Boiling hops reduces the beta acids that are associated with aroma/flavor. Is there any other advantage to a 30 minute hop addition or could you just increase your 60 minute hop addition to achieve the same IBU, and increase your late hop addition to compensate for flavor/aroma?

It seems to me like this would result in the same flavor profile.


Short answer, "yes". Long answer ...

Excuse me for getting a little sciency, but ...

Using the simple assumption the "flavor" is a single component with concentration X(t) with a some half-life g, and that the "bitterness" comes from the isomerization of a single kind of alpha acid, with concentration Y(t) and some half-life h, one can write down simple equations that given the original hopping scheme at t=0 and t=60 min (say), can give you the new hopping scheme at t=30 min and t=60 min. (This should of course incorporate some standard model for isomerization factors that depend on, e.g., the gravity, like Rager or Tinseth.) These schemes would yield identical X(60 min) and Y(60 min), and hence the "same" flavor and aroma.

I believe this approach will work sometimes. You can get a good approximation to the original scheme by trial and error. But more often than not, I think this model is too simple to account for all the flavor tones and bitterness "hues" you will get from varying the scheme. For example, dry hopping gives flavors very different from that obtained by very late additions to the boiling wort.

The flavor is not determined by a single chemical compund, but many. Similarly for the bitterness, I believe. Also, the evaporation of the flavor determining chemicals depends on many factors. Moreover, the Tinseth and Rager models are empirical and by no means exact.

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  • Thanks for the answer. I suspected the answer might be "it's complicated". Maybe when I get a 2nd FV I will do a side-by-side experiment. – FermentaSean Feb 5 '13 at 3:18
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    This is the most useful article I've found in regards to hop flavor complexity: mrmalty.com/late_hopping.php – FermentaSean Feb 9 '13 at 23:08

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