– Peter McMindes –
Brewers today are pushing the past standards on IBUs and hop additions in their beers. With this new wave of hoppy IPAs and other hopped up traditional styles brings increased trub loss via higher vegetative matter, more astringency, and of course higher costs per batch of beer. The sheer amount of hops alone going into a New England IPA can double the cost of the beer! A newer style of hops, called Cryo Hops®, lends a solution to these setbacks. Originally Cryo Hops® were only available in a powder, which brewers found hard to measure and sufficiently solubilize in the wort, but now they are available in a pelletized format.
Cryo Hops® are basically the cone of the hop that is frozen with liquid nitrogen or cryogenic processing. The lupulin glands that contain the higher concentration of bittering and aroma oils are separated from the more bitter leaf matter or bract. Lupulin is the yellow waxy resinous material found in the cone housing the critical compounds for brewing, and the selected glands contain very high alpha acids concentrations and deliver the most intense amount of aromas from the variety of hop. When you rub fresh hops whole cone hops in your hand, the aroma is the lupulin.
This process can deliver twice the amount of hop aromas and flavors with roughly half of the vegetal matter than the standard T-90 hops. Cryo Hops® production yields a byproduct that has come to colloquially be known as “American Noble Hops™” due to the fact that they bear a semblance to traditional noble varietals in their low alpha acid content and subtle organoleptic qualities. These “American Noble Hops™” are comprised of debittered leaf matter and a concentration of the hop bracts leftover after separating the lupulin for the Cryo Hops®. This form of hops still present the aromatics and flavors associated with the varietals that they were sourced from and they too are available in pellet form.
There are more varieties produced every year in Cryo format, and they are readily available at your local homebrew store. The price for an ounce of Cryo Hops® vs. the standard T-90 is roughly 30-40% more, but you get twice the aroma and flavor punch! This saves significant costs when brewing up your favorite hazy hop bomb. Some common varieties are below.
Name Aroma Profile
|Cascade||Medium Intense profile, citrus, and grapefruit tones. Alpha 9-13%|
|Citra||Grapefruit, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit, and lychee. Alpha 23-27%|
|Ekuanot||Melon, berry, orange peel, lime, papaya, and fresh peppers. Alpha 23-27%|
|Mosaic||Blueberry, tangerine, papaya, rose blossoms, grass, and bubble gum. Alpha 20-27%|
|Simcoe||Passion fruit, pine, berry, and earth. Alpha 21-25%|
Overall my personal homebrewing experience with Cryo Hops® has been great. Most of the time, I am using them to cut down on the weight of the hops I use for my New England IPAs. I also use them for American Pale Ales, Ciders, and other varieties I like to dry hop or whirlpool. I DO NOT use Cryo Hops® during the normal boil period simply because their alpha acid % is so high, and I would lose some of that wonderful aroma. T-90s work just fine for that. As a nano-brewery owner, I find it just makes economic sense, as well as other practical purposes, to utilize Cryo Hops® as well. So get to your local homebrew store and give Cryo Hops® a try for you next hoppy beer; you will love it! Cheers!