No boil for faster brew - how to add hops?

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Upstate12866

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Hello, I am interested in as short brew times as I can. This is my number one goal in reality, whether I admit it to myself or not, because experience shows I won't brew often if it takes hours and leaves me exhausted. For me, this means no hour long full size boils. And another thing is my beers just haven't been good enough to justify continuing to do this without exploring other possibilities.

I want to ask about no boil techniques. One thing I just learned today was the concept of whirlpool hops additions (I think this should get a different name--I thought it referred to special equipment but it seems to be just a hops addition below boiling temperature).

I suppose I have two questions. First, would it be ok to add hops right after mashing grain as I start to bring the heat up to around 180, then remove from heat and let it sit for 30 minutes? I think this would be super efficient for my time, but I wonder how much I am losing by doing this.

Second question is about hop tea. Can I make a small batch of hop tea with the same amount of hops as the normal recipe, using about 1/3 to 1/2 gallon of hop tea for a 3 gallon batch? In other words, can I just boil or steep a small amount of water or does it need to be a big vat of water to extract a good amount from the hops? I also see conflicting statements online, some saying water extracts more hop oils than wort, while others say the opposite. Which is it, and does the difference matter in practical terms.

My other alternative is partial boils, probably 1.5 gallon for a 3 gallon batch. I think I want to settle on a process that uses one of these three choices.

Thanks for any experience you can share!
 

Miraculix

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You can. Both is possible.

If you want to do a hop tea while mashing the rest, use a few litres of water and boil the hops in it. Usually wort can only solve about 100 ibus, but water has far more solution potential. I do not know how much exactly, but it is way higher than in wort. I did this hop tea thing often myself, I used about a quarter of the final volume as hop tea and never had less ibus than I expected in my final product. The opposite actually, water can solve more ibus than wort, so use an ibu calculator that takes this into account and type in 1.0 for the og and fg. For example brewers friends ibu calculator.

And for the whirlpool additions... they will produce Ibus, but it is a bit of a guessing game here. If you let it boil and from there on do a no chill, basically cooling on it´s own and remove the hops after 30 minutes, I would guestimate that should be the equivalent to 15-20 minutes boil. But you have to figure this out by trial and error.

I would actually stick to the hop tea and do a dry hop addition, instead of the whirpool. That is quicker and yields the better result, based on my own experience.
 
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Upstate12866

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Thanks for sharing and the info! I'll play with those ibu calculators this afternoon and see what it lis like for my recipe. Do you need to sterilize the hops or hop bag when you dry hop? Or just toss em in?
 

Miraculix

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I boil the bag for a few minutes shortly before throwing the hops in. The hops do not need to be treated in any way.
 

balrog

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There are lots of post boil only hopping threads. Unfortunately the only metric reported is IBU which is bittering and does not indicate flavoring. Boiling alpha acids gives bittering. Post boil and "dry hop" give flavor and aroma. All get reported as IBU. We need an International Flavoring Unit, IMHO. Maybe International Aroma Unit also.

I have made several short (15m) boils, hopping only after wort cools to 170-160, holding there for 20m. @Oginme shared a wheat recipe he had done many 10m boils, hops only post boil, to find the hop combinations he preferred.

I have done some "no boil" trials, all grain, always heating to 170F for 20m, for pasteurization but stay below 180 where DMS precursors are created. The beer will possibly be less shelf stable (long term), but the plan is short term consumption.

The ultimate time saving would be the thread where you just throw DME, water and yeast in the bucket; 3 days in, throw in hops. I've not tried it.

Search around. There are lots of threads for no boil, raw ale, etc.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Another person here at Homebrew Talk who has done interesting things with shorter brew days is @Steveruch. Some of his "no boil (pasteurized) concentrated wort" recipes have been published in Zymurgy magazine. Some of his recipes are also over in the AHA forums.
 
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Upstate12866

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Those links are great, thanks for pointing me in their direction! The idea of hitting the 170-180 range for pasteurization followed by hops mainly for flavor and aroma seems like an efficient route.
 

madscientist451

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Hello, I am interested in as short brew times as I can. This is my number one goal in reality, whether I admit it to myself or not, because experience shows I won't brew often if it takes hours and leaves me exhausted. For me, this means no hour long full size boils.

