Best Bittering Hop

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by doughanson78, Feb 25, 2012.

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  1. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    What is the tastiest hop to use for bittering? I want to brew an IPA. I've got 2-3 ozs. of Citra that I'll probably dry hop with. What should I use for bittering?

    Any good recipes using the Citra I have?
  2. trginter

    trginter Aspirant (234) Dec 1, 2008 Michigan

    I recently had good success with 1.5oz of Warrior in my IPA. I actually used Citra for bittering in my first IPA, 1.25oz. Wasn't as bitter as my Warrior IPA but AWESOME bitterness flavor paired with my other hop choices (Simcoe, Sorachi-Ace)
  3. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Initiate (150) Apr 30, 2010 Florida

    I'm generally of the opinion that a bittering hop provides little flavor, if any at all. With that in mind, I tend to use what ever high alpha hop I have on hand to bitter with.

    I've bittered with Citra, flavored with Citra, and dry hopped with Citra. It works well for all purposes.
    JrGtr and InVinoVeritas like this.
  4. inchrisin

    inchrisin Zealot (571) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    Yeah, too bad you can't find it anymore. Heh

    OP: Lots of people just use high alpha hops that tend to fit the the style they are brewing.
  5. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    I've heard Nugget, Centennial, Chinook, and others. So just go with whatever has high alpha at the brewstore? Kind of experiment?
  6. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Initiate (150) Apr 30, 2010 Florida

    I think still has some, if you're in the market.
  7. nathanjohnson

    nathanjohnson Aspirant (286) Aug 5, 2007 Vermont

    Less so for an IPA, (I typically use columbus for bittering), but I use magnum as my bittering hop in a ton of my beers. Clean, and non-coarse bitterness works in lots of styles.
  8. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    I'm wanting to go with a medium to high bitterness. I just did a citra DIPA (recipe here DIPA.pdf).
    Came out at 9.2%ABV, way on the sweet side, bitterness was almost nonexistent, and alcohol was very present.
    Anything I did wrong?
  9. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Initiate (150) Apr 30, 2010 Florida

    Doing a high gravity beer such as a DIPA with extract is tricky. You want to dry it out as best as possible, such that it doesn't become too sweet. With all-grain, we have the option to lower mash temperature to increase fermentability and lower the FG. With extract, it's not so simple. I might suggest that you add some table sugar next time you brew this type of beer. Up to 15% would be just fine in my eyes. Beyond that, you want to oxygenate well and pitch an appropriate amount of yeast.
  10. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    I drained the wort from my kettle, via ball valve, off a counter into the bucket and used 2 packs of wyyeast 1272. So I believe I oxygenated well and pitched enough yeast, but this was only my third batch of beer so I'm very new.
  11. nathanjohnson

    nathanjohnson Aspirant (286) Aug 5, 2007 Vermont

    As cmac said, dry, hoppy beers are just not particularly well-suited to extract brewing. Sweetness offsets bitterness which is why your beer is not that bitter, despite significant IBUs. Couple things for the future, move most of your hops to your bittering charge (at 60min), and 10 minutes or less to get both big bitterness, as well as big hop flavor and aroma. Your sheet indicates it, but did you do a full boil? A full boil will help with hop utilization.

    ETA: What was your fermentation temperature? Remember, with high gravity beers, there's lots of sugar to ferment, and fermentation is exothermic under high krausen, and will increase the wort temperature 5-8 degrees above ambient.
  12. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    Fermentation temp was probably high, around 70 degrees room temp. There wasn't a lot of krausen. I did a 4 gallon boil, so no not a full one.
    So since I'm doing extract should I just stay away from IPA's for now? What styles would be suitable?
  13. nathanjohnson

    nathanjohnson Aspirant (286) Aug 5, 2007 Vermont

    I would wager that your fermentation temp probably spiked to mid-70s which is why the alcohol is so present. I've done several beers at the 8-9% range, and the key is to take it low and slow on the ferment.

