Boil size and hop utilization

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

GuitarBob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
145
Reaction score
1
Alright I downloaded Beersmith and was playing around with it the other night. I found out that when I decreased my boil size (to represent what I would actually be boiling with) that my bitterness ratio and IBUs decreased.

So while adapting these recipes I increased the hops to keep the IBUs and bitterness ratio the same. Was this that the right thing to do? or is there a negeative side-effect to upping the hops like that?

I imagine I wouldn't have many problems just increasing the bittering hops, but what about aroma and flavoring hops? Is there a possibility that I might get the bitterness that I want, but end up with a lot more hop flavor then I wanted?
 

Cugel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
510
Reaction score
2
Location
Washington D.C. Metro area
You're correct - the aroma and flavor hops will be greater, and you'll get less than expected bittering contributions.

Hop utilization/extraction decreases as wort thickens, and vice versa. So what I do is boil a thin wort (typically 1 lb DME) with the full complement of bittering hops that will give me the IBUs (which is less than I would need if I used a full - thick - boil) I want and then use the regular amount of aroma and flavor hops. Then add in DME at the end of boil, before cooling. Works fine for me.
 

SumnerH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
44
Location
Alexandria, VA, USA
You're correct - the aroma and flavor hops will be greater, and you'll get less than expected bittering contributions.

Hop utilization/extraction decreases as wort thickens, and vice versa. So what I do is boil a thin wort (typically 1 lb DME) with the full complement of bittering hops that will give me the IBUs (which is less than I would need if I used a full - thick - boil) I want and then use the regular amount of aroma and flavor hops. Then add in DME at the end of boil, before cooling. Works fine for me.
Note that this is a byproduct of the bittering estimation formula that you use. If you use Rager, you won't see the same thing (not to the same degree, anyway, since it's gravity correction is a lot more restrained).

None of those bittering formulas really account properly for why many higher-gravity beers get less final bittering from hops than many lower-gravity beers do.

The most recent research seems to indicate that wort gravity does _not_ affect how much alpha acid extraction you get during a boil. However, break material takes out some acids with it, so most higher gravity worts will wind up with less bittering in the end--but the effect of gravity in extract brews will be a lot lower than in all-grain (since there's correspondingly less break per gravity point), and you shouldn't include simple sugars in the gravity calculation for purposes of bittering estimates (and wheat/rye and other things that generate a lot of extra break material will have a greater affect than the simple gravity calculation would have you believe).

Whether or not you buy that, late addition of most of the DME is still a good idea to avoid Maillard reactions affecting the taste and color of the brew.
 
OP
G

GuitarBob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
145
Reaction score
1
I think I'm just going to scale down my recipes and try to do a full boil. These are experimental batches anyways so it's probably best to make a smaller amount incase it doesn't turn out well.
 
Top