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General Category => Ask the Experts => Topic started by: denny on October 02, 2012, 07:41:41 PM

Title: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: denny on October 02, 2012, 07:41:41 PM
The next guest in the Ask the Experts series will be Mitch Steele, author of the new book "IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale".  Mitch will be taking questions about IPA (believe it or not!) the week of Oct. 22-29.  Answers will be posted on Nov. 12.  Unlike previous Ask the Experts sessions, this one will be conducted here on the forum and open to everyone, not just AHA members.  Please do not post questions before Oct. 22.  I wanted to give everyone a heads up to start thinking about what you might like to ask.  I'll post more as we get closer to 10/22 to remind everyone and let you know when the question period is open.  Please keep questions related to IPA, but any aspect of IPA or anything you read in the book is fair game.



This looks like it will be a really interesting and informative experience, so start thinking up those questions!
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: bluesman on October 18, 2012, 04:35:40 PM
I just got the AHA "What's Brewing" email promoting Mitch Steele's visit to the forum next week.  Looking forward to the Q&A session for sure. Should be a great session.

Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: redbeerman on October 18, 2012, 05:21:08 PM
A couple of questions.  Do we have to read the book first, and will there be a test? ;)
Title: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: denny on October 18, 2012, 05:29:55 PM
A couple of questions.  Do we have to read the book first, and will there be a test? ;)

No and no.  ;)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: beersk on October 18, 2012, 05:45:49 PM
Good. Although I am in the process of reading it.  Just got to the IPA's of the United States part.  It's a really good book.  I can't read it without having some kind of hoppy beer to accompany it.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: saintpierre on October 18, 2012, 05:50:27 PM
I can't read it without having some kind of hoppy beer to accompany it.
I think that is a requirement... :D
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: jmd71 on October 19, 2012, 12:13:09 AM
I have been homebrewing for 10+ years - bottling & kegging.  I never have gotten good results from dry hopping.  Currently, I put whole leaf hops in a hop bag, drop in keg & rack on top.  I then remove after 5-10 days & add another charge the same way (hop bag) if called for.

However, every time I've gotten just vegetal, grassy flavors regardless of the varietal used.  Because of this, I have cut out dry hopping in all my beers 100% & just add those same hops at flameout which provides exactly what I am looking for.

Do you have any clue what could be cause the unpleasant flavors in dry hopping using the procedures above?  Is late hopping just as effective & dry hopping unnecessary?

Thanks,
Jonathan
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: gandelf on October 19, 2012, 01:45:13 PM
I have been homebrewing for 10+ years - bottling & kegging.  I never have gotten good results from dry hopping.  Currently, I put whole leaf hops in a hop bag, drop in keg & rack on top.  I then remove after 5-10 days & add another charge the same way (hop bag) if called for.

However, every time I've gotten just vegetal, grassy flavors regardless of the varietal used.  Because of this, I have cut out dry hopping in all my beers 100% & just add those same hops at flameout which provides exactly what I am looking for.

Do you have any clue what could be cause the unpleasant flavors in dry hopping using the procedures above?  Is late hopping just as effective & dry hopping unnecessary?

I have been homebrewing for just over 12 years and finally, finally found a solution for great hop flavor and aroma. I should state this works great FOR ME. I use a water filter housing as a torpedo (Sierra Nevada) and recirculate the freshly kegged wort for 2 days at cellar temp (60-65 F). I use 2 to 6 ounces of hops in a bag. The flavor and aroma does start to diminish after 2 to 3 weeks.

So, I would like to hear what Mitch would have to say concerning extending/preserving hop characteristics  in packaging. My process is pretty tight. I don't filter and would like to know how much hop character is removed by the residual yeast flocculating/settling in the keg?

I have thought about re-torpedoing, but have been too lazy to try that yet.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: morticaixavier on October 19, 2012, 03:08:13 PM
Wait, you recirc WORT at cellar temps for 2 DAYS through the hops?
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: beersk on October 19, 2012, 03:47:48 PM
Wait, you recirc WORT at cellar temps for 2 DAYS through the hops?
Seems kinda crazy...before pitching the yeast?
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: gandelf on October 19, 2012, 08:41:56 PM
Wait, you recirc WORT at cellar temps for 2 DAYS through the hops?
Seems kinda crazy...before pitching the yeast?
Sorry, beer not wort. But then you had to know that, right?
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: beersk on October 19, 2012, 08:42:54 PM
Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: maxieboy on October 19, 2012, 11:27:52 PM
Ahem.  ;)

  Please do not post questions before Oct. 22.  I wanted to give everyone a heads up to start thinking about what you might like to ask.  I'll post more as we get closer to 10/22 to remind everyone and let you know when the question period is open.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 22, 2012, 03:38:51 PM
It is the 22nd. Here is my question.

