Can Hopzoil prolong the shelf-life of hop-forward beers?
It’s a pretty well-known fact that heavily hopped beers tend to experience a “drop off a cliff” loss of hop aroma at 30-60 days.
Here’s a couple really interesting anecdotes from a couple Head Brewers regarding the shelf life of various beers utilizing Hopzoil, our pure steam-distilled fresh-hop essential oil.
The backstory: a fresh hop seasonal ale was brewed last September with massive amounts of “community” hops. But this annual tradition was dosed with some Hopzoil, for the first time, in addition to the community hops. So 6 1/2 months (about 165 days) after it was released (and with a very low dose of Hopzoil to compliment heavy dose of fresh hops), here is what that head brewer said:
“I just cracked one open and am tasting it right now.
Almost all of the fresh hop aromatics are gone but the aroma is still fresh and lightly hoppy similar to a fresh “Golden” ale or a good pale ale from the ’90s or early 2000s. I’m also getting a lingering hop bitterness right in the middle of my tongue that isn’t unpleasant. Not sure if that’s from Hopzoil or perhaps from the huge mass of wet hops it was originally brewed with.
Normally I’d expect a beer this age bottled on our equipment to have some obvious oxidation and almost no discernible hop aroma, if any at all.
To compare, I just opened a bottle of our flagship IPA that was bottled around the same time as the seasonal fresh hop ale.
By contrast, it tastes obviously old, and I’d be extremely disappointed if I’d bought it. If someone handed me a blind sample of this seasonal fresh hop ale from last fall, I wouldn’t think that it was more than a couple of months old, and would say it was a pleasant, sessionable light pale ale. Who knew?”
Sharing his comment with our informal “Hopzoil Advisory Group”, one of the other head brewers added his two cents:
“It seems to me that Hopzoil somewhat acts as an aroma “stabilizer”, in that it continues on long after the traditional hop aromas fade. We have several differentiated hoppy brands that provide an excellent cross-reference for this purpose. They range from dry-hopped, to only Hopzoil (“liquid dry-hopping”) to a combination of both.
All of these beers are centrifugally separated but not filtered.
Though the normal parameters affecting beer shelf life should be taken into consideration, (i.e. dissolved oxygen, etc.), from my experience so far, Hopzoil is ideal for the purpose of extending shelf life of hop forward beers”.
A third, well-known brewer who has been using Hopzoil in his new recipes asked the question if there was a volatile oils relationship in Hopzoil. He believes that using Hopzoil could potentially extend the shelf life of a hop-forward beer like an IPA from 90 days to potentially 120-150 days. That would be huge.
Further, he said that IPA hop flavor drop-off was mitigated by using as little as 2 ml/BBL added to the Bright beer, but he added that it does need further study.
If you want to learn more about the shelf life implications of Hopzoil, attend the “UNDERSTANDING DISTILLED HOP OILS” seminar at the Craft Brewers Conference on May 2nd in Nashville. Or stay tuned to the BA’s link to the recorded seminar, which will be posted online at a later date.