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French Press

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Hopped on over to the Austinbrew Supply website to check out their inventory and sales. They sell a French Press and go on to explain how you can use it with your hops.

"Here is how you do it:
Before adding the hops bring your wort to a boil. Then place your hops in the press. Ladle off one liter of the boiling wort into the press and let it sit. After 15 minutes press down on the plunger and pour the liquid into a separate clean container, then add the hops at the bottom of the press to the boil and start your 60 min. These hops still contain the alpha-acid which are needed to add bitterness. At the end of the boil add the remaining liquid to your kettle. "

I thought this was a great idea and will be doing it next brew. Check out the link if you don't know what a French Press is. I normally use mine for coffee but this is another great use!

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yankeedag wrote:

I take it that this is to "replace" the falvor boil?

I don't think you would need to replace another method, its just a way to retain aroma and flavor from the hops you are going to use for bittering.

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using a coffee press for hops doesnot sound intresting to me...but hey, its your beer do what works for you. just my opinion. :cheers:

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You guys probably have brewed so much it seems unnecessary to add another gadget into the mix. Well, it probably is unnecessary. But for someone like me who is brewing on a budget, using hops for twice in one batch sounds great to me. Its only 2 dollars but its also savoring something I enjoy.

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Guest System Admin

Seems like a wasted step.

Your not boiling but Seeping the hops then pressing out the liquid.

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Trollby wrote:

Seems like a wasted step.

Your not boiling but Seeping the hops then pressing out the liquid.

There are people that have used it over on home brew talk. It seems to be a viable way to extract flavor/aroma in some wort, then toss it directly into the fermenter after everything else.

"I have used a French Press many times and it works great.

I add boiling water and let it sit for 45 minutes or so and press. I don't put the 'tea' into my kettle, I throw it right into my fermenter with chilled wort.

SMACK!!! BOOM!!!"

Edit = Although I think he meant wort, not boiling water. Doubt plain tea would contribute much- might as well dry hop it... but the idea is to extract some extra flavor from your bittering hops - at least that was my idea.. its just a fun idea to play around with. I plan on doing lots of small batches to start so I can do experiments. I will share my findings.

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Hmm....by extracting some of the oils and saving them for flavoring and aroma it seems to me that you'd be losing a lot of the bitterness, wouldn't you?

I mean, there's only X amount of oils in hops to start with. If you extract a percentage of them and save them for later use, you're reducing the amount that is left for bittering, right?

I'm not trying to shoot your idea down, I'm just thinking that it would severely reduce your bitterness in a way that would be hard to measure wouldn't it?

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Kealia, I seriously hesitate to question your logic here but having just read Palmer's book through a week or so ago, I seem to recall some discussion about this...and I thought that he said that essential oils are what give you the aroma/flavor, and the resins that impart bitterness. Am I talking out my ass here? Do you already know this? Yes, pretty much; and probably.

EDIT: From the online edition: "The main bittering agent is the alpha acid resin which is insoluble in water until isomerized by boiling. The longer the boil, the greater the percentage of isomerization and the more bitter the beer gets. However, the oils that contribute characteristic flavors and aromas are volatile and are lost to a large degree during the long boil."

Not sure if using the French press would extract resins in addition to oils, in which case you would be shorting the hops' bittering power.

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First off - please don't hesitate to question me as I'm far from an expert.

You bring up a good point in that I wasn't being clear in my post and my use of the word "oil" or "oils" was used generically, and probably didn't help the situation.

My point is sort of what you summarized at the end of your post -
I don't know exactly WHAT gets extracted by a french press, thus would be very unclear as to the overall effect.

I would *assume* that both would be extracted, and you could replace the word "oils" in my post above with "resins" and the same would hold true.

Maybe I'll pop over to HBT and see what's being said over there about the topic.

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Kealia wrote:

First off - please don't hesitate to question me as I'm far from an expert.

You bring up a good point in that I wasn't being clear in my post and my use of the word "oil" or "oils" was used generically, and probably didn't help the situation.

My point is sort of what you summarized at the end of your post -
I don't know exactly WHAT gets extracted by a french press, thus would be very unclear as to the overall effect.

I would *assume* that both would be extracted, and you could replace the word "oils" in my post above with "resins" and the same would hold true.

