Hop-infused mineral water D.I.Y.
After years in being in the beer-tasting, I have finally realized that I am a hop-head. It is not always about beer, it never is about alcohol, but, it almost always is about hops.
Therefore, finding that a brewery would make a mineral water that is infused with hops was one of my personal highlights of last years. Moreover, the final product was really a blast and I enjoyed it a lot. Nachmielona, from the Nepomucen brewery (https://www.facebook.com/browarnepomucen/) had just two problems – price and availability.
Imagine a bottle of mineral water at a price of €1.10-1.20 for 500 ml. This may not sound a lot for a geeky drink like that, but for comparison – 6x1.5 liter pack of mineral water costs around €2 (Polish price). With all respect to the brewers, I can hardly imagine what magical process would increase the price of water 100 times.
Availability is also a problem, even the shops I know, will always have just few bottles.
Altogether, I was a bit annoyed by the overall experience and have decided to do it myself. Trial and error method.
And in fact, it worked.
Here is how you can do a hop infused mineral water yourself*
· 6 pack of mineral water. I prefer to use the light carbonated ones. Taste is better and they will not explode that easily (cost €2 – Poland or €4 Belgium)
· Optional: sterile gauze; cost €1-2
· Optional: few empty PET bottles
· Kitchen scale able to weight 2 grams
· Hops e.g.: 30 g American hops costs around €3 (Poland https://browamator.pl/chmiel-cascade-usa-30-g-granulat-zbior-2015,3,3275,2827); alternatively 100 g for €9 (Belgium http://www.brouwland.com/nl/onze-producten/bierbereiding/hoppen/hopbloemen-en-hopkorrels/cascade/d/hopbloemen-cascade-2014-100g?gaCategory=search#.WZCtVVEjFnI)
· Small pot
I will assume that every kitchen has funnel, strainer, scale and some pots. Therefore, overall costs of the materials do not exceed €7 (Poland) or €15 (Belgium). Also, note that Belgian price includes 3x more hops.
How to do it:
1. Open all the bottles
2. Put approx. 2g of hops in each bottle. If working with hop cones - use them as they are. If working with pellets - mash them for a better effect.
3. Close the bottles and turn them upside down a few times
4. Carefully open each bottle to release an excess of CO2
5. Put bottles in a fridge (or any cool place) for 48 hours
6. Take 20 g of hops and 600 ml water (or proportionally less) and warm them up together. Keep the temperature high but don’t cook. If you have a kitchen thermometer – keep the temp between 70-80OC. Keep it like that for 5-10 min, switch off the heating and cover the pot.
7. Wait until it cools down
8. Use strainer to separate hops from the extract. If you feel that there are too many hop rests in the extract – repeat the whole thing, but this time cover the strainer with the sterile gauze.
9. Store in the fridge
48 hours later
10.Use funnel-strainer-sterile gauze to remove the hops from each bottle.
11. You can drink it as it is, or if you really like it bitter, you can infuse it with a hop extract prepared in the points 6-8. I usually use 10 ml of extract/1.5 liter of water.
Hop extract can be frozen using ice-forms of any kind. You can then hop any of your drinks on demand.
You can hop almost anything. You like hops and lemon? Use lemonade instead of water. Two things to remember – do not use anything that does contain artificial sweeteners. The overall effects are disgusting. Also, I haven’t got good effects trying to hop Fanta/Sprite or copies – probably because of the extremely high sugar content and way too heavy load of aromas – overall effect was never satisfactory.
*I am not saying that Nepomucen does it that way.