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How much does the bittering hop matter?

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Sir Humpsalot

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Just wondering. I've never really messed around with it before, but given that 60+ minute boils mostly just leave bitterness, how much difference does the variety of hop make?

I'm just wondering, especially in this time of shortage, if I'm wasting precious hops by using some rather nice 6%AA flavor/aroma hops to get my bitterness.
 

homebrewer_99

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Well, I know you already know that all brew is sweet.

Without the use of hops for at least 30 mins it will still remain sweet.

If we are truly in a shortage then you should balance the hop AA% against the harshness of the bitterness of the hop. If it's 14% then use sparingly as it could be too harsh for your tastes.
 
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Sir Humpsalot

Sir Humpsalot

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What I mean though is... does one type of bittering hop add something to the flavor that another hop of equal AA% would not?

At 60 minutes, how much of the flavor is pure AA bitterness and how much does the variety of the hop shine though?
 

homebrewer_99

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Ah, (I think what you mean) is flavor versus bitterness?

This is why some hops are better for bitterness and not flavoring.

I'm not a hop head (I go for a hops flavor) so IMO it's best to refer to a chart for that.
 

WBC

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Taste a hop pellet and you will know what it is like. If it has a lot of taste then it is most likely a good finishing hop. Remember that the AA is refering to the oils in the hop and it is this oil that bitters the beer. The longer you boil it the more of that oil is released as bittering. The flavor mostly gets boiled off and so that is why you add other hops for finishing that have a lot of taste and aroma and being that it is not in the boil that long it stays with the beer. Maybe this will help. :)
 
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Sir Humpsalot

Sir Humpsalot

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So you are both saying that the variety of hops used for a 60 minute boil doesn't really matter much, just so long as you watch the AA%?
 

Brewtopia

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I don't know if people are getting it. I believe what Sir H is asking is this. How important is the specific variety of bittering hop you are using. For example, if a recipe called for 2 oz. of Columbus for 60 minutes could you sub 2 oz. of galena if they were similar in AA? Would this drastically change the "flavor" of the beer?

Make sense Sir?
 

DUCCCC

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I think what you may be asking is if the bittering hop adds a unique flavor, or does it simply leave a bitter taste, and if so, why does it matter which one we use? If a little Northern Brewer leaves as much bitter components as say, alot of Saaz, then why not just use the little bit of NB for the 60 min. bittering hop each time?

Or does the bittering hop still leave a distinct "signature" other than simply bitterness? Just less aroma?

I don't know the specifics, just what I'm trying to learn here and in the few books I've got so far... Just thought I might clarify your query a little more, if that's in fact what you're getting at.

Matt
 

WBC

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That is what I said basicly, The finishing hop mostly determines the flavor of the beer. Obviously if you used a totally incompatible hop for bittering that did not go along with the finishing hop it might get noticed.
 

DUCCCC

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So I'm thinking once I get a little collection of hops going I might have to simply make a few expeimental teas from some. Say I took a few pellets of a few different hops and boiled each in plain water for 60 minutes, and strained that, would I be able to do a side by side comparison and still taste the differences between each one?
 
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Sir Humpsalot

Sir Humpsalot

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Brewtopia said:
I don't know if people are getting it. I believe what Sir H is asking is this. How important is the specific variety of bittering hop you are using. For example, if a recipe called for 2 oz. of Columbus for 60 minutes could you sub 2 oz. of galena if they were similar in AA? Would this drastically change the "flavor" of the beer?

Make sense Sir?

Yeah, that's what I'm getting at. Thanks. :mug:




:drunk:
 

sirsloop

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The finishing hops define the aroma, but the bittering hops will define how the bitterness tastes. There's a HUGE different in flavor between Simcoe and Warrior.. and perhaps Warrior and Chinook. They are all similar in AA, but Warrior tastes pretty terrible, chinook has a citrus flavor but is very harsh, and Simcoe is like Cascade on crack. Anyways, similar AA but very different flavor profiles!
 

WBC

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ma2brew said:
So I'm thinking once I get a little collection of hops going I might have to simply make a few expeimental teas from some. Say I took a few pellets of a few different hops and boiled each in plain water for 60 minutes, and strained that, would I be able to do a side by side comparison and still taste the differences between each one?
Yes this will give you a good idea on taste but unless you boil long enough you get less of the bittering oils. Grain sugars do make hops yield less oil ber unit of time than plain water though.

You have to use hops in a beer to get the full idea of hop combinations that work well togeher with the grains you have selected in a given brew.

Here is a small example. If you made a German beer and used a Cascade rather than a Hallertauer it would taste odd for that style of beer and so it goes for hop selection. Use hops that suit what you are trying to do.

