By Chris Jennings
For the Oregon Beer Growler
In the world of beer, the IPA is the current reigning champion. These hop-forward, palate-wrecking brews are easy to make. There is also a vast array of hop varieties that continues to grow. And while the type of little green cone or pellet you use will obviously impact the outcome of your brew, you may not have known that the method of adding them can have a huge effect as well.
A Pinch of This
IPAs are supposed to be hop forward with a subtle to non-existent malt profile. It’s important to be sure to add the right type hop at the right time. Bittering hops are typically boiled for 45-90 minutes, eliminating much of the aromatic oils. That’s why you’ll often find that these types of flavor grenades don’t always smell that great. Flavoring hops are then typically added during the last 30 minutes or so. Combining several varieties can lead to a pleasantly complex beer. During the last few minutes of the boil, aroma hops join the warm bath. It’s important to save these until the very end because the oils in the cones that give them that wonderful smell that tickles our nose hairs are volatile and can be lost. However, flavor and aroma hops may be interchangeable or even be suitable for all three stages.
If you’re having trouble getting the desired flavor and aroma from your hops or just want to take your IPA to the next level, there is a fancy technique you can use called hop bursting. The process can generally be described as adding a tiny amount of hops at the beginning of the boil and then dumping in a huge amount right at the end. This method forces large amounts of hop character into the brew and you don’t have to worry about timers or missing a hop addition. It’s a particularly interesting technique when making a single-hop beer. You should get a very strong profile of the hop without having to meticulously pay attention to 10 different hop additions and wasting pounds of hops. Of course, you can also use this practice when brewing your favorite, award-winning IPA.
Thinking about what varieties you’re already using in a 5-gallon batch, you want to add at least 2 ounces of hops at the end of the boil. Yes, you can and should add a lot more than that, but this is a good starting place. You don’t want to produce an IPA that’s far too hoppy to drink. Though that may seem impossible, the best part about homebrewing is pushing the boundaries and making something truly amazing.
Burst A'Rhymes [AG]
Burst A'Rhymes [Extract]
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.