Getting Started

How does the Hops box work in the recipe editor?

Hops are the spice of beer, they add bitterness, complex flavor and aroma, and the characteristic signature of each beer. Add more hops, and increase the IBU contribution. For reference, each hops entry displays its individual IBU, utilization, and AAU. Enter the hops amount, and start typing the hop variety. An auto-suggestion box will come up to help complete the selection. Not all varieties are listed, but if a match is found, and the AA box is empty, the default AA for the hop will be entered. Sorting: Use the sort button to reorganize the list in order of when the hops are used in the recipe. Very handy if you decide you want to change around hop additions, times, or even change one hop to be First Wort instead of Boil. Alpha Acids - AA: Alpha Acids refer to how much bitterness the hops impart. This should be written on the hops package. If not, you can use the recommend guideline from the system, which is considered the 'average' for that variety. The AA numbers vary from year to year, field to field. Time - how long the hops will be boiled in minutes: This field is only applicable to boiled hops and aroma hops (though a low time is usually specified for aroma hops). For Dry Hops the time field turns to days - eg the number of days to soak the hops in the beer. For Mashed Hops, the field is always blank and a value of 5 minutes is used for IBU purposes. For First Wort Hops, the field is always blank and the recipe's boil time is used to calculate utilization (see more on FWH below). Type - the form the hops come in: Leaf / Whole, Pellet, and Plug are the most popular ways hops are sold. Fresh hops - right off the vine, wet, not dried like all other hops. Pellet hops impart a + 10% utilization factor, but only with the Tinseth IBU equation. Read our blog post about the types of hops. AAU = Alpha Acid Units: Reported as (ounces of hops * alpha acid). For example, 1.5 ounces of Cascade with an AA value of 7 would be (1.5 * 7 = 10.5). Customizing the Auto Complete List: The hops auto complete list will suggest hop varieties as you start typing. It will also fill in the system default AA value for that hop when you press enter. As you setup the recipe, the editor overrides the default AA values with what you have entered on the recipe. The hops auto complete list also includes your inventory. You may setup custom hops in your inventory, or override system default AA values. If there are multiple hops with the same name, the default AA value for that hop variety is taken from the last one in the list. Hops Use: Relates to how the hops are used in the recipe, with the most common being 'Boil'. Read our blog post about Dry Hopping. Read our blog post about First Wort Hopping. Support for Hop Stands - select Whirlpool or Hopback in the Hop Use drop down. A hop stand is a technique where hops are exposed to the wort after the boil but before fermentation.

  • In a Whirlpool hop stand, the whirlpool is started after the boil and extra hops are added.

  • With a hopback the wort is pumped or drained through a container holding the extra hops on the way to the fermentor.

Hop stands avoid vaporizing the essential oils and are said to result in smoother bitterness and flavor. The temperature and time of the exposure greatly impacts the utilization (for the purposes of IBU calculations). Given the wide variation in process and equipment out there, the utilization factor is left up to the brewer. A value of 10% is generally accepted, but could vary based on process. The hotter the temperature and the more time, the higher the utilization. When selecting Whirlpool or Hopback as the hop use, two new fields will appear.

  • The utilization of the hops (normally 10%, but could be zero if done at lower temperatures or for a short time).

  • The temperature at which the hop stand is performed at.

For more information on hop stands see this excellent and detailed write up by BYO (Mar/Apr 2013).

First Wort Hops

First wort hopping (FWH) is the method by which a hop addition is added to the boil kettle prior to lautering your grain bed. For more details on the process of using FWH, Read our blog post about First Wort Hopping. The recipe calculator treats FWH additions as boil hops for the entire boil time of the recipe. Additionally, a utilization multiplier is applied to scale up the bittering of the FWH addition. By default that scalar is set to 110%, but you can manually enter a custom utilization boost by entering a different percentage in the 'Scale Util.' field. That percentage represents the entire utilization multiplier, meaning a value of 110% represents a 10% increase over a regular boil hop.