Author Topic: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...  (Read 1052 times)

Offline mchrispen

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Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« on: February 11, 2015, 03:07:49 AM »
It seems that the hopback has been dethroned by hopstands and whirlpool additions. I have a large hopback and would like to explore doing a hopback only IPA... the question is how to account (if at all) for utilization. I have done one beer with it - and the character was quite a bit different than the same recipe doing a stand.


So, I plan to recirculate through the hopback at flame out, using an appropriately large sum of whole hops. I will recirculate for at least 15 minutes back through the kettle, this will stand for 30. I will recharge the hopback with finishing hops and knockout and chill to pitching temps (convoluted counterflow) into a sealed fermenter.


The hope is that the second charge will seal in volatiles and get all of the goodies into the fermenter. A portion of the wort will be dry hopped, to help determine if that helps with more aroma intensity and if it is required.


Beer Smith seems to calculate flameout stands much like late additions, but I am not all that confident in it... the previously mentioned beer was simply not as bitter as projected (APA bitterness but tons of hop flavor). I split 50% of the expected bitterness to the hopback...


thoughts?

Offline jeffy

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 12:26:46 PM »
There was a seminar on this at last year's NHC by Matthew Brown.  You can probably look it up on the AHA site.  He found an amazing amount of tested bitterness in spite of no bittering addition.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 01:11:17 PM »
In my experience, whirlpool IBU's taste a lot smoother than boil additions. I brewed a hopstand-only IPA that was measured at 98 IBU's in a lab, but tasted more like 60 IBU's of a real clean bittering hop to me. I'm not sure if there's something going on with the chemistry, or if it's just that the massive hop flavor creates a balance that makes the bittering seem less potent.

If you want some bite to your beer, you might want to keep maybe a third of your target IBU's at 60 minutes from a sharp bittering hop like Rakau, Columbus or Chinook.
Eric B.

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 01:54:00 PM »
I am a very bad man! Matthew Brown's original work for the AHA REF is still languishing on my computer and has not been forwarded for inclusion in the REF information because I have my thumb in my a$$. Fortunately, you can get an indication of Matthew's work from his presentation at the Grand Rapids conference last summer.

As Jeff mentions, the use of a hopback did produce very substantial bittering. However, it needs to be known that Matthew's work included a bittering charge in the hopback during the transfer of the wort from the tun into the kettle. So there was ample opportunity for the alpha acids to isomerize in the kettle and contribute their bittering. So, there were no hops or hop matter in the kettle and there was still substantial bittering.

Yes, Matthew also did a split of the batch and used the hopback again to post-boil hop half the batch. Those at the conference presentation tasted both beers and they were good.

A very interesting use of a hopback.

Yes, I'll un-thumb myself and get that research article on its way to AHA.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 02:03:23 PM »
I am a very bad man! Matthew Brown's original work for the AHA REF is still languishing on my computer and has not been forwarded for inclusion in the REF information because I have my thumb in my a$$. Fortunately, you can get an indication of Matthew's work from his presentation at the Grand Rapids conference last summer.

As Jeff mentions, the use of a hopback did produce very substantial bittering. However, it needs to be known that Matthew's work included a bittering charge in the hopback during the transfer of the wort from the tun into the kettle. So there was ample opportunity for the alpha acids to isomerize in the kettle and contribute their bittering. So, there were no hops or hop matter in the kettle and there was still substantial bittering.

Yes, Matthew also did a split of the batch and used the hopback again to post-boil hop half the batch. Those at the conference presentation tasted both beers and they were good.

A very interesting use of a hopback.

Yes, I'll un-thumb myself and get that research article on its way to AHA.

That was one of those presentations that makes one go - What? Then you say - Got to try that! I need to get off of my duff and do that. Transfer through the hop rocket from mash to kettle. Use the hop rocket at the end and the counterflow.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 02:17:25 PM »
Interesting idea... Sparge through the hop back.

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 04:50:35 PM »
Martin - thanks for the link. That was very interesting. You are quite the host as well.


I sent a note off to Matthew this morning - looking forward to hearing his thoughts.

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2015, 04:47:38 PM »
http://accidentalis.com/archives/1051

So my friend Neil and I decided to give it a go, but without lautering through the hopback. Turns out a 1.5 gallon vessel barely holds 12 ounces of whole hops, and drops the flow rate such that circulation through is a bit non-practical. Of course, we made a bloody mess of my garage floors and lost a significant amount of wort.

Had a ball though (you will get it when you see the 10" wad of spent hops). PSA - that stuff is HOT to handle!

I decided to throw the hop ball and the worn out nylon bag it was in into our big garbage can... for the very first time, I can truly say I like the smell of that can! Nothing like cascade and centennial!

Offline erockrph

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Re: Question about hop utilization in a hopback...
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2015, 08:08:51 PM »
http://accidentalis.com/archives/1051

So my friend Neil and I decided to give it a go, but without lautering through the hopback. Turns out a 1.5 gallon vessel barely holds 12 ounces of whole hops, and drops the flow rate such that circulation through is a bit non-practical. Of course, we made a bloody mess of my garage floors and lost a significant amount of wort.

Had a ball though (you will get it when you see the 10" wad of spent hops). PSA - that stuff is HOT to handle!

I decided to throw the hop ball and the worn out nylon bag it was in into our big garbage can... for the very first time, I can truly say I like the smell of that can! Nothing like cascade and centennial!
Yep, brewing an IPA soundly beats Febreeze for freshening garbage cans :)
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer