The Economics of a Dry Hopped beer

beer school

Dry hopping is the process of adding loads of hops to a beer at a low temperature after fermentation. This process is a staple of the US craft brewers but seldom used in Europe.

Because the temperature is very low, dry hopping imparts no hop bitterness but instead an avalanche of aroma and flavour. The mesmerising aroma of our Punk IPA, 5am Saint and Hardcore IPA which explodes out of the glass is due to the dry hopping of these beers.

IPA is Dead

This is extremely costly to do from a production perspective. Firstly we use mountains of expensive extra hops in the dry hopping process. Secondly it doubles our production time on the beers meaning our production is much less than it could be. Thirdly, we draw the beer from a special valve above the hops and we loose the beer that is left in the tank. Finally, even though the beer is filtered very lightly, the amount of hop particles in the beer make it really tough to filter.

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All of which combine to make dry hopped beers insanely expensive to produce, especially on our small scale.

But we don’t care about that. At all. There are plenty of beers on the market made by people trying to keep costs down and cut corners. With BrewDog, you pay a little bit more money for a lot more beer!

We care about making awesome beers; beers packed with flavour, attitude and loads of our favourite hops. Regardless of the cost.

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The average monolithic lager is brewed with roughly 12 kilos of malted barley per barrel, the average craft ale (like a 4.5% pale ale) is brewed with around 25 kilos per barrel. At BrewDog, our average beer is made with over 40 kilos of malted barley per barrel. On average we use 25 times more hops as an industrial brewer to make one barrel of BrewDog beer.  A lot more beer for just a little bit more money.

We are selfish and make the beers we want to drink ourselves, regardless of the cost of the ingredient or how arduous the process is. Everything we do is to enhance the flavour of our beers and provide an encapsulating, awesome experience for the drinker.

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Comments (15)

perspicacitycorruption_notLoggedIn 18.01.2012 @ 2:31pm
you are making your beer at a loss? or are you saying you are breaking even or loosing less profit here? I am all for profit of course, it's how basic economics works, but it's still too expensive if you wish to get rid of the mass marketed beers, especially in these times, people don't have as much disposable income.I totally appreciate you are a business of course and therefore require growth, wil be interesting to see if you open up your business model as a cooperative rather than the stagnant "traditional" model.viva the next step in your revolution :)
BrewDog James 17.01.2012 @ 7:03pm
@perspicacitycorruption using more hops means we incur more losses.Also, we do not get a better deal for buying a lot of hops. There is a severe hop shortage so we are scrambling just to be able to buy the hops we need.
Matthew B 17.01.2012 @ 5:49pm
Are you guys ever going to release another single hop addition beer range? I loved those beers and wish I knew how to home brew them at home.
Pete Howard, Nottm 17.01.2012 @ 1:14pm
I used to dry hop my home brew all the time. I thought it was common practice - well it was among my beer brewing mates.Keep us up-to-date on Brewdog Bar Nottingham.
17.01.2012 @ 12:43pm
if you are using more hops you are surely buying more hops, therefore can arrange a greater deal on hops and keep our prices down. How come it's approx £3.50 per pint of IPA?
Owl Enthusiast 17.01.2012 @ 9:42am
Hop it up!
Bex 17.01.2012 @ 9:41am
I love the educational BrewDog Blogs.If there actually was a beer school, I would go.
Matt T 16.01.2012 @ 6:58pm
@recipe_maths - your sums don't make sense. An industrial brewer could make a beer with 0% malted barley if they wanted to. Carling for instance use only a tiny amount of malt and loads of wheat and other cereals and even sugar syrup. I know - I have a friend who works for one! BrewDog's average ABV is probably very close to 7% so their number makes sense.
Chris H 16.01.2012 @ 4:33pm
Hey, cool vid. BTW where is that tiny snippet of music from the end from (the bit after class dismissed)? It sounds insanely familiar but I can't put my finger on it
Graeme C 16.01.2012 @ 2:37pm
I can't make your monolithic lager figures add up. 12kg (at 300points/litre extract) gives approximately 3600 points. at even 100% efficiency (unlikely) that gives a barrel of wort at 1.022. Even with some maize/rice/sugar, we're only talking about beers of 3% or less so we're comparing apples and pears. Same deal with your other figures - 40kg/barrel should give you a 7% beer - so of course you're using more malt as it's where the sugars come from. No-one should expect using 40kg/bbl to make 4.5% beer as you'd be ruining any profit margin for virtually no gain.
Jonas 16.01.2012 @ 11:26am
Type 90 pellets in the main, Fuzzy.
Darcey 16.01.2012 @ 10:41am
I accidentally made a 130IBU beer the other day.. that is too much hopping! oopss.
Fuzzy 16.01.2012 @ 9:25am
Awsome, hop pellets or cones? How do you mix them up to infuse in the beer?Share!:-)
Kjetil Berntsen 16.01.2012 @ 9:04am
You guys are awesome. The Black Tokyo Horizon was probable the highlight of about a 1000 different craft beers I tasted last year (just beaten by the Dark Horizon 1. ed) Looking forward to going back to Aberdeen sometime soon. DYI
Graham Cowie 16.01.2012 @ 8:03am
I think you guys should take those left over hops, drain them and then use them to bitter a beer.They'll still be loaded with Alpha-acids so they'll be fine for bittering, it'll be economical and environmentally friendly since there will be less waste ({and lets face it, if there is still something useful in those hops like the AA, then they are being wasted). Best of all, you chaps won't comprimise on your dedication to quality. Do it as a limited run, put it in the bars and see what people think of it.