Are Hop & Malt Teas Needed Before Brew Day?

Simply making a tea with hot water won’t tell the whole story of what a hop will do in a finished beer, but it does give a clue as to what hops may play well together or in comparing aroma intensities to decide on a ratio. 

Jason Ranck, the Head Brewer for Neshaminy Creek Brewing will do hop teas from time to time when comparing a new lot or variety for hot-side applications.  

“The fun part, and equally frustrating sometimes, is that you don’t truly know until the beer is finished,” Ranck said. “Brewing is an art that takes a lot of repetition and failure, but this is definitely a way to hedge your bet. 

On the other hand, Twin Oast Head Brewer Will Daniels does not do malt or hop teas. 

All ingredients that the Port Clinton, Ohio brewery sources come with a certificate of analysis and a general description of flavor and aroma which is what he utilizes when developing a new recipe. 

“Specifically, I use the certificate of analysis to determine what the SRM will be as well as prior experience using malts of a similar or equal SRM,” he said.

Flavor and aroma descriptions given by the manufacturer are relied on as well as prior experience using similar malts or hops, he said.

“Sometimes I’ll do some deeper research if I’m really looking for an in-depth analysis of flavor and aroma,” Daniels explained. “In a perfect world, when using any new ingredients, our procedure would be to do a pilot batch to see what they have to offer but we don’t always have time to do that unfortunately. 

“In that scenario, I’ll generally do some more in-depth research and just pull the trigger and brew a large batch.”

Photo courtesy Santa Monica Brew Works

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