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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Bittering Hops??
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:21 PM   #1
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Default Bittering Hops??

Ok I understand the difference between bittering, flavor and aroma, but what I don,t understand is how bittering works. If you take an aroma hop and use it for bittering how will the bitterness turn out compared to a bittering hop? I know AA% are different, but if you use a lower AA hop and add more of it to compare to a higher AA then then what would be the difference in general? And if you compare two bittering hops how is it that they would make your beer taste different when all the flavor and aroma is supposed to be boiled out of it?

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Old 12-16-2011, 01:41 PM   #2
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You can use aroma hops for bittering, and calculate the extra amount needed as opposed to a high AA% bittering hop. The difference comes in the different levels of other compounds in hops, such as cohumulone, beta acids, and others that I can't remember off the top of my head. I believe (but am not really certain) hops with higher cohumulone content will give a more "harsh" bitterness for example.

When comparing bittering hop to bittering hop, most aromatics and flavor are boiled out, but not in all cases. I have heard that columbus for example leaves significant flavors after the boil. With that said many people just choose a single clean bittering hop such as Magnum and use it for pretty well all of their beers.

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Old 12-16-2011, 06:09 PM   #3
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My understanding is that the majority of the aroma compounds in hops are not, in fact, alpha acids, but are instead oils. The oils and related aroma compounds will volatilize off during the boil and, thus, hops that are added early will leave bitterness without much aroma.

My understanding is also that the amount of oil in a hop is (often) directly proportional to the alpha acid level. Thus, a hop with a big alpha acid load like citra or magnum will also produce a big aroma.

The distinction between "aroma" hops and "bittering" hops is based on traditional brewing techniques, largely developed around German lager styles. Czech Saaz, for instance, is sometimes thought of as an "aroma" hop because it imparts a pleasing aroma to pilsener beers. Magnum, on the other hand, is often reported to have little flavor and a vegetal aroma; nevertheless, its high alpha acid load makes it perfect for bittering.

Today, many breweries use high alpha acid "bittering" hops like Citra and Simcoe as aroma hops or in dryhopping. Pliny the Elder, for instance, relies heavily on Simcoe. Many American IPAs use Cascade as both a bittering and an aroma hop. In short, the classification of hop varietals for "aroma" or "bittering" is, to some degree, no longer done.

That said, there are good reasons not to use hops randomly or interchangeably. The first is that different hop varietals have distinct flavors that may be not to your taste, or style inappropriate. The taste and aroma of cascade hops, for instance, would probably not go well with the funky flavor of a Belgian Golden Strong, or the delicate taste of a pilsener. On the other hand, using a low alpha-acid hop like Tettnang or Saaz to make a bitter beer like an IPA would call for such a high volume of hop matter that undesirable secondary flavors like grassiness or vegetalness would start to come through.

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Old 12-16-2011, 06:29 PM   #4
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like snicks mentioned, cohumulone levels effect the 'harshness' of the bitter and there are a few hops (chinook) that leave some flavor, but in general its a minimal impact in the beer.

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Originally Posted by pericles View Post
My understanding is also that the amount of oil in a hop is (often) directly proportional to the alpha acid level.
there is no correlation, they're completely unrelated.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:40 PM   #5
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Jamil attributes the claim to Matt Bryndilson - I can't vouch for it one way or another.

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Old 12-16-2011, 07:19 PM   #6
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Just an astute observation from working with lots of hops, some smell/taste more bitter and some smell/taste more fruity and aromatic.

Point being, regardless of the science behind it, some just work better in a bittering hop or aromatic hop capacity than others.

Check out this chart. I think it is calculated more on trial and error of the actual use of each hop rather than the Alpha and Beta Acid science of it:

Hop Reference Chart

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Old 12-17-2011, 05:20 PM   #7
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Alright, thanks every one for the input. I'm brewing up another batch of Cream Ale and used Sorachi Ace last time and was trying to figure out what to use this time cause they are out of Sorachi Ace. I just couldn't figure out this whole bittering flavor aroma thing. Hopefully other people can get some thing out of this thread as well.

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