The Ballantine IPA recipe in the IPA book looks pretty good. I have seen on the internet that a beer was brewed in a collaboration with Portsmith that looks similar to the recipe in the book, well, except for the CTZ at the end. http://blogs.seacoastonline.com/seacoast-beverage-lab/2012/01/18/clusters-last-stand-thursday-at-portsmouth-brewery/

How did this one turn out?

I do remember Ballantine IPA from when I was young, though it was brewed in RI then. Have plenty of Cluster and Bullion and a little Brewer's Gold to give this, or Jeff Renner's recipe from the HBD a try. Jeff's recipe used 6-row as the base malt, and Sazz late in the boil. The recipe by Fred Scheer was interesting, as was his statement that there were a 100 recipes for that beer over the years.
 

Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: jwhancher on October 22, 2012, 04:41:04 PM
My question for Mitch: What is the suggested length to leave a beer on dry hops?  What is also the maximum length of time (days, weeks, month, etc.) one could dry hop for?  I've heard varying preferences from brewers from anywhere between 4 days to 2 weeks.  Will leaving a beer on dry hops for 3 weeks really make a difference?  Obviously, tasting the beer is one way to tell when to rack off hops, but I wanted to know if there was any set standard to abide by.  (For the record, I haven't bought or read the new IPA book yet - in case this is covered within the book.) 

In addition, what are the deciding factors besides "time" for when to rack off hops: %AA, total hop mass, leaf/pellet/plug form, temperature, etc.?

I wonder if dry hopping is sort of like the old idea of racking your beer off yeast to prevent autolysis and off-flavors from developing.  Similar in vein, will leaving a beer too long on dry hops really give you harsh hop qualities, or is this just a perceived threat that's been passed on from homebrewers over the years?
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: davejanssen on October 22, 2012, 08:41:11 PM
I'm pretty excited about this Q&A session. Thanks for organizing it. Here's my question:

I've read in a couple recent homebrewing books (The Brewer's Apprentice, the IPA excerpt in Zymurgy) that cohumulone is related to the harshness of bitterness, with more cohumolone seeming more harsh. However, I've also read in scientific papers that this is somewhat outdated and incorrect information and that cohumulone is no more bitter than other alpha acids, although it might be more soluble/survive to the finished product more than the others (Schonberger and Kostelecky's 2011 article in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing titled The Role of Hops in Brewing, see p. 262). Can you weigh in on this? Does cohumulone contribute a more harsh bitterness? Are there recent experiments confirming this?

Thank you. And thanks for all the information you've shared with the homebrewing community.

Dave
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: troybinso on October 22, 2012, 10:00:20 PM
My questions about recipes:

For hopping rates do we use the IBU listing and work the numbers around to keep the percentages right? I tried to make it work for the Meantime IPA and it came out to an obscene amount of hops - about 4 lbs per barrel vs. the 2 lbs per barrel mentioned in the recipe. Can we assume a more efficient use of hops at the professional level vs. homebrew level?

Can you be more specific for yeast strains? The homebrew strains that are typically available are purported to be from some of these breweries: Brakspear, Worthington, Whitbread, Boddingtons, Timothy Taylor, Fullers, Ringwood.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: gandelf on October 23, 2012, 11:12:28 AM
My question concerns stability in kegs. The flavor and aroma in my hoppy ales start to diminish after two to three weeks. I rack under co2 with a closed system. I would appreciate any thoughts or recommendations you would have concerning increasing stability in packaging. My typical hop additions are FWH, 15,10, 5 and then 2 to 3 ounces in the hop rocket before plate chilling. I then slowly recirculate beer through 2 to 6 ounces of hops in my "torpedo" for two days after kegging; this is done at cellar temps (60-65 F). All of this is done completely under co2. Thanks and love your beers. Cory
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: pyrite on October 23, 2012, 02:55:11 PM
When designing an IPA, what specific component or combination of chemical components in the hop am I looking for?  I want to venture out more, and try new hop varieties in an IPA.  Besides looking for the freshest hops, should I be looking at hop components such as, total oil, co-humulone, beta-acids, alpha-acids, myrcene, humulene, or farnesene?

