First wort hopping...again

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SpanishCastleAle

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I've done some searches and read several articles/threads but I still have questions.

I get that FWH behaves like a 20 min. addition with regards to bittering...but is it more flavor or aroma otherwise? All I'm getting is it's 'more complex' and stuff like that...can anyone be more specific about the taste differences between FWH and not?

I read in one thread where someone said they wouldn't do it to a Pils or a lager...but isn't that where this practice (allegedly) started? Specifically Pils but more generally in Germany? It almost seems (just based on the vague descriptions) that those styles would be the most perfect fit for FWH.

I realize we can do whatever we want but I haven't read much about FWH AND still adding the late additions. 'Classic' FWH is replacing late additions with the FWH...but that doesn't mean you can't still add some late additions. Or is the contention that whatever you would add as a late addition will taste better as FWH so just put 'em in as FWH and forego the late additions?

I'm brewing a Vienna lager this weekend and I have some 1.5% AA Hallertau that I thought would be perfect for FWH. I want more aroma than flavor though (even zero flavor would be OK but I would like to push the style limit on aroma)...maybe FWH the boil and then a very light Dry Hop in the secondary?
 

digunderground

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I have experimented with FWH on multiple occasions, and it seems to add lots of aroma to my brews. I think you are right about it emulating a 20 min. addition, but I think it adds significant aroma. I have never tried it on a traditional german lagger, so I cant answer if thats where it came from.
hope it helps!
 

ChemE

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I FWH'ed my MO Fuggle SMaSH and the beer smells amazingly floral in the glass. Perhaps even more akin to perfume.
 

mkade

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I have experimented with FWH on multiple occasions, and it seems to add lots of aroma to my brews. I think you are right about it emulating a 20 min. addition, but I think it adds significant aroma. I have never tried it on a traditional german lagger, so I cant answer if thats where it came from.
hope it helps!
Not to nay say, but I've got to say that it's a placebo effect, at least with aroma. There's no way terpenes and other volatile compounds are surviving a 90 minute boil. I just can't believe it. I know it may help with a rounder bitterness (I haven't noticed it personally, but I won't argue against it), but I can't believe it adds aroma.
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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I'm with mkade. I've never heard the FWH did anything for aroma, only a smoother bitterness. Not sure how something in the wort for 60 - 75 - 90 mins would mimic something put in at 20 mins.
 

bbrim

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I just made a U.S. Saaz, Munich Malt Smash and I FWH'ed it. I'm using the Bohemian Lager yeast and fermenting at 53 degrees. I'm hoping its ok to use this technique with lagers otherwise I may have to pour the whole batch out.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Not to nay say, but I've got to say that it's a placebo effect, at least with aroma. There's no way terpenes and other volatile compounds are surviving a 90 minute boil. I just can't believe it. I know it may help with a rounder bitterness (I haven't noticed it personally, but I won't argue against it), but I can't believe it adds aroma.
That's what I would have intuitively thought but then I read something like this article and it makes me wonder. From the article:
The idea is that the hops soak in the collecting wort (which usually runs out of the lauter tun at temperatures ranging from 60 to 70C depending on one's setup) for the duration of the sparge, and the volatile hop constituents undergo very complicated reactions, producing a complexity of hop bitterness and aroma that is obtainable no other way. In general, this procedure, which originated in Germany, has been used in Pils type beers.
But now that I look closer at the table at the bottom...lots of those guys used late hops with FWH.

I'm hoping its ok to use this technique with lagers otherwise I may have to pour the whole batch out.
first
 
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Not to nay say, but I've got to say that it's a placebo effect, at least with aroma. There's no way terpenes and other volatile compounds are surviving a 90 minute boil. I just can't believe it. I know it may help with a rounder bitterness (I haven't noticed it personally, but I won't argue against it), but I can't believe it adds aroma.
I'm with mkade. I've never heard the FWH did anything for aroma, only a smoother bitterness. Not sure how something in the wort for 60 - 75 - 90 mins would mimic something put in at 20 mins.
"How To Brew" Chapter 5, Hops

First Wort Hopping
An old yet recently rediscovered process (at least among homebrewers), first wort hopping (FWH) consists of adding a large portion of the finishing hops to the boil kettle as the wort is received from the lauter tun. As the boil tun fills with wort (which may take a half hour or longer), the hops steep in the hot wort and release their volatile oils and resins. The aromatic oils are normally insoluble and tend to evaporate to a large degree during the boil. By letting the hops steep in the wort prior to the boil, the oils have more time to oxidize to more soluble compounds and a greater percentage are retained during the boil.

Only low alpha finishing hops should be used for FWH, and the amount should be no less than 30% of the total amount of hops used in the boil. This FWH addition therefore should be taken from the hops intended for finishing additions. Because more hops are in the wort longer during the boil, the total bitterness of the beer in increased but not by a substantial amount due to being low in alpha acid. In fact, one study among professional brewers determined that the use of FWH resulted in a more refined hop aroma, a more uniform bitterness (i.e. no harsh tones), and a more harmonious beer overall compared to an identical beer produced without FWH.
 

chefmike

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Very informative thread...

I have learned there are many similar instances in the chemistry of cooking... for example adding wine (or vodka) to tomatoes releases flavor compounds that are insoluble to either fat or water, thus creating a more complex flavor.

