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Old 11-08-2011, 02:57 AM   #1
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Default FWH as Only Bittering Addition?

So I've never done a FWH before but I want to use the FWH addition as my only source of bittering. Anyone have experience with that? Foreseen problems? Successes?

I'm doing a Belgian Blonde IPA and here is my proposed hop schedule:

1.50 oz Saaz Pellet 5.5% AAU (FWH approx 45 mins till boil)
1.00 oz Styrian Golding Pellet 4.4% AAU @ 15 Minutes (Boil)
1.00 oz Styrian Golding Pellet Dry Hopped for ~10 days

I've really had no experience designing hoppy brews so this will be one of my first and any help is appreciated.

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Old 11-08-2011, 09:11 AM   #2
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The FWH will make the for a smoother bitterness and impart some flavors similar to a 20 minute add. I FWH all of my beers so I can get higher IBUs but still get flavors and not feel the bittering bite.

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Old 11-08-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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I've done three beers that are FWH'd now, and I'm really starting to question the 20-min flavor aspect. I do LOVE the strong-but-gentle bittering it yields, so I'd say the OP is in good shape there. But I've not cut down my 20- min additions and still don't see any noticeable increase in flavor. I know the party line is FWH=some more flavor, but my (admittedly meager) experience so far hasn't borne out that aspect.

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Old 11-08-2011, 11:27 AM   #4
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From what I've read, the FWH should come from later additions and not replace your bittering hop. I just tried this for the first time on last Sunday's brew, an Amarillo IPA. We'll see how it turns out. Here's some quick reading/video on FWH:

http://billybrew.com/first-wort-hopping

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Old 11-08-2011, 11:49 AM   #5
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I've done brews with FWH as the only bittering addition. It's just fine and it works.

There is so much conflicting information out there about what FWH does to a beer that I think the only way to determine anything is to do it on your system with your process and see what happens. I've read that it increases IBUs by 10-20%, decreases IBUs by same, adds more but gentle bitterness, makes no difference, tastes better... Take your pick.

I think it's totally subjective so figure out how you like it in your beer and go from there.

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Old 11-08-2011, 12:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomebrewMTB View Post
From what I've read, the FWH should come from later additions and not replace your bittering hop. I just tried this for the first time on last Sunday's brew, an Amarillo IPA. We'll see how it turns out. Here's some quick reading/video on FWH:

http://billybrew.com/first-wort-hopping
Yes, I've read that too. However, my experience is different. I get plenty of bitterness from FWH, but it does seem to be a smoother and less harsh bitterness. In my experience, it is NOTHING like a 20 minute addition! It's definitely a bittering addition.

I FWH almost all of my beers now. First, because I make mostly IPAs and APAs, and also because it's easy! I just toss my hops into the boil kettle when I start sparging and then don't add any hops again until 10-20 minutes left.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:36 PM   #7
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I FWH almost all of my beers now. First, because I make mostly IPAs and APAs, and also because it's easy! I just toss my hops into the boil kettle when I start sparging and then don't add any hops again until 10-20 minutes left.
YES! Definitely on same wavelength. I'm also brewing mostly IPA and APA but even for the non-PA brews I FWH. It is easier.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:46 PM   #8
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First Wort Hopping is still one of those things that mystifies me. I know that I love it in many beers, and I can sometimes even pick it out when sampling homebrews, but what actually happens still confuses me.

- Apparently it produces iso-alpha acids just fine once boiled, but the perceived bitterness is very small compared to a regular 60-minute bittering addition. Case in point my Koelsch recipe, which uses FWH and a 60-minute addition for what should theoretically be a 40+ IBU beer, but tastes like a 30 IBU beer with a very distinct and subtle hop flavor character.

- It does produce more hop character than a 60-minute addition, but that hop character is distinct from a normal flavor and aroma addition. It's cleaner - as if the hop oils are preserved, but the chlorophyll character gets purged in the boil.

- The impact really seems to vary from hop to hop. Probably has to do with the relative composition of the myriads of chemicals that get extracted from the hop during the process.

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Old 11-08-2011, 12:51 PM   #9
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- The impact really seems to vary from hop to hop. Probably has to do with the relative composition of the myriads of chemicals that get extracted from the hop during the process.
That's what is amazing to me- all the literature says to do this with low AAU/ low cohumulone hops. That really makes sense.

However, I've done it with chinook and found that even the chinook gets smoother. I don't pretend to understand it- but I like it!
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:21 PM   #10
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I have done a Cream Ale with Columbus FWH as the only hop addition. It was great. I have also done APAs with Columbus; FWH, 20, 10 & 0 additions, they too were good.

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