First Wort Hopping vs. Late Hop Additions

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Beerthoven

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I'd like to maximize the hop flavor and aroma in some of my beers without using an excessive amount of hops (hop shortage and all).

There are two methods I've read about for doing this: First Wort Hopping (FWH) and Late Hop Additions (LHA).

From what I've read (here, and here), FWH is when some or all of the finishing hops are added to the kettle with the first sparge runnings. This supposedly increases the hop aroma and flavor characteristics of the beer, while also increasing IBUs slightly.

I've seen some people doing it with their bittering hops instead of the finishing hops. I don't see why this method would not also increase hop aroma and flavor.

In the Late Hop Addition almost all the hop additions are pushed back into the last 20 mins of the boil. This is the opposite of the FWH. This method may result in somewhat lower IBUs due to the lower boiling time but supposedly resutls in blockbuster hop flavor and aroma.

Proponents of both methods claim a smoother bitterness results.

Has anyone used either or both of these methods, and what did you think?

I've done LHA once, with an IPA. The hop flavor and aroma are awesome, but I didn't have a "normal" IPA to compare it to.
 

sleepystevenson

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I too am interested in the responses to this question. Haven't used either technique yet, but I am going to use FWH in my next brew (a rye IPA), as the recipe calls for it. Beersmith does the IBU calcs for FWH.
 

BierMuncher

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This is all I do now.

I FWH my bittering hops and everything else goes in with less than 15-20 minutes.

I also presoak all my hops in hot water to get them good and water logged so I don't have wasted time while htey float around.

So far, the results are really good. My extreme hoppy beers seem smoother...less bite. The aromatics seem richer.

Course...could just be mind over matter.

FWH(ing) also seems to prevent boil overs...beleive it or not.
 
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Beerthoven

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I'm gonna try FWH with my bittering hops the next chance I get.
 

Sir Humpsalot

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I FWH whenever I am using flavorful bittering hops. For instance, Amarillo or Cascade. I don't FWH a hope that has harsh flavors though for obvious reasons.

As for LHA, it sounds like a fine idea as well for the styles require a good hop flavor/aroma.
 

Beerlord

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I've been FWH sice I started doing all grain, started out of laziness i guess. I use just bittering hops, I'm pretty sure the flavor and aroma additions would be lost in the 60+ minute boil and would only add bitterness.
 

srm775

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I've done both and actually done both one the same beer. I've brewed a pacific pale ale with centennial FWH and with an 1 oz of cascade added after knockout and reducing wort temp to just below 180° ... it made a very good pale ale.

Beerlord said:
I've been FWH sice I started doing all grain, started out of laziness i guess. I use just bittering hops, I'm pretty sure the flavor and aroma additions would be lost in the 60+ minute boil and would only add bitterness.
They're not supposed to be. The theory is that the oils and compounds of the hops have longer times to oxidize and bond with the beer molecules. Also, with the first wort hopping the lower temps are more suitable to the oils of the hops.
 

Beerlord

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beergears said:
...Did anybody notice how this subject propped up in three independent threads TODAY..??

Hmm... are we starting to think as one?
I was actually going to post one as weell, just to see how many people do it.

I kow the theory is taht they stabalize and dont' burn off, but I havn't experience it, so I really don't buy it. Like I said, i FWH everything and nothign comes out all that hoppy unless I do late flavor and aroma addation, but I think I shall experiment my self.
 

Kaiser

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BierMuncher said:
This is all I do now.
I FWH my bittering hops and everything else goes in with less than 15-20 minutes.
I also presoak all my hops in hot water to get them good and water logged so I don't have wasted time while htey float around.
So far, the results are really good. My extreme hoppy beers seem smoother...less bite. The aromatics seem richer.
BierMuncher,

Do you think that your beers are less bitter?

If you add hops before the protein break, which you do with FWH, you will loose a substantial amount of the alpha acids into the hot break. Thus your utilization rate goes down even though you boil the hops for longer. Some say the the utilization of FWH is about equal to a 20-30 min hop addition. I have done it once and the beer seemed much less bitter. But I'll try it with my next beer as I think that this might be the key to get the German style hop flavor and aroma.

Though Beersmith calculates IBUs for FWH, I'l have to check that they not just assume a longer boil time.

Kai
 

BierMuncher

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Kaiser said:
BierMuncher,

Do you think that your beers are less bitter?

Kai
I don't know about less "bitter", but they seem to have less "bite" earlier in their life.

It may be that the FWH helps to lock in the floral, spice, pine or citrus aspects of the hops and indeed cut down on the bite factor.

A few weeks ago I toted a couple cases of an American Wheat I did to a fund raiser. It was part of a trivia night where people had to identify beer styles (multiple choice) and then identify the brewery (multiple choice). My HB was mixed in with some BMC and some local micros. One of the choices for brewery was even “Home Brewed”.

Nobody chose Home Brewed for my beer and 90% selected either unfiltered wheat or Hefe. Most chose Boulevard or Goose Island (312) as the brewery. I used Galena as a bittering hop (FWH) and people who were tasting after the event commented on how smooth and floral the flavor was. Granted, it was only an 18-IBU beer, but it was also only 3 weeks from grain to glass. (I also added Hallertau at 15 and Mt Hood at flameout.)

Kaiser, how does pre-hot-break-addition inhibit the alpha release?
 

Poindexter

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BierMuncher said:
Kaiser, how does pre-hot-break-addition inhibit the alpha release?
I understood Kaiser to say some alpha acid is going to stay with the hot break in the kettle.

FWIW I have a FWH IPA in primary ~50 IBU total. I pitched it about ten days ago. I guess I'll go draw a hydro sample off it to taste.

EDIT: Too young to rate. I'll check again on day 21.
 

Kaiser

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BierMuncher said:
Kaiser, how does pre-hot-break-addition inhibit the alpha release?
alpha acids bind with the protein and fall out.

I just cecked Beersmith and the utilization for FWH hops actually goes up. From what I have read and experienced it's the other way around.

Kai
 
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