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Old 08-27-2009, 05:51 PM   #1
Roman Brewer
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Jul 2008
Warren, MI USA
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Hey all,

I am about to harvest my second year Centennial plant and I expect more hops than I'll be able to use up by next year's harvest. I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion on what to do to test the bitterness level of the hops since I won't be sending them to a lab to determine the AAU %. I had an idea on doing a 1 gallon tester batch or two, just a simple pale ale, nothing special, just to get an idea of how much I should be using.

Does anyone else have a method they want to share? Or is there an existing thread someone can refer me to?

If this is the wrong section to post this thread in, let me know. I'll repost in the correct section.


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Old 08-27-2009, 07:17 PM   #2
Grizzlybrew's Avatar
Apr 2009
Douglasville, GA
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I read about making teas with hops and comparing the bitterness levels by taste to a tea made with hops of a known AA level. Supposedly, humans can't really distinguish a difference unless there's a change of more than 5 IBUs. Also, since determining IBU's of a brew is still a guess with homebrewing, you could probably just estimate based on an average for the varieties, adjusting for wet/dry hop weight differences. As long as you don't mind a potential surprise, you could probably get a pretty good beer.

Plus, after each batch, you'd get a better idea of where you stand.
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:18 AM   #3
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Jul 2009
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I got schooled in this method from a hop grower close to me. From the days when they used leather lederhosen to test wort!

Do the measurements accurately:

Take one ounce of your hops.

Boil two cups of water for 15 minutes with 1 scant Tbsp of sugar (utilization).
Add your hops and boil for 10 minutes.

Strain the hops and take your tea to dilute

1/4 of a cup of water to 1/4 cup of tea= one %.
So dump the first mixture retaining 1/4 cup and then add 1/4 cup water
Continue with dilute 1/4 cup of your tea until the bitterness is not distiguishable by taste.

Now if you have diluted 6 times and only have the slightest barely there bitterness-- you think about 6.1 or 6.3 %

It is a rough estimate: 5% to 6% for example, but it means you can brew with some idea of AA and you get to taste the hop tea too to get a flavor profile

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Old 08-28-2009, 02:20 PM   #4
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Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
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Andrea - excellent information! I hadn't run across this method.

I'd be inclined to use a lower amount of hops and do linear dilutions. Binary dilutions give a rather course scale.
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Old 09-05-2011, 04:56 PM   #5
Cold Country Brewery
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Jan 2011
Superior, WI
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one ounce hops to 2 cups water...that must be wet hops, not dry?

If so, can you do the dry hops, just scale it back?

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:52 PM   #6
Jan 2011
Milford, NH
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Originally Posted by Cold Country Brewery View Post
one ounce hops to 2 cups water...that must be wet hops, not dry?

If so, can you do the dry hops, just scale it back?
I'd assume so. I think they scale by a fifth.

E.g. 0.2 ounces of hops.
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