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Old 01-07-2007, 10:33 PM   #1
Torchiest
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Default Confusion about hops

Okay, I'm getting the hang of this whole brewing thing, but I think I may be somewhat confused about how to properly use hops. I've made seven batches so far, and I've been boiling all of my bittering hops for about 30mins.

I'm curious about when exactly the aroma and flavor disappear, and all you're left with is the bitterness. Like, are there particular cutoff ranges? I usually see recipes that have the bittering hops in for 60mins, and then more around 15mins, and then aroma hops around 0-5mins.

The other thing I'm not 100% is exactly what time you count in those measurements. Like, I've been putting in my bittering hops, then going 20mins, and adding finishing hops and turning off the heat, then letting it go for 10mins before I start to cool the wort in earnest. Am I misunderstanding the process?

Just to be clear, all my beers have turned out well, and I'm really happy with them, but I just want to make sure I understand this aspect of it, before I miscalculate somewhere down the line. If someone could clear this up for me, I'd really appreciate it.

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Old 01-07-2007, 11:22 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchiest
I've been boiling all of my bittering hops for about 30 minutes... I usually see recipes that have the bittering hops in for 60mins... I've been putting in my bittering hops, then going 20mins, and adding finishing hops and turning off the heat, then letting it go for 10mins
If your total boil time is 60 min. then add bittering hops as soon as the wort is boiling. Flavor hops around 30 min. and aroma around 10-0 min.

My hop schedule (for a really hoppy pale ale) is usually 60, 30, 15,8, dry hop.

The longer you boil the more bitterness you get and the less you boil the more aroma/flavor you get (or lose)
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Old 01-08-2007, 01:29 PM   #3
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All times are approximate when it comes to hops, but they all are talking about how long the addition is boiled. In the case of bittering additions, a rolling boil is required for the isomerization to occur. Just sitting in 212F water doesn't work. With a few exceptions, the countdown starts at 60 minutes. Bittering hops are added in the 90-45 minute period, flavor 30-15, aroma 15-0 plus dry hopping. These are not cutoffs. A 15 minutes add can be flavor and aroma and will contribute some bittering.

The easiest way to deal with hopping is an old fashioned kitchen timer. Wind it to 60 minutes when the first bittering add is done. Then just follow the schedule.

What you have been doing is boiling your bittering hops for 20 minutes. The 10 minutes with the heat off doesn't matter for bittering. As you've noticed, this works ok. You are wasting a fair amount of the alpha acids in the hops, though and the ales are less bitter than they should be.

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Old 01-08-2007, 02:22 PM   #4
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The only think I do differently is set my timers to go off when it's time for me to do something next. So if my hop schedule is 60/20/0 I'll throw the bittering in and set the timer for 40 minutes. When the buzzer goes off, I hop again and set for 20 minutes. It's easy to get caught up in other things and miss your target.

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Old 01-08-2007, 03:02 PM   #5
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Yeah...if you're boiling your wort without hops in it, it's pretty much besides the point. That's why folks who use prehopped extract can get away without a boil at all. The entire point of boiling the wort is to extract the bitterness and flavor/aroma from the hops. So, I'll chime in here and second what David said. Toss in your bittering hops as soon as you achieve a boil, or before that if you want. But your boil countdown should start as soon as you have hops in boiling wort.

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Old 01-08-2007, 04:53 PM   #6
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Cool, thanks for all the helpful answers. That really eliminates the confusion for me. Luckily, I generally don't care for hoppy ales that much, and I've been happy with the results, but at least now I can be more precise in my calculations.

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Old 01-08-2007, 05:51 PM   #7
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Well, there's a difference between "hoppy" and "bitter". Is it the bitterness that you don't care for? Or the actual hop flavors/aromas?

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Old 01-08-2007, 06:28 PM   #8
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It's a little of everything. For example, I don't care for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that much, really, but I love Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA, just because it has enough malt to balance the hops.

I'm coming around on hops in general, really, just because the smell of the hops before adding them to the wort is awesome. In fact, I plan on attempting an Imperial IPA within a month.

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Old 01-08-2007, 06:37 PM   #9
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I have been eating my leaf hops.

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Old 01-10-2007, 12:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebisch01
I have been eating my leaf hops.
I make love to my hops, then I take them to The Outback for dinner. But then I don't call them again for at least a month.
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