Back in one of the other articles I wrote, I screwed up on my hop addition times and delivered information that was not correct. We had one of our writers catch it and privately told us instead of publicly humiliating me (as he should have). After that, I decided to read up again and then post the proper information.
There are 3 additions in your boil, bittering, taste and aroma
Bittering will typically happen at the 60 minute mark, or at the 90 minute mark if you like super hoppy IPAs. Bittering is best left to the high alpha acid hop cultivars. It will take less of them to get your IBU levels where you want them. One of the last brews I did, I used a higher alpha acid hop, centennial 11.5% AA, to bitter my brew and followed it up with a hop similar in citrusy characteristics; Cascade made up the other hop additions. When bittering, most flavor and aroma will be stripped away by the long boil time, but there may be residual tastes and it is always nice to compliment those.
Flavor additions are dropped in between 30 minutes to 5 minutes left in the boil. This is going to be a balancing act. The closer you are to the 30 minute mark, the more IBU’s and less taste, the closer to the 5 minute mark the more taste and aroma and the less IBU’s it will add. This is a job better suited to your lower AA hops. Of course this isn’t a hard and fast rule. For instance, Citra is a higher AA hop at around 11.5%, but it has a pleasantly assertive tropical citrus character. These are great added at ANY time during the boil.
Aroma addition is from 5-0 minutes, zero also being referred to as knock out. There is a similar principle at play here as there is with the flavor vs bittering addition. Closer to 5 minutes and you can extract some of the yummy flavors, closer to knock out and it is all in the nose. Some people will also throw them in with what they call the whirlpool. While chilling, you are creating a vortex with the wort and further mixing the hops in.
There is a technique being used now that to me, seems rather wasteful, but intriguing. We know that even at 30 minutes, IBU’s are still being contributed by the hops. Some people are taking advantage of this and skipping a 60 min addition and doubling or tripling their 30 minute additions. This gets your IBU’s where they need to be but greatly increases the hop flavor. There is still debate and experimentation going on, but most people seem to be leaning toward a very light 60 min addition, a Hop Burst at 30 and the rest as planned.
I’d love to brew two identical batches from the same wort and hop one the traditional way, and hop burst the other, maybe even add in a third and use a small bittering addition at 60 and hop burst. I guess I have just set up a good experiment to write about.
Written by: Riddei
One of the first members of the MBBL staff, Riddei writes all about homebrewing and some great "Quick Tastes". I'm in the center of it all in Conway. I brew on a budget and make a lot of my own stuff with some help from our DIY guy Josh. Cheers