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First Wort Additions

Have any of you experimented with adding hops to your mashtun? Or preboil? I can’t see what this would do that your standard 60 minute additions wouldn’t.

Mash hopping is generally thought to be of little value.

First wort hopping (FWH) on the other hand, has gained favor and is supposed to be different than a 60min addition. It gives more flavor, something like a 15min addition. Plus the bitterness is perceived as smoother.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]Mash hopping is generally thought to be of little value.

First wort hopping (FWH) on the other hand, has gained favor and is supposed to be different than a 60min addition. It gives more flavor, something like a 15min addition. Plus the bitterness is perceived as smoother.[/quote]

I agree with all of the above. Don’t waste your hops on mash hopping. I count FWH to have about 1/3 of the bitterness of a 60 min. addition. That’s by taste perception. They actually measure about 10% more IBUs, but since we taste our beer, not measure it, I count them as the same amount of bitterness as a 20 min. addition in a 60 min. boil.

Wouldn’t it be just as acceptable to begin any and all hopping at 30 or 20 minutes? If I understand correctly, you can still achieve your bitterness and much more aroma in that lessened timeframe? I can also agree that taste ultimately controls the bitterness level regardless of the calculated IBU’s.

You can do that but I find that it’s very different from FWH. For one thing, I nearly always use a 60 min. addition along with the FWH. I look at the FWH mainly as flavor, with a slight bittering effect. I find that FWH gives me more and better flavor than a 20 min. addition.

[quote=“Steppedonapoptop”] If I understand correctly, you can still achieve your bitterness and much more aroma in that lessened timeframe?[/quote]You can get the same calculated IBUs, but I have yet to achieve the bracing, lingering bitterness of a high-alpha, high-cohumulone hop addition at 60 minutes with a hop-burst alone. So I combine the two for most hoppy beers.

[quote=“Shadetree”]You can get the same calculated IBUs, but I have yet to achieve the bracing, lingering bitterness of a high-alpha, high-cohumulone hop addition at 60 minutes with a hop-burst alone[/quote]That’s been my experience too. Last year I did an IPA with all the hop additions after 30 minutes. I was really looking forward to drinking it, I envisioned that it would be like getting smacked in the face with fresh hops, I was disappointed in the way it came out. While it had great hop flavor and aroma, it was a bit sweet, which I think a good charge of bittering hops for 60 minutes balances out.

I did an amber a couple of months ago doing a first wort hop for the first time. I really liked the result and will FWH again.

My last couple IPAs I’ve used FWH addition plus hop bursting additions (5 min + 0 min), followed by a 25-minute hop stand where I kept the wort at around 190F and stirred occasionally if hops were added directly to the kettle, or tea bagged with a nylon hop bag (paint strainer bag) suspended in the hot wort. And then dry hops later. This has given me a ton of hop flavor and aroma without too much puckering bitterness. Or, maybe I should say although at the expense of losing explosive bitterness :wink:

Last night when I kegged a recent pre-dry hop, all-citra IPA made this way, the hop dimension tasted very balanced and flavorful; in fact I can’t wait to tap it in a couple weeks! I did recently read a thread that discussed that a hop stand can go at least 45 minutes, and actually be done at lower temps, even IIRC to as low as 130F, to extract different results from the various alpha acids found in hops since each one has a different heat threshold.

With the citra IPA tropical flavors, I also lowered my gypsum addition to emphasize a “juicy” flavor as compared to the “dry” flavor associated with gypsum, while I figured some will still accentuate the hops in the final beer.

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