Extract Beers Not Hoppy Enough? Here’s some tips for getting more IBU’s into your IPA’s
Use a Bigger Kettle, or Multiple Kettles.
Many extract brewers perform a partial-volume boil. This is where only a portion of the full volume of wort is boiled. Then, in the fermenter, water is added to “top-up” to your desired volume. The problem is that by diluting the wort you are not only reducing the original gravity, but also the bittering compounds dissolved in your wort. Keep in mind that if your goal is a finished beer with 45 IBU’s, and you’re only boiling half of your final volume, you’ll need to create a wort with 90 IBU’s! If you don’t have a kettle big enough for a full-volume boil, try splitting your batch between two kettles.
Boil the Hops First
The more dense the wort, the less soluble the alpha- acids (bittering compounds) will be. In other words, if you boil a lower gravity wort, you’ll be able to get more bitterness out of the same quantity of hops. Don’t use all of your extract for the entire boil. Instead boil 1/2 or 2/3 of your extract for 45 minutes, with your bittering hops. Then add the last portion of your extract for the last 15 minutes of the boil. If you can keep your wort under 1.050 for the majority of your boil, you’ll get much better utilization from your hops.
Hop pellets are whole hop cones that have been pulverized and pressed into those little tube-like shapes. This process ruptures the lupulin glands, which contain the bittering compounds, and makes them dissolve faster and more readily. Again this means better utilization. Also, whole hops tend to soak up your wort and hold onto it – leaving you with less volume in your fermenter…and less beer for you to drink!
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