Hop Whirl-pooling and utilization of the technique with Brewie

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What is Hop Whirl-Pooling?

Hop whirl-pooling (also sometimes called a ‘hop stand’ without wort circulation) is a hopping technique that is executed after the boil, with wort that has been cooled down to some target temperature. The wort is circulated (i.e. whirl-pooled), and the whirl-pool hops are added usually once the wort has cooled to below 170F (76.6C). Circulation with the whirl-pool hops continues for typically about 30 minutes (although you may want to consider extending this time if you run your hop whirl-pool at much lower temperatures). The intent with this technique is to extract essential hop oils from the whirl-pool hops in order to maximize hop flavour and aroma in your beer. This is an excellent way to really make flavours in styles like IPAs (especially east coast styles like a New England IPA) stand out. They key is to add your whirlpool hops at temperatures below 170F so that a minimal amount of the alpha acids extracted from the hops will undergo isomerization (i.e. so it doesn’t significantly alter the overall bitterness or IBU level of your wort – you want that to be dominated by the hops you put in the boil). Using some brewing software (such as Beersmith), you can get a very rough estimate of the IBU impact from the steeping/whirl-pooling hops – but this is an area where the Brewer can experiment and tweak their technique to get the results they are really looking for!

How can I Hop Whirl-pool on my Brewie?

As of the current Brewie software release (v2.6), hop whirl-pooling is not natively supported (but should be coming relatively soon!). However, it is very easy to do with some simple manual steps. To add hop whirl-pooling to any recipe, you do not need to make any changes to the recipe other than to ensure you have cooling enabled with the automatic water inlet. Set the cooling target temperature to what you would normally use (I prefer around 21-22C). Run your brewing recipe as you would normally, but watch for when you are nearing the end of the boil and about to begin the wort cooling process (using the newly released beta app for your phone might be a good way to monitor this remotely). Note: Before the boiling process ends, it is an ideal time to sanitize the vessel that you will use to hold your whirl-pool hops. You can place the whirl-pool hop vessel in the boiling wort for several minutes to get it sanitized. Alternatively, you can clean and sanitize the vessel before placing it in the wort that is cooled to the target whirl-pooling temperature (recommend cleaning with PBW and sanitizing with Star San).
As the wort cools, monitor the temperature of the wort in your boiling tank by clicking the ‘actions’ button on your Brewie.

Carefully monitor the temperature being reported on the left for the boiling tank, and once you hit your target whirlpool temperature (<170F/76.6C), switch back to the progress screen by tapping the ‘overall’ tab, and then press the ‘pause’ button in the bottom right corner of the screen. Next you will insert your whirlpool hops in to the boiling tank. To keep them contained, you could use a spare hop cage if you have one available. Other options include a hop sack, a hop steeping ball, or a hop basket.

Hop basket (stainless steel):

Hop sack (muslin bag):

Hop steeping ball (stainless steel):

Insert your whirl-pool hops in to your container of choice and then place in the boiling tank to let steep. It’s a good idea to move your whirl-pool hop container around to circulate the hops within the wort (since the Brewie will not be circulating the wort when paused).
Once your whirl-pool hop time is complete, you can now have your Brewie resume the cooling process. You can leave your whirl-pool hops in the boiling tank to steep a bit further as Brewie completes the cooling of your wort. Now you are done, and it’s time to ferment! (And probably add some dry hops later on as well!).

Wesley D’Haene

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