Often times I can't find the classic IPA hops, such as, Simcoe, Citra, or Centennial.  So I would like to know what exactly to look for in a hop variety before I buy it and run a test brew.

Thank you. 
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: brewmichigan on October 23, 2012, 03:19:41 PM
I haven't finished the book yet but I would like to ask a question that may be answered in the book but might be informative to those without the book.

I was wondering if you could just outline the top 3 (or 4 or 5) things you think makes a great IPA. Where should we really be concentrating our efforts and what is your process when designing an IPA?

Thanks,

-Mike

BTW, Loved the Ruination 10th anniversary beer.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: erockrph on October 23, 2012, 05:20:59 PM
A) What are your preferred hops for bittering an IPA and why?

B) Are there any combinations of hops (or types of hops) that work particularly well together for flavor/aroma? Any combinations that you've tried that don't work well together?
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: n0ah on October 24, 2012, 12:21:16 AM
Word around the kettle seems to profess the following two truisms:
So, for bittering additions, why would anyone use anything but the cheapest most high alpha hop they can get their hands on?

Assuming that there is some good reason for not always using a super-high-alpha bittering hop, what else should be considered? What, besides bitterness, is transferred into the final beer if not flavor or aroma?
Title: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: majorvices on October 24, 2012, 01:43:46 AM
I have been homebrewing for 10+ years - bottling & kegging.  I never have gotten good results from dry hopping.  Currently, I put whole leaf hops in a hop bag, drop in keg & rack on top.  I then remove after 5-10 days & add another charge the same way (hop bag) if called for.

However, every time I've gotten just vegetal, grassy flavors regardless of the varietal used.  Because of this, I have cut out dry hopping in all my beers 100% & just add those same hops at flameout which provides exactly what I am looking for.

Do you have any clue what could be cause the unpleasant flavors in dry hopping using the procedures above?  Is late hopping just as effective & dry hopping unnecessary?

Thanks,
Jonathan

Obviously I'm not Mitch, but have you ever tried dry hopping at fermentation temps? Dry hopping cold leads me to the flavors you are talking about, especially with whole hops.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: gmwren on October 24, 2012, 01:53:03 PM
When designing an IPA, what specific component or combination of chemical components in the hop am I looking for?  I want to venture out more, and try new hop varieties in an IPA.  Besides looking for the freshest hops, should I be looking at hop components such as, total oil, co-humulone, beta-acids, alpha-acids, myrcene, humulene, or farnesene?

Often times I can't find the classic IPA hops, such as, Simcoe, Citra, or Centennial.  So I would like to know what exactly to look for in a hop variety before I buy it and run a test brew.

Thank you.

I'd like to piggyback this question as well with respect to dry hopping temperature as it relates to hop essential oils ratios. I usually dry hop in keg for a period close to fermentation temperature, but I would like to know how these variables effect aroma over ranges from near freezing to room temp.

Thanks
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: erockrph on October 24, 2012, 02:41:27 PM
One more question:

Do you have any techniques to favor certain flavors/aromas over others from a type of hop in the finished beer. Specifically, is there a way to get that great tangerine character out of Summit without getting the onion/feet/cheese character. Another example would be for hops like Cascade or Amarillo that have both floral and citrus qualities, is there a way to adjust the balance towards either floral or citrus in the finished beer?
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: ericmagruder on October 25, 2012, 10:11:48 AM
Hi Mitch!

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!  I've been home brewing for a couple of years on the same system.  I'm producing 5 gallon batches currently, and I'm thinking of upgrading my setup to brew bigger batches.  I think you're experience brewing on many different size systems would help me.

My question is multi-part, but all parts revolve around scaling up recipes.  First, on a personal level, if I were to upgrade to a system that is capable of producing batches three times the size I am currently producing is scaling up my recipes as simple as multiplying my ingredients by three?  What are the common problems that I should be prepared for when scaling up recipes to larger systems?  What size of a pilot system do yo use at Stone to test new recipes?  And, lastly, how do you go about formulating recipes from a homebrew system to brew on your full scale production brew house... is it all about proportions and percentages or are there limiting factors too?

