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Using hop extract post fermentation

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by peter831, Dec 2, 2012.

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  1. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    Hi all, new to the forum, have enjoyed many of the threads, brewed about 8 all grain beers.

    My beers never have the bitterness I am looking for and was going to try some hop extract post boil. MoreBeer has one, but I wonder about which hop it came from and how strong it would be compared to other extract hop varieties.

    The directions are clear on the site, just wondering what your thoughts are on this,

    I know, eventually I will brew exactly what I want, but.... I am sitting here enjoying a Sculpin.....
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I've never used any hop extracts, but my thought is, let's fix the process if possible. When you say your beers never have the bitterness you are looking for, do you mean they are sometimes too bitter or not bitter enough? Or that they are never bitter enough?

    There's no reason you shouldn't be able to get Sculpin-like bitterness (about 70-ish IBUs?) with real hops.
    bgjohnston likes this.
  3. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    I know what you mean about fixing it, and I agree, My last batch just finishing dry hoping tastes pretty good, but I would also like to fix a previous batch that is not right.

    Generally not bitter enough.

    I do have a problem with the bitterness calculations, at least the utilization values I have seen, they are quite variable. I know hops are less effective at higher OG,s but the table in John Palmers site generally are quite low compared to some others I see.

    I have used recipes from Zymergy magazine and the IBU's from those dont mesh with the numbers I see,

    anyway, just wondering about the extract


  4. marquis

    marquis Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    What is your brewing liquor like? If lacking in minerals then hop utilisation will be lower.Try adding a teaspoonful of Epsom Salts next time.
    Don't by the way confuse bitterness with hoppiness. I've had some beers with a massively high theoretical IBU yet which weren't particularly bitter, just an intense floral presence.Ive had beer with 40 IBU which made my mouth shrivel up with the bitterness.Attenuation and ABV play a large part in how bitter a beer tastes.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Okay, that's a new one. Do you have a source for this? By utilisation I assume you mean Alpha Acid extraction/ isomerization/dissolution and not the pretty well agreed upon phenomenon of sulfates enhancing the perception of 'crisp' bitterness.
  6. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    On a most basic level, if you are looking for more bitterness out of your hop additions you need to add them at the beginning of the boil and boil for at least an hour. Many recipes call for a full 90 minute boil to get the most out of bittering hops.

    Later hop additions contribute to flavor and later still contribute to aroma, but with markedly less contribution to total bitterness. The fact that the exact same ingredient plays so differently in the final outcome depending solely on how long it is boiled, or if it is even boiled at all, means trial and error is the only way you will eventually brew a batch exactly to your personal taste.

    I second what Vikeman says when he suggests working with the actual hops more and avoiding extracts. There is no substitute for selecting specific hop varieties for bitterness, flavor and aroma, and the fact that it is not apparent which hops were used to produce the extract you are looking at is a big reason why it won't help you achieve a consistent and successful result long-term. Your time is better spent identifying the hops used in that Sculpin you are enjoying, and developing a recipe of your own.
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    There are a few different methods used to calculate IBUs, like Tinseth, Garetz, and Rager. The important thing is to pick one and stick with it. I like Tinseth, and there are many programs/calculators out there that use Tinseth. Fairly quickly, you'll learn what 40 (or 55 or 70) Tinseth calculated IBUs tastes like in your beers. Then, when Sculpin (or whatever) tastes like 70 (or whatever) Tinseth IBUs to you, you know you'll need to build a hop schedule that hits 70 calculated IBUs.

    I say Tinseth above as an example, but the key is to be consistent. If you brew any of Jamil's recipes, which a lot of people do, I believe he uses Rager. I don't really know which method Zymurgy recipes use. In any event, it's easy enough to pop the hop schedule from anyone's recipe into the calculator that you have settled on and see what it says. You'll be able to relate that to what you have already calculated and tasted in your other beers.
  8. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    I have wondered about the water. I am also a grower and our water here is very alkaline, 280 ppm bicarobonate, 25 ppm Ca, and a pH of 8.0.

    I have tested the pH of the mash and it was close to 6.5.

    Was told by a great brewer that our water is not conducive to IPA's and he uses food grade phosphoric acid to eliminate the some of the bicarb.

    I was going to try the pH stabilizer and see what it does to the pH, and then the next batch try to mix in some distilled water, maybe 50-50.

