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How can I infuse aromatics w/out bitterness from hops?

jkhdsf Mar 17, 2012 08:12 PM

I'm working out a simple syrup recipe using hops so that I can make soda's with it and possibly get into making bitters.

Does anyone know of a method or temperature to infuse hops aromatics without taking so much of the bitter qualities?

  1. a
    arjunsr Mar 17, 2012 08:33 PM

    i have no experience with hops, but usually temperature is one way to control what's released. heat the hops at a temp below a simmer should get the aromatic qualities from it.

    6 Replies
    1. re: arjunsr
      jkhdsf Mar 17, 2012 10:33 PM

      thanks arjusr. just tried that. i simmered about 1/2 cup of water, took it off heat and let 6 chinook hop flowers steep for 5 minutes. it was still quite bitter with not enough aromatics to be usefull.

      then I discovered that chinook are meant to be bittering hops and not aromatics, so i'm trying an overnight, cold water infusion with fuggles, golding & chinook, in separate jars (1 cup hops, 1.5 cup water).

      I'm hoping that using hop varieties higher in beta acids will work better

      1. re: jkhdsf
        cowboyardee Mar 17, 2012 10:40 PM

        My best guess: infuse overnight, cold. Start off with warm but not hot water, put hops in, and place in the fridge for a good while.

        That said, different hops have wildly different characters, so I'd think you can probably find some that are less prone to bitterness than others. Unfortuneately, I do not have the experience brewing to recommend any one hop specifically over another.

        1. re: cowboyardee
          cowboyardee Mar 18, 2012 07:01 AM

          "Unfortuneately, I do not have the experience brewing to recommend any one hop specifically over another."

          I mentioned this question to a friend of mine who is pretty big into homebrewing. He recommended looking for hops with low alpha acid levels. The first example that came to his mind were saaz hops, though you should be able to find others, and many vendors should be able to inform you about the alpha acid levels of the hops they sell.

          1. re: cowboyardee
            jkhdsf Mar 19, 2012 02:23 PM

            Awesome. I will give that a try. I've got a cold water infusion going now and we'll see how that turns out. If that fails, i'll try some different strains of hops with low alpha acids.

        2. re: jkhdsf
          The Professor Mar 17, 2012 11:49 PM

          Cascade is a good variety to try if you're looking for aroma.
          Even if you steep and don't boil, you're still going to extract at least _some_ bitterness...there's really no way around that.

          You could also try some grain alcohol (like Everclear) to grab more aromatics than bitterness.

          The best thing for what you're using it for would probably be distilled hop oil (especially distilled to extract the aromatic fraction).
          That stuff is hella expensive, though

          1. re: The Professor
            jkhdsf Mar 19, 2012 02:24 PM

            Yeah that'll be my next step. Cold water steeping seems to be still releasing some bitterness but I'm going to try an alcohol extraction and maybe even rapid infusion under CO2 pressure.
            Funny enough I just smashed my bottle of everclear on my bedroom floor this morning and can't buy anymore here in canada...so it'll probably have to be vodka:(

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