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Old 04-14-2011, 04:52 AM   #1
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Default proper way to get big hop flavor

HI-

I have been reading through this and other sites and I seem to be getting more confused than ever in trying to figure out what the best way to improve hop flavor and aroma is in beers. Obviously, everyone says late hopping will increase this. Granted. But what about whirlpooling, hopbacks, etc? On the one hand is Jamil Z. ON his website www.mrmalty.com he has an article on whirlpool chilling, and he says that the best way to get the flavor is to chill the wort as fast as possible after flameout and then whirlpool it cold. This apparently locks in the flavors and aromas of the late boil hop additions, and stops the driving off of volatile hop oils. On the other hand, I have been reading Mike McDole's posts (Tasty McD). He seems to advocates, instead, that one should whirlpool for around 30 minutes hot, add whirlpool hop additions and THEN run things through a hopback before chilling!

Jamil's article pretty clearly says that people who switch from immersion chillers to counterflow or plate chillers usually notice a big decrease in hop aroma and flavor (but that you could avoid this by recirculating the cooled wort back to the kettle and thus cooling the entire volume of the kettle at once). But Tasty McD points out that most commercial breweries that get great hop flavor and aroma whirlpool hot and will frequently add whirlpool hop additions and only then do they chill after the wort sits hot for some time.

I tried the Jamil method on my last batch, added 2 ounces of zero minute cascade to a pale ale and had it to 100 degrees within 3 minutes. Not impressed by the hop flavor even though all additions were late (but I did the recirculation through a counterflow rather than an immersion chiller). And I most likely did it, as I do most things, incorrectly.

So my question is-- which method do you all use for your hoppy beers? Do you get something from whirlpool additions that you don't get from boiling additions? If you all whirlpool, then how exactly do you do it and for how long do you allow the hot wort to sit before chilling? If you let it sit more than a few minutes, then won't you drive off the volatile compounds like Jamil explains and then mute the hoppiness? In my attempts to make hoppy beers, I am going broke with massive additions of late hops!! My DIPA turned out very hoppy, but it had 17 ounces of hops in it! I would very much like to be more efficient than this in obtaining hoppy beers!

Thank you in advance for the help!



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Old 04-14-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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To be honest, I think time in the kettle is a key to adding lots of hops flavor.

With Jamil, it's cooler, but consider that his whirlpooling is going on for 15 minutes or so with hops in the whole thing.

With Tasty, he's also keeping the hops in the kettle for a while.

I think the mistake that most CFC users have, and the reason for the lack of hops flavor and aroma, is that they don't keep the hops in there long enough. Using an IC, you have the hops in the kettle while it cools. Lots of CFC users fish the hops out, so they don't clog the chiller. And in the interest of chilling quickly, they don't allow the hops to remain in there long enough to get all of the hoppy goodness out.

That's my take on it. I use a CFC and generally will let the hops sit for 10 minutes while I get my Chiller prepared. Then I start fishing the hops out. I'd like to keep the hops in the kettle, but they will clog my chiller and I don't have a false bottom or strainer. Ideally, I'd recirculate back into the kettle and have the hops in a strainer, but I don't have a pump.

Theoretically, you'd want the wort warm to get the flavor, but potentially at the cost of evaporating some of the aroma. Cool wort might preserve the aroma, but it might not be warm enough to extract the flavor compounds as well.

VERY hoppy beers will require LOTS of hops. It's painful, but no matter what, you'll still be adding lots of hops. I'd steep them at flameout, and during the chill if you can. Then add 2 ounces to a dry hop after initial fermentation. Figure on making a bit extra wort to make up for the wort which will be absorbed into the dry hops.



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Old 04-14-2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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To me, there will always be a lot of answers to this because it is essentially a dance of time and temperature. If you leave hops in hot enough water and for long enough, the alpha acids will isomerize and you'll get the bitterness of the hops instead of the flavor. If the water is not hot enough or you don't leave them for long enough though, you can't extract the flavor compounds that are in the hops and instead you'll just get the aroma. If it takes a very long time to chill down your wort, you can see how a lot of those middle hop additions that you added for flavor may end up losing some of their flavor because the alpha acids isomerized and the bitterness took over the taste.

One of the reasons I think continuous hop additions, like those used in the DFH 90 Minute IPA, works is that you are ensuring that the flavor of the hops will come through almost regardless of how long it takes to cool down the wort. If you just dump 2 or 3 ozs at 30 minutes, but your wort is still very hot for 15 minutes after the boil, you may not be getting much flavor out of those 30 minute additions. If, however, you add those amounts over time, you may lose some on the front end to bitterness, but you will got some on the back end that spent just the right amount of time in the hot wort to get the right flavor profile. The same can be said for hops added at knockout.

All of this is very much my own opinion after reading a lot of the same stuff you have. I think the artful suggestions of the top homebrew gurus are great, and all will likely work. But, as the above poster said, the easiest way to get bigger hop flavor is simply to add more hops. Yes, it's expensive. But you may drive yourself nuts trying to create an elaborate plan to get just the right ratio of time and temperature. And when you don't have the aid of professional equipment, it seems like it would be a true uphill battle.

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Old 04-14-2011, 05:11 PM   #4
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My thanks to both of you for your responses. I use a homemade hopstopper and recirculate so don't fortunately have to fish the hops out, so my contact time is a bit longer than if I pulled the hops and then chilled. But I have done a bunch of batches where I, in order to try to replicate the jamil-o-chiller method, have dumped ounces of hops in the kettle and then instantly started chilling, and I never seem to get much out of those additions, or at least it doesn't seem that i do. That's why I was thinking that maybe they do need to be held hot for some period of time after boiling? When I started, I noted the strong differentiation mentioned between bittering hops at greater than 60 minutes, flavoring hops at around 30-15 minutes and the aroma hops after that. Things seem to be a bit more complex than that, though, really. I just figured that since that was the breakdown, if you don't chill instantaneously, you change your aroma hops to flavor hops. In other words, if you let the wort sit 15 minutes, then your 5 minute aroma hops addition become a 20 minute hop addition. I wonder if, instead these times were meant to include a whirlpooling step that keeps it hot for at least a few minutes. The only reason I wonder this is that my very late additions, as large as they are, never seem to up the hoppiness as much as I expect. Also, do you get different characteristics from the hops if you add them 5 minutes before the end of boil and then chill instantly (letting it stay at a rolling boil for 5 minutes) or adding them at flameout and letting them steep in 212 degree water that is not boiling?

Klaus

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Old 04-14-2011, 05:32 PM   #5
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There was a discussion a while back on just this problem. Here it is. The OG in that one was more worried about adding IBUs with late/whirlpool additions, but I get the feeling a lot of the same theories apply. I've gotta assume (and it sounds like this is what you are getting to) is that there are probably several different ways, and each is going to be different on different people's systems. A lot of it will probably depend on picking a method of boiling/cooling, then keeping with that method play around with different additions to get the flavor you're looking for.

The other tough part is differentiating aroma from flavor in the finished beer. Since smell and taste are so intricately linked, I can never tell if I'm ever actually getting hop flavor/aroma at the levels I should be, or if one is just overtaking the other.

Personally, I've come to assume that my late/flameout additions are really only for flavor, then dryhopping for any aroma I'd like. Unless I'm hop-bursting, all my flavor additions are between 5min. and flameout. I use an IC but it will still take about 15-20 min. to get down to pitching levels, so I think I heat away some of those aroma oils, and hopefully I'm replacing them with the dryhop. Of course, what works for me might not work for you, and I'm always playing around with different ideas anyways trying to figure out what I like the best.



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