Maybe I'll pop over to HBT and see what's being said over there about the topic.

OK, OK I'll be sure to question your logic more often ;) But after that clarification, I get it. However, as the Palmer quote mentions, the bittering alpha acid resin is insoluble in water until it's boiled. I'm no chemistry wiz (does insoluble mean that none of it leaches out in water or just not the active bittering agent?) but it seems plausible that you could extract the essential oils without doing much or any damage to the resins...but the more I write the more it's coming out of you know where so I'll let it rest for now.

We await your HBT research...and I'm curious enough to look into it after work too.

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Ok, after reading the posts at HBT (nothing said over there either), I re-read the OP and the Austin HomeBrew Supply site and realized that I missed this key point (I added the bold):

Here is how you do it:
Before adding the hops bring your wort to a boil. Then place your hops in the press. Ladle off one liter of the boiling wort into the press and let it sit. After 15 minutes press down on the plunger and pour the liquid into a separate clean container, then add the hops at the bottom of the press to the boil and start your 60 min. These hops still contain the alpha-acid which are needed to add bitterness. At the end of the boil add the remaining liquid to your kettle. "


So what I take from this:
1) You are NOT extracting the resins through this method, just the oils
2) Basically what you are doing is using the SAME hops for both bitterness, flavor and aroma. By SAME, I mean not only the same strain/variety, but the actual same hops since you would normally be boiling off the oils in your 60 minute boil and need additional hop additions

This boils down (if you'll excuse the pun) to saving a little money on hops by not having to use more for flavor and aroma. So you could use 1/2oz hops for bitterness AND get the flavor and aroma out of them instead of using 1/2 oz for bittering + 1/4oz for flavor + 1/4oz for aroma (numbers used as examples).

Is that the same take-away that you get?

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Seems like an easy way to save a little bit of money if you wanted to use the same hops for bittering and flavor/aroma.

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Yes you guys got it lol. from what ive read it will only excrete the oils that are aroma/flavor... not the resins that are used in bittering. someone above said something about calculating IBUs, well if what I've read is true then this process will not affect that number much at all. There are still some things unclear here. You drop 212 degree wort on some hops, depending on how fast it cools could decide weather you are gaining more aroma or flavor. I wonder how long it takes for hops to be fully saturated as well. These are all minor details I guess but the whole hops thing is fascinating to me. I might have to buy a bunch of hops and play around with pressing times. 15 min, 30 min, 45 min... Perhaps I would start my wort boil, take a ladle, drop some hops in the press do that for 15 minutes, take the hops toss in the boil, put more hops in the press, repeat 3 times, then after i cool the wort completely, throw in that hopped up wort for extra bang.... :)

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Kealia wrote:

Hmm....by extracting some of the oils and saving them for flavoring and aroma it seems to me that you'd be losing a lot of the bitterness, wouldn't you?

I mean, there's only X amount of oils in hops to start with. If you extract a percentage of them and save them for later use, you're reducing the amount that is left for bittering, right?

I'm not trying to shoot your idea down, I'm just thinking that it would severely reduce your bitterness in a way that would be hard to measure wouldn't it?


I've been doing some more research on the topic and I found something related to calculating an increased late hop addition, which what this pressing method is comparable to. The idea is evolving in my brain as we speak.

Calculating the Numbers

To use this technique in your own beers, replace all or part of your traditional bittering hop additions with additions at 20 minutes or less left in the boil, increasing the amount of hops to get the same IBUs. Replace all of your bittering hops for an intense hop flavor. Replace a lesser amount to just enhance the hop flavor.

While isomerization is limited during a short boil, hop utilization isn’t linear across the boil time. You don’t need 6 times as much hops for a 10 minute boil as compared to a 60 minute boil. Assuming you’re getting about 30% utilization at 60 minutes, you’ll get around 17% at 20 minutes, 14% at 15 minutes, and around 10% at 10 minutes. So you’ll need to approximately double or triple your hops to get an equivalent bitterness. If you’re already calculating your bitterness with software or some other tool, use the same method to make this adjustment.

It is said that most formulas for calculating bitterness are not as reliable for very late hop additions, but don’t let that stop you. It is quite difficult to detect a 5 IBU difference in most moderately bittered beers and impossible in a highly bittered beer.

