Author Topic: low alpha hops  (Read 1395 times)

Offline goschman

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low alpha hops
« on: January 26, 2015, 04:32:34 PM »
I just got some Tettnang and Crystal hops that are 2.1% and 2.5% AA respectively. I was expecting something closer to 4.5% or so. I was planning on doing some German style beers with the Tettnang but it doesn't seem worth it to use them for anything but very late kettle additions. Does anyone use hops with this low of AA% for bittering? I am not used to using anything less than 6-7% at all...
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 04:34:42 PM by goschman »
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Offline Stevie

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2015, 04:42:03 PM »
My last two batches of crystal have had a lower AA than expected. Current batch is 2.2% and the previous was somewhere in the high 2's. I used to get it in the low 4's. The earliest I use Crystal is around 20 minutes, so I sub it ounce for ounce. Sub out a good bittering hop if you are concerned with too much hop material in the kettle.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2015, 04:48:16 PM »
I don't bitter with super low AA hops. I use something like Magnum or Perle @ 60 and save the noble hops for late in lagers, and bitter with Warrior, Columbus, or Magnum in ales (depending on style).
Jon H.

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 04:50:51 PM »
Same here - I'd use Perle or Magnum to bitter, but you could toss in a half ounce or so of the low alpha hop to go along for the ride.  Or use as FWH in addition to a higher alpha bittering hop.
Jon Weaver

Offline goschman

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 04:54:58 PM »
Thanks. That was what I was thinking. I use Magnum a lot so I will probably just stick with that. I do have some Northern Brewer to which I suppose would work.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2015, 05:49:45 PM »
Believe it or not, you will get quite a lot of flavor from bittering additions of low-alpha hops, especially German-style hops.  I love to use German-style hops like Hallertau and Mt. Hood and Liberty and Tettnang for bittering purposes, as they add a lovely elegant German spiciness to any beer.  In fact I almost exclusively use them for bittering and find that I don't get nearly the same elegance when added later to the boil.  I find that the wonders of these hops require longer, not shorter, boil time.  Experiment and see for yourself.
Dave

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Offline jeffy

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 05:55:48 PM »
The best Czech Pils I made used 2.5% (if I remember correctly) Saaz hops.  That was a crap ton of hops to get 35 IUB's, but it was excellent.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline kmccaf

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2015, 08:37:36 PM »
I use low alpha to bitter all the time. I find I am quite fond of the kind of bitterness I get with a large addition of low alpha hops to bitter. More so than something clean like Magnum.
Kyle M.

Offline goschman

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2015, 08:48:15 PM »
Well I am brewing a kolsch next. Maybe I will abandon my recipe idea and do one large FWH addition of low alpha Tettnang up to 20-25 IBUs
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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2015, 08:56:45 PM »
I just did a Kolsch with an ounce of Saaz FWH and .5 Mt Hood @60 min for ~25 IBUs and I love it.
Jon Weaver

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2015, 10:30:32 PM »
I just did a Kolsch with an ounce of Saaz FWH and .5 Mt Hood @60 min for ~25 IBUs and I love it.

Yeah, I wasn't very specific - I've used a noble fwh only addition for kolsch and cream ale (as the only bittering addition), but for Pils and other hoppy lagers, I normally use Perle or Magnum.
Jon H.

Offline David Lester

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low alpha hops for bittering is expensive
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2015, 02:28:50 PM »
Low alpha hops for bittering is expensive in the long run. I've typically used the high alpha hops, especially Magnum for bittering, along with low alpha hops at 15-20 min for the hop oils, character and flavor. In fact, I've read that some breweries do the same to hold down costs. However, some of you have noted that you like the character of beer using low alpha hops for bittering. Aren't you at risk of getting a grassy flavor using so many hops? This would be a good challenge to find out which way tastes best. Or, would the two differing versions be similar?


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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: low alpha hops
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2015, 02:42:25 PM »
It's not expensive if you grow your own!  Homebrewers can easily do this.  Part of this is the fear of using homegrowns for bittering because you don't know the exact alpha acid.  So guess on the alpha, experiment and refine your estimate!  I use my homegrowns for bittering ONLY, and I get great results.  Doesn't taste grassy either, although I must say my homegrowns are usually around 5-7% alpha, so they're not necessary "low alpha" depending on your definition.

Experimentation is the best way to decide for yourself whether you're doing the right things with your ingredients and your process.  Don't ever just accept one person's or a thousand peoples' rules of thumb without question.  Question everything, try everything, and be the guy who has fun learning and makes better beer because of it.
Dave

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: low alpha hops for bittering is expensive
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2015, 05:26:47 PM »
Low alpha hops for bittering is expensive in the long run. I've typically used the high alpha hops, especially Magnum for bittering, along with low alpha hops at 15-20 min for the hop oils, character and flavor. In fact, I've read that some breweries do the same to hold down costs. However, some of you have noted that you like the character of beer using low alpha hops for bittering. Aren't you at risk of getting a grassy flavor using so many hops? This would be a good challenge to find out which way tastes best. Or, would the two differing versions be similar?


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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: low alpha hops for bittering is expensive
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2015, 03:30:05 PM »
However, some of you have noted that you like the character of beer using low alpha hops for bittering. Aren't you at risk of getting a grassy flavor using so many hops? This would be a good challenge to find out which way tastes best. Or, would the two differing versions be similar?

To the extent that there is a vegetal character coming through, it may be part of the flavor contribution they are enjoying out of their bittering addition.

I believe the beers referenced here are lagers with a bittering addition and then small late additions--at least compared to the late additions of an IPA. It's probably well below the threshold to produce noticeable grassy flavors. Even using very low AA hops you're not getting anywhere near the vegetable content in these beers that you would get in an IPA, especially at the rate some people unload hops into their hoppy ales.
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