    Perhaps Warrior is not a bitter as I thought it was.

    I have tried first wort additions on an evil twin double red (pretty good) , 90 and 60 minute as well with others.

    The last batch was the IIPA double trouble revisited.

    I have read quite a few breweries are using extracts in their brews though.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    A lot of good discussion in this thread.

    The OP stated: “I would also like to fix a previous batch that is not right.:

    I should provide a caveat that I have personally not used hop extract. It seems to me that you could add hop extract to the “previous batch” but is important that you obtain isomerized hop extract. I would venture to say that this product from Hopunion could be added to your homebrewed beer to increase bitterness:

    “Isomerized Hop Extract (ISO) is a standardized solution of iso-α-acids (30% w/w) produced from CO2 hop extract using an all aqueous process. Isomerized Hop Extract is used to replace kettle bittering hops to improve hop utilization, or to adjust bitterness in beers that may have been under-hopped in the kettle. For precise control of beer bitterness, Isomerized Hop Extract should be added post-fermentation to adjust the bitterness of the beer to the target bitterness units.


  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Be prepared for disappointment with pH stabilizer (like 5.2). It may be somewhat useful within a narrow range of starting conditions, but generally it is not going to take the pH to a specific target and keep it there. If you are serious about mash pH, I recommend downloading one of the spreadsheets (EZWater or Bru'nWater) and figure out what you need to do to your water to get pH in range for a given grain bill. Ditto for mineral content additions or dilutions...the sheets will point you in the right direction. You do need to know the profile of the water you are starting with, and it sounds like you already do.

    But back to your original question. I think it is extremely unlikley that your water is somehow inhibiting AA utilization.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “I have read quite a few breweries are using extracts in their brews though.”

    I have read where Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River uses hop extract in the brewing of Pliny the Elder. My understanding is that he only use hop extract for the bittering addition and his motivation for doing this is to reduce the ‘vegetative’ taste that can be produced by using too much hops for bittering.

    Below is something I found via a web search concerning this:

    “Vinnie only uses the hop extract for bittering in Pliny the Elder (it replaces the 90 and 45 minute additions). He uses pellets for everything after that for flavor and aroma. He states that he couldn't get the same aroma/flavor from the extracts as he could from actual hop pellets.

    I would go with the iso alpha extract and use it just for bittering.”

    As regards your mention of: “Perhaps Warrior is not a bitter as I thought it was.” I have personally utilized Warrior as a bittering hop and I have been satisfied with the bittering results. Needless to say but each homebrewer has differing brewing processes and differing expectations.


    P.S. It may be of interest to know that Vinnie uses non-isomerized hop extract in brewing Pliny the Elder:


    Thanks for the email, we do use pure Co2 resin (non-isomerized) hop extract in PTE. We always have from almost the beginning in 1999 when we first made PTE.

    Take care,


    Vinnie Cilurzo
    Russian River Brewing Company[​IMG]
    725 4th St. (brewpub address - downtown Santa Rosa)
    1812 Ferdinand Court (not open to the public)
    Santa Rosa, CA 95404
  12. Patrick

    Patrick Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    Are you brewing extract and diluting your wort at the end of the boil? If you are using a concentrated boil that may be part of your problem.

    Also, I've used the Northern Brewer hop shots before and they do not dissolve into beer easily at all. I tried to see if I could "dry hop" with the extract, but it kind of just stays in goop form. My guess is that it has to be boiled to dissolve. It also is very difficult to get off of your skin.
  13. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    "we do use pure Co2 resin (non-isomerized) hop extract in PTE"

    Something doesn't jive here...full isomerization is what differentiates a bittering addition from other additions. If he/anyone is using non-isomerized hop extract for a bittering addition (“Vinnie only uses the hop extract for bittering in Pliny the Elder (it replaces the 90 and 45 minute additions). ", then as soon as he/anyone boils it, isomerization begins. Seems kind of odd. Am I missing something?

    I still think the OP's Warriors have plenty of AA unless they are ancient and your boil is extremelly weak. Additionally, I think this comes back to semantics a little, as hopiness and bitterness are often confused/overlapped.

    p.s. I thought any perceived vegetative flavors are usually associated with dryhopping.
  14. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    All grain all the time. cheers
  15. Patrick

    Patrick Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    He still relies on it for bittering because like you said, it will start to isomerize once it boils. What doesn't make sense to you? Why he wouldn't use isomerized extract?
  16. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    I am interested in this comment about a weak boil.

