I know how to calculate hop bitterness. But how do I figure out how much hop flavor and aroma I'll get?

Back to Ask the Brewmaster.

Answer: This is one of those areas where there are no hard and fast rules. In other words, you get to use your artistic talent here. The best way is to actually try and see. Make sure you take notes on your recipe, so you can go back and check them before you brew your next batch. Ideally, you should also take some notes while you're sipping on your brew. Can you smell the hops? Can you taste them? Yeah, I know it's a tall order, but hey, we're talking better beer here.

If you are trying to reproduce a particular style, make sure you check out the style guideline to see how much flavor and aroma the style should have. This is an especially good idea if you want to enter your beer in competition. Once you have your style, check some of the published recipes. Most of them have been taste-tested and are pretty good. If you can't find one, here are some general guidelines. Remember, these should be viewed as starting points for your experimentation. If you like more or less, go ahead and do your own thing.

Some styles are supposed to be devoid of any hop aroma. This would include such styles as English brown ales or dry stout. Others, such as American pale ale and India pale ale are should have quite a bit. Hop aroma is contributed by hop additions in the last 10 minutes of the boil or by dry hopping. The amount of aroma you'll get is proportional to the amount you add. If you're making dry stout, don't add any hops in the last 10 minutes. A moderately hoppy style such as pale ale should have ½ to 1 oz per five-gallon batch. The highly hoppy IPA should have 1-2 oz, preferably with part of it dry-hopped.

Hop flavor is contributed by hop additions between 30 minutes and 10 minutes before the end of the boil. Styles such as American amber and American brown are categories where the hop flavor should stand out. You should add about half an ounce for a moderately flavored style, and a full ounce for the boldly flavored styles. A low-flavored style such as Oktoberfest should have no flavor additions at all. For such a case, all the hops should be added at the beginning of the boil.

Another way to get a combination of hop flavor and aroma is a technique is called mash hopping, where hops are added to the mash tun. If you're an all-grain brewer, check out the article in the Jan/Feb 2001 Zymurgy magazine.

Another thing to consider when you develop your hop schedule is to consider the maltiness and starting gravity of your beer. Generally, depending on style, you want balance between the hops and malt. If your starting gravity and malt composition is at the heavy end of the range, you probably want to boost the hop additions as well. If you're going for a lawn-mower beer, cut back a bit.

Finally, bear in mind that the amount of flavor and aroma can vary with hop style and freshness. Freshly harvested hops will generally be stronger. Also, pellet hop will release their aroma and flavor faster than plug or cone hops.