Hi guys, Today I’m here to talk about hoppiness.

Hoppiness, people always assume it’s going to mean bitterness, but that is not the case, whatsoever — AT ALL.

Bitterness comes from what we call the alpha acids, which is measured by your IBUs*. You’ve got a perceived bitterness vs. actual bitterness as well. Just because you have a high IBU doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a super bitter beer. There are super sweet Imperial Stouts out there that are in the 80 and 90 IBU range, which is the same range you’re going to have in your Imperial IPA’s. I’ve had super bitter beers that were only at 35 – 40 IBU range.

So what does Hoppiness really mean?

Man's Hands with Beer HopsWhen your brewing beer, your hops are added in during the boiling phase. Two different things occur; you have alpha acids and hop oils.

Alpha acids. What they do is create your bitterness. So when you add hops at the beginning of your boil, you boil off all your hop oils, and you’re left with your alpha acids, which will make a very bitter beer.

When you add hops to your end of the boil, your alpha acids aren’t going to be extracted as much, and your hop oils, which adds a very flavorful component depending upon where your hops come.

When someone talks about citrus IPA, grapefruit IPA, a piney IPA, earthy IPA’s and any of those flavors, they aren’t adding those components into the beer; they are getting all those flavors from the hop oils.

When someone walks into my bar and says, “I want something super hoppy!” Well, that can mean a lot of different things. So next time when you walk into a bar, and say, “I want a really hoppy IPA,” just remember; Do you want a bitter IPA like a traditional West Coast IPA or do you want something flavorful, and delicious with a lot of grapefruit tropical, mango, whatever notes you want like the newer style New England IPAs or Hazy IPA’s?

Those styles are going to utilize hop oil a lot more, and even though they may have high IBUs, they are still going to have a lot more sweetness, and you won’t have that much perceived bitterness.

*IBU – International Bitterness Unit

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Special thanks to Aces and Ales for the use of their VIP room for our video shoots.

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