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: beersk on October 26, 2012, 08:19:47 PM
Mitch must be busy eh? Hope he gets a chance to answer some good questions here.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: chadchaney97 on October 26, 2012, 09:14:42 PM
Hello and thanks to Mitch for taking the time to answer questions for the homebrewing community!  Also, thank goodness Stone is finally in Iowa!
     Here is my question.  I can not seem to make an IPA that is even close to commercial levels and I always seem to get the same flavor profile; a kind of dirt flavor with a nasty bitterness.  I have tried different water, malts, hops, mash temps and hop addition times.  I am shooting for a nice dank or resinous IPA and have been using Simcoe, Centennial, Chinnok and CTZ mostly.  I am pretty confident that the hops are not the problem as I have used from several different sources. I am also pretty solid on my fermentation temps.  I usually just toss my pellets into the boil and ferment for 2 weeks or so.  My last 2 ideas are to bag my hops and to rack off the trub as soon as the bulk of fermentation is done, any other helpful hints?

Thanks again, Chad
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: jeffy on October 27, 2012, 02:32:02 AM
I have often wondered how close to reality the hop bitterness is calculated for historical IPA's.  You mentioned at one point in your book that Americans sometimes heated the hops too much when drying them, but moisture content is important when calculating the weight of hops in any recipe.  Also, it said that sometimes fresh hops were used, but I assume you meant hops that weren't already used in the recipe, not actually fresh or "wet" hops.  Cold storage wasn't available for the most part, so the bitterness would decrease over the season.  I also read that brewers sometimes removed hops from the boil after certain times because they thought it would add harsh flavors.
Do we pretty much assume that all the hops in the 1800's were about the same alpha acid percentage and fairly low - 3 or 4?
So when the historical brewer's log says 5 pounds per barrel, just how much hop flavor or bitterness is that really?

Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: ultravista on October 27, 2012, 02:50:29 AM
Albeit not likely .. I would like Mitch's feedback on hops in Arrogant Bastard. The CYBI and other "standard" recipes call for Chinook. The Craft of Stone Brewing, absent of A.B, references a lot of non-Chinook hops for the hoppy beers.

Crossing the fingers and holding my breath ...
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: hoser on October 27, 2012, 03:41:13 AM
Albeit not likely .. I would like Mitch's feedback on hops in Arrogant Bastard. The CYBI and other "standard" recipes call for Chinook. The Craft of Stone Brewing, absent of A.B, references a lot of non-Chinook hops for the hoppy beers.

Crossing the fingers and holding my breath ...

GOOD LUCK, You won't get any info on AB.  That is classified/off limits.  You might as well start breathing.  They have gradually changed their hops over the years.  Early on they used Chinook a lot, especially as a bittering hop.  The only thing that is certain is that from everything they have said is that AB has not changed over the years.  If you look at their early recipes to now their bittering hops have gradually changed over time, but generally the flavor hops remain the same...
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: denny on October 27, 2012, 04:20:49 PM
Mitch must be busy eh? Hope he gets a chance to answer some good questions here.

From the original post..."Answers will be posted on Nov. 12."
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mpietropaoli on October 28, 2012, 12:36:13 AM
Some of the best IPA's I've had are not overly bitter (at least to my palette).  Conversely, some of the WORST ones I've had ARE overly bitter!  To me, the real genius of an IPA lies in linking up a substantial, complex (yet background) malt profile with a layered, pleasant, and aggressive hop profile.  Just an example, and I know it is marketed as an APA, but Dale's is a great example of this.  If googled, you can find dozens of amateur video reviews of this beer, relishing its 'hoppiness'.  While it is 'hoppy', I think the reason it sells so well, drinks so well, and INTRODUCES so many people to the category so well, is that its malt background balances out a great hop bouquet.   

Are there any key processes or malts that brewers (particularly on a homebrew scale) could/should play with to get these types of results?  Melanoidin?  Biscuit?  Base of Marris Otter?

Great job on the "Enjoy By" IPA btw!

Cheers-
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: philm63 on October 29, 2012, 12:46:21 AM
I just brewed a Black Double IPA using Carafa III at 5.4% of grist; a base of Maris Otter, some crystal and what-not, and what I deemed to be a ridiculous hop schedule (over half a pound spread out over 5 minute intervals for a 60-minute boil). It'll get 2 dry-hop charges over a 10-day period as well.