Thanks for any experience you can share!
I don't have much time for brewing these days and if I don't do quick brews there isn't any homebrew.
I've done long brew days with fussy fly sparging, no boil all grain and incredibly short all extract brews. My preferred method is stovetop BIAB with 60 minute mash and 60 minute boil, but that's only happening 1 out of 3 brews because of time constraints.
Right now I've got a NEIPA in the fermenter that was all extract, heated to 180F and I steeped some plain instant oatmeal in a bag and some hops for about 1/2 hour, then let it chill overnight. Dry hops went in on day 2, I'll re-post on how it comes out. I've experimented with extract brews before and its usually not my favorite, but I keep trying different things.
I can do a short mash and boil BIAB in about 2.5 hrs and I'm doing other things while the brew is on, and am not exhausted or burned out by all the clean up. Another trick is to do a BIAB overnight on the stove and get up in the morning and boil.
All the various time saving methods have their pros and cons, and it takes a some re-brews to tweak whatever process you eventually use.
Basic Brewing radio podcast has featured 30 and 15 minute brews, and the Brulosophy "short and shoddy" series includes tasting notes of the various beers.
:bigmug:
 

RM-MN

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My preferred method is stovetop BIAB with 60 minute mash and 60 minute boil, but that's only happening 1 out of 3 brews because of time constraints.
Someday you should try the 30 minute mash and 30 minute boil and save an hour on your brew day. If you don't like the results you can go back to the 60 - 60 method.
 

Beer666

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If doing a hoppy beer i remove the grain and pasteurise the wort at 75c adding the hops then. You still extract bitterness but if i want more i boil a tea.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Hello, I am interested in as short brew times as I can. This is my number one goal in reality, whether I admit it to myself or not, because experience shows I won't brew often if it takes hours and leaves me exhausted. For me, this means no hour long full size boils. And another thing is my beers just haven't been good enough to justify continuing to do this without exploring other possibilities.
Hmmm...are you brewing extract based batches or all-grain? Shorter boils are definitely fine with extract and probably fine with all-grain. I have moved lately to 30 min boils for my IPAs and Pale Ales, just shifting my 60 min to 30 min with a little more hops to hit my target IBU. They seem fine.

My overall advice would be to first address the issues that are causing your beers to not be "good enough." I won't claim that a short boil will make your beers worse, but I doubt it will make them better. While a 60 min boil adds time to the brew day, for me it is a relaxing part of the brew days. A downside for me for short boils is that it takes away that 30 minutes of down time.
 
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Upstate12866

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Thanks for the tip!

I think the real kicker for me is that kits I purchase also taste fairly meh. I can understand when I take a stab at ingredients on my own, but I'm probably 30+ batches in by now, half of them from kits, with consistent results somewhere around 5 to 7/10, no matter the style so far (grain or extract, light or dark styles). I have done about equal extract vs all grain overall, with much more all grain these days compared with when I was getting started. By this time Ive played with a lot of the variables that Im willing to explore within my fairly basic setup.

Now im not complaining (i think of it as buying generic "beer" for 5 bucks a case), but I would rather have just ok beer in less time, especially since i do small batches around 3 gallons at a time (the 60 minute boil jumps out at me as an obvious place to start). I think i spent 3 hours making my last chocolate porter from an 2.5 gal extract kit (which really only saved me about 30 min compared to all grain) and that evening motivated me to think about where i can cut corners. I know it won't improve things, but I'm approaching it as evening out the tradeoff Im getting between quality and time, not something to get better results exactly. I know I probably sound like an animal to a few folks Haha, but this is where I'm at right now.
 

Birrofilo

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You could adopt a short 7-8 minutes boil using hop pellets and twice the pellet quantity. That will give you the bitterness extraction that you need by saving a lot of boiling*.

I wouldn't cut on those 8 minutes though, because boiling is important for "sanitization" of the wort and for bitterness extraction.

