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-   -   Effects of boil "strength" on hop flavor (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/effects-boil-strength-hop-flavor-338199/)

jsmith32 06-27-2012 10:05 PM

Effects of boil "strength" on hop flavor
I've seen several threads that discuss boil "strength" (i.e. vigorous boil vs. a simmer) and how it effects hop utilization. However, one thing that I haven't seen discussed is how boil "strength" effects hop flavor.

My situation:

I brew quite a few beers where I just have a single bittering hop addition at the start of the boil and then boil the wort for 60 minutes. I usually keep a stash of high AA% Warrior hop pellets at hand so I usually use those to minimize the amount of hop material.

I also tend to back off on the burner heat once I reach a boil to minimize evaporation. The wort is still boiling but it certainly isn't as vigorous as it could be. I know I'm probably not getting the maximum amount of hop utilization but these beers are usually malt-forward anyway so it usually doesn't bother me.

On several of these beers, where I wasn't intending on having any hop flavor, there definitely have been some flavors in the final beer that could very well be attributed to hops, but since I've never used Warrior hops for anything but bittering I'm not sure if it is in fact hop flavor.

I figure the answer is obvious and I've probably come pretty close to answering my own question here, but what do you think? Will more hop flavor be apparent in the final beer if I use a less vigorous boil, even at 60 minutes?



grndslm 06-28-2012 08:19 AM

I would theorize from experience & reasoning....

- Food that is slow cooked at lower temperatures RETAINS, OPTIMIZES, MAXIMIZES (fill in the blank) the food's very own flavors.
- Sierra Nevada creates such a hoppy beer with their Pale Ale [or so I hear] especially because of the hops they add at the 180 to 190 degree temp range, and keep in that temp range for 10 min. or so.

With a "less vigorous", 60 minute boil... I woud still think that you wouldn't have incredibly increased hop flavors, however.

Personally, I stick to the rolling boil because I can see the isomerized hop proteins doing their thing, and that's more than half the reason we boil in the first place.

Also, I did try to keep a "medium" rolling boil with the lid on to keep evaporation.... but supposedly DMS/DMSO (possibly even in malt extract??) is released in off-gases during boil, and you don't want to trap those in. Best to just add more water as needed, IMHO.

unionrdr 06-28-2012 04:45 PM

The burners on my electric stove have been going out,& I was stuck with using a small burner for my BK. I couldn't get a decent boil in my last 2 batches,& it shows. Hop utilization went way down,& the hop flavors suffered. So ime,a good boil is def needed hop-wise.

mforsman 06-29-2012 05:01 AM

My boils haven't been amazing, and I've noticed the lost hop aroma / flavor.

jsmith32 06-29-2012 12:24 PM

Thanks for your replies. Interesting that the last two posters have actually indicated that they are seeing less hop flavor/aroma due to lesser boils. I would possibly think the opposite would be true, as I kind of was assuming in my original post. Hmm. Perhaps an experiment is in order.


duboman 06-29-2012 12:43 PM

I am not a scientist to preface but the vigor of the boil is more related to the utilization factor and more so is important in driving off various gasses like DMS in the boil. This, however is not as much a concern with extract as the fermentables have already been boiled. The hop utilization is related to the bittering component of the hops. For flavor and more so aroma, the vigor of the boil is less a concern as these are typically later additions meaning after the 30 minute mark. The later you add the hops, the more flavor and aroma are retained in the wort. Yes, a very vigorous boil may drive off some of these components but if you are adding them at the 10, 5, or 0 marks it is minimal. The flavor and aroma compounds are the most "fragile" elements of the hops and that is why they dissipate pretty quickly over time.

I have found that for the beers I really want to retain those elements I really concentrate in the late additions at 5min and flame out. When dry hopping you want to be sure to package as soon as the dry hop period is over. In other words you do not want to dry hop for 14 days and then leave the beer for another week before packaging.

jsmith32 06-29-2012 01:42 PM

Hi duboman - a shout out from Northbrook (I'm at work, shhhhh)! Thanks for your response. Back to my original post, do you think that more (unintentional) hop flavor would possibly carry over from a 60 minute addition (intended for bittering only) if a less vigorous boil was used?


duboman 06-29-2012 04:36 PM


Originally Posted by jsmith32
Hi duboman - a shout out from Northbrook (I'm at work, shhhhh)! Thanks for your response. Back to my original post, do you think that more (unintentional) hop flavor would possibly carry over from a 60 minute addition (intended for bittering only) if a less vigorous boil was used?


Right back at ya, Jason!
I think the importance I a vigorous boil outweighs the carry over.

If you are really looking for the aroma and flavor then you should really consider more additions from the 30 minute mark forward. 30-15 will give you good flavor additions and 15-0 will give you lots of aroma.

Lennie 06-29-2012 06:49 PM

I think you get some character from a 60min addition and a vigorous boil, so it stands to reason that a less vigorous boil would possibly enhance that a bit. Often a bittering hop will not have a lot of flavor/aroma character, thats why they aren't classified as dual purpose. If you don't want carryover, use a bittering hop.

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