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Snippet of Episode 004: Dry Hopping & Its Effects on Bitterness and the IBU Test

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In this episode of Master Brewers, John Paul Maye of S.S. Steiner explains the unintended consequences of dry hopping and why the standard IBU test doesn't work for dry-hopped beer. As the podcast goes on, the host and guests become increasingly tipsier revealing more insight on the craft beer world.
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his of his previous presentation. So, um Okay, So, uh, John Paul, why don't you continuous through the progression here after you, you publish your your your first initial research showing that dry hopping had this impact on bitterness. What happened next? Right, yes. So way demonstrated that dry hopping actually changes the hop acid composition in the beer. And so the next step was then to say or look into and investigate how those different hop acids affect the i. B. You test because again, the test was developed to measure Just is alpha acids. So what we ended up doing is we, uh, way made a beer where we measured it. Theis sold by H P L C. And then we also measured the i b use. And then we dry hopped that beer, and we measured it by again H p L c t. To note the difference in hop acid composition and, uh, determine what we call the calculated bitterness as well as measure the I. B. You test method. And by doing that, we were able to demonstrate what a lot of craft brewers have been telling me. They see, and that is when they dry hopped the eye views go up, but the bitterness of their beer actually seems to go down. And that's exactly what we found in these experiments is that the eye views do go up when you dry hop. But if you take into account the loss of ice Wafa acids and then the incorporation of the low, bitter human own and the non bitter alfa acids your actual century bitterness goes down. So Thio better understand the impact of human owns and Alfa assets have. On the I B test method, we took a non dry hopped beer and we had a different concentrations of human owns. And each time we had a different concentration of human own. We measured the I B use, so we were able to measure the response factor that humans have when you run the I b. You test. We also did the same thing for Alfa assets. And essentially what we found is that human owns absorb about 80% as much Azaz uh as, um isil alpha acids and the alfa acids absorb about 90% as much. So when you use the I b. You test method, you're measuring all these different hop assets, but you don't know what concentration of each you have in there. Uh, so the other thing we found is there was about 12% of other hop compounds that do absorbed by the i. B. You test. So by using H p l c uh ah, Brewer can calculate his bitterness. And if he feels it's too low, there are some I summarized hop acids that one could add to the beer post. Try hopping to adjust the bitterness up if they find the beer is lacking in bitterness. Quite an interesting issue. And with all the papers that we saw at the National Conference on Hopping and even the conversation with Palmer and Shell Hammer, this is Ah, this is a very burgeoning kind of piece of work that needs toe have a lot of attention paid to it at the moment. So, John Paul, please tell me that the old um I bu test days are numbered here and that there's ah better away for brewers to communicate bitterness, especially to the consumer. Um or is it just time to buy stock in H p l C manufacturers? Yeah. You know, I'll tell you You know, the biggest hurdle for any brewer is beer consistency and seeing that, you know, when you dry hop and this is the other thing we found. Two is, uh, you know, you could dry up with a variety like cascade, and we've measured human known concentrations and cascade as low as 20.2% all the way up to about 0.45%. And that can have a huge impact on bitterness. In fact, if you dry hop with a appellate, that's very high.
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