    As for styles that extract works well with, I haven't brewed extract in some years, but in my opinion, styles that are well suited with higher final gravities and less hop utilization. My best extract beer was a scottish ale, for example.
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  14. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,224) May 4, 2008 Canada (MB)

    Did you do a full boil? If not your IBUs are way lower than DIPA territory as you are diluting from the physical maximum of 90-100 IBUs.

    Also oxygenation of a "big" beer actually is best when you get more oxygen in than the atmosphere offers. That means only pure O2 setups can do the trick of getting you to ~12-16 ppm which is suited to the requirements of big beers... You can shake 12 hours in to help introduce more O2, though that is tricky if the yeast have been filling the headspace with CO2.
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  15. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    So I need to become more advanced and do all grain before I start jumping into bigger beers?
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,024) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Kjyost wasn't suggesting all grain. He was suggesting full boils. With a sufficiently large pot and heat source (or two smaller pots and two burners), you can boil your entire volume, instead of topping off with water in the fermenter. There are several advantages to this. The advantage kjyost was referring to is that with a larger volume, you'll get better hop utilization. This is because there's less 'resistance' to the isomerization and dissolution off the alpha acids into the wort, which allows you to get higher bittering levels.
  17. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    I have a 9 gallon pot, plenty big. My heat source is lacking tho. I have an electric stove with the flat top burners. I had another source that told me if I would've just used 4oz for bittering instead of the 45 and 30 min additions, I would've been fine.
  18. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,024) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I would disagree with that source. The problem is that there's also a sort of 'universal limit' of about 100 or so IBUs. So let's say you load up the hops to get the max of 100 IBUs into 2.5 gallons. Now you top off with 2.5 gallons in the fermenter, diluting to 50 IBUs. (Actually it's more complicated then that, because one of the limiting factors is due to isomerized AA's sticking to yeast and dropping out, but the boil ceiling/dilution phenomenon in partial boils is real.)

    Edit: just saw your refererence to a 4 gallon boil. So not as extreme as in my example, but still limiting if you're trying to get anywhere near the theoretical max.
  19. pheurton

    pheurton Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2001 Pennsylvania

    DIPA's require plain table or corn sugar to get them to finish dry enough. Finishing at 1.022 is more like a barelywine.

    You can do it with extract, just replace 10-15% of your DME with table sugar. Make a starter to ensure you have enough yeast, and aerate the shit out of it the best you can. As others have noted, full boils will also help with hop utilization.
  20. Hopdaemon39

    Hopdaemon39 Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2011 New York

    I kind of like centennial for bittering- it'll give that bitter kick you're looking for with a nice piney flavor. I've also used Zeus (colombus) to good effect. However, I'm curious to give warrior a try...
  21. koopa

    koopa Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey

    Amarillo hops work very well with Citra in my experience. My other favorites for bittering include columbus, centennial and chinook.
  22. coronajm

    coronajm Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2010 Ohio

    I have never heard or seen reference to temperature increase under high krausen. Makes a fair amount of sense and seems like a pretty important tidbit. I will look into this. Thanks
  23. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,024) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Fermentation is exothermic in general (not just a high krausen). But the more active, the more exothermic.
  24. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (290) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Back on topic...

    Any bittering hops to avoid b/c they're too harsh?
    Cohumulone allegedly plays a role.
    What's the threshold?
  25. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,024) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Hops high in Cohumulone are said by some to impart a 'harsher' bitterness, and 25% or 30% Cohumulone (as a percentage of total Alpha Acids) are sometimes said to be where the harsh effect becomes noticeable. So if you subscribe to this idea, avoid bittering hops where cohumulone is greater than 25%. This would eliminate a lot of the commonly used american hops. Personally I don't worry about it.
    Hoppsbabo likes this.
  26. geezerpk

    geezerpk Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2010 South Carolina

    I'm partial to Columbus. It works pretty good for bittering, flavoring, aroma, and dry hopping. Plus, the price and availability make it even more attractive. I'm of the KISS school of brewing.
  27. mugs1789

    mugs1789 Initiate (81) Dec 6, 2005 Maryland

    Last year I bought a pound of magnum so I used magnum for all my bittering needs. I was very happy w/ magnum but I just ran out. I'll probably try something else this year just to mix things up.