Thinking that this should first be a double IPA, then it should be black, I tried to keep the dark malt at a level where it would just make the beer dark, but not too "roasty" so as not to compete with the hops.

When I was done collecting the wort, it was quite dark and it smelled a bit more roasty than I thought it would, but not too roasty (not quite stout-like), in my opinion.

With enough hops and what I hope turns out to be a balanced malt background and considering the dark malt was only 5.4% of grist; will the slight roasty character I smell now mellow in the fermenter or otherwise fall to the background where it should be?
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: beersk on October 29, 2012, 02:59:46 AM
Mitch must be busy eh? Hope he gets a chance to answer some good questions here.

From the original post..."Answers will be posted on Nov. 12."
Wow, I TOTALLY missed that part. Never was the best at reading comprehension...
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: hoser on October 29, 2012, 08:17:59 PM
Mitch,

First off, thank you for a very fun and insightful read!  Love the book!  Second, thanks for making bad ass hoppy beers!  Can't wait until they hit the Nebraska market someday, but Iowa and Missouri will do for now ;D.

A couple of questions:

1.  Can you elaborate on the hop additions used in the recipe section of the book?  I know they are calculated by weight, so when you say for example in the Ruination recipe "62.5% Columbus at the start of the boil, then add 37.5% Centennial during the whirlpool,"  that should be 62.5% of the hop mass is Columbus at 90 minutes and then the remainder of the mass is centennial at flameout/WP.  Is this something where we just need to put it into our software of choice and fudge around with the numbers?  This doesn't seem to take into account changes is AA% on a yearly basis.  I understand the issues with utilization, you mention, based on equipment.  Is there a way you can take us back to middle school and do an example/demonstration of the hop calculations for a recipe based on the parameters in the book? :P

2.  Can you take us through the process of designing/building a malt/grist bill and hop selection and additions for your 2 new latest hoppy beer releases (or any beer for that matter): Ruination 10th Anniversary and "Enjoy By?"  How do these beers differ from the original Ruination or the regular IPA in Stone's portfolio?  Did you incorporate some of the info you learned while researching IPAs into these 2 newest releases?  What are you looking for in the finished product in beers like this?

Thanks again and cheers!
Brian Hoesing
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: kramerog on November 13, 2012, 09:05:53 PM
The next guest in the Ask the Experts series will be Mitch Steele, author of the new book "IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale".  Mitch will be taking questions about IPA (believe it or not!) the week of Oct. 22-29.  Answers will be posted on Nov. 12. 


I'm waiting with bated breath!
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: denny on November 13, 2012, 09:09:04 PM
I've beenso busy I missed what day it was!  I'll check into what's up.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: kramerog on November 13, 2012, 09:21:56 PM
I've beenso busy I missed what day it was!  I'll check into what's up.
Thanks
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: kswitzer on November 13, 2012, 10:10:47 PM
I've beenso busy I missed what day it was!  I'll check into what's up.
Thanks

Hi All,

Thanks for your patience!  Mitch will be posting his answers tomorrow morning (Wednesday) first thing (Pacific)- sorry for the delay.  You all had some great questions and I know he's looking forward to answering them for you.

Cheers~

KRISTI SWITZER
Publisher, Brewers Publications
PO Box 2072 | Georgetown, TX 78627
(512) 863-5227 | Kristi@BrewersAssociation.org  | Twitter:  @beerbooks
New Release:  IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale by Mitch Steele
Coming in December: For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops by Stan Hieronymus
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: beersk on November 14, 2012, 02:33:30 PM
Great, thanks for letting us know, Kristi.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mmitchem on November 14, 2012, 02:40:34 PM
Hi Mitch -

Just wanted to get your take on whirlpool hopping. Do you have a preferred whirlpool schedule? Does it depend on what you are brewing? Is there a point where you might as well just make a late boil addition?Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 07:55:33 PM
The next guest in the Ask the Experts series will be Mitch Steele, author of the new book "IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale".  Mitch will be taking questions about IPA (believe it or not!) the week of Oct. 22-29.  Answers will be posted on Nov. 12.  Unlike previous Ask the Experts sessions, this one will be conducted here on the forum and open to everyone, not just AHA members.  Please do not post questions before Oct. 22.  I wanted to give everyone a heads up to start thinking about what you might like to ask.  I'll post more as we get closer to 10/22 to remind everyone and let you know when the question period is open.  Please keep questions related to IPA, but any aspect of IPA or anything you read in the book is fair game.



