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.


9 Answers 9


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.

  • I've also taken some advice from my local brew club from a guy who has many won many comps with his IPAs. There's generally a tendency to want to do the chill into the fermenter as soon as possible after flameout but realistically that can be left for about 20 minutes and you shouldn't get below about 85°C. You can use alot of hops at flameout compared with other styles and you can also steep what you put at this stage for 15-20 minutes to really bring out some flavour. His other tip was to use some gypsum in the water, apparently it really helps the hop flavour to "pop". Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 0:20

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!


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.

  • I've heard this before and I'll give it a try next time. Thanks.
    – D J
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 20:18

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!


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.


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.

  • 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
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 20:17

Are you using hop-bags? You should stop using hop-bags. I had the same problem. I significantly increased my hop aroma and taste by skipping the hop-bags. Hop pellets will swell around 60 times in volume, and a hop-bag with too much hops, will not allow the hop to swell fully. The result will be that very much of the hop oils never will be released into the boiling wort, but trapped inside the hop in the bag. By changing to a hop spider during boil, my problem was solved, and my IPAs had a lot of hop taste and aroma. For dry hopping, use no more than 50 grams in one hop-bag, and use a stone or something heavy inside to make it sink.


I would need to see your recipe, but my guess is either you are boiling your hops too much or you are not using enough hops. Boiling hops creates bitterness, but it also reduces the floral aromas which we love.

In my recipe, I boiled Williamet for 30 min, Centennial for 15 min, and Citra for 5 min. After a week, I dry hopped with Cascade flowers (as opposed to pellets). That gave me a nice grassy aroma two weeks after racking and a nice citrus aroma about a month later.

  1. Burned it??? How did you burn it? too much extract in pot before adding water?? Burning will mess with the flavor and structure of anything. Never burned wort before, but I would think it would be bad.

  2. Are you checking the Alpha levels of the hops you use?

  3. you could also try FWH-first wort hoping. the process of adding some hops before boil. The IBU of these hops will be lower than after HB, but it is a nice way to add IBUs

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