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Thread: First wort hopping

  1. #1
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    First wort hopping

    Wondering if anyone has had experience in first wort hopping to increase aroma. It seems to me to be counterproductive to try and add aroma before the boil and primary fermentation. Maybe I have missunderstood the concept, although I believe Victory uses this method to great success.
    Jason Dunson Todd
    Head Brewer
    Paper City Brewery

  2. #2
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    I've had great success with first wort hopping.

    This is a very popular procedure in Germany (who were the pioneers in first wort hopping). Is your only concern the increase in hop aroma, because there are many other benefits related to it.

    Why don't you try it on a brew or call Victory and ask them ?

  3. #3
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    Actually first wort hopping does a lot more for the hop flavor than it does for aroma, although it certainly adds aroma. It is great for reducing boil overs and it really does add a great depth to the overall flavor of the finished beer. I have done many beers with and without the first wort hopping and it really does make a difference. Try it and let us know what you think.

  4. #4
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    I agree that it does do wonders for preventing boil over. I never did any experiments comparing brews that were made without first wort hops to those with. All the beers that had first wort hopping where I used to be a shift brewer tasted great!
    Steve G

  5. #5
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    First Wort Hopping

    I have expermented with first wort hopping on several beers and have found a increase in hop flavor as well as aroma. You must keep in mind to watch your IBU though for this can change as well.

  6. #6
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    thanks and...

    Thank you all for your responses. Would anyone care to elaborate on leaf vs. pellet use, expected IBU increases or particulars on amounts that you have used?
    Jason Dunson Todd
    Head Brewer
    Paper City Brewery

  7. #7
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    I am intrigued. Am I missing something here ?

    I have never added hops before or at the start of boil primarily to give hop aroma, but only late in the boil, just before casting, in the hop back or whirlpool, in FV, MV or cask.

    Basically the earlier in the boil you add hops, the higher the conversion to iso alph acids and iso beta acids, i.e. the higher the bitterness per unit of hops added. if added very late in the boil, or hop back / whirlpool, FV at end of fermentation, MV, or in cask, tehn you only really get aroma, not bitterness. The higher the gravity wort, the lower the conversion from alpha acids to iso alpha acids.

    People like Tim Taylors make a number of additions at different times during the boil to obtain a fullness (some might describe it as a somewhat vegetable character - but NOT DMS) to their beers.


    Thanks to anyone who would like to clarify what exactly they mean by this term.

    Cheers
    dick

  8. #8
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    Jason,

    Standard parctice as outlined in "The Practical Brewer" is to add one third of your first hop addition to help with the boil over and add aroma. The rest of the bitterinng addition should be made 15 to 30 minutes after the boil to avoid too many of the alpha acids coagulating with hot break as it forms. This was always the technique I used for first wort hopping and bitterness additions when I was a brewer.

    From what I have read, adding about half a pound per 10 barrels of beer of a good not overbearing aroma hop like Mount Hood (the American version of Hallertauer Mittelfrau I believe) should give good results in lighter ales and lagers.


    Dick,

    The whole subject of first wort hopping is counter intuitive to me. From my knowledge of brewing chemistry, I would not expect to get any hop flavor or aroma from adding hops at the beginning of the boil, but the beers I used to make that have had first wort hops had fantastic hop flavor.

    Further, I have read that some brewers swear that hops with delicate aromas such as Saaz give the best results. I don't really know the chemistry behind adding hops into the first wort. From what I know about the chemistry of brewing, I would think that the flavor contribution of such an addition would be only bitterness, but so many brewers swear that it contributes great aroma that I have to believe it.

    If anyone knows what the chemistry is for the flavor contribution of first wort hops is I would love to know.

    As far as adding hops throughout the boil I agree that this adds great depth to a beer. Adding hops at the end of the boil or dry hopping gives beers great flavor but decreases their shelf life. I do not remember the name of the compound, but one of the volatiles in hops that is driven off in the boil actually releases oxygen as it degrades.

