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Can you FWH an extract beer

So I am new to home brewing, only 5 brews in, but got 2 more Saturday. I have been reading about FWH and how it still utilizes the bitterness of the 60min boil additions while still making it ‘smoother.’

So first off, I don’t really understand the mechanism or taste of FWH because I haven’t tasted a FWH beer that I’m aware of to compare it to or been brewing long enough to tinker with it.

Second, can you do it with extract beer kits like after you have steeped the grains, or would the lack of lots of malt make the hop utilization less? i.e. could/would you steep grains put in 1/3-1/2 the malt extract before the boil with the hops then? these questions could continue for a long while for sure.

That’s a really neat question!

I’m an all grainer, but I think you can swing it with extract. In a nut shell, all we’re doing with FWH is letting the hops steep in concentrated ~160F wort that is slowly (or quickly, if batch sparging) being diluted.

I suppose you could accomplish in two ways. First, you could bring your primary volume of wort up to a rest of 150-160 and let your hops steep for a 20-30 mins, but I guess this would complicate the extract late system of brewing that I think most now use?

Secondly, you could create a smaller volume at roughly the gravity of an all grain recipe’s first runnings and later return it to the primary kettle once you’re done steeping your grains, etc. That seems like it might present utilization issues that I don’t understand and might also require you to front load more of your extract than you wish. It seems overly complicated, but it might present a useful avenue to explore for brewers that have a better grasp on extract brewing than myself.

Thanks for the fun problem to mull over. :cheers:

Absolutely. I’ve been experimenting with extract brewing this year, never tried it before, and have used FWH in all of the batches so far. You want to add the hops to wort, not to water, so if you’re steeping grain do that first, then add the FWH and start heating to a boil.

Shadetree, sounds like you’re advancing your FWH hops more quickly from steep to full boil than you would with AG, any impact on the bittering?

Why wouldn’t you want to add the hops to the brewing water before you add the extract? It would make more sense to me to add hops before extract because the lower density would extract more of the hops’ essential oils. After extract has been added, the wort density goes way up and the hop extraction efficiency goes way down, right? And there’s really no reason that I can see why couldn’t steep the hops at the same time as the grains. I put hops in my mash tun for pale ales all the time to get a head start, and it works very well for me.

[quote=“Cangrejo”]Shadetree, sounds like you’re advancing your FWH hops more quickly from steep to full boil than you would with AG, any impact on the bittering?[/quote]Actually, it’s pretty much the same - wort coming out of the MT is about 160F.

[quote=“deliusism1”]Why wouldn’t you want to add the hops to the brewing water before you add the extract? It would make more sense to me to add hops before extract because the lower density would extract more of the hops’ essential oils. After extract has been added, the wort density goes way up and the hop extraction efficiency goes way down, right? And there’s really no reason that I can see why couldn’t steep the hops at the same time as the grains. I put hops in my mash tun for pale ales all the time to get a head start, and it works very well for me.[/quote]Steeping hops in plain water results in a nasty grassiness (do a search on this forum for “hop tea” and you can read a bunch about it). With this in mind, I would not add the hops until the steeping grains have had some time to release at least a fair portion of their sugars - it’s working great for me with no off-flavors.

sweet! thanks everybody, I will give that a try tomorrow whilst I make a hoppy amber followed by the ‘boat bitter’ from chop and brew.

You make a good point that I guess I wasn’t informed about. But I still say there’s no reason why he couldn’t do a FWH process at the same time he’s steeping his grains. That way, the liquid wouldn’t be just water, and he could get a head start on melding the hop and malt flavors. But I guess this is probably another one of those questions that could turn into a very long thread. I haven’t done an extract brew in a pretty long time myself, and this is making me want to do one, and experiment with the process! :cheers:

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