Max Bittering for a partial Boils

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Josh Beer

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Umina Beach
Hi Guys,

A bit of a newbie here... 8 brews and counting.

I have a question about bittering hops when doing a partial boil. My basic brew method is as follows:

1. Steep specialty grains 30mins 67C in 5L water in grain sock.
2. Sparge by pouring 67C water over the grain through a strainer to top up to 10L total.
3. Add DME to bring up to 1040.
4. Boil then add suitable hop additions.
5. Cool with wort chiller.
6. In fermenter add LME and boiling water to dissolve.
7. Rack cooled wort into fermenter, then top up with cold water to 23L.
8. Pitch at about 19C and ferment in fridge at 18.5C for about 7days.
9. Dry hop as necessary.
10. Cold crash 3days.
11. Bulk prime with dextrose and bottle on day 14.

When I started I used hop socks for bittering hops and never got good hop utilisation (lacked both bitterness, flavour and aroma). Great beer...just not hoppy enough. I now believe this was because my socks were too tight. My solution was to keep increasing amount of hops, but my calculated IBUs were getting silly (>160) and still not bitter enough.

My latest batch I added loose hops and immediately noticed the difference - huge hit of bitterness when sampled on brew day. However I had already increased my hops to very high levels. I have read that there is a theoretical limit of 100IBUs, so for a partial boil (assume for simplicity boils size is half of fermenter volume) the 100 IBUs would drop to 50IBUs when diluting wort.

So my question is, can you over do bittering hops for a partial boil if you target IBU is 50 or greater?

If not, then I can see a simple hop schedule for a hoppy IPA (for example) would be as follows:
1. 60min bittering hops to achieve 100IBU
2. Whatever other late hop additions you want.

Always achieves 50IBU beer.

Follow up question would be, what if I then doubled my bittering hops? Assuming flavour and aroma are boiled off and bittering is already at max, what harm can extra hops do?

As an example, my latest brew used 100g Columbus at 60m. Plus 200g cascade late hop additions. It tastes amazing on Day 9, but would it taste different if I reduced the 100g Columbus to hit 100 IBU exactlly?