boiling hops w/beer to increase bitterness

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BuzzCraft

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So I've got a batch of a Celebration Ale clone (Dean Larson's recipe) that is really fruity/estery and lacks the bitterness and hop punch of Celebration. There's probably about 1/4 of the keg left and I'm thinking of experimenting.

I've never made hop tea, but I'm thinking of boiling some Chinook with 16 oz of the beer itself to gain some bitterness and then steeping some Centennial and Cascade in the same, straining in a french press as others have described and adding to the keg.

The reason I'm thinking about doing this versus boiling/steeping in water is to utilize the lower pH of the beer to avoid tannin extraction from the hops.

Make sense? On one hand it seems like boiling the beer could potentially have a heinous tasting result, but on the other, that's how the beer started, right?
 

Clonefarmer

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Boiling beer doesn't smell bad. It's what I use to cook shrimp. I don't know how it would be with hops though. You could make a small batch of wort with extract to boil the hops in.
 
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BuzzCraft

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Boiling beer doesn't smell bad. It's what I use to cook shrimp. I don't know how it would be with hops though. You could make a small batch of wort with extract to boil the hops in.
i just don't want to add any sugar to it, since it's not going to ferment.
 
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BuzzCraft

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I would drink the rest of the keg and start over...
always an option! and not a bad one, cause the beer tastes reasonable (most people like it quite a bit, i'm just a bit critical of my own stuff). the reason i want to try this is so, if it works, i'll have a go to option if i end up in the same boat in the future. and i'll have experimented on a small batch and not f'd up a whole keg if the process tanks!
 

Clonefarmer

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i just don't want to add any sugar to it, since it's not going to ferment.
Ah, good call. You could ferment out the wort prior to adding.

I guess the best way to test the method you have in mind is to go ahead and boil a small amount of beer and hops and see what happens.
 

Gregscsu

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all the alcohol will be boiled out of the beer you boil with the hops, increasing the FG, and body of the beer, while lowering the alcohol content. These changes would increase the sweetness of the beer, in turn lowering the percieved bitterness.

I think this would cause the entire recipe to become unbalanced, and give you a even less desirable beer then you already have.
 

goose1873

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OP - FYI - I don't know if you are brewing full boils but if you are boiling 1/2 boils w/ extract be sure to only add half the extract and bring to boil then you will be hopping the same as the final gravity and wont need to add hops to get the same ibu's. add the other half in the last 10 minutes...I did this with great results before I moved to AG full boils.

cheers :mug:
 
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BuzzCraft

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Tannins in hops? Where did you get that idea?
my understanding is that (depending on your recipe, of course) that a third or so of the polyphenols in beer can be attributed to hops, the rest being derived from grain husk. i can find a solid reference for you, if you like.

edit: polyphenols = tannins
 

maskednegator

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You're not going to get much IBU out of 16oz of beer. Once you've got maximum alpha acids in solution, you're not going to get any more. Adding 16oz of 100 IBU beer to 5 gallons will raise total IBUs by less than 2.
There's a reason you need to do full boils to get good IPAs.
 
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BuzzCraft

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You're not going to get much IBU out of 16oz of beer. Once you've got maximum alpha acids in solution, you're not going to get any more. Adding 16oz of 100 IBU beer to 5 gallons will raise total IBUs by less than 2.
There's a reason you need to do full boils to get good IPAs.
First, this was an AG full volume boil batch. But I disagree that you need to do full volume boils to brew a good IPA, you just need to compensate your hop additions.

As stated in the OP, there was probably less than 1/4 keg left, so I wasn't trying to affect 5 gallons. When I opened the keg to dump in the tea, it looked like there was at most a gallon in there.
 
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BuzzCraft

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To update: I went ahead and did the following: boiled 1/4 oz of Chinook in 18 oz of beer for about 30 minutes (long enough to saturate the IBU level). Poured the beer/hop tea into a french press over 1/2 oz of Centennial hops and allowed to steep for 20 minutes or so. Cooled in an ice bath and then dumped it into the keg.

This was done 4 days ago. I tried the beer immediately and it was substantially more bitter and had much more hop flavor/aroma. I did perceive a slight vegetal note to it, but it was still a better balanced beer than I started with.

I let it sit for a few days and had another pint last night. It's really a substantially different beer than I started and a much more enjoyable IPA.

I would definitely do this again, should I ever need to. The only thing I would do differently is do it earlier! Yeah, I could have drunk the remaining gallon as it was, but now I feel confident enough in the outcome to proceed with employing the technique in a larger volume of beer without fear of ruining it completely.
 

maskednegator

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First, this was an AG full volume boil batch. But I disagree that you need to do full volume boils to brew a good IPA, you just need to compensate your hop additions.
Wasn't suggesting that your original beer wasn't a full boil. I just missed this part:
As stated in the OP, there was probably less than 1/4 keg left, so I wasn't trying to affect 5 gallons. When I opened the keg to dump in the tea, it looked like there was at most a gallon in there.
In this case, 16oz could raise your batch ibu by about 10ibu, which is certainly noticeable!
 

Mongo64

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To update: ...

I would definitely do this again, should I ever need to. The only thing I would do differently is do it earlier! Yeah, I could have drunk the remaining gallon as it was, but now I feel confident enough in the outcome to proceed with employing the technique in a larger volume of beer without fear of ruining it completely.
Good to hear this worked out for you. I have a keg that may need some tweaking and was thinking of doing something similar to add a little more bitterness.
 
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BuzzCraft

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Yeah, Mongo, go for it; I can't tell you how stoked I am with the results. The hop tea thing is nothing new, but I'd never heard of anyone boiling the hops in a portion of the existing beer (for the reasons I alluded to in the OP) instead of water, though I've got to believe someone has probably done so. Success N=1 for me, but I'd definitely do it again.

Because I had a small volume of beer to modify, I didn't have to boil much beer with the hops to get a very noticeable effect. You'll have to boil proportionally more if you have a lot left in your keg.

I'd love to hear how it goes if you try it. Nice thing is, you know immediately what effect you've had. I actually rocked the keg to mix it in, so the beer was cloudier for a couple of days, but now it's approaching the clarity it was to start with....like a DH'd beer it won't surprise me if it doesn't clear completely.
 
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