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Old 01-21-2009, 01:05 AM   #1
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Default Want to learn all things HOPS

New to homebrew and starting to create some of my own recipes. Beginning to understand the use of the different extracts and grains and their effect on the brew but now would like to get information on what hops can do for me.

I'd imagine experienced brewers could talk for days about this so maybe point me where I can go to learn more about which hops to use based on beer type, amounts to use and when to use them (hop schedule). Would like to do more with my hops than put my 1 oz packet in at the beginning of the boil.

Thanks in advance for the help.

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Old 01-21-2009, 01:10 AM   #2
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A good place to start is the Wiki.

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Old 01-21-2009, 01:14 AM   #3
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Oh, I love hops! I think a good place to start is reading about all of the different kinds, and the flavor they bring. Some are resinous, some are flowery, some are citrusy, some are spicy. They really are very different, and learning about this is great fun!

You get bitterness when they are added at 60 minutes, but very little in the way of flavor or aroma. Flavor hops are generally added at 15-5 minutes of the boil, and the aroma hops are added later, from 5-0 minutes.

This page has some info on hops: Hops varieties chart. Amarillo hop to Willamette hop with alpha acid levels and their usage for intended beer style.

This one is more detailed:
http://www.probrewer.com/resources/hops/amarillo.pdf

The best way to learn about hops is to use them! Make a style of ale (like American pale ale) that uses flavor and aroma hops, maybe even some dryhopping, and see what you like best. I like the so-called c-hops, American hops that start with the letter C like centennial and cascade. Centennial has a citrusy note, with a bit of floral. Cascade is all citrus. Some people prefer more restained hops, like the English style hops like East Kent Goldings or fuggles. Those are more "earthy" without the citrus notes. Learning about hops involves drinking plenty of beer, though- so be warned!

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Old 01-21-2009, 03:38 AM   #4
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Great links... thanks!

I am planning to brew a red ale and am currently using northern brewer which from what ive read can serve a dual purpose... give you both biterness and aroma. Right now I'm planning to use 2/3 oz at the beginning of the boil and then the remaining 1/3 with 15 minutes left. Here is the rest of the recipe...

6 - 7 lbs - light dme
8 - 12 oz - crystal malt (60L)
4 - 8 oz - melanoidin malt
4 oz – Belgian biscuit malt
1 oz - Northern Brew hops (2/3 at beg of boil, 1/3 with 15 min. left)
1 pack ale yeast (S-04)

Probably going to stick with this for the first batch but plan to brew 2 or 3 batches. Any other hop schedule anyone would suggest?

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Old 01-21-2009, 04:26 AM   #5
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i LOVE northern brewer. It's woody and earthy, very different from most hops. It's great in bittering, flavor, aroma, whatever...i use it throughout one of my trademark beers, my Vienna SMaSH:

10 lbs Vienna Malt
1 oz Northern Brewer hops (8% AA) @ 60 minutes
1 oz Northern Brewer hops (8% AA) @ 20 minutes
1 oz Northern Brewer hops (8% AA) @ 5 minutes
Nottingham yeast

Best stuff ever.

Fuggle is my favorite hop for english style beers and stouts. I'll use it for bittering or flavor and often finish with East Kent Golding, which smooths and softens the beer while accentuating the chocolate notes in stouts. These hops are very earthy.

German "noble" hops are often used for hefeweizens, lagers, etc. They are usually low in alpha acid and big on aroma. They generally have a pleasant spiciness. Despite their low alpha acid, they can still be used as a bittering and it is a common practice of mine to use only a small amount in bittering my hefeweizens and dunkelweizens...just enough to balance the malt and provide a slight spiciness. Examples are Tettnanger, Hallertau, Saaz, etc.

I've very often used saaz at the end of all types of beers to soften them up.

Belgian beers can really use anything, as they are extremely varied styles, but Styrian Goldings (a fuggle variety from slovenia) is a common hop that is extremely soft and subtle...perfect for beers where you want some flavor but the maltiness is dominant.

I'm not a huge fan of american citrusy hops, but amarillo is probably my favorite flavor of the bunch. The others include the big C's like centennial, cascade, etc.

American hops also have lots of different varieties that are comparable to english and other strains. Willamette, for instance, is a fuggle variety and Liberty is a hallertau strain.

Definitely do some reading yourself, but brewing and tasting is what really will help you to understand ingredients. Some of the old "replacement" suggestions that are floating around the internet are not always the best source of information...but they will offer a guide and help you get started.

One thing that I did some experimenting with not long ago was blending hops. You can get really subtle flavors and accomplish incredible things with blending. My friend is a master at it...for instance, blending something with styrian golding to soften the flavor...or mixing earthy and citrusy characteristics.

It's a load of fun as long as you don't overdo it. I personally am not a hophead, so I enjoy the subtleties and balance that hops provide.

I would also advise you to pay attention to your alpha acid content and get some brewing software (promash/beersmith) to better work out your bitterness calculations. you can get many different hallertau, for example, ranging from 3% and 6% alpha acid content. You use those seperate levels in the same recipe and you will get two completely different beers.

lastly, you've already made a huge step coming on HBT. Never be afraid to ask a question here...besides experience, this is the best tool out there for building knowledge.

Hope this helps!


EDIT: One more note...using high alpha acid hops is common for bittering. It's cheap and effective and not meant to impart much flavor. I have a bad habit of using lower AA hops for bittering just because i love the subtle flavors they add, but I'm working towards breaking this

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Old 01-21-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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Good stuff... I was actually just reading your post about the easy mash the other night. I was told that mashing my grains in the above recipe (melanoidin, cyrstal, belgian biscuit) would make for a better beer.

This is my first time creating a recipe and have not attempted mashing yet... would you recommend going for it here... or will steeping do the trick?

Appreciate the insight and am definitely glad im apart of HomeBrewTalk

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Old 01-21-2009, 10:20 PM   #7
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yes, the melanoiden malt and bisquit malt should really be mashed to get the best out of it. the crystal wouldn't be necessary, but it won't hurt either.

Just drop a pound of extract (make it 5 or 6 lbs) and add 2 lbs of 2-row (pale malt) and you have yourself an easy partial mash recipe.

That would be a total of 3.5 lbs of grains, so they would need to be mashed in about 1.5 gallons of water.

It's basically the same as steeping. Just keep it at about 150-155°F for 30 minutes or more and do a small sparge...you can pour water through the bag or use my method and have some water preheated and ready to go for your boil, then just teabag it.

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