This looks like it will be a really interesting and informative experience, so start thinking up those questions!

Hey everyone, sorry about the miscommunication on my part about getting these answers posted by the deadline. I've answered almost all the questions, posts should come up quickly today. Thanks everyone for the great questions.  -Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 07:57:20 PM
I have been homebrewing for 10+ years - bottling & kegging.  I never have gotten good results from dry hopping.  Currently, I put whole leaf hops in a hop bag, drop in keg & rack on top.  I then remove after 5-10 days & add another charge the same way (hop bag) if called for.

However, every time I've gotten just vegetal, grassy flavors regardless of the varietal used.  Because of this, I have cut out dry hopping in all my beers 100% & just add those same hops at flameout which provides exactly what I am looking for.

Do you have any clue what could be cause the unpleasant flavors in dry hopping using the procedures above?  Is late hopping just as effective & dry hopping unnecessary?

Thanks,
Jonathan
Hey Jonathan:
A few things to look at here. First, what temperature is your beer at the time you dry-hop it? I’m finding that 60-65 °F or so seems to work really well for us. Too hot, you might extract flavors you don’t want, too cold, you won’t extract enough of the really good oils, and as someone mentions further in the questions-you could get a lot of grassy flavors.
Second, and this is critical-what is the quality of the whole hops you are using? Nothing against homebrew shops, but I always struggled finding really good quality, fresh, non-oxidized whole hops when I was homebrewing. I suggest you try your dry-hopping with an unopened package of pellets and see how it compares.
Finally, how many hops are you adding? Try 0.5 oz/gallon and see what happens.
I do think you get different character with dry hopping as opposed to adding hops to hot wort in the brewhouse. However, you can get really great hop flavor from late additions in the brewhouse, and if you prefer that, then that’s fine!

Cheers, Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 07:58:36 PM
I have been homebrewing for 10+ years - bottling & kegging.  I never have gotten good results from dry hopping.  Currently, I put whole leaf hops in a hop bag, drop in keg & rack on top.  I then remove after 5-10 days & add another charge the same way (hop bag) if called for.

However, every time I've gotten just vegetal, grassy flavors regardless of the varietal used.  Because of this, I have cut out dry hopping in all my beers 100% & just add those same hops at flameout which provides exactly what I am looking for.

Do you have any clue what could be cause the unpleasant flavors in dry hopping using the procedures above?  Is late hopping just as effective & dry hopping unnecessary?

I have been homebrewing for just over 12 years and finally, finally found a solution for great hop flavor and aroma. I should state this works great FOR ME. I use a water filter housing as a torpedo (Sierra Nevada) and recirculate the freshly kegged wort for 2 days at cellar temp (60-65 F). I use 2 to 6 ounces of hops in a bag. The flavor and aroma does start to diminish after 2 to 3 weeks.

So, I would like to hear what Mitch would have to say concerning extending/preserving hop characteristics  in packaging. My process is pretty tight. I don't filter and would like to know how much hop character is removed by the residual yeast flocculating/settling in the keg?

I have thought about re-torpedoing, but have been too lazy to try that yet.

The most important thing to preserve hop character in packaged beer is to minimize oxygen pick up so that the beer doesn’t stale. As beer stales, hop character is the first thing to go. I wouldn’t worry much about yeast from bottle condition absorbing the oils. Yes, to some extent, it happens, but I’ve never really worried about it (unless you have a LOT of yeast in your beer). And you can always add more hops to compensate!
Another thing that we’re finding that works really well, yet is completely unsubstantiated-just a gut feel at this point, is using a lot of varieties (3-4 different varieties  instead of 1-2) as late hop additions. At this point, we’ve been discussing whether varietal differences play a role in hop flavor retention as beer ages, and are trying to develop an experiment to see if there is something to it. And finally, minimize crystal malt, because as it oxidizes, its flavor turns into pretty strong dried fruit (raisins and prunes), which does not help with hop flavor perception.
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:02:01 PM
It is the 22nd. Here is my question.

The Ballantine IPA recipe in the IPA book looks pretty good. I have seen on the internet that a beer was brewed in a collaboration with Portsmith that looks similar to the recipe in the book, well, except for the CTZ at the end. http://blogs.seacoastonline.com/seacoast-beverage-lab/2012/01/18/clusters-last-stand-thursday-at-portsmouth-brewery/

How did this one turn out?

