Goal: Reduce water use per barrel to 3.5 : 1 by 2015
Dry hopping has increased water intensity in the brewing process.
Why do we dry-hop?
We dry-hop because
it can make SUPER HOPPY beer that is not necessarily super bitter. Basically hops have
two things: resins and oils- the resins when boiled in the brewhouse kettle
(isomerized) create bitterness- it must be boiled b/c at that point we only
have resin (oil) and wort (water) which do not mix, but when we boil, they
become one (and in the process create bitterness).
The essential aroma
oils (myrcrene, linalool, geraniol) are super heat sensitive and will volatize
when heat is added so when hops are added in the brewhouse kettle, most of the
delicate oils volatize into steam and are condensed and carried away- bummer.
We can add them later in the boil to try and keep some but most are driven
away. BUT, if we add more hops after fermentation has occurred at relatively
cooler temps then we have ethanol which is a solvent that these oils can get
with. That and because we are not boiling, there is only the addition of aroma
and flavor (citrus, fruity, floral, piney, grassy, spicy) and no more
bitterness. SO - as mentioned above - you can make a SUPER HOPPY beer that is
not necessarily super bitter.
How do we dry-hop and why does it cause us to use more water?
Dry-hoping uses more
water because there is more movement of beer and more tank cleaning, both of which require water.
Here at NBB when we
dry-hop a batch of beer, we use a sophisticated approach. We do this by
employing both a system of moving the beer, and a special recirculation tank to
achieve the dry-hop flavor and aromas in a very efficient manner. This does
involve moving the beer around our cellar a little more than usual, and so
requires more cleaning and water usage than for our non-dry-hopped beers.
To move the beer from tank to tank in the cellar, we have a pair of system of
pipes, pumps, heat exchangers, dosing vessels and centrifuges; this system is
called “the Chiller”. The Chiller as well as the tanks involved must be
cleaned between batches to achieve the sanitation required in making beer. This
process, called CIP (clean in place) uses water along with chemicals to do the
cleaning. The beer moving through our chillers, also uses water to keep
the beer safe from oxygen, and to push the beer along at the end of the
transfer. All of our beers, dry-hopped or not, go through
this process of moving through “the chiller” as it’s how we remove much of the
yeast via the Centrifuge, allows us to combine batches to fully utilize our
tank space in the cellar by filling tanks to capacity, and cool the beer
rapidly and efficiently with the integral heat exchanger, aka ‘The Chiller’.
When we dry-hop, we make 2 passes through the chiller system. On the first pass, we remove the yeast with the centrifuge and add the hops as we fill one of our recirculation tanks. When the beer has made it completely into the recirculation tank, we then start moving it right back out on The Chiller. This time the centrifuge is used to remove the hops from the beer as we fill another (3rd) tank and we use the heat exchanger to cool the beer down to maturation temperature of below 0 Celsius. So this double pass through the chiller requires twice as much push water as a non dry-hopped brand, as it takes 2 passes through the chiller. Also, it involves an additional tank, which requires cleaning and more water. All this contributes to why dry-hopped beers contribute more loading to our water-wise conservation efforts, compared to our non-dry-hopped brands.
Save the Colorado
The Colorado: The Save the
Colorado campaign was initiated by New Belgium and the Clean Water Fund in
2009. Now a coalition of seven sustainably driven companies and
foundations, we donate money, raise awareness and advocate for policy to
promote water conservation and protect the threated Colorado River, which over
30 million people depend upon for food, water, and energy.