These extracts are created by passing supercritical CO2 through a matrix of hop pellets. At moderate temperatures (like 32oC) and high pressure (like 74bar) the CO2 becomes supercritical. This means it has the properties of both a gas and a liquid. It can penetrate the pellets and extract the oils into a liquid form. This is an incredibly robust, safe and efficient means to extract quality hop compounds without significantly affecting their chemistry.
It’s also an ingenious method to extricate all the hop compounds we want and leave the bitter plant tannins behind. This is amazing from both flavour and processing perspectives.
Flavour wise, it is promoted as retaining “survivable” compounds directly into the whirlpool. As we know, retaining some native terpenes can be challenging and their oxidative derivatives may be more soluble during the hot side. Being a Citra based extract I would expect derivatives like limonene enriched in this charge, and am very excited to see the result.
Process wise, it substitutes for a huge pellet load; 1L of this stuff is equivalent to 10kg of pallets. And that huge plant load in the boil reduces yield. So not only do we get enriched flavours, we have less plant matter and less wastage to trub.
So far I’m fascinated by what this product delivers. We made a double batch of West Coast IPA so I got two shots at using the extract. The resiny oiliness of it is intense and the aroma is incredible. I was worried about isomersiarion in the first batch, as these things are 40-50% alpha and cooled the Whirlpool to 90oC before adding it. I did notice a lot of oil floating on top and the resultant wort wasn’t particularly bitter. So the second batch I added at end of boil before cooling slightly to 95oC and, anecdotally, I think there was better solubility.
We can’t wait for the end result and have some special launch planned already. I do love playing with this stuff and cannot thank the good folk at @cryermalt for their support.