I have recently brewed at APA and the IBUs have come out a little on the low side. I would like to increase the IBUS slightly. I was thinking of making a hop tea and adding it straight to the keg. Has anyone tried this? What are the things i need to consider?


The easiest way to do this post boil/fermentation would be to get your hands on some isomerized alpha acid extract. Add it dropwise until the bitterness is where you want it.

  • I'm downvoting this because I said the same thing in my answer.
    – JackSmith
    Feb 7 '11 at 15:43
  • OK, so we are down voting just for competing answers. I just offered a simple solution. Let the community decide if yours is better than mine.
    – brewchez
    Aug 15 '11 at 13:45

The thing about hop teas is that they contain negligible bittering levels. They do, however, contain a ton of hop flavor & aroma. If you're looking to boost IBUs but not flavor and aroma, a tea is not the way to go. In order for hops to bitter a beer, they need to be boiled to isomerize the alpha acids. Hop teas are typically made by steeping the hops in hot (not boiling) water. Doing this allows you to extract hop flavor and aroma without getting any bitterness.

I recently did this on an IPA I brewed. When I finished sparging, I drew off one pint of the wort and brought it to a boil. As soon as it hit the boil, I killed the flame and let it cool to about 190F, then poured it into my French press which contained about 3/4 oz of centennial pellets. I allowed this to steep while my kettle came to a boil. When the kettle reached a boil, I pressed the hop tea off into a sanitized jar and set it aside. I then added the hops from the French press to my kettle, using them as part of my 60 minute addition. This allowed me to pre-extract the flavor & aroma from bittering hops. The tea, however, contained little-to-no IBUs.

Now, if you just want to boost IBUs, you could take some bittering hops and boil them for an hour, then add this to your beer. It's probably a good idea to add some DME to the water to get it to about 1.025 or so to create a wort with chemistry that will allow for better hop utilization than you'd get with plain water. Yes, hop utilization goes down as SG goes up, but I've read that the pH and other minerals you'll get from adding some DME will work better for you than plain water. If you do this and use DME, you'll be adding fermentables, so you should account for that. If you're bottle conditioning, you could plan to prime with DME and boil it for an hour with some hops (remember to account for boil-off).

All that said, I think the easiest way to boost IBUs is probably to just use some hop extract. I've never used it, but it exists for just this reason.

  • "When the kettle reached a boil, I pressed the hop tea off into a sanitized jar and set it aside. I then added the hops from the French press to my kettle, using them as part of my 60 minute addition." You certainly dont have to worry about santizing a jar for that tea if you are going to add it to the boiling wort for 60 mins. Just think about an immersion chiller...you add it to the boil about 10 minutes before flame out to sanititze it. Also, you would lose most of the flavor and aromatics that you are looking for if you steeped this tea and placed it in the boil for 60 mins. You would want
    – BHBrewer
    Jan 10 '13 at 20:56
  • Also could consider: northernbrewer.com/shop/hopshot.html Jan 14 '13 at 17:45
  • @ChrisPlaisier - that's not going to help for this application. A hopshot is used just like bittering hops and must be boiled in wort to isomerize. The extract JackSmith mentions is already isomerized and isolated, though no longer being manufactured.
    – Wyrmwood
    Sep 7 '17 at 15:45
  • @Wyrmwood That is true. Meant to suggest it as a more measured way of adding IBU's than using whole or pellet hops. Would definitely still have to boil them to isomerize the alpha acids. Sorry I didn't add this. Sep 8 '17 at 16:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.