Author Topic: hops and bitterness  (Read 1220 times)

Offline brewmandan

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hops and bitterness
« on: October 13, 2010, 03:05:00 PM »
Hello I am a new brewer and very quickly becoming passionate about brewing (only 4 brews deep in 2 months).  I love drinking well balanced IPA's with great hop flavors, but I hate when they have a strong bitterness aftertaste.  I would love to try brewing a hoppy beer next, but I am worried about overhopping.  If you have tried Lagunitas IPA, that is a prime example of a beer I truly enjoy.  Anyway, my question is how do you get good flavors out of hops with just a subtle bitterness?  Is it due to the types of hops used, or simply a result of brewing techniques like "dry hopping?"
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 11:21:16 PM by brewmandan »

Offline tygo

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 03:12:05 PM »
Time in the boil is the biggest factor in bitterness extraction and flavor.  Boil the hops for longer and you'll get more bitterness and less flavor.  Add them in closer to the end of the boil and you'll get more flavor and less bitterness.  Trial and error will help you figure out what balance is best for you.

Generally the majority of the bittering is coming from 60 minute additions, flavor is more in the 10-20 minute range, and aroma comes from 0-5 minute additions, or from dry hopping.  Dry hopping will add only hop aroma.
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Offline brewmandan

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 03:24:14 PM »
Thank you that is very helpful.  Are there any specific hops you would recommend as well?  Or do the % of Alpha Acids have any influence?

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 03:28:48 PM »
This is one to read.
http://www.realbeer.com/hops/FAQ.html

This one is also worth a read.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/2501/IBUs.pdf

This one may be what you want to do.  Late hopping or hopbursting.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/1249/MJzym06_LateHops.pdf

These might be a little too detailed at first, but they are good to have bookmarked for later when it makes more sense.

Oxidized Beta acids can add some bitterness in dryhopping, how much can be answered by "it depends".
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 03:31:13 PM »
Thank you that is very helpful.  Are there any specific hops you would recommend as well?  Or do the % of Alpha Acids have any influence?

I find some like Magnum to be clean, while Chinook can be harsh.
The % of AA for the hops and time in the boil have the biggest influence.  Higher AA% gives more bitterness, longer boil gives more bitterness out a X amount of a hop.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 04:45:56 PM »
Lagunitas IPA, that is a prime example of a beer I truly enjoy. 

You are in luck.
Here is the recipe and technique how to make it.
http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/507

Anyway, my question is how do you get good flavors out of hops with just a subtle bitterness?  Is it due to the types of hops used, or simply a result of brewing techniques like "dry hopping?"

Usually late hop additions will give you bitterness without lingering bitterness.
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Offline ipaguy

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2010, 07:08:00 AM »
Besides the alpha acid (AA) percentage of the hop variety, another factor is cohumulone content.  Cohumulone supposedly has a more harsh, clinging bitterness than humulone.  I like nugget hops for my IPA; although they have a high AA percentage they are a low cohumulone variety.  For bittering hops you should check the AA% on the package and adjust the amount used.  For example, if your recipe calls for 1 oz of 4%AA hops, you would use 1/2 oz of 8%AA hops.  Also keep in mind that pellets are going to give you around 15% more bitterness that whole hops.
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Offline Kirk

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2010, 02:12:18 AM »
My new "ism" is this:  The easy way to test how a hop really tastes, and what impact it will have on your wort, is to make a tea with it.  How it smells in the bag, or tastes dry, has led me astray for a long time.  I've learned a great deal (and have been quite surprised) by making teas out of many of our LHBS hops, and kept notes.  It's changed how I brew, especially that now I taste the wort several times in the process (i.e., before adding hops, after adding hops).  I'm done with relying on written descriptions or recipes.
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Offline roguejim

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2010, 02:24:37 AM »
I'm a very recent convert to generous late hopping due to this recipe here: http://beerdujour.com/Recipes/AmarilloPaleAle.htm

Brew it per the recipe(I used US-05 yeast, however).  Drink it.  You will likely brew it again, and you will learn first hand what late hopping can do.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2010, 06:01:15 AM »
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is water.  After all, water is the single most voluminous of the four primary ingredients of beer.  For the smoothest possible bitterness, definitely do not add any salts such as gypsum or calcium chloride, etc.  If you use anything more than the softest water, the minerals present could further impact bitterness.  You could consider splitting your normal water 50/50 with distilled water, or even use 100% distilled water for the softest bitterness.  Things to think about.
Dave

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Offline brewmichigan

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2010, 07:48:38 AM »
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is water.  After all, water is the single most voluminous of the four primary ingredients of beer.  For the smoothest possible bitterness, definitely do not add any salts such as gypsum or calcium chloride, etc.  If you use anything more than the softest water, the minerals present could further impact bitterness.  You could consider splitting your normal water 50/50 with distilled water, or even use 100% distilled water for the softest bitterness.  Things to think about.

I second all of this. Part of the reason you may want to dilute your water with RO is if you have very high bi-carbonates. I find that my water ( which is around 100ppm bi-carb) will usually make a beer with a longer lasting bitterness on the back of your tongue. By diluting it with RO, I get a much smoother beer but still with a good bitterness to it. It's just not as harsh or lingering.
Mike --- Flint, Michigan

Offline pyrite

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 09:27:19 PM »
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is water.  After all, water is the single most voluminous of the four primary ingredients of beer.  For the smoothest possible bitterness, definitely do not add any salts such as gypsum or calcium chloride, etc.  If you use anything more than the softest water, the minerals present could further impact bitterness.  You could consider splitting your normal water 50/50 with distilled water, or even use 100% distilled water for the softest bitterness.  Things to think about.

If you do brew with 100% distilled water there will be little to no ions left in the water to interact and make chemical reaction go.  No ions left in the water will cause all kinds of problems, conversion of sugars will be and issue, low extraction in both sugar and hop extractions, and in most cases the clarity of the beer will also be effected. 
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: hops and bitterness
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 07:29:06 PM »
My experience disagrees that distilled water is detrimental.  I have brewed at least a half dozen beers with distilled water, and a few of them have been in my Top 10 beers I ever made (out of 80 total batches).  I experienced no problems with conversion -- efficiencies ranged from 71% for several of them, to a whopping 96% for my light lager.  No discernible problems with clarity or bitterness either.  Methinks that malt has enough ions in it to cover 90% of what your beer and yeast need.  Based on everything I have read and heard, the primary thing that you *might* want to consider adding for proper yeast health is zinc, and even then, you only need a zillionth of an ounce for 5 gallons.  And of course, I never added any and my beers turned out great.  So, while on a theoretical level I can't disagree that the lack of nutrients *might* have some impact on beer quality, my experience says not to worry about it, not at all.  FWIW.
Dave

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