Why boil hops for 60 minutes ?

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bobukbrewer

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Greetings all. As my beers all tend to end up "too" bitter, I was considering boiling for only 20 minutes. I have consulted Doctor Google, but have not discovered why, or if, 60 minutes is best.
 

An Ankoù

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In fact the best value for money in terms of bitterness has always been considered to be 90 minutes, but the rate of isomerisation of the alpha acids isn't linear.
Just use less hops in the main boil to give you the bitterness you want and chuck some more in for the last ten minutes and then again at the end of the boil for flavour and aroma.
These two graphs will give you a general idea. The second one shows 25% utilisation after about 100 minutes and 25% is the maximum you're going to get. The red line on the top graph shows 100% after 100 minutes which is 100% of the maximum shown in the second graph. I only included the second graph to show that there's no way you're ever going to get 100% utilisation.
The best rate per unit of energy expended in boiling the wort, then is around 50 minutes.
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Clint

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All hops have different AAU,alpha acid units,the % value on the packet. This can vary a bit even in same varietys/batches/harvests.
Recipes may ask for X amount of Y hop with ##% AAH @60 to give a determined IBU... if you don't have that particular % then you will not achieve the required IBU...obviously lower gives lower and higher, higher. You can use software to calculate the amount you need from the hops you have. Boil time changes this also. You can extract more bitterness with a longer boil from less hops. So,in theory, you can use more hops and cut your boil time if you want to make your brew day shorter. You can also move hop timings . As you move them further towards the end of the boil the AAH utilisation decreases but the aroma and flavour increase.
If you knew all this,not to worry...someone might find it useful!
 

Sadfield

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There's more to boiling than bitterness.

 

The magistrate

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Greetings all. As my beers all tend to end up "too" bitter, I was considering boiling for only 20 minutes. I have consulted Doctor Google, but have not discovered why, or if, 60 minutes is best.
I boil from 75-90mins, no exact science to it. "Too bitter" is a personal taste issue and you don't give any recipes to aid diagnosis, but one area to look at is your mashing temperature. Avoid adding sugars because they ferment out to zero. An obvious point is which hops and how many are you using. And what final gravity do you alert fermentation? Dry yeast will usually go all the way, while a cutivated wet strain like the one I used to get from Batham's would scream and shout if I tried to persuade it to go beyond the quarter gravity point. I love a really hoppy beer while some prefer them sweeter.
 
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For a light beer I think there is scope to reduce boiling times, certainly for wheat beers anyway as I've done it myself with good results. In the summer I cut down my boiling times due to the heat in the house. I boiled a wheat beer for only 20 minutes and it came out marvellous.
 

The magistrate

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For a light beer I think there is scope to reduce boiling times, certainly for wheat beers anyway as I've done it myself with good results. In the summer I cut down my boiling times due to the heat in the house. I boiled a wheat beer for only 20 minutes and it came out marvellous.
I always boil outside mainly because our v old house has lots of wooden beams!
 

dwhite60

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I've taken to adding all the hops at 10 - 15 minutes. One addition gives me bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Granted, it takes more but one addition is easier than three.

I may do an additional ten minute post-boil steep before cooling if I want more aroma.
 

the baron

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I do not hardly boil any hops nowadays but if I do it would be in the last 20 mins or so. Generally I whirlpool all my hops even for Bitters and ales so I can get loads in for flavour and get my bittering from the whirlpool hops so no need to boil bittering hops anymore for me.
There is a school of thought that you may get better/smoother bittering from long boils but I think this is more from the choice of hops used rather than that as the bittering hops are generally chosen for smooth neutral bittering i.e Magnum etc
 

An Ankoù

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I do not hardly boil any hops nowadays but if I do it would be in the last 20 mins or so. Generally I whirlpool all my hops even for Bitters and ales so I can get loads in for flavour and get my bittering from the whirlpool hops so no need to boil bittering hops anymore for me.
There is a school of thought that you may get better/smoother bittering from long boils but I think this is more from the choice of hops used rather than that as the bittering hops are generally chosen for smooth neutral bittering i.e Magnum etc
That's interesting, Baron. Doesn't that change the whole character of a trad beer like an English bitter? The reason I ask is that I recently picked up a four pack of Dead Pony Club (Brewdog) and, while it's intensely hoppy for its strength, there's hardly any bitterness. I was left disappointed and dissatisfied- the three remaining bottles are waiting patiently at the back of the shelf. Compare that with something like Pattinson's recipe for Lovibond 1864- the amount of hops and the boil times are scary, but turns out a well balanced beer. An extreme comparison, I know, but I wonder how many IBUs you plan for.
As for Magnum: it's an amazing hop and my bittering hop of choice if I'm using New World hops later in the brew. I get through loads of the stuff and everytime I smell them I promise myself to make a SMaSH. I really must make good on that promise.
 

the baron

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HI AA
I would suppose it does change the beers as you will not get that lingering smooth bitterness in a traditional Bitter as the bitterness is generally coming from your aroma/flavour hops and not from a specific bittering hop like magnum, Target, Admiral etc. I do still do 20 min additions for some bitters/ales sometimes depending on the hops but as a generalisation I would just pack with say First Gold as a whirlpool and get my bitterness from them. I do not do many Bitters more Ales and rely on the hops to do the bittering for me.
The only issue is that it is not so easy to judge the bitterness as accurately as with the standard method as there seems to be loads of different ways to calculate the IBU's from whirlpooling so what I do is use one calculator so I can get some consistency to judge it for myself.
The reason I have gone that way is so I can get more flavour in the beers. I do find that the beers will benefit from a couple or three weeks to mellow the bitterness on some of the beers like IPA's or say Golden Blonde ales packed with hops like Summit.
The only drawback is the extra cost of hops to do it that way but if you are a discerning Bitter drinker I would probably stick to the traditional method
 

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