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Managing hops

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Say I want a hoppy beer, but not quite as bitter as the recipe makes it. Would it be better to decrease the amount of bittering hops, or decrease the boil time?

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Decrease the bittering hops. Or even try hop bursting. That is where all hops are added the last 15 minutes of the boil. Usually in 5 minute intervals.

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Hop bursting. I hadn't heard of that one yet!

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I first read about it in one of Russki's posts. Then last issue of zymurgy did an article on it.

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I am going to try it on my next IPA. You simply don't use any bittering hops. All the hops you use toward the end of the boil balance the malt without leaving the bitter finish.

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How does hop flavor come thru at 15 min and less, very large amount?

:silly:

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You get hop flavoring from short boils. You get much less flavor and more bittering from boiling them longer.

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Hop bursting is a possibility, as Gymrat suggests. I've never done it, but here are a couple of things to ruminate on:

Rather than use a high AA% hops, use a lower AA% hops, but use a lot of it.

So, rather than use one ounce of 12% AA hops, use two ounces of 4% AA hops. It should be milder.

Or, stagger the hops additions for the bitterness boil. This is what I do in my Crown Top IPA. I take fewer ounces of hops, but I add them at intervals. Instead of doing a 60 minute boil with 1 ounce of hops, I do a 50 minute with 1/2 ounce, a 40 minute with 1/2 ounce, and a 30 minute with 1/2 ounce. It's more hops by weight, but because I stagger it, I'm not getting as much bitterness overall.

I'm not a hop-head, preferring balanced beer, but I quite like my homebrewed IPA.

There are a number of ways to reduce the bitterness you perceive in a beer, so it may take you a little bit of trial and error to find what works best for you. My method is one way, and it works for me.

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I'm usually a hophead as opposed to really malty beers, but I have some Nelson and Galaxy hops and I'd like to let their flavors and aromas make the impact rather than fight with bittering hops. A little bitterness might bring them out but they wouldn't need much, I don't think.

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"FedoraDave" post=268424 said:

Hop bursting is a possibility, as Gymrat suggests. I've never done it, but here are a couple of things to ruminate on:

Rather than use a high AA% hops, use a lower AA% hops, but use a lot of it.

So, rather than use one ounce of 12% AA hops, use two ounces of 4% AA hops. It should be milder.


I will respectfully disagree with The Hat :)

I love hop bursting - done a number of beers using this technique, and I really believe that it's best suited to high-alpha hops. Because you start your additions at 15-20 minutes, even using 12-15% AA hops, the IBUs will be low, even if qBrew and other calculators tell you otherwise.

The Simcitrillo Pale Ale I did with 6 oz of 10-12% AA hops in the last 20 min (5 gal batch) ended up not bitter at all, but with a great hop flavor/aroma. I had BMC drinkers tell me how great it is, and they would not touch a traditional IPA with a 10-yard stick.

Hop bursting really works best with assertive hops - Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy would be perfect. For a 5-gal batch, I would recommend at least 1-1.5 oz at each 20, 15, 10, and 5 min, plus 2-3 oz for dry hopping. This will be awesome. If you want a touch more bitterness, throw in 1/2 oz of Magnum for a nice clean bite - I did just that on my Simcitrillo Take Two IPA, and the sample I tried last night is spot on where I wanted it - just enough bitterness to tell you it's an IPA, but it's very smooth.

Now, to go back to using lower alpha (especially noble) hops for hop bursting - you have to be careful, as hop bursting intensifies the flavor, so if you hop burst with, say Saaz, it may taste like drinking black pepper and bitter herbs.

Just my 2 cents :)

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"Gymrat" post=268409 said:

I am going to try it on my next IPA. You simply don't use any bittering hops. All the hops you use toward the end of the boil balance the malt without leaving the bitter finish.

FWIW, I've done a few hop-bursted beers before and I generally really like them. That said, I would highly recommend doing at least a very small traditional bittering (60 min) addition, even just like a half ounce (for a 5 gal batch) with all the rest being at t-20 and on. Try it both ways, because maybe this is a personal preference, but I have found that my beers with only massive late hops to be lacking.

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"VTGroff" post=268474 said:

"Gymrat" post=268409 said:

I am going to try it on my next IPA. You simply don't use any bittering hops. All the hops you use toward the end of the boil balance the malt without leaving the bitter finish.

FWIW, I've done a few hop-bursted beers before and I generally really like them. That said, I would highly recommend doing at least a very small traditional bittering (60 min) addition, even just like a half ounce (for a 5 gal batch) with all the rest being at t-20 and on. Try it both ways, because maybe this is a personal preference, but I have found that my beers with only massive late hops to be lacking.