As an alternative to boiling, besides hop tea, I suggest you study the use of hop maceration in alcohol. That will extract the bitterness without the heat. You can make long maceration which will extract all the components (you will obtain a maceration for "bittering"), or short macerations which will extract only the aromatic compounds (you will obtain a maceration for "aroma").

More in general, and I know this is not your original question, if I were you I would examine my process in order to see what doesn't work. Maybe there is a problem on the cold side: cleaning, sanitization, temperature control, oxidation, bottling, seasoning. Maybe you drink your beer too young, or too old. Maybe your bottling "machine" doesn't work well, maybe your beer is stored too warm etc.

This site is full of information. If you did not do it already, reading a book from Palmer or Strong will certainly help. I suggest to re-assess all your procedure to see where you already are "cutting corners".

Basically, if you have a problem in your procedure, the problem will not go away because you adopt the no-boil procedure: your beer will go on being 5-7/10, and actually it's more likely to worsen due to the increased risk of infection.

After you found what doesn't work, you could just concentrate on extract brewing which will be decently fast and stress-free, with a very short boiling, and give you excellent beer.

Just my 2 cents.

* Explanation: hop pellets give all the bitterness after let's say 35 minutes boiling. In the first 25% of the boiling time, 50% of the bitterness is released. A boil of 8 minutes will give you 50% of the bitterness. If you double the hop quantity, a boil of 8 minutes will give you the normal bitterness that you would obtain with a 60 minutes boiling when using hop cones.
 
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Upstate12866

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Thank you very much for that info!! This is the first I've heard of hop maceration.

I think the best way to put it is I've simply hit that curve where Ive tried obvious things I'm interested to explore in my process. (Mash temp and time, water sources, variations on my core recipes, ferm temp and time, and different yeasts, mainly). I'm getting what I'm getting with no batches that have stood out as significantly better, so the next obvious "better" thing for me right now is just "shorter." But I've not really explored what that means in practical terms-- and what it means for hops, especially.

I just don't want to seem unappreciative for the very good advice to optimize my process--I will definitely continue to pay attention to that as well. But I just know that if I could theoretically brew a mediocre beer in an hour I would do so more often...and I wanted folks to be assured I am OK with mediocre beer (I've drank several dozen batches of it by now, Haha) since I can imagine fast can mean a step down from the best practices. I'm super interested to learn about how people trim time (especially from the boil) and to see just how mediocre it is compared to what I've got now. It feels like a sin to say I'm ok with just ok beer, but if I weren't I wouldn't be doing even my normal long recipes at this point! :)

Thanks especially for that tip about the 7 minute threshold and hop maceration--I've never heard of that at all before.
 

balrog

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Maceration.
Hm.
I would think alcohol would extract the components of the hop. Bitterness is not a component. The alpha acids are a component but need the heat of boiling for isomerization to become the iso-alpha-acide (bitterness).
Or so I thought.
 

Birrofilo

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Maceration.
Hm.
I would think alcohol would extract the components of the hop. Bitterness is not a component. The alpha acids are a component but need the heat of boiling for isomerization to become the iso-alpha-acide (bitterness).
Or so I thought.
It's more complicated. Maceration in alcohol will extract also the "bitterness" (the so called amaro of the plant, which is probably what actually gives the name to the "amaro" as a product) but different substances will be extracted at different alcohol concentrations. Some substances will be extracted at no more than 40% ABV while other substances (such as resins) might need at least 70% ABV.

A herbalist who wants to prepare a product must decide, for each botanical, what kind of extraction he wants to do. For many botanicals, the "amaro" is not interesting which means that either the extraction is made through vapour (in alcoholic vapour you get an "extract", in water vapour you get hydrosol and essential oils, in both cases you don't get the "amaro") or it is made through maceration but after that you distill the macerate in order to eliminate the amaro, which means things like polyphenols, aldehydes and other substances with strange names will remain in the kettle of the still.

For other botanicals the amaro is interesting and you must macerate it to obtain it (distillation will not get it) and different % ABV (and different times) will give different results.
 
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