Author Topic: Maximizing hop flavor  (Read 2411 times)

Offline BrewBama

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Maximizing hop flavor
« on: May 31, 2020, 12:46:53 PM »
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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« Last Edit: May 31, 2020, 02:02:55 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline denny

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2020, 02:08:38 PM »
I have been getting amazing hop flavor by dry hopping for 48 hours at 35F.  Using cryo for that makes it even better.  I have pretty much stopped doing hop stands and whirlpool hops.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2020, 04:04:41 PM »
This is something I have chased for all the years I've been homebrewing - an intense hop flavor in my beer. This started a few years before the "New England IPA" thing got big. There was some information that came out quite a few years back from some tasting panel experiments run by Ray Daniels that showed that maximum hop flavor was achieved by an 80 minute whirlpool at 180F, IIRC. I know Randy Mosher referred to this on a few podcasts and/or NHC talks probably 5 or 6 years ago.

This was a big breakthrough for me. I started focusing on extended hop stands at varying temperatures, for varying amounts of time, with varying quantities of hops, and with/without dry hops. I still haven't hit on one single magic formula yet, but I have identified several trends based on my results.

1) More hops = more flavor. That seems obvious, but the first thing to try if you're looking to increase the hop flavor in your beer is to double the amount of hops you're using. There is a bit of a diminishing return as you use more and more hops, but I use 2-4 oz/gallon for my target hopping rate - usually around 2/3 at whirlpool and 1/3 as dry hops.

2) Dry hops add quite a bit of flavor, they aren't just for aroma. A lot of flavor comes from the whirlpool hops, but I did several "whirlpool-only" batches and found them to be missing some of the brighter fresh citrus and pine notes compared to brews using both whirlpool and dry hops.

3) Warmer/longer whirlpools or hop stands get you more flavor. I've tried cooler temps and shorter times, but I get noticably more flavor from a 90 minute hop stand that is kept hot. I generally add the hops at flameout, after all boiling activity has stopped, and turn the heat back for a bit on when it dips close to 170F.

4) Not all varieties pack the same punch. You really want a lot of hops that are high in oil content. I use Citra in pretty much all of my IPA's. Even if it's not the dominant flavor I'm looking for, it really boosts the oil content.

5) More hops means more vegetal/grassy flavor. This is pretty much the bane of all heavily-hopped IPA's. I have yet to find a way to completely separate the flavors I want in my beers from the ones that I don't want. I've seen some trends, but nothing I'm willing to claim as conclusive.
  • Cold storage seems to reduce grassiness faster than it reduces hop flavor. But who wants to lager an IPA for 3-6 months...
  • Whole hops might lead to less grassiness than pellets. I'm not 100% convinced of this yet, but I've brewed a few beers that used a portion of the hops as leaf that had noticibly less grassiness than all-pellet beers. Unfortunately, many of my favorite hops (Vic Secret, Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy) aren't generally available as whole cones.
  • I've done some experimenting with Polyclar, but I haven't noticed much of a change in the end results of my beers.
Yeast is something I haven't played with too much. A lot of my experimentation was done before the NEIPA thing got big, and I used US-05 for almost all of my IPA's. I know certain strains definitely seem to decrease hop flavor; so it's not unreasonable to think that some can enhance it.
Eric B.

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Offline denny

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2020, 04:36:14 PM »
That's why I started doing the 48/hr. 35F hopping.  Fewer objectionable components
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Offline tommymorris

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Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2020, 04:38:57 PM »
I have stopped doing flameout additions and hop stands. I add hops to the keg.  I wait until the beer has chilled and wait until after letting gelatin settle out if adding gelatin.

You can taste the beer before and after this addition and the keg hops add tons of flavor. They need to be in the keg about a week for the grassy flavors to mellow. Then it is all hop goodness until the keg kicks.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2020, 04:45:25 PM »
That's why I started doing the 48/hr. 35F hopping.  Fewer objectionable components
Do you this in the keg, then pull the hops after 48 hours, or do you do this in the fermentor prior to transferring to the keg? Have you noticed a difference compared to just adding hops to the keg and leaving them in there cold?
Eric B.

