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First Wort Hop vs. 60-minute Hop

I’m thinking about popping my partial mash cherry on an IPA recipe. One thing that has me a little confused is that it calls for a hop addition as a first wort hop (FWH) and then another addition at the 60-minute mark (beginning of boil).

What is the difference between the FWH and the 60-min? Does the FWH add even more bitterness than the 60-min? :?

Thanks

it does add about 10% more bitterness. Also adds more flavor.

A lot of people fudge the entry of FWH as a 20 minute addition, rather than as a FWH 60 min addition, because of the higher hop flavor and ‘smoother’ bitterness, but I do not as I do a lot of my lagers FWH + flameout additions only and they seem every bit as bitter as 10% more than a 60 minute addition, while IPAs I’ve made ‘fudging’ the FWH as a 20 minute addition seemed overly bitter.

I’m in the minority in this opinion, so take it with a grain of NaCl.

Okay. I wasn’t sure if it would just add more bitterness or maybe some special type of flavor/aroma. Thanks for clearing that up.

I think first wort hopping is a bunch of hooey, and I would just treat it the same as a 60-minute addition or however long you are boiling the wort. I’m not saying I never do it – if the recipe says to do it I will – but I am not convinced that it really makes the beer taste any better or different than a regular bittering addition.

I would be more interested in experimenting with mash hopping using whole hops – throw in some hop cones at the beginning of the mash, extract some hop oils and bitterness, use the usual runoff process to filter them out along with the grains, then not have to worry about hop cones bouncing around in the boiling wort or using a hop bag. One of these days I’ll give it a try, with no other bittering additions. From what I’ve heard, you still get quite a bit of bitterness even though the hops aren’t physically present in the boil. But anyway, I digress…

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]I think first wort hopping is a bunch of hooey, and I would just treat it the same as a 60-minute addition or however long you are boiling the wort. I’m not saying I never do it – if the recipe says to do it I will – but I am not convinced that it really makes the beer taste any better or different than a regular bittering addition.

I would be more interested in experimenting with mash hopping using whole hops – throw in some hop cones at the beginning of the mash, extract some hop oils and bitterness, use the usual runoff process to filter them out along with the grains, then not have to worry about hop cones bouncing around in the boiling wort or using a hop bag. One of these days I’ll give it a try, with no other bittering additions. From what I’ve heard, you still get quite a bit of bitterness even though the hops aren’t physically present in the boil. But anyway, I digress…[/quote]

Let’s see if Denny drops in on this discussion because he might have data from experiments to throw at us.

Personally, my experience using FWH (in place of 60 min. bittering) in my house IPA recipe seems to take some of the rough edges off my homegrown Chinook hops. I do use the 20 min estimate; it seems reasonable in my case. It’s certainly possible that all our perceptions vary with hop variety used.

Here’s Gordon strong on FWH…http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/f … #msg218429

My own perception is that the quality of bitterness from FWH is so much smoother than what you get from a 60 min. addition that it seems like fewer IBU. I did an experiment a few years ago comparing a split batch pf wort than had an oz. of FWH as the only hops addition to one that had an oz. of the same hops as a 60 min. addition. I had the beers analyzed and the FWH beer measured about 10% more IBU. But in a blind triangle tasting, a large number of tasters (experienced homebrewers, commercial brewers, and BJCP judges) said the FWH beer was less bitter. There are chemical changes that happen while the FWH steep that change the concentrations of various oils. My own perception, drawn from using FWH in hundreds of batches, is that FWH adds great flavor, no aroma, and a smooth bitterness. To my palate, the amount of bitterness it adds is about the same as I get from a 20 min,. addition, so that’s how I consider FWH. You should try it and decide for yourself.

The results of my experiment can be found here, starting on pg. 29

http://www.ahaconference.org/wp-content ... nyConn.pdf

I have hundreds of FWH batches that disagree with that…but it’s your perception that counts to you.

Might as well flush those hops down the toilet…you’ll get the same utilization from them! I did 3 mash hop experiments and found absolutely no perceptible influence from them. Dan Listermann made an all mash hopped beer that calculated to about 130 IBU. when he had it analyzed, it measure less than 30.

My experiences with FWH are very much in line with Denny’s. I’m sure there are a ton of variablse that go into how things turn out. For my setup (which happens to be a lot like how Denny brews) and the way I like my hoppy beers I’ve been quite happy with some FWH, a little at 60 minutes and than a whole pile of whirlpool hops and finally a dry hop.

This may be a stupid question, but do you remove the first wort hops before the boil begins, or leave them in?

Leave them in…and it’s not a stupid question!

