Last week I described the basics of how a “wet-hopped” beer is created when I reviewed Two Brothers “Heavy Handed”. This week I’m going to describe “dry-hopping”, and dive into a review of Founders “Dry Hopped Pale Ale”.
Because of the names (wet-hopped and dry-hopped) people tend to think that they are on opposite sides of a brewing process. But that’s like saying a sloppy blowjob from a broad while she hums Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is the opposite of her slapping your salami silly with a fistful of KY Jelly. They aren’t opposites; they are simply two different ways of enjoying the same product. Dry-hopped and wet-hopped brews are similar to each other, inasmuch as they are both methods by which hops are added to the brewing process.
One of the steps in brewing a beer is to boil the beer “batter” (also known as the “wort”) while adding hops (and perhaps other ingredients for more flavor). After that the liquid is filtered and cooled in a tank with yeast, which is what produces the alcohol and CO2 (by “eating” the sugars). Dry-hopping comes into play by adding more hops to the beer during the second fermentation, or perhaps even in the keg. This will accomplish additional hop aroma and flavor intensity without increasing the bitterness of the brew (in addition to its existing bitterness). Adding dry hops this way re-introduces oils that were lost in the boiling process.
So, to put it simply: wet-hopped beers are made with fresh hops right off the bine which gives them more of that “new-mown grass” flavor; and dry-hopped beers are made with additional hops dropped into the brew during the fermentation process which gives them enhanced floral and citrus aromas and flavors.
“Dry Hopped Pale Ale” (the one in particular I am reviewing here) is good, but it’s not quite as great as one would expect coming from Founders. On a side note, their wet hopped “Harvest Ale” is the best wet hopped ale I have ever tried. I would French kiss Sandra Bernhard for an hour for one keg of their Harvest Ale in my living room. But I digress. Dry Hopped Pale Ale pours a relatively clear orange gold color, and fills the air around the glass with a cool, crisp, grapefruit aroma. The head is off-white with a lemon peel tint to it. It is very foamy, and I got 3 fingers out of it easily. The upfront taste is buttery with avocados, and transitions to grapefruit and grassy hops flavors that I expected would be more pronounced here. The aftertaste is strong, and is bitter with the slight sting of black peppercorn. What’s remarkable about the aftertaste is that it adds a strong flavor of hops but without the acid that takes over your tongue and prevents the 2nd half of the bottle from being supersaturated with bitterness.
The lacing is non-existent with the exception of a few tiny foam dabs that were leftovers from the voluminous head. The texture is watery with a hefty amount of CO2. It’s almost too drinkable. I polished it off in only about 2 minutes and was finished a little too early. Premature beerjaculation.
Overall, Dry Hopped Pale Ale is a good beer. But having a great aroma and a rewarding aftertaste are not enough to put it on the highest pedestal. It needed just a bit more pronounced flavors in its taste for that.
Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale
Dry Hopped Pale Ale