I do remember Ballantine IPA from when I was young, though it was brewed in RI then. Have plenty of Cluster and Bullion and a little Brewer's Gold to give this, or Jeff Renner's recipe from the HBD a try. Jeff's recipe used 6-row as the base malt, and Sazz late in the boil. The recipe by Fred Scheer was interesting, as was his statement that there were a 100 recipes for that beer over the years.

That beer was a lot of fun. When Tod and Dave approached me about doing something with them, Tod suggested an old-school ale (meaning mid 1980's!), using Cluster hops. The grain bill we used was based on the first Ballantine recipe in the IPA Book, and we added Bullion hops and Columbus hops. The resulting beer was deep amber, and very resiny-definitely an old school American hop character with a lingering bitterness. I sure enjoyed drinking it at the release party, and I hope they brew it again, I know Dave has been talking about it.
I know that as the Ballantine brand was sold and moved to different brewing facilities that the Ballantine IPA recipe changed, a lot. Gregg Glaser’s article-The Late Great Ballantine,  (Modern Brewery Age, March 2000) is probably the most comprehensive piece I’ve seen on that beer. MyBeerBuzz.com also has some great information on Ballantine and other historical ale breweries of the northeast. I’ll look up those recipe you mention, thanks for mentioning it!
Cheers,
Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:04:49 PM
My question for Mitch: What is the suggested length to leave a beer on dry hops?  What is also the maximum length of time (days, weeks, month, etc.) one could dry hop for?  I've heard varying preferences from brewers from anywhere between 4 days to 2 weeks.  Will leaving a beer on dry hops for 3 weeks really make a difference?  Obviously, tasting the beer is one way to tell when to rack off hops, but I wanted to know if there was any set standard to abide by.  (For the record, I haven't bought or read the new IPA book yet - in case this is covered within the book.) 

In addition, what are the deciding factors besides "time" for when to rack off hops: %AA, total hop mass, leaf/pellet/plug form, temperature, etc.?

I wonder if dry hopping is sort of like the old idea of racking your beer off yeast to prevent autolysis and off-flavors from developing.  Similar in vein, will leaving a beer too long on dry hops really give you harsh hop qualities, or is this just a perceived threat that's been passed on from homebrewers over the years?

I definitely believe that dry-hopping can be done for too long. To me, the flavors get vegetal and “stemmy”, and lose that fresh, really desirable, floral and citrus intensity. I was at the World Brewing Congress in Portland, OR this summer and there were some very interesting technical presentations about dry-hopping. Most of the presenters suggested that maximum flavor is achieved after a very short time-just 12-24 hours. This is of course, assuming the hops are thoroughly wetted and mixed in the beer when they are added. One of the most interesting presentations described a procedure where hops were continuously circulated in a tank of beer for 12 hours, and that was it. The beer and hops were then separated. One of my friends in the business saw this presentation too, and tried this technique and won a medal at the GABF with the beer. It says a lot about the potential of that procedure. At Stone, we go 7 days as a standard, but have seen really fresh character at 5 days. I expect we will see some hard core research on this over the next couple of years. Reserachers in Japan, Germany, and also up at Oregon State University are starting to focus on hop flavor research using craft brewing techniques.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:10:31 PM
I'm pretty excited about this Q&A session. Thanks for organizing it. Here's my question:

I've read in a couple recent homebrewing books (The Brewer's Apprentice, the IPA excerpt in Zymurgy) that cohumulone is related to the harshness of bitterness, with more cohumolone seeming more harsh. However, I've also read in scientific papers that this is somewhat outdated and incorrect information and that cohumulone is no more bitter than other alpha acids, although it might be more soluble/survive to the finished product more than the others (Schonberger and Kostelecky's 2011 article in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing titled The Role of Hops in Brewing, see p. 262). Can you weigh in on this? Does cohumulone contribute a more harsh bitterness? Are there recent experiments confirming this?

Thank you. And thanks for all the information you've shared with the homebrewing community.

