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Old 04-09-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
panfishrfun
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Default brewing at altitude

I was just lying awake last night thinking of brewing beer, and I got to thinking about the fact that I'm about a mile high here in FT Collins, CO. Does anyone know if the altitude affects hop utilization or bottle priming in any significant way. My beers are coming out great, however, I did make an IPA that didn't come out nearly as hoppy as I planned it to be, maybe there is something there??

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Old 04-09-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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Howdy Neighbor!

I can't say for sure, but I don't think the elevation has an effect on those things. My bottle-carbed brew comes out as expected using the standard carb charts and hop utilization seems pretty normal (whatever that is) to me. You may want to pose your question to someone at either of the FoCo LHBS, though.

Update: Upon further review, there may be something to differences in hops utilization at different elevations...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/high...tml#post351174

According to the link, 5000' asl should result in about 15% reduced utilization.

I guess you learn something new every day.

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Old 04-09-2012, 04:18 PM   #3
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We have never had a problem with the bottle conditioning, but the hop utilization is low. We brew at 8,000 ft and did notice a pretty dramatic loss of aroma and bitterness. To alleviate that we have changed all of our boil times to 90 minutes instead of 60, and add about 20% more hops to all of our recipes.

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Old 04-09-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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I am in Kiowa CO and brew at 6800 ft. I also have read that hop utilization is affected by altitude but I don't know for a fact. I don't brew hop bombs yet so no so worried about it. If this was the case it would be nice if beersmith let you set the altitude and would then convert ibu's for you.

Barry

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Old 04-09-2012, 11:59 PM   #5
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well I guess in FT Collins, I have an 18% drop in hop utilization...I use pellets and according to http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/high...tml#post351174 pellet hops have 10% more utilization than whole hops, so should I start calculating an 8% drop or just keep doing what I'm doing, and not worry about it, unless I get hop crazy with an IPA where I think it could affect overall IBU's

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Old 04-10-2012, 12:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
it would be nice if beersmith let you set the altitude and would then convert ibu's for you.
It would be nice to have that integrated into the program, especially after seeing the math involved in calculating the difference between altitudes!
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panfishrfun View Post
I was just lying awake last night thinking of brewing beer, and I got to thinking about the fact that I'm about a mile high here in FT Collins, CO. Does anyone know if the altitude affects hop utilization or bottle priming in any significant way. My beers are coming out great, however, I did make an IPA that didn't come out nearly as hoppy as I planned it to be, maybe there is something there??
It could be an issue with your water as well. I asked some of the experts at NHC last year about this question, and they joked that optimal utilization occurs at something like ~240*F "boil" (which is obviously not possible without pressure), so the fact that I seem to have lower utilization at 7,000' (boiling temp of ~201*F) is possibly more to do with my water. I can't remember which element I'm low in, but there are some elements that certainly affect perceived bitterness.
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