Recently John experimented with some hop bursting for an IPA he did. This week we ask the question ‘What is the fundamental difference between hop bursting and whirlpool hopping?’.
Both techniques are all about maximizing hop flavor and aroma from hops, but each takes a slightly different approach to get there. Hop bursting relies on very large quantities of hops added late in the boil to generate some bitterness while capturing a bigger return on the flavor and aroma end. While traditional wisdom dictates that short boils do not contribute much bitterness, the effects of a short boil time on the hops is compensated for in volume of hops added.
While hop bursting can be effective, it is an expensive way to enhance aroma and flavor while at due to the large amount of hops needed to generate enough bitterness to balance the beer out. This is where whirlpool hopping can come to the rescue.
In whirlpool hopping, a normal bittering charge is often added at the start of the boil. The real magic comes by adding hops after flameout and before the wort is run off into the chiller. With the heat source of the wort is no longer rolling with a boil, hence less volatiles are escaping the wort. This preserves more of the delicate oils in the hops and keeps them in the wort. Pro-brewers experimenting with this technique have also experimented with the temperature of the wort and the time the hops sit in the boil.
The technique of whirlpool hopping is named as such due to its origins in the professional brewing space. At the end of a boil the wort in the boil kettle is pumped back on itself to induce a circular flow within the brew kettle. The resulting whirlpool creates a center cone of hot break in the kettle so that as the wort is drawn out of the kettle usually through a kettle edge placed port; that break material is easily left in the kettle and out of the chiller.
In some case, brewers report chances in hop aroma profiles by perching their wort some to get further below the volatilization stage. You might here of brewers pre-chilling into the range of 170-180F first then adding whirlpool hops. Obviously you could experiment to with the length of time the hops stay in that whirl-pooling wort.
So regardless of how you approach it there are many ways to get more and more hop aroma and flavor into you beer. Hop backs, hop bursting, whirl pooling and don’t forget dry hopping. there is some interesting stuff happening in the area of dry hopping these days too.
What’t your favorite approach to getting more aroma and flavor into your beers? Aside from IPAs and pale ales are there other styles where you’ve use one of these techniques? Let us know. Drop a comment either here in the blog or over on the YouTube channel.