Sizing flavour/aroma hop additions

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BackToBasics

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I appreciate that this is probably a "how long is a piece of string" question but it's something that's been bugging me for a while. Also, I use the terms "flavouring" and "aroma" loosely - I know the idea is a bit old fashioned now!

For my early boil addition I get that I'm mainly focused on getting the IBUs I want - that's fine. There's also an element of adding IBUs with later additions but it seems to be a minor consideration as we can just reduce the early addition if we want a bigger late addition - also fine. What I don't get is how to judge how much to add at say 15 minutes, 5 minutes and, most baffling, hop stand.

At the moment I just sort of guess as to what might be a decent amount, put it in brewfather and play around with all additions until I get the BU/GU ratio I'm after. Is there a better way?

For example, I'm planning a 19l brew of a 4.3% hoppy pale ale based around CML's Tropical England mix (roughly 6.6% AA though I've not received it yet) using magnum (12% AA) as my bittering addition. Hop schedule is

9g magnum @ 30 mins - 11 IBU
30g Tropical Englad @ 15 mins - 12.8 IBU
30g Tropical England @ 5 minutes - 7 IBU
40g Tropical England @ hop stand - 4.2 IBU

Total 35 IBU (0.8 BU/GU)

My thought process was along the lines of "30g about seems right for 15 minutes, might as well do the same for 5 minutes, it's a 100g bag - might as well throw the rest in for a hop stand". Is it just a case of relying on experience and trial and error or is there some method I'm unaware of?
 
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A lot depends on what you’re trying to achieve and on the style of beer.

A good starting point is around 5g/litre for a regular beer (given most people brew 20 litres or so, this is maybe why packs are typically 100g) but this can go up fourfold for a NEIPA and might be halved for a stout.

Then there’s the question of when to add them. The longer they boil the more bitterness they contribute. The less time they boil the more flavour/aroma you get. Again for different beers your approach will vary - a stout needs a little bitterness but often needs very little hop flavour so you’d focus on early additions. An IPA needs to be more focused on late additions. A NEIPA may just use hopstand and dry hop additions.

Temperature also shifts the balance of bitterness and flavour. This is more relevant in the hopstand where you are not boiling the hops. As a rough guide, for each 10C drop in temperature you halve the bitterness you would have got from boiling for the same time ie a 10minute 90C hopstand will give half the bitterness you would get from a 10minute boil, a 10minute 80C hopstand will give you a quarter, etc.

Then there’s dry hopping. Hops added at the start or early in primary fermentation add more flavour than aroma, hops added after primary fermentation add more aroma.

I should also say though that perceived hoppiness also depends on pretty much every other aspect of your brew from the water profile to the gravity to the bitterness to the sweet/dry balance, etc.

In the end you’ll make a beer, determine it needs more or less of something and make a better beer (hopefully!) next time round.
 
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BackToBasics

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In the end you’ll make a beer, determine it needs more or less of something and make a better beer (hopefully!) next time round.

Thanks for the detailed response. I think your last line pretty much sums up where I'm at with this.

I don't do too many repeat brews but maybe I should find one that I've enjoyed and really try to hone in on what adjustments I can make to improve things. Could be an interesting experience.
 
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Thanks for the detailed response. I think your last line pretty much sums up where I'm at with this.

I don't do too many repeat brews but maybe I should find one that I've enjoyed and really try to hone in on what adjustments I can make to improve things. Could be an interesting experience.
You might still be able to apply some learning within a style so for example if 40IBUs is too bitter for you in an IPA, try 30IBUs next time you make an IPA or use a sweeter grist/mash warmer/change the water profile.
 

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