extracting hop bitterness in water?

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Ruddles

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I ended up with better efficiency than expected in an all grain brew yesterday, so my pale ale would be under-hopped as it stands. I know I should have realized it earlier, but now that the fermentation is underway, I want to increase its bitterness. I know hop extract would work (don't have any on hand), so I want to use hop leaves if possible. I seem to remember that pH has an effect on hop extraction. Can anyone confirm this, or tell me if boiling up some hops in water and adding that to the fermenting beer would be OK.
Thanks
 

Kaiser

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boiling in some wort (add some DME) would be better. Wort has a lower pH than water and this affects the bitterness extraction. The higher the pH the more harsh and astringent the bitterness will be. Since you are adding sugar with this you may want to add this before the fermentation is done or at bottling time.

But just water may work to. Other have done it and may chime in with the results.

Kai
 

malkore

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from what I've gathered, straight water is terrible for extracting hop bitterness.

without wort, there's nothing for the hop acids to bind with.

Just how amazing was your efficiency? I'm wondering if you really need more bitterness. Lets see some numbers and your recipe.
 

Got Trub?

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This is why everyone should have a hydrometer (or refractometer) and not be afraid to use it;) . Measure your preboil gravity and adjust your gravity or hops accordingly ...

I would just leave it alone at this point. The amount of hop bitterness you could add will be minimal as you can only get so many IBU's into a given volume of "tea". Besides most American pale ale recipes are overhopped IMO anyways.

GT
 
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Ruddles

Ruddles

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Thanks to all for the input.
My efficiency was actually what it always has been ~30 points/lb. It's just that the grain was 2-3 years old, so I used extra, thinking the yield would have decreased - but it didn't. I did use a hydrometer, but my mistake was just to glance at the preboil wort reading to make sure that there was some decent efficiency; it was only later that I sat down and realized what the numbers were. Anyway, I'll take the advice and leave it alone - I agree most commercial American pale ales are overhopped!
 

david_42

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You are not likely to notice the difference in bittering, unless is is more than 10 IBU or 50% of the base.
 
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