Ref: http://kotmf.com/articles/hopslist.php

Ref: http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Homebrewing 202: Hop Selection and Use
 

mew

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WBC said:
Here is a small example. If you made a German beer and used a Cascade rather than a Hallertauer it would taste odd for that style of beer and so it goes for hop selection. Use hops that suit what you are trying to do.

Ref: http://kotmf.com/articles/hopslist.php

Ref: http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Homebrewing 202: Hop Selection and Use
Right, but the op is just asking about bittering hops. In your example, could you bitter this German beer with Cascade and flavor it with hallertauer and have the same beer as if you had used hallertauer for bittering (to the same IBU's) and flavoring?
 

TheJadedDog

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You still get some flavor for bittering hops but substitutions are a bit easier. I like to stick with hop varieties that are appropriate for whatever style I am brewing but other than that you can make substitutions pretty much at will.

It might be easier if you posted an example of what hops you are talking about.
 

CBBaron

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I think the answer is it depends. I think 60 min additions contribute some flavor and aroma to the beer but not a substantial amount. If that is your only hop addition I would imagine changing the hops would have a noticeable affect but for low bitterness beers it is probably not a bit deal. For a more bitter beer with little late hop additions like English bitters the 60 min hops variety is probably important. For IPAs the 60min addition is probably not a big deal since the large amount of late hop additions will over power the flavors from the early addition.

Like many brewers this year I will be experimenting with different hops varieties to substitute for those I can no longer obtain. High alpha replacements for 60min additions is I think the best bang for the buck for most styles.

Craig
 

WBC

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I just changed my bittering hop for my all Cascade pale ale to Magnum and only used 1 ounce since it had an AA of 13.1 instead of 4.1 and I could move my 15 minutes late Cascade to 20 minutes of boil and get a bit of bittering from that. It will still be a really Cascade taste that is predominant.
 

raceskier

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I was in Mammoth this weekend skiing. I was at the happy hour at Whiskey Creek restaraunt, which is also the home to Mammoth Brewing, with some friends. I happened to be wearing a More Beer "Got Beer?" tee shirt. I got a tap on the shoulder and a "Are you a home brewer?" I turned around to see Dustin, one of Mammoth Brewing's brewers, who I had previously met. He's always eager to talk about his work and brewing in general. We got to talking about the hop shortage. Previously I'd heard about the experiments they were doing to find a good replacment for the Crystal hops they use for dry hopping their IPA. This time we talked bittering. He said that in the testing they hade done, they found that they could freely substitute bittering hops without any perceptible change in the finished beer as long as they maintained the the same total bittering. Very interesting.

On another note, Dustin also mentioned that Mammoth Brewing, who just introduced a few of their beers now packaged in cans, is container (bottles and cans) conditioning all of their brews. They are filtering the beer and then krausening with fresh wort and yeast at the time of packaging. He said that they sacrifice a little clarity, but got an improvement in finsihed product flavor. Too cool.
 

DeathBrewer

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i recently used Sorachi Ace for ONLY the bittering hop in my Annex Ale. I used Fuggle and EKG for the flavor and aroma. The citrus flavor from the Sorachi really came through in the finished brew. I didn't like it at first, but it's growing on me.
 

mongrell

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Lol, holy crap, a simple question got complicated. As long as the boil is long enough, the AA% in the hop is determining the bitterness and very little flavor or aroma, so feel free to use an Aroma hop for bittering but keep in mind your wasting money as usually aroma hops (better quality) cost more than bittering.
 

Poindexter

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I am not going to argue with Dustin at Mammoth, or any other pro.

Instead I will offer my n00b - and obviously flawed- experience.

Once I started brewing, I realized I really like American Pale Ales. SNPA not so much, but the style is basically the top half of brit Pales and the bottom half of Brit IPAs, and I tried every commercial APA I could get my hands on. All of them. Ask me, I probably tried it. I needed 6 cases of bottles for Christmas gifts for Xmas 07 anyway.

Out of all those APAs, one, to me, was different than all the others.

Is it different than all the others solely on flavor and aroma aditions? Maybe. I cloned the hop schedule, but I haven't tried doing typical APA bittering hops with the flavor and aroma hop I really like.

There is a wee vertical scroll bar on the far right:
http://www.firestonewalker.com/templates/content_ourPaleAles_Pale31.php

PM clone is here:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost.php?p=550033&postcount=272

relevant text:


Poindexter's F-W Pale hopU clone

I will probably someday make this recipe again. I used Saaz and Hallertau for (60) and (30), with Chinook for (15) and (5). Corrected for LME at flameout, this schedule should yield ~ 54.5 Tensith IBUs on a 1.035 boil held at 3.0 gallons -> but diluted out to 5.0 gallons at the fermenter, not 5.5.

