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Hops And Boil Gravity

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wyane

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Hi all, after making use of these forums for a few months, this is my first new topic. So gudday!

I first brewed using coopers kits + dextrose about 20 years ago. Had a break of a good many years and got back into it about 18 months ago - my first comment there would be regarding how the quality and range of ingredients and info that is available is just incredible compared to those days, circa 1990.

Anyway my question ...

I started using hops for bittering and flavouring about 6 months ago: PoR initially, then wanted to try some traditional English flavours so went with Fuggles, EKG and Target. Generally I boil the bittering hops for 45min and flavour for 15min (ie added after 30min).

One thing I found was that the quantities (by weight) that I needed (without calculating AAUs or IBUs) were **WAY** less than those stated in recipes -- even with my shorter 45min boil.

It's only after getting the brilliant book, How to Brew - John Palmer, that I've realised what I've been doing wrong:
I'm conducting the major part of the boil (first 30 mins) in extremely low gravity (aka water). I've only been adding the malt, etc during the last part of the boil.

Anyway, now i see this chart in this book showing hop utilisation rates vs boil gravity (lower BG = more hop utilisation).

What gives? Why do we boil hops with the malt already in the wort? Will the oils not "bind" (or whatever it is that is happening, IANAScientist) once the wort receives its malty additions?

Enlighten me please, thanks and cheers!
 

manticle

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Boiling solely in water can have other effects such as extracting harsher or less pleasant bitterness.

My understanding is that this is to do with pH - malt will lower the pH of water and lower pH =finer/smoother bitterness, all else being equal.
 

wyane

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Boiling solely in water can have other effects such as extracting harsher or less pleasant bitterness.
Thanks man, will take it as a lesson learned.

As an observation from my harsh-hopped bittering stuff-ups:
PoR does ok. Galaxy and Target just clang thru the beer overpowering everything, even in additions of 8g.
This also explains why the flavouring, finishing and dry hops i've used (Cascade, Amarillo, Saaz) have more or less done what was expected.
 

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