After brewing the Simcitrillo Ale both ways (the only difference being 0.5 oz of Magnum at 60 min), I personally like the one with the bittering addition better. It does give it a bit of a "zing". However, the other version was a damn good beer. All 5 gallons are already gone :)

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I think Dave was referring to using the low acid hops for bittering. Then flavor with whatever. I would go along with that except I would not double them. I would keep the AA's low for the bittering addition period. If the idea is to eliminate the bitter finish you want very low or no AAs for the bittering addition. With hop bursting you are relying on your flavoring to do the bittering.

I like a nice smooth finish to my beers. I always use about half the recommended AAs for bittering. I use a low alpha hop and only half an ounce at that. Or I will use half an ounce of, say, fuggles at 60 minutes, then another half an ounce at 45 minutes to tone the bittering way down. I do this in my red ales and my amber ales.

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"Gymrat" post=268496 said:

I think Dave was referring to using the low acid hops for bittering. Then flavor with whatever. I would go along with that except I would not double them. I would keep the AA's low for the bittering addition period. If the idea is to eliminate the bitter finish you want very low or no AAs for the bittering addition. With hop bursting you are relying on your flavoring to do the bittering.

I like a nice smooth finish to my beers. I always use about half the recommended AAs for bittering. I use a low alpha hop and only half an ounce at that. Or I will use half an ounce of, say, fuggles at 60 minutes, then another half an ounce at 45 minutes to tone the bittering way down. I do this in my red ales and my amber ales.


Gymrat - you should really try using Magnum for bittering. It's amazing for that - since it's a high AA hop, you only need a small amount (saving $$$), and the low cohumulone levels make the bittering very clean and soft.

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"russki" post=268500 said:

Gymrat - you should really try using Magnum for bittering. It's amazing for that - since it's a high AA hop, you only need a small amount (saving $$$), and the low cohumulone levels make the bittering very clean and soft.

I was just going to say the same thing. Horizon Hops are another great low-cohumulone to use for bittering. Those two are practically the only two I use for bittering in my american-style ales.

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Is it wise to do NO bittering hops? Isn't that one of the very foundations that makes beer beer? Aren't there a certain amount of minimal bittering hops necessary just to offset the malts?

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"Fee" post=268513 said:

Is it wise to do NO bittering hops? Isn't that one of the very foundations that makes beer beer? Aren't there a certain amount of minimal bittering hops necessary just to offset the malts?

Shorter boil times are primarily used for flavor and aroma, but you get some bitterness even from a short boil. So if you use more hops for a shorter time, you can get the same amount of bitterness as using less hops with a longer boil. You get more flavor from the hops with the shorter boils, so you're kind of doubling up on the flavor with the bitterness.

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"alb" post=268400 said:

Say I want a hoppy beer, but not quite as bitter as the recipe makes it. Would it be better to decrease the amount of bittering hops, or decrease the boil time?

Great question. Great answers. Really like this thread.

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"VTGroff" post=268474 said:

"Gymrat" post=268409 said:

I am going to try it on my next IPA. You simply don't use any bittering hops. All the hops you use toward the end of the boil balance the malt without leaving the bitter finish.

FWIW, I've done a few hop-bursted beers before and I generally really like them. That said, I would highly recommend doing at least a very small traditional bittering (60 min) addition, even just like a half ounce (for a 5 gal batch) with all the rest being at t-20 and on. Try it both ways, because maybe this is a personal preference, but I have found that my beers with only massive late hops to be lacking.

I did this on Nelson IPA. 2.5 gallon batch. 1/4oz @ 60, then 1/2oz every 5 minutes starting at T20. Dry hopped w/ 1.75oz. Smelled so damn good. I'll get to try one next week.

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"genotype" post=268552 said:

"VTGroff" post=268474 said:

"Gymrat" post=268409 said:

I am going to try it on my next IPA. You simply don't use any bittering hops. All the hops you use toward the end of the boil balance the malt without leaving the bitter finish.

FWIW, I've done a few hop-bursted beers before and I generally really like them. That said, I would highly recommend doing at least a very small traditional bittering (60 min) addition, even just like a half ounce (for a 5 gal batch) with all the rest being at t-20 and on. Try it both ways, because maybe this is a personal preference, but I have found that my beers with only massive late hops to be lacking.

I did this on Nelson IPA. 2.5 gallon batch. 1/4oz @ 60, then 1/2oz every 5 minutes starting at T20. Dry hopped w/ 1.75oz. Smelled so damn good. I'll get to try one next week.