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Offline denny

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2020, 06:03:04 PM »
That's why I started doing the 48/hr. 35F hopping.  Fewer objectionable components
Do you this in the keg, then pull the hops after 48 hours, or do you do this in the fermentor prior to transferring to the keg? Have you noticed a difference compared to just adding hops to the keg and leaving them in there cold?

In the fermenter prior to kegging.  I crash to 35 for 2-3 days, dry hop for 48 hours (which sometimes gets extended to 72 due to schedule), then keg.  And yeah, I do feel like it's better, but it's been so long since I keg hopped I can't say for sure.  I do seem to get less tannic burn than I recall from keg hopping.  Possibly because I'd add them to a keg, then chill.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2020, 06:37:09 PM »
That's why I started doing the 48/hr. 35F hopping.  Fewer objectionable components
Do you this in the keg, then pull the hops after 48 hours, or do you do this in the fermentor prior to transferring to the keg? Have you noticed a difference compared to just adding hops to the keg and leaving them in there cold?

In the fermenter prior to kegging.  I crash to 35 for 2-3 days, dry hop for 48 hours (which sometimes gets extended to 72 due to schedule), then keg.  And yeah, I do feel like it's better, but it's been so long since I keg hopped I can't say for sure.  I do seem to get less tannic burn than I recall from keg hopping.  Possibly because I'd add them to a keg, then chill.
Thanks, Denny! I'm looking forward to trying this on my next dry hopped beer.
Eric B.

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Offline dls5492

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2020, 06:46:55 PM »
I have been getting amazing hop flavor by dry hopping for 48 hours at 35F.  Using cryo for that makes it even better.  I have pretty much stopped doing hop stands and whirlpool hops.
Denny,
I listened to you talk about this on the latest Beersmith podcast. I am interested in trying it. Thanks for sharing.
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Offline denny

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2020, 07:03:05 PM »
I have been getting amazing hop flavor by dry hopping for 48 hours at 35F.  Using cryo for that makes it even better.  I have pretty much stopped doing hop stands and whirlpool hops.
Denny,
I listened to you talk about this on the latest Beersmith podcast. I am interested in trying it. Thanks for sharing.

Sure!  Check put the article it came from...https://bsgcraftbrewing.com/reevaluating-dry-hop-techniques
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2020, 07:28:19 PM »
Thanks folks. I am certainly willing to try a change. I do believe the hop stand/whirlpool isn’t getting me the most bang for the buck. ...at least at the temp/time I am using it.

I also think I’m probably not using enough hops to dry hop with. The sauce needs more salt to make it pop so to speak.

I think I’m going to double up on qty and add them after cold and cleared — kind of a combination between all the recommendations above.

One more question about using Cryo: I’ve not used them and am thinking a hop sack is probably worthless as they probably turn to powder and dissolve. Is there anything y’all do to contain them like I do with whole cone and pellets in the keg, or do you let them go commando?


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Offline denny

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2020, 07:49:08 PM »
Thanks folks. I am certainly willing to try a change. I do believe the hop stand/whirlpool isn’t getting me the most bang for the buck. ...at least at the temp/time I am using it.

I also think I’m probably not using enough hops to dry hop with. The sauce needs more salt to make it pop so to speak.

I think I’m going to double up on qty and add them after cold and cleared — kind of a combination between all the recommendations above.

One more question about using Cryo: I’ve not used them and am thinking a hop sack is probably worthless as they probably turn to powder and dissolve. Is there anything y’all do to contain them like I do with whole cone and pellets in the keg, or do you let them go commando?


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I put them in naked. They don't dissolve any more than T90.  But I'm doing it in a conical so its easy to dump ttub.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2020, 08:50:21 PM »
That's why I started doing the 48/hr. 35F hopping.  Fewer objectionable components
What if 35F isn't obtainable in my situation?
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Offline denny

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2020, 09:02:44 PM »
That's why I started doing the 48/hr. 35F hopping.  Fewer objectionable components
What if 35F isn't obtainable in my situation?

Then I guess try as cold as you can get it.  I've only  tried what the article says so you'll be the guinea pig!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Maximizing hop flavor
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2020, 09:27:31 PM »

I put them in naked. They don't dissolve any more than T90.  But I'm doing it in a conical so its easy to dump ttub.

Cool.  Thx!


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