Want to learn how to get more bitterness out of your beer and what hops are best to use. Check out this episode where we break it all down for you and best practices for to brew more bitter beers.

When talking about the concept of bittering hops what are we referring to?

More than a specific type of hops, “bittering” hops refers more to the stage that the hops are added, during the boil, during the hottest stages of your process, this causes the hops to release bitter tasting Isohumulone, hence the term “bittering hops”

What is it?

Basically, any hop added during the boil process, will release some bitterness. But there are hop varieties that are more known and favored for their bittering qualities. Usually brewers will opt to use higher alpha hops for their bitter hop additions.

What are some types of bittering hops that are commonly used?

Well there are tons of them but some that come to mind first are: Chinook at 12%-14%, magnum 10-14%, Galena hops 13-15%, warrior hops 15-17%, but also lower alpha acid Noble hop varieties are also used for bittering depending on the beer style.

What are some new styles of bittering hops that have become popular lately?

New hop varieties pop up on the scene everyday and what I keep seeing more and more is a diversion from using typical bittering hops. Brewers are reaching for these new hops that may have previously been seen as exclusively for aroma or flavor and they are using them in all purposes including bittering.

How can you decide what hops are for bittering?

Usually when you purchase hops, they will be categorized as either bittering, aroma or dual purpose. Bittering hops are usually characterized by high alpha acid contents and lower aroma throw/flavor though that is not always exclusively the case.

What is the proper way to use hops for bittering when brewing?

If your desire is to draw bitterness from your hops then you have to use them in the boil. If you add a hop variety with the purpose of adding bitterness but not flavor too late in the process, you probably won’t achieve the level of IBU’s that you are looking for. The rule of thumb with any hop is the more heat, for a longer period of time, the more bitterness you will achieve.

Can you use non-bittering hops in your long 60-minute boils?

Can you use non-bittering hops in your long 60-minute boils? So that’s a little bit of a trick question. Technically any hop that you boil at high isomerization temperatures for long periods of time will become bitter, the question is how bitter so to answer simply, yes you can. But, boiling low alpha hops when you want a high IBU beer can be inefficient and wasteful. If you find yourself having to use huge amounts of hops to achieve the bitterness you’re looking for, you may want to opt for a higher alpha, boil appropriate hop variety.

What are tips you would recommend people do and or use when wanting to add bitterness to their beer?

Well first You need to think about what level of bitterness that is going to be appropriate for the beer you are making. If a bitter bomb is what you are after, reach for those higher alpha acid hops because they will give you the biggest bang for your buck. You also need to consider boil time. The longer the boil, the more pronounced the bitterness is a good rule to remember. Also consider the size and gravity of your boil. Remember less gravity, more bitterness.