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Hop Scheduling

Lately, I’ve been thinking alot about the effect of the timing on hop additions. We all know that the standard bittering addition is at 60 minutes. This maximizes the isomeration of the alpha acids to extract the most bittering potential of the hop. This makes perfect sense to me. The next addition is the flavor addition. These are usually added anywhere from 30 minutes to around 10 minutes. The first question is, when formulating a recipe, how do I determine whether I want 30, 10, or somewhere in between? For me the answer is usually half at 30, half at 10. Am I missing the 20 minute sweet spot of hop flavor extraction? And when do flavor additions morph into aroma additions? 10, 5, 0?

Because of my total lack of knowledge in the finer points of hopping (despite reading several entire articles/magazines/chapters in books devoted to specifically this subject), I usually find my homemade recipes just going something along the lines of a 20/10/0 schedule. The idea is that I maximize and balance flavor and aroma sorta at the same time. This last 30 minutes of hopping is something I fully intend to explore with my Crystal 40. It’s currently at 30/10/0 with an increasing amount of hops as it goes along. My thinking is it takes more hops to impart aroma than it does flavor which, of course, is a theory I totally pulled out of nowhere. It seems that Dogfish Head has the right idea. Rather than trying to analyze what times best contribute to what aspects of the hops, they just start throwing ’em in, a little at a time, throughout the whole boil. They definitely took the RDWHAHB approach and I can attest that I have created a few beers using this method and they were excellent.

The one main gripe I have about this method is all the hops thrown in between 59.5 minutes and about 30 minutes. If everything I’ve read is correct (which I hope it is or why else am I reading it), flavor and aroma are totally destroyed after more than 30 minutes of boiling. So, the only thing we’re getting out of this is bittering, except at a much lower utilization than the ones thrown in at 60. They could extract the same bittering potential by adding all their hops at 60 with a lower overall usage.

After all this rambling, I’m finally getting around to my actual point. For my next round of Crystal 40, I think I am going to modify my hop schedule in the last 30 minutes. I’ll stick with the 0.5 ounce of Chinook at 60, but for the remaining hops (2 oz Cascade), I’m just going to continuous hop it from 30-0. I’m hoping it will provide a more well-rounded interpretation of the hop.

Stay tuned for part 2 when I intend to ramble on about First Wort Hopping and Dry-hopping.

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Updated Recipes

Hey all,
I updated my recipe page with my three most recently completed recipes. Following my new policy where I don’t post the recipe until I know how it tastes, I still have three more recipes that I’ve brewed but haven’t yet posted. Those are my Barleywine, Summer Wheat, and another IPA. The Summer Wheat and IPA are getting kegged this week so I will be trying them soon. The Barleywine has several more months to go. The three new ones posted are:

  • Also, for a complete list of all my recipes, check out my Recipes page.

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    Developing a house beer

    One of my projects for this year is to develop a house beer, something that I will always have on tap and will always taste roughly the same. Up until, I have not brewed the same thing twice and had no desire to repeat my previous offerings. Not that they weren’t good, I just wanted something new. Now, I want to create something that people can recognize as ‘simmering pale ale’ or whatever… My requirements are that it must be approximately 5% ABV, it must have no more than 3 types of grain, two different hops, and it must use either Nottingham or US-05 dry yeast. This is to make it easy to always have the ingredients on hand and also to keep the beer cheap.

    In my opinion, the two best pale ale’s out there are probably Sierra Nevada and Stone. The SN is more of the classic Cascade-based American Pale Ale while the Stone is a maltier British pale with a more subdued hop character. I think ultimately, I would lean towards the Sierra Nevada style but plan on adding a bit more hop aroma. To help me in my recipe fomulation, I’d like to get some opinions on the best pale ale they’ve had. In the comments, let me know if you liked something else and also what made it so good.

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    Check out my recipes

    A big part of this blog will be my recipes.  I will probably talk about formulating them, brewing them, tweaking them, and what not.  So, I’ve created a recipes section of all the beer I’ve made.  Check it out.

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