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I am about to start my second attempt at making an IPA. My first did not turn out anything like an IPA. It was much darker than I expected (I may have burnt it a little) and did not really have the strong hop aroma that is typical in an IPA. It was still a pretty drinkable and enjoyable beer however.

What I'd like to know is of any tips to get a good hop flavor and aroma. Any tips on how to keep to the style. And any other tips anyone familiar with this style may have.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Hop Primer:

Hops have two purposes in beer*: bittering, and hops flavor/aroma. The key thing is that when your'e boiling hops in hot wort, the flavor/aroma compounds will get boiled off.

As such, hops added early in the boil won't contribute much to a hoppy flavor, since they spend more time boiling- hence why they're called 'bittering hops'.

Hops added later, though, will increase the hop flavor and aroma, since they spend less time in the boiling wort.

To increase hop flavor:

  • Add hops later in the boil, often in the last 15 minutes of the boil. Usually your recipe should guide hops addition times, though.
  • Be sure to stop the boil on time. Letting it go another 10 minutes while you prepare other things will significantly decrease the hop flavor.
  • Consider 'Dry-Hopping'

*They used to be preservatives as well, but that doesn't matter these days.

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Was the bitterness you got what you expected? If not, you might need more sulfate in your water. If you need more hop flavor, you can try either first wort hopping or increasing the amount of hops you use at 10-20 min. before flameout. For more hop aroma, dry hopping is da bomb!

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Use more hops later in the boil. Use low alpha acid hold as these generally are more suitable for aroma hopping as a rule of thumb, not always though!

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I know it was already mentioned twice, but if you really want aroma it warrants another. Dry Hopping. If you want more aroma, its the way to go. I dry hopped a bitter I was making with 1.5oz Kent Goldings and 1.5oz of Cascade and the result was great. It imparted a wonderful hop aroma. (though the Cascade overpowered the Goldings)

People usually recommend dry hopping with less because it can make for a "grassy" aroma, but I didn't think it was grassy at all. I also used pellets, though you can use whole flowers.

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Lower hops AND darker than expected?

If you are using extract, consider adding only about half of the extract at the start of the boil. The gravity of the wort will affect both the amount of carmelization (darkness) and hop utilization that the boil has. I typically use 2 cans/bottles of 3# (ish) of malt, add 1 in the beginning, and add the second about 15 minutes left in the boil.

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I've heard this before and I'll give it a try next time. Thanks. –  D J Mar 23 '11 at 20:18
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Another thing to keep in mind is that a hoppy beer is best enjoyed fresh. If you bottled your ipa and left it sit for months before drinking, it will taste and smell way less hoppy.

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While I know this is true, this isn't quite my problem. My beer is usually gone within a month or two, but doesn't really capture that hoppy aroma. –  D J Mar 23 '11 at 20:17
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