Bittering hops - how much does it matter which variety?

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meadowstream

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I am getting ready to brew a couple of large batches - a tripel and a dubbel. These will both require relatively small quantities of noble hops. These are expensive ingredients. And, I have quite a bit of cascade in the freezer...

The Belgian boils are 90 minutes. Does it matter what variety of hops is used for the long 90 minute bittering contribution? Can I use Cascade instead of Saaz or Northern Brewer for the 90 minute long boil (as long as the IBU contributions are considered and balanced?) Are all hops interchangeable when it comes to bittering?

Thanks for any thoughts or experiences that you can share.
 

RCCOLA

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I used to think bittering hops didn't affect the flavor profile of beer---then I got cheap and used magnum @60min. in a pils to save money. Bad mistake. It pointed out a flavor I was getting from them, even in IPA that I didn't like.

I now try to stick pretty close to what the style calls for.
 

MattHollingsworth

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You can use American higher alpha hops to bitter Belgians.

From "Brew Like a Monk", page 51, talking about Chimay:

Bittering hops have varied over the years, usually coming from the Yakima Valley and including Cluster, Galena and Nugget. German Hallertauer hops are used for flavor.
For my latest Belgian I used Perle (9.4%AA) and it worked great. If you wanna stick closer to noble type character but bump up the alpha a little, why not try Perle?

Bear in mind that some hops have a coarser bitter character and some are smoother. You can read up on it and see which ones sound suitable.
 
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meadowstream

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Thanks to all for your comments. If I am going to stick with the Westmalle tripel guidelines and probably follow BLAM for the Chimay Dubbel attempt, too.

If I did this for a living, I would probably be more adventurous because I would have more time to experiment. Would love to do several batches with slightly different hops and sugars and fermentation temperatures to taste the differences.
 

Frank99

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Hops must have different bittering characteristics as I just used Chinook for bittering for the first time. Wow, I'm glad I did. They're amazing. They have a nice lingering aftertaste..."chewy" bitterness that I haven't gotten before.
 

cmoon

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This question has been on my mind. In another day or two I'm brewing a double IPA (Pliny clone) and with a calculated 200+ IBUs, I decided to skip the 2.5 oz or so of Warrior and replace it with Magnum (I have a ton of Magnum lying around). My thoughts are with so much hopping going on, especially at knock out and dry hopping, are the bittering hops even going to be detectable?

Another thought has been to make my bittering hop addition which is mostly magnum and a little chinook, mostly half and half. I have a lot of both, but was kinda hoping to burn though the magnum which I don't enjoy as much as the chinook.

Plus, gotta save that chinook for an arrogant bastard clone...
 
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