Some studies have shown that First Wort Hopping (FWH) actually produces about 10 percent more measureable IBUs than a 60-minute addition, but it tastes less bitter. Is this true? Should we all be First Wort Hopping our beers. Wait a tick - what's First Wort Hopping? Simple - it's a process of adding a hop addition into the boil kettle immediately as you begin running off from the mash tun. The hops stay in and you boil them for the full time of the boil. Reports of a single German study hit American homebrewers saying "Oh, old German technique - smooth bitterness." But really - does it result in smoother bitterness? Some folks claim it's all a crock and really you've just added more time to the bittering hops. Others say something magical happens where bitter compounds get entrained into the kettle break. Let's give it a shot! (For what it's worth - this is one of Denny's classic experiments and these results will probably be rolled out into Brew Your Own N.B. - Another variant of FWH'ing is to move the 20 minute addition into the kettle during runoff and then proceed as usual, adding the 60 minutes hops at the start of the boil, etc. We'll be testing that separately.
Brewing Sessions Needed:
- Split the wort evenly into 2 equal sized boil kettles of similar shape
- For one kettle, treat the hop addition as a FWH addition. For the second, use the hop addition at 60 minutes
- Brew enough Experimental Pale to evenly split your wort into two kettles. Ensure that both kettles have equal volume and equal gravity values.
- Add your nominal 60-minute addition in one kettle as FWH before adding the wort.
- Steep the hops in the kettle while you sparge. Evenly split the sparge runoff between the 2 kettles.
- Bring both kettles to a boil.
- Add the same amount of the same hops as a 60-minute bittering charge to the other kettle after it comes to a boil. Boil both kettles for 60 minutes with no other hop additions.
- Ferment both batches in the same space and under the same conditions, especially temperature. Match the fermenters and other equpment.
- After fermentation subsides, record the length of fermentation and the final gravities.
- Package the two beers in exactly the same fashion. (Bottle primed with sugar, kegs and force carbonated, etc) - Record packaging methodology
- Perform a triangle test and record the results
- Ask the testers for their observations on the samples. DO NOT Reveal the Difference between the samples
- Discuss the results and record any further observations