How much is too much hops?

Too Much Hops?

cropped-hopsbanner2.jpgYes, this is possible, even for hop-head IPA drinkers. For me, anything over 80IBU’s is too much hops. It stops tasting  wonderfully citrus or floral and starts tasting more like earwax. (Don’t lie, you know what it’s like)

When I first brewed Jango New Zealand Pale Ale, I used 3 ounces of hops. No big deal because I used 5 ounced for Bedfordshire once. Well, there WAS a big difference… It was hella bitter. Like, medicinal bitter. I tried to let it age another few weeks to see if it would calm down. Nope. Still bitter. I tried to fridge it for a while to see if it would be less bitter. Nope, still bitter. I’ll have to dump my first batch. What did I learn?

  1. Pay attention to the alpha value of the hops. The higher the amount of alpha acid, the more bitter. But… there is something that makes an even bigger difference…
  2. Time. I used to just kind of spread out tosses of hops throughout the brew without too much precision. Ah, a few minutes, a few pellets here and there. Let me tell you… it matters. The longer those hops boil, the more acids will be released. The more bitter it will get. Hops thrown in closer to the end of the boil, the aroma hops, release those hoppy tastes like citrus, pine, floral, earthy, etc. You DO need the bitter hops to offset the sweetness of the malt. So, even 1/4 ounce of bittering hops is good.

My advice…

  • Use a hops calculator or recipe calculator like on BrewToad. It will help you calculate the IBU of your beer BEFORE you brew it. Here’s Jango’s second iteration I applied it to a hops calculator:
  • Measure and time hops additions as meticulously as you do anything else. And record everything in your log. That way, you can go back and for sure find out why you beer tastes like earwax.

So, I WILL brew Jango again. Just not for a while because I have a lot of other brews happening now. Summer is soon!

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