Ask Mr. Wizard

Low-Alpha Acid Double IPA


Gordon Maness - Arvada, Colorado asks,

I want to brew a Double IPA, but instead of using hop varieties like Warrior®, Amarillo®, Cascade, Centennial, or Chinook I want to use Saaz due to the low alpha acid content. I will just use five times more. Everybody I discuss this with insists that I use the high alpha hops for bittering. To me the bitterness of high alpha hops is harsh, and I am hoping that the low alpha Saaz will give the appropriate bitterness without the harshness. Kind of like Stone Brewing co.’s Götterdämmerung that I enjoyed at the last Great American Beer Festival.

You are not alone in your belief that certain hop varieties, especially many high alpha varieties, impart a harsh and unpleasant bitterness to beer. Some very large breweries also share this belief
Response by Ashton Lewis.