7.25 HBU (60)
6.40 HBU (30)
2.50 HBU (15)
2.12 HBU (5)
Specific:

(60) 4.25 HBU Saaz and 3.0 HBU Hallertau
(30) 6.4 HBU Hallertau
(15) 3.8 HBU Chinook
(5) 3.3 HBU Chinook


If anyone knows of an APA that uses Chinook only for (15) and (5) I would like to know what it is, please and thank you.
 

TheCrane

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Perhaps some varieties have more enduring flavors? I was using Chinook to bitter (and only bitter) just about everything until it recently became unavailable locally. My buddy (also avid brewer) actually pointed out the subtle "pine" characteristic present in all of my pales and bitters in which chinook was used to bitter, and absent in subsequent batches. There's my 2.
 

david_42

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There are six primary bittering compounds in hops. Each hop has a different mix.

Chinook
ALPHA ACIDS: 13.6 (5 year average: 13.9-15.3%)
COHUMULONE: 33%

Summit
ALPHA ACIDS: 17-19%
COHUMULONE: 25-28%
 
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Sir Humpsalot

Sir Humpsalot

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I was actually re-reading this thread recently, wishing for more discussion. I think it's really an interesting issue, especially in this time of shortage.

So... you say there are 6 bittering compounds. AA, cohumulone,.... and what are they other 4? :drunk:
 

Austinhomebrew

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Sir Humpsalot said:
So you are both saying that the variety of hops used for a 60 minute boil doesn't really matter much, just so long as you watch the AA%?

Yes, as long as you don't use a low cohumulone hop. There are hops that do not have much bittering properties but have a high AA rating. Horizon and Simcoe are two off the top of my head.

Forrest
 
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Sir Humpsalot

Sir Humpsalot

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Austinhomebrew said:
Yes, as long as you don't use a low cohumulone hop. There are hops that do not have much bittering properties but have a high AA rating. Horizon and Simcoe are two off the top of my head.

Forrest
Hey Forrest! Love ya, man!!! What does the cohumulone do that makes it a factor in hop substitution? Got any links or further insight?

I'm really, seriously, trying to understand this issue, but all I'm getting is generalities. I don't mind indulging in some experimentation, but give me a bone to chew on here... Anything you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

:mug:


(by the way, Forrest.. the #1 pet peeve of your website is that it always seems to have problems around 1am thru 4 am... I can't search for stuff. I understand that's weird for most people, but I work second shift and when I come home at 1am, I have little to do but search the internet for stuff and your site always seems slow at those hours... it's resulted in me ordering from a competitor a couple of times because I just can't stay awake forever or wait for your website to be up, especially if I'm working for the next few days. I'm not blaming you for it, I'm not upset. I get my supplies one way or another.... I just know how tough business is for anyone and I'm just giving you a heads-up as a friend. That's all. Cheers!)
 

FlyGuy

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I think an obvious point that has been overlooked is the hop schedule. If you brew a beer with only a bitterness addition (e.g., Scottish ale), the subtle flavour of that hop is going to come through more in the overall character of the beer than in a beer with big flavour and aroma additions (e.g., American IPA). The later hop additions are going to mask the bittering addition. I would also bet that substituting cascade for your bittering hop in a Scottish ale is going to be detected more quickly than substituting a noble hop for bittering your American IPA (assuming you keep the flavour and aroma additions the same).

This is a really good question, though, and it would be interesting to explore the limits of bittering substitutions. For many beers, as already mentioned, bittering substitutions will have little noticeable effect on the beer's character (e.g., American ales). But I imagine some are going to be more difficult -- it would be nice to build that list.
 

mrkristofo

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Sir Humpsalot said:
So... you say there are 6 bittering compounds. AA, cohumulone,.... and what are they other 4? :drunk:

Cohumulone is a type of alpha acid. as is Humulone, adhumulone, posthumulone, prehumulone, adprehumulone, and a thus far unnamed alpha acid with a 4-methylhexanoyl sidechain.

Whether or not your pallet is fine-tuned enough to discern the flavors in the different iso-alpha-acids is your call.

From Brewing Science and Practice
The importance of the proportion of isocohumulone in the beer iso-alpha-acids on the flavour of the beer is still a subject of debate...Of the four major iso-alpha-acids found in beer cis-isohumulone was found to be the most bitter, trans-isocohumulone was the least bitter, and there was little difference between cis-isocohumulone and trans-isohumulone (Hughes and Simpson, 1996).
HUGHES, P. S. and SIMPSON, W. J. (1996) J. Amer. Soc. Brew. Chem., 54, 234.
http://www.asbcnet.org/journal/abstracts/1996/0916-03a.htm

So, there ya go.
 
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