Long boil for bittering from hops

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Assoc. Winemaker
Oct 19, 2017
Reaction score
Fennville, Michigan
If you boil hops long, say 50-60 minutes for the bittering, and you are making a German style lager like Munich Dunkel, would you necessarily have to use lower alpha Hallertau Hops for the bittering or could you use higher alpha acid hops like Cascade? I know Cascade provide a different profile that is wrong for the aroma of lagers, and works better for things like Ales, IPA and the like, contributing more of the "citrus" notes than does Hallertau. However, the boiling pretty much destroys the aroma of the hops and extended boiling, as I understand it, also degrades the bitterness of the hops. It peaks, then declines the longer you boil. So why not use less hops of higher alpha and save the Hallertau for the final flame out or aroma hops such as small amount of dry hoping in the fermenter/keg?
From my understanding, a bit of the flavour remains, so I would choose a more neutral variety than cascade. Something like magnum or admiral should work really well. I personally use admiral for exactly your suggested idea and it pretty much works!
If you brew it correctly, and handle it correctly post-fermentation, that cascade will come through brighter than if you have poor techniques. So for "to style" german beers, Without a doubt I always go german hops as well. If I only had cascade for a Dunkel, I'd brew something else.
I go with a higher alpha acid, neutral flavor hop for bittering. Magnum and Nugget are two I have used. When I tried it with Cascade the citrus flavor stuck around and was annoying in a beer that should not have had citrus.
I've got a larger bag of German Hallertau hops, from Hopunion. I also have some Cascades given to me that are in a sealed plastic jar in the refrigerator. Just wondering how much the Cascades would "shine though" after the boil. I understand a bit better now. Magnum, Nuget or Admiral. I also have a small bit of Crystal hops that shows on the package to be somewhat flowery, but citrus is not one of the adjectives.

Some hops carry more than others. I don't think Cascade carries a ton, but not none. Chinook, Fuggles, and CTZ hops seem to be heavy carryover hops in my experience. Many UK hops do, so I'd avoid Admiral as well.

I use Magnum for bittering routinely- cleanest of the clean bittering. If you want something super-alpha, I've had good luck with Polaris.

Latest posts