Wet hopping is when brewers take hops before drying them and use them in their brews. The supposed benefit is increased freshness of volatile oils. this sounds great but there are some inherent problems with the method.
Wet hops weigh much more than dried hops, due to their wetness. They also must be shipped with hours from bine to brewer.
The first thing that hops to mind is since each shipment of hops is the first no one actually knows how they taste in beer or how to use them well. Brewers don’t get a shot at a pilot batch with fresh hops and most will simply insert them into an existing beers recipe. This is for the best, at least we are cutting down on some chance. The fact remains no one knows well how these hops are going to react, more to the point no one knows how these hops are going to react in multiple thousands of litre batches. Furthermore, Its in the brewers best interest to get these beers to market as soon as possible. This means by the time the brewer decides their beer isn’t as good as it should be its already on the shelves and your Craft beer hyped buddy has already swiped 3 bottles of Steamworks Yak Attack, a half case of Sartori Harvest and a couple american wet hopped beers from a brewery whose name he can’t rememer… “YOU TOTALLY HAVE TO COME TO MY BASEMENT SUITE AND DRINK THIS WITH ME!”
Secondly these hops weigh much more than normal hops due to their wetness. One ounce of wet hops is not equal to one ounce of normal hops so brewers are playing with fire. Now we might say we can just cover at 6-1 or something, but who knows what the actual moisture level is, on average, for all these hops. Especially when we consider how many kilos of wet hops make up each beer.
What am I getting at here? Just because the bottles say wet hopped doesn’t mean these beers are better, or for that matter even good. In fact i’d wager that most of the wet hopped beers i’ve had this year were messes.
What’s my conclusion here? I wouldn’t go pre-ordering box of sartori harvest anytime soon. Wait it out, find the hyped beers and get them whilst you can. I recommend Little Dog Syndrome from Yellow Dog Brewing This year.