Denny:[quote=“Denny”] My own perception, drawn from using FWH in hundreds of batches, is that FWH adds great flavor, no aroma, and a smooth bitterness. To my palate, the amount of bitterness it adds is about the same as I get from a 20 min,. addition, so that’s how I consider FWH.[/quote]

I’ll admit that for years I’ve been FWH’ing many of my beers based solely on the research and recommendations of others. I will say that I’ve been very happy with the results and I agree completely that the flavor contribution is significant and the bitterness contribution is much smoother than the equivalent amount of hops boiled for 60 mins.

The question that just came to mind for the first time is: If the perceived bitterness is roughly equivalent to a 20 min addition of the same amount of hops, what is the perceived flavor the equivalent of? Denny mentions his experiment:

This compares the perceived bitterness to an equivalent amount of hops boiled for the same amount of time with two different techniques. But has anyone done an experiment comparing an oz. of hops added FWH vs. an oz. of hops added at the 20 min mark? I think that this would go one step further toward determining if the flavor contribution of FWH’ing is greater than a 20 min addition.

In my eyes, if:
FWH = 20 min addition in terms of bitterness
and
FWH = 20 min addition in terms of flavor
but
FWH < 20 min addition in terms of aroma (solely due to less boil time)
then
a 20 min addition would be the better way to go

but if

FWH = 20 min addition in terms of bitterness
and
FWH >> 20 min addition in terms of flavor
but
FWH < 20 min addition in terms of aroma (solely due to less boil time)
then
FWH’ing would be the better choice

I’m fine with empirical data and opinions, I’ve just never done any kind of comparison between the two techniques.

Actually, my experiment compared flavor, also. see http://www.ahaconference.org/wp-content … nyConn.pdf starting on pg. 29.

Sorry Denny. I probably should have read the report before posting. The interesting thing about the experiment is that the flavor of the FWH’ed beer was not unanimously preferred over the 60 minute addition. A 60 minute addition is not typically thought of as a “flavor” addition, so I would have expected a technique used to enhance hop flavor would have performed better.

So I’m now realizing that FWH’ing possibly results in a better flavor and smoother bitterness when compared to a 60 minute addition, but how does the flavor of FWH’ing compare to a 20 minute, “flavor”, addition? Obviously, there will be fewer IBU’s contributed, but the smoothness of the FWH should make them taste roughly the same. I guess what I’m asking is, assuming that the above is correct, what is the benefit of FWH over a 20 min addition?

To my taste buds, I get more and “better” (yeah, it’s subjective) flavor from FWH. But you’re correct…there needs to be an experiment comparing FWH to a 20 min. addition. It just so happens that the experiment is outlined in the book Drew and I are doing, so you’ll be bale to do it yourself

Denny,

I’ve never experimented with first wort hops before, but am thinking of using them in a beer where I do a 120 min boil. Is it okay to leave FWH in for 2 hours?

Thanks,

King Gorf

I now use FWH exclusively rather than 60 min. One reason is that I tend to fill my 15 gallon boil kettle very close to the top when making a 10 gallon recipe. Of course, when you get that boiling and add the 60 min hops, you tend to get a sudden increased risk of boil over. I do not worry about that with FWH.

So, maybe not the scientific taste test method; but it sure works for me and I like the results.

Example - here is my Porter from Sunday’s brew waiting for the boil (hops are already in):


http://s170.photobucket.com/user/tookalisten/media/photo1_zps49c308bb.jpg.html

Same here. I do have IPA recipes with 30- and 10- minute additions but I find that the above approach is a great, predictable, way to hop an IPA.

[quote=“KingGorf”]Denny,

I’ve never experimented with first wort hops before, but am thinking of using them in a beer where I do a 120 min boil. Is it okay to leave FWH in for 2 hours?

Thanks,

King Gorf[/quote]
This is a great question. For a normal bittering hop addition, there is no problem with leaving the hops in longer. Hops yield almost all of their bittering compounds by about the 1 hour mark, which may be one reason why a 1 hour boil is the standard. But when it comes to the chemistry that is responsible for FWH smoothness of bittering and flavor fixing, I have no idea if that would change with an extended boil.

Sorry I can’t answer the question for you, but I hope someone can.

[quote=“KingGorf”]Denny,

I’ve never experimented with first wort hops before, but am thinking of using them in a beer where I do a 120 min boil. Is it okay to leave FWH in for 2 hours?

Thanks,

King Gorf[/quote]

Sure, no problem.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“KingGorf”]Denny,

I’ve never experimented with first wort hops before, but am thinking of using them in a beer where I do a 120 min boil. Is it okay to leave FWH in for 2 hours?

Thanks,

King Gorf[/quote]

Sure, no problem.[/quote]

Thank you denny!

The Brähery shall brew a “fancy beer” with your yeast strain accordingly.

Do you have a mailing address where i can send it to you?

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