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Pre Boil Hop Addition

What’s that called when you add all your hops to your kettle before boil? I remember reading about this years ago, say you brew a pale ale with 3 oz of hops and instead of having 3 different times to pitch your hops 60,30,5 you just throw them all in before the boil. It’s suppose to give you all your bitterness, flavor and aroma.
Anyone try this? Seems to me all the aroma would boil away and you would end up with way more bitterness?

It is called first wort hop. Which I do on many different brews.

But I have never done FWH only. I calculate my first wort hops as a 20 minute addition. So I still add bittering, flavor, and aroma hop additions.

You also get less harsh bitterness with first wort hop additions.

First Wort Hopping


First Wort Hopping is a bittering technique where you provide a flavor/aroma hop addition into the warm wort as it is received from your mash tun before boiling. As the boil kettle fills, the hops immediately begin releasing their oils into the wort. Because they are added below boiling temperature, where the coumpunds that provide aroma to your beer normally boil off, the oils are converted to more soluble compounds in the liquid, and do not boil off as readily during the boil. You should use some of the hops that you would normally use in the last 20 minutes of your boil.
Common wisdom says that the amount of bittering imparted to your beer is roughly equivalent to the same hops added for 20 minutes. However, there is still some debate over this fact on the online message boards.


The technique is quite straight-forward. Add a portion of your lower-acid aroma or flavor hops into your boil kettle by themselves right before you are ready to drain your mash tun. As you drain your mash tun the warm wort will start to go to work on the hops. The easiest way to calculate the final IBU contribution is to use a software program like BeerSmith. I usually set my first wort hop addition to 90 minutes because I am a batch sparger, and it takes me about a half hour to get all the wort into the kettle.


First Wort Hopping seems to result in a bit more refined hop aroma. The bitterness is less harsh and more uniform. It is something I would encourage you to try for yourself to see the differences.


The only real disadvantage I can see in this technique is the difficulty you may have in calculating exacly the amount of IBU imparted. Sparges never really take exactly the same length of time, and other variables always seem to come into play in even the best brew day. But, hey, the worst that can happen is you have a bit hoppier beer … not a bad thing in my personal estimation.

Appropriate Beer Styles

I would not use this technique in beer styles that do not showcase the hop flavor and aroma as one of the major constituents of the beer. Try this in APA, IPA, ESB, and even hop-forward Pilsner style beers.

Thanks guys, it’s all coming back to me now. I took a couple years off and now just getting back into brewing. I used to do all grain but have downsized to 2.5 gl extract batches. Next batch I’ll add first hop addition before boil.

NB has an altbier that is 3oz of hops as a first wort addition and that’s it. I made it and it was fantastic. It was a great beer and would recommend it (or at least look at their recipe when considering how you’ll make yours). … ltbier.pdf

When you first wort hop, do you leave the hops in the kettle for the entire boil, or remove them once you achieve boiling? If you left them in, it seems like you’d really crank up your bitterness.


Leave them in the whole time. I don’t find the bitterness to go up that much due to the way the oils break down at the lower pre boil temps.

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