    So, I can strongly recommend magnum as a bittering hop.
  28. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

  29. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (290) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Cascade cohumulone ranges between 35 and 40.
    Anyone think bittering w/Cascade makes for a harsh brew?
  30. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    I do, I have never been a fan of cascades as a bittering addition.
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  31. Jettpower

    Jettpower Initiate (97) Feb 9, 2007 California

    You also have about 17% of your malt bill as crystal malt. Crystal malt is less fermentable and will leave behind sweetness. 17% crystal is typically viewed as far to much for a DIPA. That coupled with your extract and lack of added dextrose contributed to an overly sweet beer. Try limiting your crystal to less than 10% next time.
  32. doughanson78

    doughanson78 Initiate (0) May 28, 2011 Washington

    Thanks. I went with an IPA this time. Added about 3/4 of a pound of table sugar from a previous tip. Hopefully this turns out better.
  33. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2006 New York

    I've bittered with cascades a few times and have never been particularly impressed with the results.
    drewbeerme likes this.
  34. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (419) May 2, 2006 Utah

    I have made all Cascade brews several times. I tend to agree with HB42 with that the bittering quality is not all that great with just Cascades, if one is shooting for an American IPA or PA.
    drewbeerme likes this.
  35. coreylag

    coreylag Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2011 Washington

    Warrior or magnum...the only way to go for big IPA's! I would avoid the Crystal malt, and in the last 10 min of boil dump 1lb of corn sugar. Oxygenate, oxygenate, oxygenate and then throw the farm at it with Wyeast 1056 for 5 gal least 3 smack packs......
  36. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (1,976) Jul 5, 2010 Malta

    IIRC, Pacific Gem has Cohumulone levels at close to 40%, but I've been loving them as a bittering hop lately, after using them as a bittering addition in a mild, biere de garde, IPA, and two very different porters in the past few months. It has a real swagger to it; it'll fill your mouth with a broad bitterness, but it isn't rough at all.
  37. ianmatth

    ianmatth Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2013 New Jersey

    I like CTZ much better than Magnum for bittering IPAs, Magnum just doesn't seem to have enough character for me. I'm running some experiments with 1 gallon batches to see what I like better. I brewed both a Warrior and a Bravo IPA last night. Late additions were all the same (mixed Citra, Simcoe, Centennial, Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin, and El Dorado together and added at 20, 15, 10, 5, 2, and 0). I used 2.5 oz total hops for each 1 gallon batch, good thing I did too because I lost too much water to boil off and had to add 4 cups of water at the end to get gravity down to around 1.060, partial boils kill IBUs. I'm using WLP090, I've never failed to get 80+% attenuation on 1.060+ OG batches in 3-4 days with that, even when using extract.
    cavedave likes this.
  38. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,898) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Horizon is also a clean bittering hop.

    Some beers I make use Cluster for bittering. It has a nice black currant flavor if not too old. Some hops do have a flavor contribution when used at 60 min.
  39. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Initiate (0) Jul 26, 2006 Iowa

    Im a big fan if Millennium for bittering. It's very mild and pleasant.
  40. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,649) May 21, 2010 Texas

    You used two pounds of crystal malt and no sugar in a IIPA. That's a lot of crystal malt, especially given that the extract should have some crystal in it too. I'm certainly not one of those people who think every IPA or IIPA should be crystal malt free and dry as a bone from tons off added sugar, but your recipe had "Sweet, almost to the point of cloying" built into it from the start. A little sugar is good for a DIPA, as well as less than two pounds of crystal.

    EDIT: just saw the date on the OP, lol.

    Well for bittering I haven't played around enough to know for sure, so I've been using whatever high AA hops I have handy, usually belma or bravo, columbus a few times. I'm about to open a bag of magnum, so we'll see where that takes us. I would say that anything lower AA doesn't seem to do as good of a job, even if you use an equivalent amount of AA worth of the weaker hop. 11%+ seems to be much better, although exactly which one is best probably boils at least partly down to taste.

    I would agree that cascade as a bittering hop is less than optimal, it's more of a flavor and aroma hop.
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