    For this reason beers that are late hopped (10 minutes before the end of the boil or less), or dry hopped oxidize more quickly even though they may have the same dissolved oxygen levels as other beers. If the beer is to be consumed quickly however, the results are well worth it in my opinion!
    Steve G

  9. #9
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    How does this affect your IBU's? Do you consider the boiling time of the FW hops from the start of the boil or from the time added?
    BrewerTL

  10. #10
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    First wort hopping

    Jason, Dick, etc.

    This is an interesting thread. Below is a link to a 1995 Brauwelt International article on the "rediscovery" of this old German technique. The article includes procedures and results of experiments conducted by commercial breweries as well as references.

    http://hbd.org/clubs/franklin/public...auweltfwh.html


    Hope this helps,
    Jim

  11. #11
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    Thanks
    dick

  12. #12
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    Re: First wort hopping

    Thank you Jim/everyone -

    I have heard of this article and even contacted Brauwelt looking for a copy, but they did not know what I was talking about. It helps a lot. I hope to experiment with a full batch in the next few weeks I will post results if the forum is still active.
    Jason Dunson Todd
    Head Brewer
    Paper City Brewery

  13. #13
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    Sorry to clutter by reviving an old thread but some were interested in fw hopping results. We did a beer that was simmilar to one of our standards but used a different hop. We added lots and lots of hops at the begining. basicaly all of the hops that would have gone into the hop back and then dry as well. In two batches aroma was minimal but present, but the flavor/charecter was intense and unmistakable. The first batch hops were loose and macerated by the end of the boil. It was a mess and resulted in sigificant loss in the kettle(we whirlpool in the kettle). The second time we boiled with hops in bags. The loose version had a great amout of astsringency in the finish where the bag version was more subdued and rounded in its finish. I think the flavor was also more intense in the loose version but we vowed never to do it again given the hop/trub mess.
    Thanks again.
    Jason Dunson Todd
    Head Brewer
    Paper City Brewery

  14. #14
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    Re high losses.

    You would do better to use the mash tun as a hopback, then you can easily sparge the hops with hot liquor to reduce your wort losses. Your aroma was probably reduced in the bagged hops trial as there was indufficient circulation to extract all the hop oils and isomerised acids.


    I must be missing something here as I looked up the Brauwelt stuff, and basically it strikes me that it is what traditional ale brewers do - add early hops for bitterness primarily, and later additions of hops for the aroma. You can virtually (but don't take this as absolute gospel !!) add any hop if using for bitterness, possibly high alpha acid to help control the amount of vegetable matter, but only add aroma hops later, not expecting to get any appreciable conversion to the iso acids if added just prior to casting, in the hop back or in FV, or later.

    If you add huge amounts of low alpha, high suitable aroma hops early in the boil like Tim Taylors (and undoubtedly a few others), then some of the aroma will come through along with a full bodied character which must be attributable to the sheer amount of vegetable matter.

    I think the reason boil overs are prevented is because the hops help provide nucleation points for the steam bubbles. The more nucleation points, the smaller the individual bubbles, giving a seemingly more even and controlled boil.
    dick

  15. #15
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    first wort hopping

    Dick,

    Perhaps I have misunderstood your comment, but I think that the BrauWelt article was claiming that addition of aroma hops prior to boiling allow complex linkages to form between hop aromatics and wort compounds and that these linkages prevent the aromatics from being boiled off throughout the length of the boil. That's to say that counter to the traditional thinking of "bittering hops added early, aroma hops added late", first wort hopping proponents say adding aroma hops very early (pre-boil) achieves better hop aroma. If there assumptions are right, then, which hop is used for FW hopping is very important.

    I have also had success with a modified first wort hopping procedure. I draw of some of the first worts to steep with the aroma hops (to allow those complex linkages to occur, I suppose). I then add this hop wort mixture to the boil about 15 minutes in so that much of the heavy protein coagulation has taken place before the hops are added. This might be a lot less convenient in a larger brewery, however.

    Chip

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