My question is: how do you get maximum hop flavor?
I have been experimenting with late hop additions added in 1 to 2 oz increments per variety in a beginning 7.5 gal boil — ending at 6.5 gal: at 175*F for a 20 min stand, flame out, 5 min, 10 min, etc. and working upwards to achieve desired bitterness. It takes more hops to achieve desired bitterness but the additional hops late are supposed to add more flavor than traditionally starting at 60 min and working down.
However, I am not getting the hop flavor I expected. Based on the reference linked below, the author says to abandon the steep and instead add hops at flameout or even 5-10 min at the latest. However, contradictory information says I should simply hop stand/whirlpool longer. https://alchemyoverlord.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/techniques-for-maximizing-hop-flavor-and-aroma/
The author writes:
“According to Papazian (The Home Brewer’s Companion, p. 68), flavor is maximized at 10 minutes before flameout. I’ve found increased hop flavor by adding hops at flameout and then letting the wort cool naturally (with the lid on) for 10 minutes. There is a lot of room for experimentation here.”
“It seems that boiling temperatures will decrease hop flavor if applied long enough (e.g. greater than 15 minutes), but it may also be that that (near) boiling temperatures are needed in order to bring out hop flavor.”
...and this is what I think I have stumbled upon:
“Don’t Use Hop Stands for Long Periods of Time
Keeping hops in the wort at various sub-boiling temperatures for 60 minutes adds maybe some extra body, but little to no additional hop flavor. A 45-minute hop stand at 170°F seems to add no hop flavor. On the other hand, a 10-minute hop stand (with hops added at flameout) can produce very nice hop flavor. The take-away message seems to be that long hop stands (45 minutes or more) don’t add hop flavor; shorter hop stands (around 10 minutes) do, although temperature may also be a factor. Even at sub-boiling temperatures, steeping for too long removes (or fails to produce) that wonderful hop flavor. Are the sub-boiling temperatures of a hop stand beneficial to flavor, or do the flavor benefits come mostly from the amount of time of the steep? I don’t know.”
...but this seems controversial:
“Cover the Kettle After Late-Hop Additions
The effect is very small, but covering the kettle after late-hop additions (i.e. no greater than 10 minutes before flameout) may provide some increase in hop flavor. For hop-forward ales, there is minimal risk of high DMS levels caused covering the kettle for a few minutes.”
There are contradictory articles as well. Brad Smith’s BYO article and and Van Havig’s MBAA paper both say flameout with a long (90 min) hop stand is a better use of hops for flavor.
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