OK I may be called crazy, and it won't be the first time but hear me out please.

I am wondering if anyone has tried what I am about to suggest and if so what were the results?

Could one reduce the cost of hops by taking the whole hops(not pellets) used for Aroma in batch A (in a hop bag or in the hop back), and use them for bittering in brew B.

As if boiled for 60 min they would lose all their aroma, so letting that go into the first brew is not an issue. And, being only in the boil A for ~5 min, would only isomerise and extract about 12% of the potential IBUs. Which means I would be wasting the other 80% I could realistically extract (allowing for~8% I will never get out).

it is just that often I am adding 14% AA hops to get their lovely aroma and then chucking them, which seems like a huge waste if I could have bittered a second batch with them. Especially given how much energy and water are required to grow hops in the first place.

  • 1
    I assumed you are using whole hops, because hop bag makes little sense for pellets, but it would be good idea o clarify it.
    – Mołot
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


Might be possible, if you are brewing two batches, one just after another.

If you will try to store wet hops, you are giving mold time to grow. Isomerisation continues to occur when hops are hot, so no way to dry them without loses. So then there is freezing, but that's troublesome.

If done fresh, from one brew to another directly, would work, but you would lose some aroma you normally get from leaving it in during cooling (might not be an issue). Also, it would meant boil significantly longer than one hour. Many sources claim bad tastes and aromas like grass etc to appear such conditions. Depends on many factor, mostly on hops you use.

Hint: commercial breweries seems not to do that, and they are all about cutting costs.

  • I would be doing it with in 60 min of each other so no storage of wet hops. On your point about boiling for greater than 60 min, I have done 90 min boils in the past when replicating 1890s IPAs and not had any bad tastes/aromas coming through. Fair point, regarding commercial breweries not doing it. I'll try it one time and see what the results are like and report back, no promises how quickly I'll get back but I will add it to the experimentation book.
    – Mr_road
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 20:26
  • @Mr_road "when replicating 1890s IPAs" you used tested combination of factors, one that does not give bad tastes. OK, I never encountered them either, I just felt I should mention them - because they are mentioned a bit too often to simply ignore in an answer.
    – Mołot
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 12:21

This would me much like reusing a tea bag or coffee grounds.

There's not much of anything useful left in hops after a couple minutes in a boil.

Pulling out hops does little to halt bittering since most the oils are now in the boil, and will continue to isomerize the alpha acids. This is why temperatures above 175° count as "boil time".

Since the proposed use is to use spent aroma hops as a bittering hops for a second batch. Your left with a huge unknown of the IBU potential of the hop. This may suffice for a mystery parti-gyle batch, but nothing your trying to hit style guidlines on.

I can't help but feel that this question was born from a flawed brewing method I see all to offten. improper hop bagging. If your hop bag looks like a hard baseball when it's wet then your hops are not getting the wort exposure for full extraction, it would be easy to smell and taste the hops from a bag like this and feel they are still useful. In fact they are, because the didn't get used on the first boil. hop bag, in the boil should be loose and flowing My rule of thumb when I do use a bag (I prefer no bag) is the bag should lay flat with one layer of hop pellets. A much better hop bag, is a full kettle BIAB bag so additions can go in a free rolling boil.

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    My understanding is that the Alpha acids although found in the lupin glands did not dissolve rapidly into the wort, being relatively insoluble, and that they had to be isomerised to allow for them to dissolve to a relatively high concentration in the wort; this understanding may be flawed.
    – Mr_road
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 20:49
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    This question was not born out of improper usage of a hop bag, but a hope to reduce the environmental impact and waste of brewing. As I clearly pointed out when asking the question.
    – Mr_road
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 20:52
  • Also if this were done and functioned (IF) and the understand of the process was such that it were repeatable then there is no logic reason why it could it not be used to hit style guidelines.
    – Mr_road
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 20:54
  • I will attempt it and report back, you may be fully correct and it will be like reusing coffee ground ie only good for compost.
    – Mr_road
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 20:55
  • @Mr_road what takes time is the conversion of alpha acids, the glads are pulverized when forming the pellets, the plant media is used as a sponge of sorts to retain the acids and essential oils. Hops are "washed" pretty quickly. Let us know how it turns out. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 2:38

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