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Bittering hop addition AFTER boiling?

OK. So, to start this off, I need to admit that I made a big mistake while
brewing. I know that no one else has ever made any mistakes while brewing.
So, with that out of the way . . .

I had a couple extra 3.3lb containers of malt extract. When boiling, these
were put into the boil. I know, I know, I started at 5AM. Dumb.

Anyway, when I was done, I ended up with wort that had a much higher gravity
than I wanted. Yeast killing gravity. Eegads.

So, I split the batch into “1 5 gallon, and 1 3 gallon” batches, so as to get to my 1.060 O.G.

So, that should work out fine–except for now, I know that each batch will have a decent
malt profile, but will probably be under-hopped, under-bitter, because I hopped for a 5 gallon batch.

So, I want more bittering hops, not flavor or aroma hops. Here’s my idea.

Boil some water, add some hops. Boil for an hour. Let it get all concentrated and such.

I now have bitter hop-water.

Cool that, split it, and add it to my carboys.

Crazy? Stupid? (I already did stupid, see above)

What do the mighty brewing minds of the Northern Brewer forum think?

If you boil hops in plain water, the results smell and taste grassy and will ruin the beer (or at least make it unpleasant to drink until it ages for a couple months). Either take a little wort out of the fermenter, dilute 50/50 with water, and re-boil it with more hops and add back, or make a fresh, weak wort.

Also, your OG was not “yeast killing” - you can easily go up to 1.120 or above with most ale yeasts.

Thank you! That is helpful.

Well, I’m using a lager yeast, so it wouldn’t have worked, I think.

I’m not questioning your wisdom, but I wonder what the difference is to boil
hops with some malt, as opposed to just water? Some sort of different
chemical bonding?

I was figuring I’d avoid adding more fermentables, but I suppose I could do it
at this point.

I’m thinking just 1oz of hop pellets, in something the size of a 1L starter,
probable light gravity like 1.040, something like that?

Again, I appreciate the help.

Most lager or ale yeast will handle up to 1.120 with no issues (worst case is they peter out and you have to add another yeast to help finish it off, something like US-05).

There is a chemical reaction between the wort and the hops that extracts different compounds, or in different amounts, compared to plain water - I’ve done a bunch of experimenting with hop teas and found that making them with wort gave the best results.

If you don’t want to boost the gravity, use some of the wort in the fermenter mixed with the amount of water you expect to evaporate in a one-hour boil (or just take a quart of wort, add a quart of water, and control the boil intensity to keep the final volume to a quart).

I will give that a try. Thanks, you might have just saved a batch!

Well, it would have been drinkable, but under-hopped for what I wanted. This might work.

I’m going to try the wort boil as you suggested.

Thanks for the creativity!

Post your recipe. And taste your wort. You might have enough hop bitterness already. What you’re planning may work, but I’d only do it if the alternative is undrinkable beer. Maybe with dilution, you’ve gone from a double IPA down to an american Pale Ale. If that’s the case, unless you’re really interested in experimenting, you may want to keep it as is.

Recipe: (This is an attempt at a SurlyFest clone. Rye/Marzen but not “on style”)

4lbs Munich Liquid Malt Extract

Partial Mash:
3lbs Wyermann Vienna Malt
2 lbs Weyermann Malanoidin Malt
8oz flaked Rye
8oz Rye malt
2 oz Rye Crystal

Hops
Sterling 1.5 oz 60 min AA 7.0%
Sterling 1.25 oz 5 min
Sterling 1 oz dry hop

White Labs German Lager Yeast WLP 830

So–instead of 1 and a bit 3.3lb jugs of Munich, I dumped three full jugs–10

This was to have been a 5 gallon batch, I ended up with about 8.

Intended O.G. 1.059–achieved through dilution
F.G. 1.014
33.9 IBU (intended!)

Now I’m holding. :slight_smile:
You’re right, it might not be “right” but it can still be “good”.

I ran the recipe, and short of brewing an extra-hoppy batch and blending, I’m not sure how to fix it. Before diluting, you had 49 IBUs according to Rager formula and 29 IBUs according to Tinseth. It sounds like it’s already fermented, so if you boil it with more hops, you’re going to get rid of the alcohol. If you just do a portion of it, that might not be too noticeable. How does it taste?

Well, I brewed on Sunday. The lager batch will take longer to finish out. The extra 3 gallons, I pitched some Wyeast 1045 and we’ll see what happens. That’s a novelty. Too early to tell on the
lager, but I might pull and taste the ale tonight or tomorrow when it starts to calm down a bit.

I might be in better shape than I thought because I initially calculated my IBU’s using 6%AA, and
the hops I got were 7. So I’ve got that goin’ for me.

The idea was not to boil the batch, just boil a small concentrated addition for an hour. It was suggested that I draw a quart and do it.

At this point, I might just ride it out and chalk this one up to DOH.

[quote=“AtomicBrewer”]

At this point, I might just ride it out and chalk this one up to DOH.[/quote]
Yeah. On the upside, beers that are low in bitterness often work well for cooking. Thanksgiving turkey marinade?

Now THAT’S harsh to contemplate.

We shall see!

Grassy /hay flavors come from myrcene and other hop oils that will boil off after a while. Boiling hops in wort will extract tannins and other polyphenols but this is limited because of the low PH. During the boil proteins from the malt adsorb onto the polyphenols and then precipitate out. Boiling hops in water will extract more polyphenols because of the higher PH and they wont precipitate out because of the lack of proteins. You will get astringency like you do in tea. How much I can’t say and it’s hard to tell what the effects in beer will be. It might come across as a rough maltiness or barely be noticed. You can limit the amount of polyphenols by using a smaller amount of HIgh alpha hops.

Thanks for that information, it helps me to understand what’s going on during
the boil, better.

I have just let the two batches ferment, the ale is pretty much finished out at 1.014,
I’m going to dry hop and enjoy. It doesn’t have the “pop” I wanted on initial taste, but
it’s not a bad beer. The lager is not done yet, I’ll give that a few more days, a diacetyl
rest, then I’ll judge where I’m at. At this point, I’m just going to see it through unless
the lager really doesn’t work. Because SurlyFest is a take on an Oktoberfest–but with
the added tang of the hops, Melanoidin, and Rye, all this means is that I’ll tend more
towards a traditional Oktoberfest in some ways.

Thanks again!

If you really want to save an underbittered beer the way I would do it is with Iso alpha extract. NB doesn’t have it but you can find it at other stores online_

Isn’t this what the HopShot

is? I guess it’s not isomerized, but maybe you could boil up a small amount of starter wort with the HopShot in there and add it.

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