How To Hop

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G'day, I've been reading through what seems like endless different techniques for adding some hoppy goodness to my brew. To be honest I'm a bit confused as to the best method, I'm looking at making a pale ale, (coopers APA kit and BE2 and some DLME) I have got myself some cascade and wondering what a simple boil with a few additions should go like. I can see it is a personal taste thing, just never having done it before I'm keen to try and don't want to stuff it up. Is a hop bag good or is straining into the fermenter ok?
Or what has worked well for you?
Depends on what you are trying to get out of it.

Dissolve your BE2 and DME in a few litres of water when it gets to the boil take it off the heat and put your hops in loose. Let it sit for 10 minutes whilst you empty your can into the fermenter then dump the whole lot (hops and all) into the fermenter and top up to required level.

The hops will eventualy settle into the trub.

I'm back to brewing and have in fairly typical style gone a bit silly and devoted more time to it than I can afford but what we've been doing (lately) is Coopers Canadian Blonde kits with Brew Enhancer Two and doing a 20 minute boil usually with two 12.5g hop additions one at 20 minutes and one at 10. Obviously it depends on the hop variety and what you want from it but we have been using Citra, cascade and Hallertau a lot but have also dabbled in Belgian Saaz and Motueka. I have given up on the 25g packets and taken the plunge with a kilo of Simcoe to save some money in the long run so for a while it will be Simcoe with everything and save the Cascade and Citra for dry hopping. The idea with The Canadian Blonde kits was to make session beer that was cheap. It costs about $35 bucks a brew this way.

I strain the hops out as I pour the (partial) wort into the fermenter so my question is - Am I losing any potential hop flavour or aroma that the (spent?) hops may add? Are they truly spent or can they contribute more?

I've already reached the conclusion that I need a bigger bang outta my hops and will be upping the quantity I add (depending on alpha levels).

I also wonder if the fact that I boil the the can of extract is reducing what little hop character the Canadian Blonde kit has in the first place? Someone told me years ago to boil the extract cans and I still do it but have read a little about it being detrimental? Thoughts?

Incidentally for anyone who is interested we have punched out some really excellent session beers using the Canadian + BE2 + 25g of hops in boil + 25g dry hop in secondary ... As always there are improvements hence my few questions.
Thanks BradsBrew,
This is what I was after, a pretty simple explanation of a way to improve my beers. I don't want to clone a beer so much as improve what I'm doing now without making any really stupid rookie mistakes. I know mistakes and experimentation are a great way to learn but I'd prefer to make beers I can still drink!!!
I'm just getting back into brewing after a long break (2009 was last brew). I've made some stupid mistakes, but nothing that made my beer undrinkable.

Are you using teabags? Or have you got some hop pellets?

Seems I've learned a few basic rules to improve what I am doing. With what you have there, I'd get 2 litres of water and about 150gm of LDM dissolved in it, get it to a rolling simmer, 60-70 degrees, nothing too over active, - I've been using Galaxy pellets - but same for Cascade or Amarillo which are my tatse preferences - my mate suggests boil 30gm in at 20 minutes, 30gm at 15 minutes, and 30gm at 5 minutes before 'flame out'.
I've been told to boil in water with an SG of 1.040 for better results. That being said, my local home brew shop says he boils in plain water and gets good results.

Straight in the wort, no straining required. It will settle.

Don't bother with hop bags for pellets, they are just another thing to clean and sanitize. And they are a pain to clean really.

To improve this recipe, a mate of mine suggests only using Malt, so get rid of the BE2, and the LDM and replace with a can of unhopped pale malt. then boil hops as above. This is what I was doing years ago. Makes a better beer, with not much more investment.
I have also done my own hopping and made a good kit and kilo of my own.
(1.5kg unhopped pale, 500g LDM, 300g Mdex, 1kg dex, 250g candied honey, 2 juiced oranges and rind in boil) and going Cascade 30g 60 minutes, 20 g 45min, 25g 15 minutes and 15g 0 minutes and had great results. Little Creatures nearly. Also added 200g of Cracked Crytal steeped and sparged.

For this one of yours, boil as i suggested above, and you'll get some nice flavour and aroma added to the kit. I wouldn't worry about stuffing it up, just do it, with those ingredients, you cant fail. Sounds like you'll have a half decent brew that will only get you more excited about exploring hopping. If you dont want to waste the hops, just try 25gm at 20 minutes, and 25gm at 5 minutes. It'll add nice flavour, and isnt too risky.

Good luck.
Thanks Pickaxe,
Stored in the memory bank as one to try, I tried a suggestion from Adric Hunter post 14

It seemed pretty straight forward and I liked the idea of a smallish hops schedule with the one hop as a starting point, that way my next brew I can try a different variety and work out my hop preferences. Its going mental now in my fermenting fridge, I only made it yesterday arvo have it at 17.5 degrees and its already going gang busters. I can't wait.
Pickaxe said:
I've been told to boil in water with an SG of 1.040 for better results. That being said, my local home brew shop says he boils in plain water and gets good results.
You do get better hop utilisation boiling in water. However, personally I think it tends to make the hops a bit harsh at times.
Pickaxe said:
To improve this recipe, a mate of mine suggests only using Malt, so get rid of the BE2, and the LDM and replace with a can of unhopped pale malt. then boil hops as above.
No need to replace the LDM it's the same as a can of "unhopped Malt" except 20% difference. i.e. use 20% more of the canned stuff than you would the dried.
BE2 is 50% dextrose/25% LDM/25% Maltodextrin although a better outcome, your end product will not be the same if you are to replace this with just malt and you ABV will be slightly less as well.

When I was doing kits the ratio of sugars I often used were 1kg LDM and 300g Dextrose and had a lot of good, if not excellent results.

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