    I am trying to determine the vigor of the boil by looking at the boil off. I generally boil off close to 2 gal of water from a 6.5 gal pre volume which makes way less beer than I hope for. This is generally true for 90 minute boils, but a 60 is still close to 1.5 gallons.
  17. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    This is from Morebeer, which I ordered last week

    MoreWine!'s ISOHOP bitterness extract is a one ounce solution of pure Isomerized Alpha Acids that have been separated from the other oils found in hops via liquid CO2.
  18. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    yeah, I guess that's what doesn't make sense to me. Why use a non-isomerised hop extract and then boil it making it isomerized?

    Actually, the whole thing doesn't make sense...I could be wrong, but I thought most uses of hop extract WERE ONLY for late additions/dryhopping where they would provide an advantage over massive use of vegital material.
    (Lagunitas, for example)
  19. Patrick

    Patrick Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    I was under the impression that most hop extract use was for bittering. The less bittering hop mass you have in there the more aroma and flavor hops you can fit. So using extract has the benefit of more space plus some say less vegetal flavors from all the hop mass that is being boiled for 90min.
  20. kjyost

    kjyost May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    The hop extract is used exactly as bittering hops are. Boiled for 90 minute it will deliver the "same" bitterness. The reason to do this is to minimize kettle loses to wort absorption by the hops. To get the high IBUs, there would be a great deal of wort lost to the hops, and affect the brewhouse efficiency negatively.

    Same IBUs, less wort loss.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There seems to be two varieties of hop extract available.

    Non-isomerized hop extract like HopShot needs to be added at the beginning of the boil to be utilized for bittering (alpha acid isomerization).


    Isomerized hop extract like the product available from Hopunion (described in my previous post) does not have to be added at the beginning of boil and can be added post fermentation.

    Vinnie Cilurzo utilizes a non-isomerized hop extract (something like HopShot) for bittering in his brewing of Pliny the Elder; consequently he must add it to the kettle at the beginning of boil.

  22. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Ok, I think that makes a little more sense now...but put me in the good ole hop category as I'm not particularly interested in higher brewhouse efficiency.

    Aren't there some other distinctions for hop extracts/oils that go beyond the go/no-go of isomerization? I was given some a few years ago from Freshops that is definitely non-isomerized...but oil, not extract and the directions say "don't boil"

    Standing by for long thread on the new technology of hop extracts/oils/additives : )
  23. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Vinnie has stated the hop extracts are to get more wort out of the boil kettle for a DIPA. It is a commercial decision to get more product (wort) and less wort lost to the hops.
  24. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    Just an update. I brewed an IPA sometime ago and it lacked bitterness and was somewhat malty and heavy. So I bought some iso hop extract from MB, put in the amount suggested for 10 IBU's and I have to say it works, the beer has a much better bitter bite up front hiding some of the malty taste and my son felt the bitterness was more pronounced at the back end.
  25. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Nov 6, 2007 California

    regular ISO-ectract is not meant for post-fermentation addition to bee and needs to be boiled. Tetra or rho extracts are what you use post-fermentation, and Ive never seen those available on homebrew quantities.
  26. peter831

    peter831 Dec 2, 2012 California

    okay, not sure what tetra or rho extracts are, my limited understanding of hops is that they need to be in the iso form for bittering and it can only get there via boiling. So, if I have Iso they should not need boiling.

    Not sure how to post a picture, but here is a like to a short presentation on hop chemistry.

    http://www.msue.msu.edu/objects/con...2851/workspace_id.-30/Hops-Hop Chemistry.pdf/

    Its the 7th slide
  27. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    On the homebrew scale we need to boil. The extracts like tetra or rho are made with a chemical process.
  28. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Nov 6, 2007 California

    Guess I was wrong about some iso-extract. Barth/Haas Isohop can be used post-fermentation and I think that's what you can order in small quantities from MoreBeer. We actually use that now, but we used to use Isolone from Kalsec, which specifically says that it is for use in the kettle, so I mistakenly assumed that all iso-extracts were designed for kettle use.
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