Craft Beer 101 – Hops and Bitterness


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There is no denying that yesterday’s Super Bowl festivities were full with a behemoth of alcoholic beverage – most namely of course, beer. Any objections? We didn’t think so . . . Greg Nagel of helps us ring in another Monday with need-to-know brew tips.

Q: Are hoppy beers more bitter?

A: Sometimes, but not always. When brewing, there are several times during the boil where adding hops lends itself to different hop characteristics. At 60 minutes left in the boil, any hops added will fully extract all of the bitterness from the cones. At 30 minutes left, hop flavors are extracted. 10 minutes left? All aroma. Different hops are used at each interval to maximize each character the brewer wants to achieve.

One modern technique with Double IPA’s is to hop burst,’ meaning to throw a high percentage of late addition or post-boil hops, maximizing the aroma and flavor without adding any bitterness. Be sure to drink these beers fresh as these aromas and flavors are highly volatile and fade after a month. Stone Brewing Company’s Enjoy By’ series maximizes this principle by adding the date to the name.