And I think I just figured out a great place to use some hops I have!
 

remilard

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FWH does not have the same utilization as a 20 minute addition. When measured, it has always contributed more bitterness than an addition made once the boil started.

It did start with lager brewers in Germany, but they have abandoned the practice and ale brewers in the US have embraced it, if that tells you anything.
 

undallas

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"How To Brew" Chapter 5, Hops

First Wort Hopping
An old yet recently rediscovered process (at least among homebrewers), first wort hopping (FWH) consists of adding a large portion of the finishing hops to the boil kettle as the wort is received from the lauter tun. As the boil tun fills with wort (which may take a half hour or longer), the hops steep in the hot wort and release their volatile oils and resins. The aromatic oils are normally insoluble and tend to evaporate to a large degree during the boil. By letting the hops steep in the wort prior to the boil, the oils have more time to oxidize to more soluble compounds and a greater percentage are retained during the boil.

Only low alpha finishing hops should be used for FWH, and the amount should be no less than 30% of the total amount of hops used in the boil. This FWH addition therefore should be taken from the hops intended for finishing additions. Because more hops are in the wort longer during the boil, the total bitterness of the beer in increased but not by a substantial amount due to being low in alpha acid. In fact, one study among professional brewers determined that the use of FWH resulted in a more refined hop aroma, a more uniform bitterness (i.e. no harsh tones), and a more harmonious beer overall compared to an identical beer produced without FWH.
So it has to be low AA hops? What if I making a SmAsh with warrior? can I use warrior in FWH without issue? What's the reason behind low AA hops?
 

Aubie Stout

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I have been FWH hopping every beer for the last year. I used it when making a beer where hop flavor is to be emphasized, i.e. pale ales, IPA's, bitters, etc, etc, etc. I treat the FWH hop addition as a 20min addition in regards to BITTERING only. In other words, I feel like I get much more flavor out of the addition, but the bittering is much smoother.

I have done several beers where the only additions were @ 60mins and FWH. While these beers were good, I found that I preferred a little more "hop bite" to my beers. Now, I use half my flavor addition @ FWH and the other half @ 20 or 10 mins.

I feel like the FWHing adds a complexity to the beer. It certainly smooths out the beer and makes it better overall IMHO.
 

Aubie Stout

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So it has to be low AA hops? What if I making a SmAsh with warrior? can I use warrior in FWH without issue? What's the reason behind low AA hops?
FWH with any hop you are trying to get the flavor from. I FWH hopped two SMASH beers (Amarillo and Sterling). Both turned out fantastic.

Try 1/2 of your IBU's @ 60mins
1/4 of your IBU's @ FWH
1/4 of your IBU's between 10-5mins

You'll be happy.
 

jds

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Okay, so can somebody explain to me where the IBUs go to? I can understand oxidation of aromatic oils to a more stable form. However, the FW hops are still being boiled for the entire boil, no? So why wouldn't the bittering contribution be the same as for hops added X minutes prior to the end of the boil?

Personally, I've been using flavorful bittering hops in FWH as a substitute for the 60 minute hops addition, and getting plenty of bitterness, but less raw hops character, especially in young beer. I'm skeptical that FWH causes reduced utilization.
 

ChemE

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From what I've read there is a 10% increase in utilization but the perception of bitterness to the human palette is noticeably diminished.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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I'm skeptical that FWH causes reduced utilization.
In the artcle I linked earlier in this thread they say that it does not reduce utilization and give numbers. But the difference seemed smaller than you would expect. If you took all of your late addition hops and used them for FWH you'd expect more than a 2-4 IBU difference in a 35-40 IBU brew...but that's the numbers they got. The chemical analysis of the FWH vs. reference beers showed more isomerized alpha acids and less non-isomerized alpha acids in the FWH brews...but apparently the rabbit hole goes deeper than that.

So it has to be low AA hops?
No but I think the idea is to get the smoothness/flavor/aroma benefits of FWH without adding too much bitterness. Even though extra bitterness from FWH is supposed to be 'more pleasant' there has to be a limit and I'm guessing that double-digit AA% hops approach or even exceed it.
 

Denny

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I have experimented with FWH on multiple occasions, and it seems to add lots of aroma to my brews. I think you are right about it emulating a 20 min. addition, but I think it adds significant aroma. I have never tried it on a traditional german lagger, so I cant answer if thats where it came from.
hope it helps!
Boy, that's completely different from my experience. I've FWH over 1oo batches and all I've ever experienced form it was smooth bitterness and flavor, no aroma.
 

Denny

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FWH does not have the same utilization as a 20 minute addition. When measured, it has always contributed more bitterness than an addition made once the boil started.
Yeah, analyses I've had done show about 10% more IBU for FWH, but it doesn't taste like it. That's why I count it as a 20 min. addition. Here are the results of an experiment I did. Start on pg. 29

http://beertown.org/events/hbc/presentations/DennyConn.pdf
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks for posting that Denny. I had hoped to see something like that...it's different than the other analysis because you used the 60 min. hop addition as FWH and the other analysis used the late additions as the FWH.

It seems people are all over the place on 'which hops get moved to the FWH' and why. This is part of my confusion on the matter.
 

mew

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Use FWHing when you want earthy, spicy, or noble hop character. It is very good for english ales. I wouldn't use it for american styles, because they are all about fresh bright hop flavor.
 
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