One tip for brewing hops to extricate the most International Bitterness Units per ounce out of them is to boil the hops longer, approximately 60 to 90 minutes. A brewing program or a brewing spreadsheet contains a list of beer styles and their corresponding IBUs to help brewers determine which IBU they need. To conserve hops, a brewer might consider using a 7- to 9-gallon pot for a 5-gallon batch to get higher hop utilization rates.
When brewing, a batch requires less hops that has a higher alpha acid percentage than hops that have a lower alpha acid content. For example, a batch may require the brewer to place 2 ounces of Northern Brewer hops with a 7.5 percent alpha acid content in the pot when he starts boiling, but using 1 ounce of a Magnum hops with a 15 percent alpha acid content produces the same bitterness.
For a more homogenous bitterness complexity, a brewer might consider first wort hopping, or adding a hops with a low alpha acid content to the boiler while sparging the beer, and moving the late hop addition to an earlier than usual time.
To better distinguish between the wide variety of available hop flavors, a brewer might find it useful to classify hops into the three following categories: German or Czech hops, which are spicy and typically found in European lagers; English hops, which are mellow and floral; and American hops, which are pungent and occasionally have a citrus flavor.