So you used Nelson for the small amount of bittering as well?

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"alb" post=268579 said:

So you used Nelson for the small amount of bittering as well?

Yep. Single hop IPA w/ Nelson Sauvin.

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"Gymrat" post=268496 said:

I think Dave was referring to using the low acid hops for bittering. Then flavor with whatever. I would go along with that except I would not double them. I would keep the AA's low for the bittering addition period. If the idea is to eliminate the bitter finish you want very low or no AAs for the bittering addition. With hop bursting you are relying on your flavoring to do the bittering.

I like a nice smooth finish to my beers. I always use about half the recommended AAs for bittering. I use a low alpha hop and only half an ounce at that. Or I will use half an ounce of, say, fuggles at 60 minutes, then another half an ounce at 45 minutes to tone the bittering way down. I do this in my red ales and my amber ales.

That's correct, and I have to agree with Russki in that this technique doesn't soften the bittering, but rather "staggers" it so it's not quite so "in your face" while still maintaining a decent amount of bitterness, if that's what you're pursuing in a certain recipe. I really like what it does to my Crown Top IPA.

I can't speak to hop bursting, as I've never done it, but I'll concede Russki's point that it will make for a softer bittering and a smoother finish.

I know it's a technique I'll look into when I formulate a recipe that would make good use of it. In fact, I'm planning to make a genuine pilsner in the next few months, and I'm wondering if hop bursting with Saaz will be a good idea for it.

Feedback?

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"FedoraDave" post=269300 said:

"Gymrat" post=268496 said:

I think Dave was referring to using the low acid hops for bittering. Then flavor with whatever. I would go along with that except I would not double them. I would keep the AA's low for the bittering addition period. If the idea is to eliminate the bitter finish you want very low or no AAs for the bittering addition. With hop bursting you are relying on your flavoring to do the bittering.

I like a nice smooth finish to my beers. I always use about half the recommended AAs for bittering. I use a low alpha hop and only half an ounce at that. Or I will use half an ounce of, say, fuggles at 60 minutes, then another half an ounce at 45 minutes to tone the bittering way down. I do this in my red ales and my amber ales.

That's correct, and I have to agree with Russki in that this technique doesn't soften the bittering, but rather "staggers" it so it's not quite so "in your face" while still maintaining a decent amount of bitterness, if that's what you're pursuing in a certain recipe. I really like what it does to my Crown Top IPA.

I can't speak to hop bursting, as I've never done it, but I'll concede Russki's point that it will make for a softer bittering and a smoother finish.

I know it's a technique I'll look into when I formulate a recipe that would make good use of it. In fact, I'm planning to make a genuine pilsner in the next few months, and I'm wondering if hop bursting with Saaz will be a good idea for it.

Feedback?

Dave, it strikes me that you might need a LOT of hops to get the right bittering with a low alpha hop like Saaz trying to do a hop burst beer. That would be my chief concern, followed by the thought that you want to be careful not to overwhelm the malt aroma with hops. All the same, it could be an interesting experiment, and Pilsners should have a noticable hop character and aroma. I think it's worth trying, but I might hesitate to do it with my first Pilsner if you are trying to truly brew to style. Just random thoughts...

If you do it, I'd be very interested in hearing how it turns out.

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Yeah, Oly, I should do a more traditional hop schedule for my first attempt. What I may do is a very simple SMaSH recipe with hop bursting, just to see what the differences are. Actually, perhaps two LBK batches, one with hop bursting one with a traditional schedule, so I can compare them side-by-side.

Okay, I'm formulating a plan. Thanks for the feedback!

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"FedoraDave" post=269349 said:

Yeah, Oly, I should do a more traditional hop schedule for my first attempt. What I may do is a very simple SMaSH recipe with hop bursting, just to see what the differences are. Actually, perhaps two LBK batches, one with hop bursting one with a traditional schedule, so I can compare them side-by-side.

Okay, I'm formulating a plan. Thanks for the feedback!


Don't forget to report back to the Borg! :chug:

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In the Pinus Solaris, I used a very small amount (like 1/8oz) of hops @45, @30, @20, and then put 1/2oz in @15, @10, @5, and then dry hopped another ounce.

That made really damn good beer.

The hops were 11.5 & 12.5% AA. (Simcoe and Sorachi Ace, staggered).

So this was like hop bursting, except I used a very small amount as a bittering addition. Just to get a bit of "bite" which I like in an IPA.

