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Bittering Hops

Hi,
I’m a <1 year old brewer getting into crafting my own recipes. I have a question on bittering hops. Do the variety of hops in your 60 minute boil matter much? If you’re aiming for a higher IBU like 60-75 range, I can get there more economically with Apollo hops in the 60 minute boil than the Centennial that I want to use for flavor. Am I sacrificing flavor to get to the higher IBU more efficiently?

Most people use whatever is cheapest since most, if not all, flavor is blown away from your boil.

You might want to stay away from hops with high cohumulone, as they can give some unpleasant harshness if used for bittering, but any cheap high AA hop should be OK. The exception being FWH, as centennial would probably be great for that.

+1 to both responses. I use magnum for bittering in all my IPA’s. FWH is considered to add similar IBU’s as a 20 minute addition and will only add marginal bitterness even though it’s left in the boil. So you should use something that you want to impart flavor to the profile. At least that’s my understanding of FWH.

This whole concept has been questioned and pretty much refuted in current years. While there are differences in the quality of bitterness based on variety, it appears it isn’t tied to cohumulone.

Thanks Denny- that’s what I get for reading articles on the internet!

well, I was one of those in the past promoting lower cohumulone for smoother bitterness. But that’s one of the reasons you have to keep up with research. At this point I’m not 100% convinced it’s not related to cohumulone, but I’m much less convinced that it is.

Denny, do you know of any articles or whatnot that explains some of the chemistry? Your recommendation is good enough for me, but I’m interested in the science on how it works if you know of anything out there.

I’d just like to throw out the theory (perhaps fact?) that while people don’t usually think of long 60-minute hop additions as adding much flavor, they actually do provide some flavor, and especially if you use the low alpha hops, particularly including the nobles such as Saaz, Hallertau, Tettnang, etc., you will get a surprising amount of flavor from these hops used at 60 minutes. So if you always substitute all your bittering hops for something of higher alpha, you need to use fewer hops which leads to reduced hop flavor. For anyone wishing to confirm or refute this, more experiments are recommended, skipping any late additions and just going with a single 60-minute addition, aiming for consistent IBUs in each beer. For example, try a blonde ale, single hopping at just 60 minutes for each using Saaz at 3% alpha versus Magnum at 14%, with 60 IBUs in each beer. I wonder how those’d taste side by side. My guess is that the Saaz beer would taste reasonably hoppy, with spice and floral background as you’d expect from Saaz, while Magnum would taste like… nothing. Try the same thing with Columbus or Simcoe and I’m not quite sure what you’d get in comparison since those are pretty dang strong tasting hops. One of these days…

That would be an awesome experiment! I could see it, brew up a 5-gallon batch of wort, split it into 5 one-gallon boils with equal IBUs from different hops… If only I had the time.

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I’ll try to dig something up.

In general, what happens when you use low alpha hops for bittering is you get a kinda of vegetal, grassy flavor due to the mass of the hops.

So, did most beers taste super grassy/vegetal 200 years ago? Because the English at least were even more hop crazy back 200 years ago than we are today, with countless beers of 150 IBUs or more, all from bittering additions.

Most likely beers back then wouldn’t be anything we’d want to drink today.

Got a Delorean and a flux capacitor? :wink:

If you do, you are the man! …and i want a ride!

why, as a matter of fact… :slight_smile:

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