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How Important Is Your Choice of Bittering Hops?

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Sir Humpsalot

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I don't want to say I'm cheap, but sometimes I wonder if it's really necessary to use a whole ounce or two (or three) of low AA hops for bittering. I understand why you want particular hops for flavor and aroma, but when it comes to the bittering (60 or 90 minute) addition, how much difference does the variety of hops make?

Are there some good "standbys" for different categories of hops? Like American IPA standbys, German Noble hops standbys, British standbys, etc? How interchangeable are they? Are some hops more "anonymous" in their bittering than others? Are there any "just plain bitter" hops out there that are suitable for your bittering needs regardless of style?

I've heard one person refer to Warrior hops this way, but that's just one person's opinion. Your thoughts and input is appreciated...
 

Ogri

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Funny that. I'm definitely a bit cheap and have generally used Galena, Nugget, magnum as my bittering hops because of assuming they'd do the same job that would require double to triple the amount of Cascade, Northern Brewer or Centennial and also that it felt like a waste to use those lower AA% hops for bittering because their aroma and flavour properties are the qualities they seem to be best used for.

Having said that, Fuggles and east Kent goldings are usually quite low AA%, aren't they?? Are any of the traditional British hops really high AA%s? Pride of Ringwood and Pride of Kent are sort of medium on the scale.
 

pcollins

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Yeah, Warrior is one. I've used a ton of Super Galena for exactly what you're mentioning. A little goes a long way and I get the hit of bitterness that I need and then I add all the character, flavour, and aroma with the later additions. Yesterday I brewed a regular stout and didn't have the hops that I wanted so I just calculated my IBUs using a few ounces of fresh Hallertau and some Citra. Nothing was added for aroma so we'll see what kind of job those do for bittering. What's the worst that can happen? :D
 

RUNningonbrew

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More often than not I've used combination of hops to get the bittering I need because that is what i had left over in the freezer. That's probably not the way to do it but I haven't noticed a difference
 

unionrdr

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Pride of ringwood is the hop Cooper's bitters with. I used beer calculus on a pm recipe I'm working on. Used galena for bittering,1oz. And another NZ hop for a 20 minute flavor addition. IBU shot up to 67.4. I gues you don't need more than maybe .5 oz of galena to bitter with?
 

Grantman1

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I think it matters to some extent. I usually bitter with columbus (bc I always have it on hand), but have noticed that it's a slightly harsher bitterness than say magnum, which is pretty smooth. A lot of people don't like using chinook for bittering for this reason, too, but I don't mind. I guess it's just a palate thing.

I have heard though that you can develop off flavors from bittering with a ton of low alpha hops, just can't remember where I read that. :mug:
 

edmanster

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Me, myself have noticed that the higher the AA% hops I use to bitter with in my lite light low abv brews seen to be more susceptible to skunking as opposed to more of a low AA hop addition.. but that might just be me...
 

flipfloptan

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For my palate it doesn't really matter. Case in point. I have been making small test batches of the Avery brews off of their website. They bitter with bullion hops in many recipes. They are hard to find or they are priced way to high.

I have matched the AA% with the lower priced hop. I haven't been able to tell a difference on the bittering. If my brewing gets to the point where my beers are so good that the bittering hop is the only difference in taste I am leaving my job and going pro.
 

TNGabe

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Yesterday I brewed a regular stout and didn't have the hops that I wanted so I just calculated my IBUs using a few ounces of fresh Hallertau and some Citra.
Don't you know there are children in the world who have never had a IIPA and you're using Citra for bittering?:D
 

Grannyknot

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I'm extremely cheap. I got into brewing mainly for the purpose of saving money on craft brews.
Earlier this year, I got a 2lb bag of 16% CTZ pellets on the cheap. I think $12.
I use them for bittering on all my ale recipes.
I can usually do 1oz at 60 min and another at 30 or 20 and fulfill my ibu requirement.

I also like to use less hops when I can, because it creates less "hop funk" in my kettle.
 

phenry

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Cohumulone content can affect the bittering qualities IIRC. Chinook and Columbus can give a harsher bittering as opposed to say, Magnum or Nugget. I typically just use Bravo for most of my bittering additions. It's cheap and usually >14%AA. Aside from that, my Belgians and English ales are usually bittered with Willamette or EKG. Why? Not sure, that's just what I've been doing and it works for me.
 
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