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Beer preference is a highly personal thing.  Some enjoy mass-produced cheap stuff while others desire complex, rich microbrews and homebrews. But what if you’ve found a brew you like — if only it had more of the bitter bite of a strongly-hopped beer?  Randall the Enamel Animal — no, we’re not kidding — solves the problem by adding hops flavor right at the tap.

Invented by Delaware “craft brewer” Dogfish Head, this tool — technically known as a “organoleptic hop transducer module” — connects to the keg and filters the beer through a half-pound of hops, intensely infusing the beer with hops flavor and aroma just before it’s dispensed.  According to Dogfish, higher-alcohol beers work best since the alcohol dissolves more of the oils from the hops as the beer passes through the filter.

Dogfish’s Randalls are in use in many bars now, but if you’re a true hops fiend you can make one yourself, as this dedicated homebrewer has.

Randall the Enamel Animal [Dogfish Head Brewery]


6 Responses to Hop Up Your Beer, Right At The Tap

  1. Blind says:

    Err, invented by Dogfish? I was watching a special on the history of Beer on History Channel a while back and Sam Adams was doing the exact same thing already.

    Now while I’m all for pointing and laughing at Sam Adams, I’m curious who really did come up with it frist.

    Then again, it’s just a standard filtering container/set up with hops in place of the filtering membrane, so it isn’t like any great genius went into this. Anyone with a serious aquarium hobby and a home brew interest probably thought about trying it at least once.

  2. I have no idea what Sam Adams is doing with regards to offering an at-the-tap hop infusion device, but in all of my Googling of both the specific names and several generic equivalents of the Randall, everything pointed to Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione as the original inventor. Those sources included many beer publications, forums and blogs like this which allow comments, so if he didn’t come up with the idea, then at least no one pointed that out.

    And your description of the device as a fairly standard filtering container with hops as the filtering membrane sounds fairly spot-on.

  3. Blind says:

    Can’t find anything saying that Adams is doing it, even in their extreme beers where it would be appropriate. Plus I don’t have a copy of the documentary to rewatch. Doesnt’ matter in the end, I was just confused

  4. Matt says:

    Not to be a pedant, but technically something like a Randall will not add any bitterness- It will mostly add hop aroma and flavor. Bitterness is only derived when the hops are boiled for a period of time and the alpha acids in the hop can convert into the compound that makes the beer taste bitter.

    But now I’ve gone and outed myself as a beer geek…

  5. PJ says:

    Matt is correct. I’d have to re-read Calagione’s book “Extreme Brewing” but I’m not sure if he credits himself with inventing or “perfecting” maybe – the hopping device above. Good book either way.


  6. Now that would be a great device if you decided to fill it with a pound of weed instead of hops and you constantly filled it with 90 proof (or higher) alcohol. Much better flavoring and a much better and more intense… how shall I put it.. affect!

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