Seems like a lot of people are now gravitating towards late addition hops. I was talking to Tony Lawrence of Boneyard Brewery about a very popular (at least in the PNW) IPA they brew and there were very little bittering hops, most of the hop additions were whirlpooled and dry hopped. I have added late addition hops after "flame out" or burner off but 10 minutes later my wort had cooled quite a bit. I would imagine with a large brewery, when they are whirlpooling, they would not have the heat loss due to the volume they are brewing. For a better hop utilization, what if I were to circulate the wort with the pump on and turn the PID from the manual setting to a temp slightly under boiling, say 210 and let the hops circulate in this higher temp wort, do you think this would make a difference?
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10945 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, Mild, Pliny the Younger, Belgian Dark Strong, Weizen, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter
Link Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 12:10 pm Post subject: Re: Whirlpool
Hi and welcome to the forum!
Todd M wrote:
Seems like a lot of people are now gravitating towards late addition hops.
Yes - there's been a movement towards this over the last 10-15 years, mostly in NEW England style beers. Over the years I've been doing a lot myself without realizing that I was "New Englanding" my beers.
I was talking to Tony Lawrence of Boneyard Brewery about a very popular (at least in the PNW) IPA they brew and there were very little bittering hops, most of the hop additions were whirlpooled and dry hopped. I have added late addition hops after "flame out" or burner off but 10 minutes later my wort had cooled quite a bit. I would imagine with a large brewery, when they are whirlpooling, they would not have the heat loss due to the volume they are brewing.
Correct. With very large volumes there is so much thermal mass such that the wort doesn't cool off very quickly. So when a large brewery (usually) transfers to their whirlpool vessel the wort is still at or just below boiling and stays there for quite some time. At the homebrew level wort cools off considerably faster.
This is why when you translate recipes from a pro brewer size to a homebrew size you often have to make changes to the hop addition times. For example, that zero minute (knockout) hop that is whirlpooled at the pro brewer level may be best done as a 20 minute addition at the homebrewer level (with no whirlpool) to give the same results. You see this a lot when a pro brewer gets together with homebrewers in the "can you brew it?" show and they try to replicate a large scale commercial beer for homebrew size. Everything gets pushed back.
That giant mass of wort also takes a pro brewer longer to chill so the wort sits near boiling longer than most homebrewers, adding to the extra bitterness extraction.
This lag time to chill and the extra steeping time at near boiling that pro brewers see is why many only seem to have late addition and flameout hops. These do not translate to homebrew size setups so you can't compare times as you're doing here. It doesn't work that way. They may do 10 min and 0 min, but at the homebrew level that may actually be 30 and 20 or even longer (depends on the pro brewer batch size / process).
For a better hop utilization, what if I were to circulate the wort with the pump on and turn the PID from the manual setting to a temp slightly under boiling, say 210 and let the hops circulate in this higher temp wort, do you think this would make a difference?
You can certainly hold at a specific temperature but there's no need (or benefit) in recirculating. Hop oil extraction is a function of temperature and contact time. It doesn't need to be moving. Pro brewers only use separate whirlpool vessels because they often have no other choice to remove trub. They're not doing it for hop extraction.
Now doing it at 210F however is so close to boiling you're just boiling really. I don't see the point. You're not doing a hop stand but instead just boiling. If you want to extract different hop flavours (like in my recipe) you need to do that hop stand at a lower temp. I use 180F but it's somewhat hop dependant. Depends on the isomerisation points of the oils in the specific hop you're using. You can try different temps from 150 up to 190 to see what you think. Any higher is more or less just boiling.
If you do want higher temps to mimic what the pro brewery is doing, just add them to the boil like at 20 mins as I mentioned. The exact time would depend on what the pro brewer does/their process.
Good luck and have happy experimenting as that's part of the fun!
Living in North Carolina, my ground water is too warm during most of the year to achieve yeast pitching temps after a single pass through the counterflow chiller. I therefore run the wort from the BK, through the counterflow chiller, then back into the BK via a ball valve on the BK with a long tube inside the BK in a whirlpool fashion. This allows me to cool the bulk of the wort much faster, especially down below significant hop alpha acid isomerization temps, which helps lock in hop bitterness/flavor, creates a whirlpool in the process, and leaves most of the cold break material in the BK. The Hop Stopper is not designed to handle the pumps running at full speed in this setup, and it absolutely does not handle cold break material inside the BK. I've tried the Hop Stopper with multiple setups, and it simply doesn't work with my processes and setup. They helped troubleshoot and offered amazing customer service throughout the process though! The one downside to my process is obviously then keeping the hops in the BK and out of the fermenter. The whirlpool cone certainly helps, I sometimes utilize a giant hop spider, but I also do an initial dump out of my conical after about 24 hours in the fermenter and that definitively takes care of the issue. So I think it's fair to say there are other benefits to whirlpooling and it's not all bad!
As always, thanks for your perspective and this amazing website. Brewing the Black Butte clone as I type this 😁
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