We've spent time in the first two articles improving the process of kit or extract brewing. Liquid yeast and mini-mashes improve on two of the basic areas of beer ingredients. Only two areas left, water and hops. We'll save water for a later time.
Multiple kettle additions of hops can add tremendous variety to beer. If your a kit brewer using hopped kits, just by adding a late hop addition can give your beer that hop nose associated with pale ales and pils. Dry hopping in the secondary will accentuate that hop nose even more. Extract brewers using unhopped extracts can add complexity by staging their hop additions over the length of the boil. This will give the beer more depth and complexity. Remember though, we want to hop to style. Hops will generally add three components to beer: bitterness, hop flavor, and hop aroma. These components are added to the beer depending on when the hops are added to the boil. Assuming a 60 minute boil, bittering hops should be added from 40 - 60 minutes before the end, flavor hops from 10 - 30 minutes, and aroma hops with less than ten minutes to go in the boil. Realize that there is some overlap here. You will extract some bitterness from hops added late in the boil and some flavor and aroma (very little) from hops added early in the boil. Dry hopping adds a wonderful hop aroma to your brew. I stick with plugs and leaf hops for dry hopping. Add them to the secondary or after primary fermentation has slowed. Steep them for about a week. When racking, tie a muslin bag around the end of the racking cane to filter out the unwanted hops.
For beers that have a heavy hop character, Classic Pale Ale for example, I try and stage my hop additions throughout the boil. At least 50% of my hop additions will come within 30 minutes of the end of the boil. An example of a hopping schedule for a Classic Pale Ale that Paul Harwig and I brewed recently follows:
Don t limit yourself to one or two hop additions. Expand the role of hops in your brew and go hopping mad!
Return to the Beer Geek Techneeks index