I conducted an experiment I think the Brew Nerd community will enjoy (maybe more of an adventure - no proper controls included!). I was reading abut these purified hop oils that have been becoming more available and I decided I would brew a "Better Living Thru Chemistry" IPA. For this, I brewed 15 gallons of a standard pale ale (or mild IPA) targeting 40 IBUs with standard hop pellets (Perle and Centennial for bittering and Cascade for Aroma) and a nice clean American Ale Yeast (Wyeast 1056). No drop hopping.
The entire 15 gallons was brewed and fermented in batch. Then, the finished beer was split between 3 kegs of 5 gallons each. To each keg I added 5 mls of Cascade Hop Oil from HopTech for Aroma (same amount of aroma oil for each keg).
Keg #1 was left at 40 IBUs from hop pellets.
Keg #2 received 10 mls of Iso Alpha Extract from HopTech, to give an additional 15 IBU taking the total to 55 IBU
Keg #3 received 20 mls of Iso Alpha Extract, to give an additional 30 IBU taking the total to 70 IBU
So, in theory, I ended up with 3 kegs spanning the range of IPA from 40 IBU to 70 IBU.
For the most part, this worked out great. The 3 kegs have distinctly different bittering profiles. I really like all 3 and I find I like the range depending on my mood. However, I do believe the bittering from the purified oils to be harsher than what I normally experience. This may simply be my imagination or it may be the character of the particular hop oils purified. Also, the 5 mls of Cascade Hop Oil was insufficient for Aroma - I could add more, but I have not done so.
So, this was a fun adventure and I am enjoying the beer. I also think these purified oils are interesting to play with and handy in case the bittering profile we were targeting was missed. On a side note, I tried adding the oils to a Bud Lite - it ended up as a bitter Bud Lite, but still a Bud Lite.