In beers with significant bitterness (50+ IBU), you might still want to add a charge of high alpha hops early in the boil. If you don’t, the amount of hop flavor


- http://morebeer.com/search/103619

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Brian1179 wrote:

me i dont get it...hop are not that expensive :(


EDIT: or is it just me? :dry:


Every little bit helps stretch the brewing budget. I've been splitting smack packs so I don't have to spend $6.50 on yeast each brew. The only reason I don't think I'll try this french press idea is that I rarely use more than 1 oz of hops in a batch, and once the packet is open I don't want to re-freeze it.

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if you split a smack pack, use the rest within a week or, so ive read, the yeast will go bad :(


EDIT: ive been there so i understand, however it looks like your saving only a few pennies on the dollar. so i save cans and plastic instead, my glass just gets reused.

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At $22 for the press I feel like it's going to be a ways done the road before it actually saves you any money...

It would probably be handy for dry hopping though. I was watching som of the early video episodes of Basic Brewing and James made a "hop tea" with whole leaf cascades to dry hop an IPA in a secondary. He said it helps to release some of the aroma oils in a way that cool beer in your fermenter cannot. He then poured the liquid and put the leaves into his secondary. That's where I think it could be more useful. I'll try and hunt down a link for the video.

I'd say yeast ranching is probably a better way to save yourself some cash.

Edit: I can't find it on their YouTube channel but on iTunes its called "Dry Hopping the IPA" and its from 1-26-06

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The Dude wrote:

At $22 for the press I feel like it's going to be a ways done the road before it actually saves you any money...

It would probably be handy for dry hopping though. I was watching som of the early video episodes of Basic Brewing and James made a "hop tea" with whole leaf cascades to dry hop an IPA in a secondary. He said it helps to release some of the aroma oils in a way that cool beer in your fermenter cannot. He then poured the liquid and put the leaves into his secondary. That's where I think it could be more useful. I'll try and hunt down a link for the video.

I'd say yeast ranching is probably a better way to save yourself some cash.


thats one thing ive never tried.....yet dont know if im ready to do that

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Brian1179 wrote:

The Dude wrote:


I'd say yeast ranching is probably a better way to save yourself some cash.


thats one thing ive never tried.....yet dont know if im ready to do that

It's pretty easy, start your read here. I have more yeast now than I know what to do with.

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I'm lazy, can't be bothered to do all that. HOWSOMEVER: if you want to do it, I'm not inclined to bad mouth you about it. Just sayin' it's too much effort and THINKING for me to do. So Enjoy.

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The Dude wrote:

At $22 for the press I feel like it's going to be a ways done the road before it actually saves you any money...

It would probably be handy for dry hopping though. I was watching som of the early video episodes of Basic Brewing and James made a "hop tea" with whole leaf cascades to dry hop an IPA in a secondary. He said it helps to release some of the aroma oils in a way that cool beer in your fermenter cannot. He then poured the liquid and put the leaves into his secondary. That's where I think it could be more useful. I'll try and hunt down a link for the video.

I'd say yeast ranching is probably a better way to save yourself some cash.

Edit: I can't find it on their YouTube channel but on iTunes its called "Dry Hopping the IPA" and its from 1-26-06

Yes this is basically what I am finding out as well. You can get more flavor and aroma out of it. Some have said that straight dry hopping causes grassy flavor, but using this method would help to cook that out and leech more flavor like you said. Plus I already have a french press for my coffee in the first place, I thought it was a fun idea and thanks to you guys for challenging the reasons one would use it, I spent all night researching the usage of hops and found this to be a pretty good technique for a few reason, and I for one will be trying it out.

I also found someone who did AG using a French press, might be a bit overboard here but its fun to see what people can do with a little ingenuity in the kitchen.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/all-grain-french-press-coffee-maker-86441/

Another, totally different use of a pot converted into a "french press"
http://www.byo.com/stories/projects-and-equipment/article/indices/20-build-it-yourself/676-french-press-style-hopback-projects

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If you brew enough, you might save more money getting a Food Saver or Seal A Meal, buying hops in bulk and vacuum sealing them and freezing them. They end up costing less than $1 an ounce that way.

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