We’re all about innovation, creation and boundary pushing here at One Drop Brewing Co and Clean Fusion is the next step in that evolution. Straight out of our R&D IPA program, we’ll be using it on a whole range of our up and coming IPAs, with some already released.
WHAT IS IT?
Clean Fusion is the complete removal of yeast and other particulate after primary fermentation is complete, but before the addition of a large dry-hop load to the beer. This dry-hopped beer is then separated again to remove harsh and undesirable hop material and particulate.
We've found this allows a clean, full, true-to-type expression of the hops used, along with a reduction - if not eradication - of the issues plaguing modern IPA brewers: hop creep, hop burn and loss of delicate and nuanced hop flavours and aromas.
In short - Clean Fusion = the fusion of hops + clean beer.
By removing everything left over from fermentation out of our beer before adding hops, we are able to create an unobstructed and clean medium for all those big and nuanced hop oils to dissolve into. What we've found is overall hop flavour and aroma are increased dramatically and we're left with a clean, expressive hop profile that's totally unique. That smell you get when you open a bag of hops, that character you get when you rub them together - that translates into the beer and into the final product. Overall, less hops are needed to to achieve an equitable - if not better - hop profile.
Here at One Drop Brewing Co, along with our current processes, we treat this as a secondary dry hop method that layers on top of - sometimes complimenting, sometimes contrasting - the bio-transformation hop profile we’ve all come to love here at the brewery.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Clean Fusion works by removing any obstacles in the beer prior to dry hopping. Yeast, hot break, protein, particulate - anything that soluble hop oils would usually bind to and drop out with - are removed. This provides a clean and unobstructed medium for those hop oils to fully dissolve into and space in the beer for hops to truly express their character. It means we are able to extract more out of our hops, along with more nuanced character that would usually be lost in traditional beer processing and dry hopping techniques.
By layering this on top of our current process of high density whirlpool charges and bio-transformative mid-fermentation hop additions, we end up with a more complex and nuanced hop flavour and aroma in the final product.
WHAT'S THE RESULT, TECHNICALLY?
By removing all particulate out of the beer before dry hopping, we are able to achieve a range of things:
An increase in overall hop flavour and complexity in the final beer.
Retention of an otherwise lost delicate and nuanced hop aroma - synonymous with what is found in the raw form of hops.
A clean and clear focus on hops in the beer - on sensory testing, the number one comment is how “clean” the hop flavour and aroma is in these beers.
More for less - some brewers are reporting they are able to use less hops to achieve the same result compared to their current process and an increase in final product yield.
Eradication of hop creep - an issue that’s been plaguing hazy brewers for years - no more unplanned refermentation in cans, diacetyl spikes or increase in alcohol or CO2. This means a far more stable beer on the shelf or in keg.
A substantial reduction in hop burn - or harsh post-swallow astringency - due to the very low polyphenol load of the beer when hops are added.
A fresher hop character that lasts longer - due to the lower rates of dissolved oxygen compared to other dry hopping processes used. We are actually pulling dissolved oxygen out of our product with this process.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
IPAs are amazing. Every brewery has one and arguably they’ve been the shining beacon of the craft beer movement. The favourite child. As IPAs have changed and grown over the years, the techniques involved in making them, specifically dry-hopping, haven’t really had many breakthroughs.
Our Head Brewer Nick Calder-Scholes and his team set out to test a few new methods of getting more out of the hops they were using. They consulted with hop growers, equipment producers, academics in the field and leading brewery pals from around the world.
After months, they finally settled on Clean Fusion for its balance of both amplifying hop character and eliminating some of the biggest technical issues plaguing the modern IPA brewer.
WHO ELSE IS USING IT?
It’s early days. We’ve engaged with brewery pals in the UK, EU, USA, New Zealand and Australia who are taking their own steps to implement trials in their breweries as we speak. This is all very new and every one will have their own tweaks to it. We are hoping like everything else in this industry, that we will all improve on this technique together and continue to share our findings - not only in improving the character of our beers, but also the technical and stability side too.
We believe Clean Fusion is going to take our IPAs to a whole other level and we’re super excited for you guys to taste the true-to-type hop character we believe this process brings to our beers.