I've been thinking, especially after brewing my last IPA, about getting the most out of my hops. The higher the SG of your wort, the less you get from your hops, so the more you have to put in. I've been thinking about boiling a seperate gallon of water while my beer is cooking and throwing half of my hops or more into the seperate one gallon of plain water with a specific gravity of 1.000. This will allow me to get the most out of my hops, then after 55 minutes or so, I'll poor this into my boiling wort.

Will this work? Does boiling the hops seperate from the wort have a drawback that I'm not aware of? I'm sure that there is some interaction between the wort and the hops during the boil that I'm missing. I'm curious though.

4 Answers 4


In an all-grain brew, this becomes more difficult, since you generally need all of your mash/sparge water passing through the mash to hit your target gravity/efficiency. In that case, you might consider using the last runnings of the mash, since it's more dilute.

Personally, I'd rather use an extra dollar's worth of hops than worry about separating my wort, finding an extra burner, etc.

  • Good point on the last runnings. Also a good point on the extra burner. Hops are not that expensive, and I could always do a 90 minute boil instead of 60, I was more just curious if it would work.
    – dzachareas
    Nov 24, 2010 at 21:51
  • 1
    I vote for just more hops.
    – brewchez
    Nov 25, 2010 at 23:09
  • A 90-min boil gives you only about 3% more utilization compared to a 60-min boil, so the extra 30 mins is hardly worth doing to get 3% more IBUs. Also, you can end up pulling out more phenolics from the hops with a long boil giving a puckering taste.
    – mdma
    Jan 27, 2012 at 1:40

You would essentially be making a hop tea, this would improve your extraction efficiency especially if you are doing a partial mash boil. I would probably only do this for the bittering hops and just add the flavor and aroma to the main boil since you don't get much bitterness from those additions anyway. You may also have to tweak your recipe a bit to get the right amount of bitterness to balance with the malt.

The Double IPA kit from Northern Brewer employs this method to increase the bitterness in that particular kit. When developing these kit the processes are test and proven before the kits are put up for sale. http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/double-ipa-extract-kit-2.html


I don't know if you've ever tasted the results of boiling hops in water, but I have...it's harsh and vegetal and certainly nothing I'd want to put in my beer! Not to mention, is it really worth the extra effort? How much do you think you'll save? It really won't have all that much impact on how much hops you use.


I dont know that that will help, but you can always use a higher alpha hop variety to increase the utility of your hops.

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