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Estimated hop bitterness from FWH or hopstand

I have found it to be a challenge to estimate the perceived bitterness from FWH and hopstands. More specifically, working in the amount of true bittering addition to come out with a finished product with the bitter backbone I like in my IPAs.

I have experimented with OG in the 1.063-1.068 range. Total IBU estimates in the range of 80-100 but with a large % of that coming from the combo of the FWH/hopstand (hopstands have been at 195* x 30 minutes). My 60 minute IBU have been in the range of only 15-30.

For the next batch I am going to do one of two things. Either increase the bittering addtion to 40-50 and keep all else the same. Or go back to old fashioned methods and get all my IBU from the boil to a total of maybe 75 IBU, then hopstand at lower temp (~165-170) so as not to introduce any additional bitterness variable.

Any thoughts or experiences to share would, as always, be appreciated!

This is subjective and only you can know. The best IPA’s I have made (in my opinion) are with hop extract at 60-90 minutes and flameout/hopstand/dry hop only.

[quote=“Steeler D”]Or go back to old fashioned methods and get all my IBU from the boil to a total of maybe 75 IBU, then hopstand at lower temp (~165-170) so as not to introduce any additional bitterness variable.

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The more I have brewed them, and having in the last year gotten into Vermont IPA’s, the less I like to boil hops. There is an imperceptibly thin line between ‘firm bitterness’ and ‘astringent’, at least for me. I have really liked brewing and drinking the juicier, firm but not pithy bittered IPAs. I personally find that getting 30-40% of the MEASURED IBU’s from a 60 minute boil of a high alpha hop, such as Columbus, Apollo, or Chinook (or even Magnum/Warrior) is my sweet spot for bitterness. Then the hops can express through the aroma and flavor.

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I like a bitter backbone too and both of strategies seem sound. I will give another: do a 15m addition with the hopstand. Last IPA hop schedule was 4oz @ 15m, 6oz for a 30m hopstand (stirred), and a 4oz dryhop. Cracks me up to see IPA recipes posted with a total of 4oz…

FWIW…many years ago I did an experiment comparing the bitterness from FWH with the bitterness from an equal 60 min. addition. I had the beers analyzed and also held a blind triangle tasting involving experienced homebrewers, BJCP judges and commercial brewers. The analysis (from 2 different labs) showed that the FWH beer measured about 10% more IBU than the 60 min. addition. But most of the tasters didn’t perceive it that way. In general, although there was no clear consensus, most tasters thought the FWH tasted less bitter. Personally, I count the bitterness from FWH the same as a 20 min. addition because that’s what it tastes like to me. Even though it measures more, I don’t brew beer for measuring…I brew it for drinking.

Thanks for the replies, fellas.

For my next 10 gal batch, I’m leaning toward shooting for 50 IBU from the 60 min, 25 IBU from the 15 min, and then 6-8 oz hopstand at 165* x 45 min.

OG ~1.065 (64% MO, 32% domestic 2row, 4% C20).

I have traditionally bittered with Warrior. Maybe I should change to chinook for more bite. That might be a change to incorporate on subsequent runs.

As for the flavor hops I’ll probably go with equal parts CTZ, Simcoe and Centennial.

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