A bitter beer with no bittering hops

One of my favorite personal homebrew recipes is a Pale Ale brewed with a somewhat unusual hop schedule. My first attempt was just a month after I started brewing and I was feeling bold, experimental. I had on hand a recipe kit for a West Coast Pale Ale. Pretty basic, but I had purchased a few extra ounces of hops and decided I wanted to try creating a beer with exaggerated hop flavor and aroma that remained balanced and drinkable at 5.25% ABV.

Generally speaking, and with as many exceptions as not, there are three main times to add hops to the wort. At first boil, with 60-90 minutes of boil time remaining, with 15 minutes remaining, and at flameout. The first addition adds bitterness, while the flavor and aroma compounds boil away. The second addition adds flavor, and the third adds aroma. There is overlap, and any addition of hops at any time will add some, even if minute, bitterness, flavor and aroma qualities. With all this in mind, I decided to completely ignore this rule of thumb. The recipe I was following called for an ounce of hops at each scheduled time. Instead, I added four ounces of varying hops with 25 minutes left to the boil. The idea was to greatly enhance the amount and variety of hop flavor contributed to the beer and also to compensate for the lack of first boil bittering hops. I also conceived to use an exorbitant amount of dry hopping to compensate for skipping the aroma addition. The latter was not really by design, but as the boil started I decided to add all the hops I had on hand at one time. By luck or by intent, I got exactly what I had envisioned. There’s plenty of bitterness, an enlarged but also softened hop flavor profile, and dry hopping created an abundance of aroma. I love this beer! It’s the only recipe I’ve repeated to date and I’m about to start batch 4 soon… with a Belgian twist.

Many brewers of late have started to focus on the flavor and dry hopping additions, but few forgo the bittering and aroma additions all together. I have had great luck doing this and encourage any lover of hops who’s brewing a hoppy pale to give this a shot.


About mrhopsbeertalk
Avid homebrewer and craft beer taster. I love all the hops I can get. #hops #ipa #iipa #ipl #porter #dipa #specialtyale #saison #craftbeer western mass · mrhopsbeertalk.wordpress.com

One Response to A bitter beer with no bittering hops

  1. Pingback: 14 batches of home brew later I’m a fiend for fresh beer @Slumbrew @Wyeastlab @Weyerbacher @sixpoint @SierraNevada | Mr Hops Beer Talk

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