Hop aroma and boiling

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Hop aroma and boiling

I have only anecdotal data, but am wondering if others have observed this, before I set out to test it proper like.

This is mostly in reference to lagers, but I've noticed in the hoppier beers as well.

It seems to me that if I add my aroma hops at 5 min. to flameout, while I do get less aroma than if I add at flameout, what aroma I do get seems to last longer once packaged. I'm thinking there is some reaction that is occurring that somehow stabilizes the aroma compounds (kinda like what people say about first wort hopping and hop flavor lasting through the boil)

dmtaylor's picture
That is an interesting

That is an interesting observation! Might be a good argument for why to spread out hop additions in the last several minutes and flameout versus only doing one or the other. And I also wonder if one late hop addition method (e.g., all at 5 minutes vs. all at 10 minutes vs. all at 1 minute vs. spread every 2 minutes in the last 10, etc.) results in more efficient use of the hop, i.e., can you use less hop weight with one method yet obtain maximum hop flavor and/or aroma. Another example: Let's say I always ALWAYS dump in all my flavor and aroma hops at the 5 minute mark, just because I know it's always worked for me. But what if I divided that same addition into 3 parts at 10 minutes, 5 minutes, and flameout. Will the hop flavor and aroma be the same, less, or more? Would I need to use more or less hops at just the 5 minute mark to equal the latter? Or would there be no equivalent? Would I need to move it all to 2 minutes? Somehow, somebody out there has had to have run some semi-controlled experiments like these before. I haven't yet. But if anyone has, I'd love to know the results. The quest for knowledge and efficiency never ends...

Dave "This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

I do think that there is some

I do think that there is some magic that happens with heat and hop oils that imparts flavor and aroma stability over time. In my experience, beers that I've used a hop stand and/or FWH in seem to hold their hop character better over time. My thought is that the extended contact with hot wort is somehow binding some of the hop oils to other compounds in the wort. The advantage with a hop stand is that there is no boiling activity so the volatile hop oils don't blow off as quickly.

Of course, this is all just conjecture on my part. I haven't really done any side-by-side blind tastings, but this does seem to match my experience.

It seems pretty obvious to me

It seems pretty obvious to me that anything you smell is flavor and aroma lost. Every minute of boil some flavor and aroma are lost into the room that ought to be in the beer. In a perfect world we would have a way to distill everything in the last 5 minutes and return it to the boil. What we CAN do....... or some people can do, is use a hop back and circulate very slowly through the hop back and into a counterflow chiller. I personally would NEVER use a plate chiller after seeing the insides of one that was dismantled. Far too many nooks and crannies that cannot be flushed out. I'm very anti plate chiller!