Hop lovers – stand by for an important announcement:
HOPS INFUSED VODKA = PURE HOP BLISS! The ultimate Hop Delivery Vehicle?
Yep, that’s right Hopkka, spelled with two k’s, cuz one just isn’t enough to truly represent how Kick Ass it is. But seriously. If you are a hop head, set down that quadruple IPA and listen up. This stuff is the real deal. Here at ALBC we have a term we use for all hop monster beers – HDV or Hop Delivery Vehicle. And I’m here to tell you, this is possibly the ultimate pure hop experience. The idea is simple. Take some hops, pack it into a container, add some vodka ( or other grain alcohol ), let it sit for a day or so depending on how you want it to taste, then filter it out. What you end up with is a super concentrated hop alcohol that you can either use to mix hop flavored drinks, or add directly to keg, pint, or bottle.
Step 1 – Add hops to container
Step 2 – Add vodka, the quality of which is up to you. I used some really cheap stuff. Let it soak or “infuse” for 24, 48 hours, or more. I did 24 hours, jMan let his sit a bit longer.
Step 3 – Filter. I used a coffee filter and let it drain. I then poured a bit of plain vodka to flush a little more lupulin from the hop cones.
Here you can see the color, of the finished Hopkka.
Step 4 – Enjoy! Above you can see a Hopkka Tonic I mixed. That green color is the Hopkka only, the lime was just for garnish. Tonic is a perfect accent to the Hopkka in my opinion, slightly dry, crisp, and the Quinine ads to the complexity with a touch of bitterness that the Hopkka doesn’t have on its own. A bit of citrus accent from a lemon or lime really compliments the Centennial Hopkka.
Other options as mentioned previously: Add the infused liquor to a finished beer.
I think this is a really important second side to this hop-alcohol coin. In this process, you are sort of doing a poor man’s hop extract. For the most part, making hop extract is a complex operation involving the use of super-critical liquid CO2 under pressure. The CO2 acts as a solvent, dissolving all of the essential oils and acids. The CO2 solution is then allowed turn into a gas, leaving behind all of the hop goodness is a super concentrated form. The cold temperatures leaves the extract in a non-isomerized state, and leaves behind many of the compounds that would normally be lost with heat ( such as making a hop tea, or adding hops to boiling wort ). At home, the only way we can do this extract process with a cool temperature to retain some of those more volatile oils is by dry hopping a beer directly. The alcohol in the beer acts as a solvent, getting the essential oils and acids from the lupulin into solution. This works for most homebrewers, but it does add an extra fermentation step, and a bunch of other hassle. Now entering the ring: Hopkka! The higher alcohol content of vodka may help dissolve more of the hop goodness, I’m not sure on the science here so chime in if you know.
So now we have this hop extract, which we can easily dose into a beer for added flavor and aroma. I did a test, by pouring a beer into a pint glass with a tiny bit of the Hopkka, and then poured the same beer into another glass without. The difference was pretty amazing. The hop aroma was right up front in your face. I would like to try dosing this into a keg or at bottling time to see how it effects the beer over time. Although you are adding extra alcohol to the beer, I’m guessing the actual ABV change would be minimal depending on the dose added.
On its own, or added to beer – Hopkka is total Hop Anarchy. All I can say is: Do this, NOW!
Brew on Friends! \m/