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I believe (and I had said this before), that hop bursting works best with high alpha hops, because it allows you to get a massive flavor/aroma without the harsh bitterness by using a large amount of hops. With low-alpha hops, using them traditionally, you would use close to the amount of high-alpha hop-bursted, and still get great flavor/aroma.

Here's an example (for simplicity sake, let's assume 1.050OG, 2.5 gal batch):

Hop-bursted with Citra (12%AA):
0.5 oz @ 20,15,10,and 5 min (4 oz)
Calculated IBUs: about 50.

Traditionally hopped with Saaz (4%AA):
1 oz @ 60, 20, 7, and 1 min (4 oz)
Calculated IBUs: about 50.

Both batches use the same amount of hops by weight. If you tried to use the traditional schedule with high alpha hops, you would get a very bitter beer, not so much with low alpha.

Edit: and for an "IPA" bite, nothing works better (and cheaper) than a touch of Magnum at 60 min.

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"FedoraDave" post=268424 said:


Rather than use a high AA% hops, use a lower AA% hops, but use a lot of it.

The most recent issue of BYO magazine was delivered last week, and it had a really good article in in about the American "C" Hops. It actually brought up a really interesting angle to this very discussion that I wanted to share...

I don't have the article in front of me, so I'm kind of doing this from memory...but it basically said that tannins (polyphenols) from hops and the related astringency characteristic contributed from them comes from the actual leaf matter of the hops, rather than the lupuilin gland (where the oils and alpha acids reside).

It suggested that high-alpha hops are preferable for bittering as opposed to a much larger volume of low-alpha hops (assuming same level of bittering) because the high-alpha version will have a fraction of the hop-contributed tannins.

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The tannin thing... is probably most prevelant an issue when brewing american style IPAs with lots of IBUs, and would potentially explain why hop bursting works so nicely as well, as there would be less time for tannins to be extracted by a long boil.

For low IBU beers like my belgians, I've found that I like the results better using traditional low AA noble hops vs. high AA hops as my bittering addition. Even a small amount of high AA hops seems to leave a "bite" that I don't really want in those beers.

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Makes sense. I do the same things for my low IBU brews. Its usually around an ounce or something of EKG for bittering.

The article was specifically about American Hops and by extension APAs, American IPAs, and American IIPAs.

It was saying, for example use 1 oz of 15% Columbus for your bittering addition rather than 2.5oz of 6% Cascade. Save the slow alpha hops for your late additions.

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"VTGroff" post=269465 said:

Makes sense. I do the same things for my low IBU brews. Its usually around an ounce or something of EKG for bittering.

The article was specifically about American Hops and by extension APAs, American IPAs, and American IIPAs.

It was saying, for example use 1 oz of 15% Columbus for your bittering addition rather than 2.5oz of 6% Cascade. Save the slow alpha hops for your late additions.

Now that your saying that, something that happened to me with one beer that I couldn't explain makes some sense. I decided in one of my APAs to take my centennial and save it for a late addition and used 2x as much cascade in the boil to achieve the same IBUs. I was trying to get more centennial flavor for a change of pace. That beer ended up having unexplained tannin like flavors (pucker factor) that I could really not chalk up to the grains as I didn't do anything weird with them and I make this basic beer often.

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Hops management definitely takes a lifetime to get a real handle on. So much of a beer's character is in the hops. Not only the strain, but how much, and how it's introduced.

This is all absolutely fascinating, and extremely informative. Even if alb's OP was hijacked a little, I'm sure she'd agree it's worth it for all the experience and information being imparted here.

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"FedoraDave" post=269514 said:

Hops management definitely takes a lifetime to get a real handle on. So much of a beer's character is in the hops. Not only the strain, but how much, and how it's introduced.

This is all absolutely fascinating, and extremely informative. Even if alb's OP was hijacked a little, I'm sure she'd agree it's worth it for all the experience and information being imparted here.


You bet, Dave! I'm reading it all with great interest, even if I don't quite "get" it all. I was just thinking before I got to your post, "Man, I had no idea I was going to learn so much from this one question!" :blink:

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"alb" post=269542 said:

"FedoraDave" post=269514 said:

Hops management definitely takes a lifetime to get a real handle on. So much of a beer's character is in the hops. Not only the strain, but how much, and how it's introduced.

This is all absolutely fascinating, and extremely informative. Even if alb's OP was hijacked a little, I'm sure she'd agree it's worth it for all the experience and information being imparted here.


You bet, Dave! I'm reading it all with great interest, even if I don't quite "get" it all. I was just thinking before I got to your post, "Man, I had no idea I was going to learn so much from this one question!" :blink:
That's what the :borg: is all about, little sister.

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