Will dry hopping beer with cannabis get you high? How can you avoid pitfalls and create a truly mouthwatering beer with cannabis flavor?
Both hops and cannabis have a complex and thriving culture surrounding them, and for good reason! For thousands of years, humans have been brewing beer with hops and using cannabis in a variety of ways. Plus, today they’re the cornerstone of billion dollar industries. So…what happens when you combine them?
More specifically, what might happen if you tried dry hopping beer with cannabis? As more states legalize or decriminalize cannabis, it just makes sense that more brewers have become interested in using this pungent, powerful plant.
It’s important to note, however, that dry hopping beer with cannabis takes patience, careful sourcing of ingredients, and no small amount of skill. Read on for all the details.
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Dry Hopping with Cannabis
What is Dry Hopping?
If you’re already a brewmaster, or even an amateur brewer, then feel free to skip ahead. However, anyone who’s only recently become interested in brewing should take notes.
Depending on the flavor, aroma, and bitterness that a brewer wants to achieve in their beer, hops may be added at different stages during the brewing process.
Dry hopping refers to the practice of adding hops late in the brewing process (either during fermentation or conditioning). This helps to boost the aroma of hops without adding as much bitterness. Often, the hops are left to soak for several days or even weeks to impart more flavor.
Wet hopping, on the other hand, is when freshly picked hops are added at any point during the brewing process. If they’re added during the boil, the aromatics and oils tend to break down resulting in more bitterness. Since the hops plant tends to spoil relatively quickly after it’s been harvested, whole-cone hops are usually brewed the same day they’re harvested.
So, in the most basic sense, a wet hopped beer simply uses hops that are still fresh and full of moisture at any point in the brewing process, while dry hopped beer simply refers to the specific point in the brewing process that hops are added.
What Happens When You Dry Hop With Cannabis?
If you add cannabis flower to your beer during the fermentation or conditioning stages, the process will be very similar. As the aromatic oils in cannabis are broken down, they infuse the beer with their aroma. Voila!
So, simply add the flower of your chemovar of choice and you can infuse your beer with its unique aroma. Unfortunately, it’s much easier in theory than in reality.
Most brewers recommend washing cannabis buds in cool filtered water before adding them to your beer. This removes unwanted compounds (chlorophyll, tars, etc.), but it can also negatively impact the cannabis flavor since aromatic compounds are so volatile.
Additionally, sourcing cannabis can be expensive and tricky. Not only is it far more expensive than hops, finding a consistent crop of cannabis can be difficult. Aromatic compounds, like terpenes, are easily destroyed or altered. That’s why a strain in one region may smell or taste noticeably different when sourced from another area.
If you’re only trying to infuse your beer with the flavor and aroma of cannabis, the simplest and most cost effective route is to use water-soluble terpenes.
Will Dry Hopping With Cannabis Get You High?
In order for a beer to be psychoactive, you have to get the cannabinoids from your cannabis into your beer. Dry hopping with cannabis is similar to making a tincture with alcohol. However, the higher the alcohol content, the more successful the extraction will be. Plus, potency will increase the longer you leave the cannabis in.
It’s also important to note that without decarbing your cannabis, THCA won’t convert into the psychoactive THC. That’s why eating raw buds doesn’t necessarily get you high. So, if you’re determined to dry hop with cannabis, you’ll need to activate (decarboxylate) your cannabis beforehand.
Conversely, some brewers have found success by adding cannabis at the boiling stage. While this should theoretically decarb your cannabis, it may also destroy most of the aromatic compounds. So, while you’ll get more cannabinoids, you might not get the flavor and aroma you’re going for.
Bottom line? Even without adding cannabis into the mix, brewing is a delicate artform that takes time, dedication, and careful science. However, experimenting with cannabis may result in a beer that’s truly magical.
Infuse Beer with Water-Soluble Terpenes
If you’d like to avoid many of the pitfalls of brewing without sacrificing any of the flavor and aroma, then look no further than water-soluble terpenes. We’ve taken our extracts, and put them through an emulsifying process that allows the terpenes to blend seamlessly with water-based products—like beer!
We’ve even taken things a step further with our newest innovation—Hop Profiles. Abstrax Hop Profiles are true-to-type optimized hop extracts without any of the undesirable notes typically found in other dry-hop aroma oils. That means more yield, higher profits, and higher batch consistency.
Want to make sure your beer perfectly captures the robust flavor of pine, spice, and grapefruit? Dry hop with our Chinook Hop Profile. Prefer something more spicy, floral, and fruity? You’ll love our Willamette Hop Profile. Just be prepared for the shocking simplification of your brewing process.
Terpenes Are the Future of Dry Hopping
Curious about adding terpene strain profiles to your beer? Want to step into the future of dry hopping with our Hop Profiles? Either way, we can’t wait to talk about using terpenes in your next brew.