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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Hop utilization confusion
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:48 AM   #1
nasmeyer
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Default Hop utilization confusion

I guess I am a bit confused about boil size and hop utilization. I have had many extract IPA's turn out somewhat bitter without any of the hop flavor and aroma of a store bought IPA, and have read advice on this forum that suggests doing a full boil or late malt addition which will give me better utilization of the hops. (Most recipe kits I brew call for a 2 1/2 gallon boil) I have also read on this forum that if someone is doing a full 5 gallon boil (from 2 1/2 gallon instructions) that they need to reduce their hop additions down 20-25% because of better hop utilization!

Which is correct? do I increase the instructed 2 1/2 gallon boil to 5 gallons to better utilize the hops? or do I boil a 5 gallon batch and reduce the hops? this seems counter productive if I am trying to gain hop flavor.

(I am also going to try RO water next time to help reduce my bitterness, as well as using Chris Colby's method of steeping specialty grains).

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Old 05-29-2010, 04:02 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by nasmeyer View Post
I guess I am a bit confused about boil size and hop utilization. I have had many extract IPA's turn out somewhat bitter without any of the hop flavor and aroma of a store bought IPA
Part of the confusion may be in understanding which hop additions attribute flavor and aroma and which provide bitterness. Hops added early on in the boil (at about 60-45 minutes) are what provide most of the bitterness. This is where having the right amount of hops in the right amount of water/concentration is going to play the biggest role.

If you're just looking to add more hop flavor and aroma, those come from the last hop additions (usually the last 15 minutes all the way up to dry hopping). Fussing with late extract editions, different boil volumes, etc. are going to do little in the way of enhancing hop flavor and aroma from the hops added early during the boil.

So, if you're already pleased with how the bitterness is turning out you should really focus on stepping up your late hop additions, namely dry hopping if you want a real good hop aroma and flavor.
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:06 AM   #3
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I was wondering the same thing. I do all full boils every time, but most instructions call for 2 1/2 gal. boil. I like hoppy beer, so i just throw in the whole amount.

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Old 05-29-2010, 04:44 AM   #4
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Hop utilization is affected by the gravity of the wort. But you are looking for more hop flavor which come from the later additions of hops. During the boil, the volatile compounds that add the hop flavor and aroma are "boiled off". Check the hop schedule of your recipe. You may need to add hop additiond later in the boil to get the flavor and arouma you're looking for. And you can also try dry hoping.

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Old 05-29-2010, 04:50 AM   #5
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Old 05-29-2010, 05:56 AM   #6
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I was wondering the same thing. I do all full boils every time, but most instructions call for 2 1/2 gal. boil. I like hoppy beer, so i just throw in the whole amount.
Have they all turned out OK with the hop amounts and schedule written for a 2 1/2 gallon boil? I also love a hoppy beer, but have been unable to brew one that is as hoppy as the beer it is cloning so far with a 2 1/2 gallon boil.
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:33 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GeauxBrew View Post
Hop utilization is affected by the gravity of the wort.
No, it isn't. When will this myth die?

Listen to John Palmer's "What is an IBU, Really?" from 20 March 2008 where he talks about it (including apologizing for getting this wrong in the most recent edition of How to Brew):
http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.ph...ing-radio-2008

Or the episode where they brew the same recipe as a full boil, partial boil, and partial boil with late extract additions, then measure the IBUs of the 3 beers. Hop utilization is identical. March 4, 2010 - BYO-BBR Experiment III:
http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=radio

The commercial brewing literature is littered with this information, going back decades. e.g. the American Society of Brewing Chemists in 1989:
http://www.asbcnet.org/journal/abstr...sues/47-14.htm says
"In the range 10.5-13.5° P, no relationship between hop utilization and original gravity was found. "

More discussion here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/est...te-art-109681/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/hop-utilization-178668/
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Old 05-30-2010, 05:59 AM   #8
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No, it isn't. When will this myth die?
SumnerH, I listened to most of the first two podcasts you posted links to, and would agree it sounds like these experts did find that hop utilization might not always be affected by the gravity of the beer. That said, how would you go about trying to get more of a hop punch out of an extract IPA as the original posts asks?
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:48 AM   #9
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Check out the plethora of recipes on this site and pick one that has a long list of hops. You shouldn't be disappointed. When all else fails add two oz of warrior at 60 min and 2 oz of your favorite aroma hops at flame out in addition to the recipe. That could add that extra kick you want...

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Old 05-30-2010, 04:54 PM   #10
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marubozo is entirely correct: bitterness and hop flavor/aroma are not the same thing and the techniques you use to change one has little impact on the other. A larger boil has zero impact on flavor/aroma.

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