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Old 01-12-2013, 04:09 AM   #1
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Default First wort hopping

I've been doing some reading on first wort and mash hopping. Supposedly you can get flavors different from traditional boil additions. I'm intrigued as well as thinking of the practical side possibly reducing the kettle load of hops on IPA's and such. Anyone out there use hops in either your mash or runoff? If so, can you explain why a flavor that would boil away in a kettle addition would remain in first wort that is about to be boiled anyway? It's kinda blowing my mind!!!

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:16 AM   #2
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I do a lot of first wort hopping, though never in the actual mash.

There's no single explanation for the difference, other than to say that the composition of hops is very complex and it's no surprise that spending an hour at a hot but non-boiling temp would produce a different final product. One mechanism would be that some volatiles that would blow off in a strong boil end up converting to more stable compounds if left to rest at ~150ºF.

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:18 AM   #3
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My experience with hopping the mash is don't do it. The hops can interact with the mash chemistry in weird ways and I ended up with some crazy harsh flavors. First wort hopping, on the other hand, is awesome. The reason that more flavor is retained is that the alpha acids (and various other compounds) have to be isomerized (change shape) in order to dissolve in the wort. At the lower temperature of the runoff, the flavor compounds have plenty of time to isomerize and dissolve before the boil. Once they are dissolved, there's no more risk of boiling them away.

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:32 AM   #4
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Awesome. Would running off into a colander with a few ounces of hops do the trick? How do you do it? Should I account for these hops as bittering or consider them flavor hops as far as IBU considerations? Can you share a few recipe examples of first wort hop successes?

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:46 AM   #5
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I just throw the hops into the kettle during the sparge and let them hang out for the full boil. Because of that, my IBU's are similar (just a touch higher) to using them as bittering hops for the full boil time. I just did a fwh ESB:

10 lbs Marris Otter mashed @148 for 1 hour

1 oz. Challenger FWH
1 oz. EKG @20
1 oz. EKG @5
1 oz. EKG Dry Hop

Ferment with Wyeast 1968.

If you're wondering about the absence of crystal malt in an ESB recipe, that's a whole other story. (Let's just say I've been experimenting with getting all my color and flavor from kettle caramelization.) I'm drinking it right now, and the hop flavor is fantastic!

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:48 AM   #6
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I ran across a post about mash hopping last month so I figured I'd give it a shot with an IPA I was brewing. I have to say with this specific brew I am happy with the results. I only used 1 ounce in the mash but the aroma is actually pretty nice with no noticeable harshness. Now I never did a control batch without the mash hop so I can't say for sure how effective it was, but it seems like something I would explore a little more. There seems to be a lot argument on either side on the discussion though. Here's another post with a little more information. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/mash-hopping-4182/

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerLogic View Post
I just throw the hops into the kettle during the sparge and let them hang out for the full boil. Because of that, my IBU's are similar (just a touch higher) to using them as bittering hops for the full boil time. I just did a fwh ESB:

10 lbs Marris Otter mashed @148 for 1 hour

1 oz. Challenger FWH
1 oz. EKG @20
1 oz. EKG @5
1 oz. EKG Dry Hop

Ferment with Wyeast 1968.

If you're wondering about the absence of crystal malt in an ESB recipe, that's a whole other story. (Let's just say I've been experimenting with getting all my color and flavor from kettle caramelization.) I'm drinking it right now, and the hop flavor is fantastic!
Ok now you have me excited! If I'm understanding right, the full boil hops normally don't contribute much flavor. But first wort hops pull flavor compounds and add their bitterness if you leave them in for the boil. Why wouldn't every all grain brewer use this technique when they're doing a hop forward style?? I know I'm going to try it...
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:02 AM   #8
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I would think that everyone who knows about it would, for hop-forward styles, as you said. I fwh all my ESBs and IPAs, and sometimes even fwh and forget about late additions for less hoppy styles. I made a really nice Kolsch with tettnang that way once.

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Old 01-13-2013, 02:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demus View Post
Ok now you have me excited! If I'm understanding right, the full boil hops normally don't contribute much flavor. But first wort hops pull flavor compounds and add their bitterness if you leave them in for the boil. Why wouldn't every all grain brewer use this technique when they're doing a hop forward style?? I know I'm going to try it...
The bitterness you get from FWH is very different than what you get from a 60 min. addition. It's much smoother and softer. I always use a 60 min. addition in addition to the FWH. I consider the FWH a flavor addition.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:12 AM   #10
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The bitterness you get from FWH is very different than what you get from a 60 min. addition. It's much smoother and softer. I always use a 60 min. addition in addition to the FWH. I consider the FWH a flavor addition.
Thanks. Do you leave the FWH in for the boil or discard them?
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