First Wort Hopping with Dual-Use Hops

fwh-lauterI’ve been fascinated with the idea of first wort hops ever since I first read about it. To sum it up for anyone who isn’t familiar with the idea, the official method for first wort hopping (FWH) is to take 1/3 of your finishing hop addition, and add it to your first runnings as you lauter your mash. The expectation is that somehow, from steeping in the warm (but not boiling) wort, you will extract a significant amount of flavor and aroma that will not boil off during the boil (due to how it combines with the warm wort during the lautering process).

Exactly how this happens is less well explained, or even understood, and as a result, opinions on first-wort hopping vary widely.

What I began doing about a year ago, is to FWH using 100% of my bittering addition. I still use a finishing addition, but I rarely use a hop for bittering that I don’t like the flavor and/or aroma of. It has been my experience that I still get full utilization for bittering (due to isomerized alpha-acids), and that bittering seems to be very smooth. I also seem to get a nice subtle hop flavor from that addition if I happen to be brewing a beer with only a bittering addition (such as a Hefeweizen).

I don’t know if anyone else is doing their FWH addition like I am, but I’d be really curious to hear the results from what anyone else is doing.


3 thoughts on “First Wort Hopping with Dual-Use Hops

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention First Wort Hopping with Dual-Use Hops | Maine Brews --

  2. Asa

    Perfect timing for this post–just last week i tried FWH for the first time & im looking forward to seeing how it turns out (used chinook in a black ipa). I’m glad to hear that you found the FWH still contribute the bittering addition. After reading about it on some of the forums I was left pretty unclear on whether it would or not.

    Have you ever tried using a hopback before? Thats something I’d love to play around with sometime…

    1. Joel Mahaffey

      Hi Asa,

      I haven’t used a hop-back before, I know they work well, but I’ve found that between late-hopping and dry-hopping, I can get plenty of hop aroma without an additional piece of equipment. And that black IPA with Chinook sounds amazing, hope I get to try that sometime!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s