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Using and Balancing Your Hops

 

During the process of seeking comments on the Double Down Double IPA, MB made a passing comment about the percentage size of the finishing hop contribution. I'd never really given much thought to percentages of the hop additions in various parts of the boil, except getting my necessary bitterness and by feel for the rest of my additions.

The tables below show the hop schedules from the Double Down IPA and from one of the source recipes, Double Trouble. Each hop addition is listed along with columns detailing the Alpha Acid Units (AAU) and the total IBU's contributed. The columns we're focusing on are going to be the "Sum" columns in bold. Each sum column takes a group of related additions and sums their percentages. For the case of this double IPA, I've broken the recipe into a First Wort Hop group along with Bittering Hops (60-31), Flavor Hops (30-16), Aroma Hops (15-0) and Dry Hops. There are sum columns for percentages of weight, AAU's and IBU's to help us understand how much of our total hop effect we're going to see from these additions.

With the double IPA the hop character we're looking for should be both over the top (IBU-wise) and very smooth across the palate. For this kind of effect we should ideally balance the weight and the hop bitterness between the additions. We won't be able to get an even bitterness out of the aroma hops without ridiculously adding too much hop matter to the boil, but we'll try and keep the weight in the right range. The table shows that while the bitterness contribution drops in the later portions of the boil, we still maintain a consistent hopping load throughout. The overall effect should be an even seeming hop palate.

Double Down
First Wort Hopping Additions
Ounces Hop Type AA% Time Type % Weight Weight Sum AAUs AAU % AAU Sum IBUs IBU % IBU Sum
6.5 Centennial 9.1% FWH FWH 12.99%   59.15 13.79%   25.6 25.57%  
6.25 Cascade 5.9% FWH FWH 12.49% 25.47% 36.87 8.59% 22.38% 16 15.98% 41.56%

Bittering Additions

Ounces Hop Type AA% Time Type % Weight Weight Sum AAUs AAU % AAU Sum IBUs IBU % IBU Sum
3.5 Warrior 15.6% 60 BIT 6.99%   54.6 12.72%   23.9 23.88%  
2 Chinook 10.4% 60 BIT 4.00% 10.99% 20.8 4.85% 17.57% 9.1 9.09% 32.97%

Flavor Additions

Ounces Hop Type AA% Time Type % Weight Weight Sum AAUs AAU % AAU Sum IBUs IBU % IBU Sum
5.5 Amarillo 8.9% 30 FLVR 10.99%   48.95 11.41%   10.7    
6 Cascade 5.9% 30 FLVR 11.99% 22.98% 35.4 8.25% 19.66% 7.9 18.58% 18.58%

Aroma Additions

Ounces Hop Type AA% Time Type % Weight Weight Sum AAUs AAU % AAU Sum IBUs IBU % IBU Sum
4.3 Simcoe 13.7% 15 ARMA 8.59%   58.91 13.73%   6.9 6.89%  
6 Cascade 5.9% 0 ARMA 11.99% 20.58% 35.4 8.25% 21.98% 0 0.00% 6.89%

Dry Hopping Additions

Ounces Hop Type AA% Time Type % Weight Weight Sum AAUs AAU % AAU Sum IBUs IBU % IBU Sum
10 Cascade 7.9% DH DRY 19.98% 19.98% 79 18.41% 18.41% 0 0.00% 0.00%

Totals

Ounces Hop Type AA% Time Type % Weight Weight Sum AAUs AAU % AAU Sum IBUs IBU % IBU Sum
50.05         100% 100% 429.085 100.00% 100.00% 100.1 100% 100%

GRAVITY 1.085
BUGU1.18

You can expand this idea out to other styles than just your mega hop beers. Think about a smoothly hopped Pils or about a thousand other things. Odds are that you do some form of this analysis in your head when you go to make that Scotch ale, but it's probably along the lines of thinking, "Well I don't need any aroma hops in this style." Using a table like we produced here can show you things that you've missed. In the case of Double Trouble, before MB pointed it out there was a hole in the flavor hop additions and a touch too much hop in the bittering additions. By making up a table like this I was able to correct the holes by reducing the Warrior and the Chinook and adding the Amarillo addition.

Of course, I'm a geek with too much time on my hands, so maybe this isn't for you! 

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