133: New Belgium’s Ross Koenigs Takes an Analytical Approach to Hops and Cannabis

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine Podcast

May 3 2020 • 1 hr 20 mins

Hazy IPA is all the rage, but what’s actually going on when brewers pile many pounds per gallon of dry hops into a tank still in active fermentation? It’s one thing with a homebrew-scale fermenter to take a flyer and do it, and it’s riskier to do it in a typical craft brewery’s 15-, 30-, or even 60-bbl fermenter. But what happens when you fill a 2000 hectoliter (1700 bbl) fermenter with hazy wort and an enormous pitch of London Ale 3, then dry hop with pellets that measure as much as a ton? New Belgium Brewing (https://www.newbelgium.com) reduces the guesswork and risk by taking a highly analytical approach, looking at how compounds in hops undergo transformation through the fermentation and dry hopping process. In this episode, Brewing Innovation Specialist Ross Koenigs dives deep into what the brewery has learned by extensive quantitative testing throughout the hopping and biotransformation process. Additionally, he discusses everything from their innovation process, to the challenging of scaling for production, the impacts of lesser-known hops compounds (such as polyfunctional thiols) on hops flavor and aroma, how biotransformation impacts specific hops like Citra, Mosaic, and Chinook, how California ale yeast makes for the perfect biotransforming yeast, and much, much more. Koenigs is currently at work on a book on using Cannabis in brewing (that’s “Big ‘C’ Cannabis” including industrial hemp, not just the psychoactive kind), and teases some of what New Belgium learned through the development process for their groundbreaking beer The Hemperor. The episode then closes with a discussion of New Belgium’s new Sour IPA and the process behind designing a juicy and hazy IPA that is then blended with a component of golden sour from New Belgium’s famed foeder forest. Timing and acidity levels are crucial in achieving ideal hops expression in these beers. This episode is brought to you by: G&D Chillers (https://gdchillers.com): Nearly 2,000 breweries across the US, Canada & Mexico partner with G&D Chillers. Innovative, Modular Designs and no proprietary parts propel G&D ahead as the premier choice for your glycol chilling needs. Breweries you recognize—Russian River, Ninkasi, Jack's Abby, Samuel Adams and more—trust G&D to chill the beer you love! Call G&D Chillers to discuss your project today or reach out directly at GDChillers.com. (https://gdchillers.com) Old Orchard (https://www.oldorchard.com/brewer): Old Orchard supplies craft juice blends from the heart of Beer City USA. As the industry blending experts, they supply major national brands and growing breweries alike. They've been the best-kept juicy secret in craft beverage for years, but now the secret's out. Breweries across the board are experiencing a seamless transition to Old Orchard as their new juice supplier. So hop aboard the Old Orchard fruit train; their sample kit starter pack is waiting for you at www.oldorchard.com/brewer. (https://www.oldorchard.com/brewer) Hopsteiner (https://www.hopsteiner.com): This episode is brought to you by Hopsteiner–your premium hop supplier dedicated to delivering quality hops and hop products in every package. Visit Hopsteiner.com (https://www.hopsteiner.com) for a complete list of offerings or select “shop hops” to start ordering today. Fermentis (https://Fermentis.com): Fermentis is the obvious choice for beverage fermentation. They’ve provided the beer industry, from large and small breweries to homebrewers, with the best fermentation yeasts since 2003. Their yeasts are easy to use— just pitch your Fermentis yeast directly into your wort, no rehydration necessary. To learn more about how Fermentis can improve the quality of your fermentation, and for the latest on their exciting new product releases, visit Fermentis.com (https://Fermentis.com). Brewers Publications (https://www.brewerspublications.com): This episode is brought to you by Brewers Publications, publishers of “Small Brewery Finance” by Maria Pearman, “How to Brew” by John Palmer, and the forthcoming “Historical Brewing Techniques” by Lars Marius Garshol. Established in 1986, Brewers Publications has published more than 50 books of enduring value for amateur and professional brewers alike. Visit BrewersPublications.com (https://www.brewerspublications.com) today to browse the complete catalog of books and ebooks.