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What exactly does leaf hops absorb in the wort?

I plan to make an IPA this fall with my homegrown Chinook, Cascade and Amalia. I plan to have in the neigborhood of 13oz of leaf hops in this 5.5 gallon beer. The rule of thumb has been to assume leaf hops will absorb 0.1 qt of wort per ounce of hops. I started to wonder though it all components of the wort are absorbed equally by the leaf hops. In other words, do they absorb mostly water, or do they absorb plenty of sugar too? It’s a moot point for most beers, but in this beer, I’m looking at factoring in 1.3 qts of additional volume to compensate for the absorption and wondered if I might need to factor in more malt to keep the ABV and backbone where I want it. I already know that I’m playing with fire in using bittering hops of unknown AA%, but I’ve already done it multiple times with other beers for two years now and been happy with the results. Thanks.

Are you talking dry or wet leaf hops. I dry mine. It’s hard to know what you will get from them. What I do is bitter with pellets so I can get the IBU I want. Then use the cones late and dry hop. I add a little more water and top off. You may want to use a little more grain or be prepared to add DME if your OG falls short

Thanks for the response. These are dried leaf hops. I’ll take a chance. I’ll have 12 to 13lbs of malt in this recipe. With at least 80% predicted efficiency in my system, I’m hoping to still be fine on the OG.

The sugar is dissolved in the water so everything will be absorbed equally.

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Awesome, thank you, Denny!

Another related question comes to mind: I usually aim for a post-boil volume of 5.5 gallons (I measure the volume every 15 minutes during the boil to keep myself on target). My goal is to have about 5 gallons in the fermenter once hot break and hop debris is left behind in the BK. If we’re adding a lot of leaf hops which will undoubtedly create a significant volume displacement, how do you figure out how much actual wort you will have in your BK to transfer to your fermenter? Is there a rough volume displacement calculation per ounce of leaf hops out there? Thanks.

Normally I start with a pre boil volume of 6.5 to end at 5.5. I scale my recipe up to 7 galon pre boil when using 4 or 5 ounces of dry cone hops. Gets me pretty close. The thing is when I’m using homegrown I make what I call my harvest ale because every year the hops are different so it’s always going to make a little difference in the beer. It may be a problem if you are trying to substitute in a recipe you normally make with store bought pellet hops. Just my opinion of homegrown hops though.

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Me got question some one did send me fresh hops by mail. They do say its zeus hops. Not real sure on when to use them. Me thinking flame out or dryhop

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Yeah, that would work. They’re also great for bittering.

Kind of hard to figure IBU from untested hops no?

Thats what i was thinking. Dont trust it so much

True, but it’s easy to make a ballpark guess. And it depends on what’s meant by “fresh”…are they wet (undried)? If os, they probably wouldn’t be great for bittering, and the 5:1 rule would apply. Use 5x as much as if they were dry. OTOH, if “fresh” means recently harvested cones, they could be used for bittering with the ballpark guess method.

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