Hop utilization percentage?

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Aug 9, 2012
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I’ve been brewing for over a decade, but in recent years, have focused just on lagers. While my lagers have gotten way better over time, I feel like the lighter styles (Helles, Pilsner, festbier) are lacking in bitterness, with the malts being way overpowering. I’m not tasting any off flavors, just a general lack of any bitterness. I use brewersfriend to design all of my recipes, and just noticed that when adding hops to the recipe, it assumes 100% utilization. On reading other Brewing articles and threads, utilization is usually estimated more around 25-40% depending on setup and so forth. I use distilled water and add additions to build my water. Have I been under hopping this whole time, thinking I’m getting the right IBU’s per style but largely under estimating? Thanks!
Utilization is closer to 25% when boiled for an hour, less when boiled for a shorter time. Based on many hours of fiddling around with numbers (I'm a numbers guy), I've come up with a utilization estimation method, as follows:

squareroot ( 5 * boiltime) / 75

or for whirlpool hops it's closer to:

squareroot ( 1.4 * whirlpooltime) / 75

where the times are in minutes. To change to a percent, multiply by 100.

This method is intended for an average homebrewer with an average wort of around 1.050 to 1.060 specific gravity. It's only a rough estimate, and if you're not an average guy making an average wort, it will be farther off.
Palmer has a chart on page 58 of how to brew that I use with his formula and it works.
You have to tell us what edition of htb it is lol. It's on page 81 of 4e. You can also plug in the tinseth equation he provides in a spreadsheet and then it gets fun.

Edit: Elevation matters as well since water will boil at a cooler temp you'll get lower utilization verse someone at sea level. For example I'm at 4984' elevation. Water boils here right around 203°F.
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1st edition, I think it's the free one that's on line. My copy was signed in 2016 at a symposium in Milwaukee. I use the math in here for every beer I've designed, with a little help on brewing liquor from the Water book.