporizer with a bowl of freshly rubbed hops, IPA is your best bet for experiencing the “surreal expression of what hops are.”

Bob Kunz, founder and brewmaster of Highland Park Brewery in Los Angeles, dropped that “surreal expression” line on me while discussing his approach to IPA brewing. His team’s target varies with each new IPA they brew—their output ranges from classic West Coast–style to new-school soft and hazy ales to the more recent attempts to find a middle ground—but Kunz says his ultimate goal is to “maneuver all the knobs available in the brewery to fully realize my vision.”

When brewing IPA, Kunz envisions a beer that not only provides the “pure experience of hops,” akin to sticking your head in a fresh sack of hops, but also a beer that contains a “through-line” of hop expression, from the initial pour to the sensations that linger even beyond the beer’s finish. He wants his beers to tell the hops’ story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. To establish the plot, he adds hops throughout the brewing process with time-tested techniques—including doses of aroma hops added to the whirlpool after the boil.

Whirlpool Design

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