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Whats your favorite bittering hop?

I’m trying to hone in on a favorite bittering hop without brewing 20 batches to find it (although that’s a good idea too!)
So what do you use for say, an IPA?
What’s the AA, the perceived flavor/ bitterness and do you use it as a First wort hopping or at the start of the boil?

I generally have about 7 or 8 kinds of hops on hand at any one time. So, I use whatever I have laying around that is getting old or that I don’t use much for flavor or aroma. If I have all good hops, then I’ll tend to pick the one with the highest alpha. If I had to buy all brand new hops, I’d probably go with Magnum or something super high alpha. But I generally do not stock those. Personally I use old/leftover flavor and aroma hops for about 95% of my bittering hop additions. I don’t let anything go to waste. Any leftovers, such as a half ounce here and there, get saved for future use. I generally use up everything within a couple of years. Keeps fine in the freezer.

Same here. Just be careful to not use inappropriate varieties for certain beers. I wouldn’t use C-hops for most lagers, while noble hops can go in anything. Magnum goes in pretty much anything also, and I’ll typically keep some of them in the freezer.

[quote=“Gr8abe”]I’m trying to hone in on a favorite bittering hop without brewing 20 batches to find it (although that’s a good idea too!)
So what do you use for say, an IPA?
What’s the AA, the perceived flavor/ bitterness and do you use it as a First wort hopping or at the start of the boil?[/quote]

Chinook for IPA for me. Around 13-15% AA, sharp, biting, piney. Makes a killer FWH and bittering addition. I just made a beer using it for both. Of course, the choice will vary depending on style. I don’t have an all around favorite.

Bought a pound of Nugget for real cheap last fall? and have been using that for bitter with good enough results

Summit has become my favorite bittering hop. I also use magnum a lot in darker styles. A pound last me a long time due to their high AA, with 5 gallon batches.

Sam, what is it you like about Summit for bittering? I mean, I’ve used it for that and liked it, but what makes it your favorite? Magnum is a great hop for bittering, but I reserve it for times when I want a more restrained bitterness. For the APA/AIPA I usually make, I like something a little more “slap you in the face”!

I’m lazy and I buy my hops in bulk, so I try to use one of my late hops for bittering whenever appropriate. This keeps me from opening and resealing another bag just for my bittering addition. So for me most continental styles are being bittered with Ultra or Sterling.

If I was picking a hop specifically for its bittering qualities, then I use Magnum when I want a smooth bittering and either Chinook or Columbus when I want a nice sharp bite. I have been gravitating to Nugget a lot lately because it’s a nice middle ground. It’s not as mellow as something like Magnum or a noble hop, but its not as abrasive as something like Chinook.

Chinook for me, also makes a nice flavor and aroma hop. Magnum, Warrior and Nugget are nice as well. I don’t care for Columbus as the bitterness seems to dominate the beer IMHO.

Sam, what is it you like about Summit for bittering? I mean, I’ve used it for that and liked it, but what makes it your favorite? Magnum is a great hop for bittering, but I reserve it for times when I want a more restrained bitterness. For the APA/AIPA I usually make, I like something a little more “slap you in the face”![/quote]

I suppose I am slightly biased because it was our go-to bittering hop at walking man, and I really liked the bitterness in our beers. I’ve found that’s it’s a midway point between sharp and smooth bitterness. I’ve never get the ‘slap’ like I would with Chinook or Cascade, but I typically don’t aim for that - even in an IPA. I always found it to be more crisp and not lingering. It always seemed to me that magnum can hide the true IBU because it’s so restrained like you mentioned. Where as Summit doesn’t hide the IBU, but it doesn’t stick around either.

I suppose other factors could be in play here. I’ve never actually done a side by side with the same recipe and summit vs something else. It’s just all the recipe’s that I’ve made with summit, I’ve been very satisfied with the bitterness.

edit: when I’ve done side by sides with the same malt bill and different hops, I’ve kept my bittering addition the same and changed the flavor/aroma hops. I like my IPA’s with more hop flavor/aroma and restrained yet present bitterness

Thanks, man. Great explanation.

No problem! Chinook used to be my favorite, but in the last year or so, my tastes have swayed toward less “slap” heavy beers.

Probably just a fad though, haha. :cheers:

There are so many different styles of beer to brew that choosing one favorite bittering hop just ain’t gonna work.
If I absolutely had to choose one bittering hop only it would have to be something fairly smooth so that I could make the beer with the later additions.

For IPA - I use Magnum about 80% of the time; but recently picked up some Warrior and like that as well.

I also will occasionally use Northern Brewer if I have some extra in the freezer that I have not used in a while.

I don’t have one. Nothing that I can say. Just bitter for me. I’ll do the rest.

I use magnum pretty much exclusively in my recipes for bittering regardless of style. The bitterness character has been at the very bottom of my list of things to experiment with but now I’m wondering if I should re-brew one of my recipes with something like Chinook to see the difference it makes .

Galaxy is another hop with a super harsh bitterness

Magnum for IPA is definitely good

To my tastes, Magnum is too wimpy for an IPA. I like an IPA to have a “slap” to it and Magnum is just too smooth. YMMV.

I brewed my way through a pound of Magnum a few years ago, and I agree that I wasn’t impressed with it for bittering IPAs. It was great in most of the other styles I used it for, but with such a high aa%, it was at times hard to fine-tune the bitterness.

Now I’m using Warrior as an all-purpose bittering hop and it’s been just fine so far.

Right now I’m drinking a glass of my Batch #100 - house IPA. I did a 2 oz FWH addition of homegrown Zeus, and it’s really nice. Maybe a bit too much, but I’d describe it as a very crisp, firm bitterness. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the bitterness really lingers.

After reading S.Scoggin’s post, I’m interested in giving Summit a shot.

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