hist-brewing: First Wort Hopping

Jeff Renner nerenner at umich.edu
Sat Feb 27 05:56:02 PST 1999

At 7:13 AM -0500 2/27/99, PBLoomis at aol.com wrote:
>In a message dated 2/26/99 9:40:41 AM EST, nerenner at umich.edu writes:
><< and first wort hopping is a useful tool for hops flavor and aroma.  >>
>	What is "first wort hopping"?  I'm interested in any technique that
>help me preserve the hop flavor in my Elizabethan beer.     Scotti

BWH is a technique developed around the turn of the century in Germany.
About half of your usual late addition hops are added to the first wort
collected during lautering (runoff) where they steep (typically at around
170F, or 76C in big breweries, HBers have to add a bit of heat to keep them
steeping due to greater heat loss).  These first wort hops add amazing
flavor, some aroma, and, despite being boiled with the usual bittering
hops, do not give an *apparent* increase in bitterness.  Taste panels have
reported a more pleasant bitterness, not higher, than conventionally hopped
beers, in spite of an actual higher level of isomerized alpha acids (IBUs).

This technique was "rediscovered" in Germany in the last decade and was
introduced to the homebrewing community by George Fix.  While I am not
aware of any records indicating it was used historically in the US, it
seems reasonable that it was, since US lager brewers of a century ago were
largely German trained or trained by German trained brewers.  While it is
not authentic, so far as I know, for Elizabethan beers, beers of that time
were hopped in the mash, I believe, which might give similar results.

For an excellent summary by Dave Draper of this useful technique, see
http://hbd.org/~ddraper/beer/1stwort.html .  Please note that Dave's email
address has changed.


Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan c/o nerenner at umich.edu
"One never knows, do one?"  Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943. 

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