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Extract and First Wort Hops (FWH)

I will be brewing the Waldo Lake Amber and had a question about first wort hopping. In this recipe, the hops are added to the boil before steeping grains. I’m not really understanding the process here.

As I understand it, first wort hopping is kind of like using hops like a filter during the lautering process and yields the same IBU’s but in a subdued form, similar to a 20minute hop addition.

If I add the hops to the kettle at 120* (hot water from the tap), steep the grains for a half hour, bring to a boil and add the extract, aren’t I going to get the same conversion from the hops as if I just added them at 60 min? Doesn’t it matter that there is no wort to help in the conversion?

I’m worried I’m defeating the purpose of FWH by following the recipe. Someone please enlighten me, set me straight, or calm me down!

Thanks and :cheers:

This is the mystical question regarding FWH, no one has been able to explain exactly why it works this way. You are correct about the process, add the hops while steeping the grain. When brewing all grain the hops are added to the kettle during mash run-off.

Isn’t it more like hop tea if there isn’t any extract in the pot?

If it were me I’d wait and add the hops after you’ve steeped the grain and add them right after you mix the malt in then let it sit for 15 minutes or so around 160° before firing the burner up for the boil. This would be close to how we do it when batch sparging, throw the hops in when we start the first runnings. I’m usually done collecting my first and second runnings in 15 minutes or so, then I start the boil.

Thanks Glug Master. I think that would imitate the AG process of first wort hopping. I’ll try that.



That’s exactly the process I followed when I was developing the extract recipe. For some reason, NB wrote it up differently.

I just made this beer a few weeks ago, extract, full boil.
I steep my grains separately in 1 gallon water per 1# grain (or so).

and in my main pot, I put the FWH in the cold water before I started the boil.

(and then once boiling, I add my steep water).

anyway, I am tasting it now, after taking a gravity reading, went from OG 1.058 to FG 1.014.
looks and tastes great! clearing, orange color.
tastes like an IPA, really hoppy and a bit “bready”
going to be very good.

I’m going to secondary it Monday, and put a Caribou Slobber PM on it, (US-05).

good luck with the brew!

Super! Now that I know how it was developed, I can achieve similar results.

For clarification: Should I add the malt before boiling, after steeping, bring temp up to 160*, add hops, let sit 15 minutes, then boil?

Normally, I would steep for 30 min at 155*, remove grains, bring to boil and THEN add malt syrup. Should I change this method from here on out or just for this batch?

Thanks everyone for the great advice!

Without looking at the recipe, my memory is that you add part of the extract after steeping the grains and the rest later. IIRC, I did the stepping, added the early portion of the extract, then put in the FWH and let them sit for 15-20 min. Then I brought to a boil and continued per the directions.

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