I am a huge fan of the technique called “Hopbursting”. I first discovered the yet to be named technique in 2006 on a general discussion of the possibility of eliminating the bittering hop addition, and instead using massive quantities of hops at the end of the boil. A few guys tried it and really seemed to like the results, so I then also brewed my first beer with all late additions in September of 2006. Most of my IPA’s and Pale Ales since the discovery of this Hopbursting technique, have been done this way with what I feel are outstanding results. I will provide a few of my own recipes at the end of this posting, two will be pale recipes and one smoked IPA recipe.
First let me explain what Hopbursting is. The technique is simple, you just increase your charge of hops and deliver them all to the boil within the last 20 minutes of the boil. The thought is that bitterness is imparted to some degree during even a short boil, and this is true. I have made some very nice IPAs with all my hops added in the last 15 minutes. They are nicely bitter and the aroma and flavor are bright and pleasing. I also find the bitterness to not be as bracing or harsh and seems to have a more round and soft character. The thing to not be confused about, is hopbursting is not just simply adding a large charge of aroma and flavor hops, ALL hops are added during the last 20 minutes. There are no 60 minute additions. You can probably get away with adding 30 minute and still calling it hopbursting, but the original technique adds them all within the last 20 minutes. As an example, in my smoked IPA recipe I add 7 ounces of hops all within the last 10 minutes of the boil.
So what are some the benefits of hopbursting? First and foremost, this technique gives you the bright and clear hop flavor and aroma that many people look for in a good IPA or American Pale. You can achieve these results without dry hopping, that of which I am not a personal fan of. Although I do enjoy dry hopped beers from time to time, I find the hop flavor to be a bit more grassy and raw than I like.
Another advantage is the bitterness I spoke of. If you don’t enjoy the harsh or bracing bitterness that some IPAs have, but yet yearn for intense hop flavor and aroma, then this is the technique for you. As I explained before, I find the bitterness to be more rounded and pleasing to the palate. The flavor also seems to shine more, where in traditionally hopped beers, the flavor seems to take a back seat to the bitterness. Don’t get me wrong, you will still see a good deal of bitterness, but it just won’t have the same feel to it.
Every technique has some disadvantages, and hopbursting has them as well. One disadvantage is that you lose more wort to absorbtion. So increase your wort volume based on how many extra ounces of hops you use. Also, hops are not all that cheap (but getting better again) so more hops will equal more cost. Another thing to consider is that if you don’t have a false bottom or good way of straining the wort, you will have a lot more hop matter to clog your spigot. One last thing I can think of to consider is your PH. If you measure your PH, remember that a high PH can make your beer appear more bitter than what it is. So with more hops, can come more bitterness than you want if your PH is too high. So pay attention to that.
All those things considered, Hopbursting is a good way to move more into the realm of hop flavor and aroma, instead of the just intensely bitter IPA’s. Below are some of my favorite recipes that I hopburst, and these all have turned out quite good. Keep in mind that the IBU’s for hopbursted beers probably appears a slight bit lower than what is listed. I also list the estimated OG and FG instead of my measurements.
Brass Monkey Pale Ale (My First Hopbursted Beer)
5 Gallon Batch
10.00lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
1.00lb Caramel Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)
1.00lb Victory Malt (biscuit) (Briess) (28.0 SRM)
2.00oz Chinook [12.80%] (10 min)
2.00oz Amarillo Gold [8.40%] (5 min)
0.40oz Chinook [12.80%] (0 min) -
1 Pkgs US-05 or WLP001 or Wyeast 1056 Yeast-Ale
Single Infusion Batch Sparge
Mash in with 15 quarts of water at 165.9 degrees F. Mash for 60 Min at 154.
Batch Sparge with 4.75 gallons of water based on equipment.
Ferment at 62 degrees until done. No need for secondary.
Land of Lincoln Pale Ale (This beer has taken a 1st and 3rd place medal in competition)
5 Gallon Batch
10.00 lb Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM)
1.50 lb Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM)
1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [16.10%] (15 min)
0.50 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [16.10%] (10 min)
1.00 oz Cascade [5.30%] (5 min)
0.20 oz Glacier [5.60%] (5 min)
1.10 tbsp 5.2 PH Stabilizer (Mash 0.0 min)
1 Pkgs US-06, WLP001, or Wyeast 1056 Yeast-Ale
Mash in with 15 quarts of water at 165.9 degrees F. Mash for 60 minutes at 154 degrees. Sparge with 4.75 gallons of water per your equipment.
Est. OG 1.050
Emperor’s Hand IPA (Smoked American IPA) and Juniper IPA
5.5 Gallon Batch
Please refer to my home roasting post to get the instructions on how to make the home roasted malts.
12.00 lb Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM)
1.50 lb Gold Malt (home roasted) (20.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Amber Malt (home Roasted) (22.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Copper Malt (home roasted) (100.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Deep Amber (home roasted) (60.0 SRM)
3.00 oz Simcoe [13.40 %] (10 min) Hops
4.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.90 %] (5 min) Hops
1.00 oz German Saphire [4.11 %] (0 min)
1.00 tbsp 5.2 PH Stabilizer (Mash 0.0 min)
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)
1 Pkgs (DCL Yeast #US-05, WLP001, or Wyeast 1056 (chico strain)
Mash in with 20.63 quarts of water at 168.2 degrees F. Mash for 60 minutes at 154 degrees. Sparge with 4.5 gallons of water per equipment.
Ferment at 62 degrees until finished. No need for secondary.
For Juniper IPA I added 1 package of Juniper berries soaked in 1 1/2 cups 170 degree water for 15 min. I added water and all. (Note – next time add Juniper to primary after fermentation is complete, or rack to secondary and add berries and water) Let sit for 2 weeks on berries.