Dave

Hi Dave: Yes, when I was at Anheuser-Busch, cohumulone was definitely looked at as contributing harsh bitter character. However, as you point out, there is some conflicting evidence on this. I do think with some varieties that have high cohumulone levels, the resulting bitterness is harsh. But I also find Simcoe to be harsh occasionally (when used as a bittering hop), and it has a reasonably low cohumulone level. Some of my favorite hops have fairly high cohumulone levels, and I tend to worry more about overall flavor than cohumulone. Varieties like Calypso, Cascade, Chinook, Galaxy, and Target have fairly high cohumulone levels, yet I have no qualms about using them in the right beer. These harshness studies are still going on-one thing to consider though, is that the “cohumulone = harshness” studies were most likely done in an American lager style beer, with American lager hopping regimes. That’s a completely different animal than an IPA or a hoppy Imperial Brown, for example. There are a lot of brewing techniques that can be used to mitigate any harsh bitterness as well. So I say the jury is still out.
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:14:34 PM
My questions about recipes:

For hopping rates do we use the IBU listing and work the numbers around to keep the percentages right? I tried to make it work for the Meantime IPA and it came out to an obscene amount of hops - about 4 lbs per barrel vs. the 2 lbs per barrel mentioned in the recipe. Can we assume a more efficient use of hops at the professional level vs. homebrew level?

Can you be more specific for yeast strains? The homebrew strains that are typically available are purported to be from some of these breweries: Brakspear, Worthington, Whitbread, Boddingtons, Timothy Taylor, Fullers, Ringwood.

Yes, the idea behind the recipes was to provide an IBU target and the hop percentages by weight, so brewers could plug into their own recipe programs and figure out how many hops to add, given their own specific parameters. As I mention in the book, a lot of this, for many brewers, is still guess work and estimation. It was difficult to get detailed hopping information from all the brewers, either because they were reluctant to share to that level of detail, or simply couldn't get back to me because they are busy!Not every brewer provided weights. If they did, I included them, but if they didn't, I just listed %'s or whatever they provided me, figuring that was better information than not including the recipe at all.

Bigger kettles do usually provide more hop utilization efficiency, because of better heat exchange systems vs. direct flame used in smaller systems. 4 pounds per barrel in a Meantime IPA clone is going to be delicious, btw.

The yeast strains were unspecific because most of the breweries have proprietary strains, and I don’t know which available commercial strains would be the best replications of their house strains. If the brewer was willing to provide the yeast strain, then I included it, but many of the brewers who contributed recipes are using proprietary strains. This makes yeast substitution challenging, and my knowledge of how specific commercially available yeast strains compare to commercial breweries’ beers is admittedly not that great. So I took their suggestions. That being said, if you are brewing an IPA, I know the Fullers and Whitbread strains are good strains. The Ringwood tends to produce a lot of esters and diacetyl, which makes it tough to get intense hop character needed for an IPA. One of the best yeasts for any IPA is the CA Ale yeast strain-WLP-001 or WY1056. It’s a very clean, neutral yeast that attenuates well, which is why it is popular with many of the best IPA brewers here in the USA.
Cheers, Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:17:49 PM
My question concerns stability in kegs. The flavor and aroma in my hoppy ales start to diminish after two to three weeks. I rack under co2 with a closed system. I would appreciate any thoughts or recommendations you would have concerning increasing stability in packaging. My typical hop additions are FWH, 15,10, 5 and then 2 to 3 ounces in the hop rocket before plate chilling. I then slowly recirculate beer through 2 to 6 ounces of hops in my "torpedo" for two days after kegging; this is done at cellar temps (60-65 F). All of this is done completely under co2. Thanks and love your beers. Cory

Hi Cory: To answer this question, I need to know how much beer we’re talking about. I’m assuming a 5 gallon batch? If so, your weights look pretty good. I'm sorry, but I don't know what a "hop rocket" is.

Also, are you priming the beer in the keg for carbonation, or force carbonating? Carbonation adjustments can strip hop flavor also. Which means that if you are bubbling compressed CO2 through your keg to carbonate the beer, that process can strip out hop flavor.  If you are using Corny kegs, consider using a mesh bag of fresh hops in the keg just prior to filling and leaving it in there (assuming quick consumption here). Chilling the beer down quickly and keeping it cold will help minimize any of those vegetative flavors that I mentioned in answering the first question.
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:20:01 PM
When designing an IPA, what specific component or combination of chemical components in the hop am I looking for?  I want to venture out more, and try new hop varieties in an IPA.  Besides looking for the freshest hops, should I be looking at hop components such as, total oil, co-humulone, beta-acids, alpha-acids, myrcene, humulene, or farnesene?

Often times I can't find the classic IPA hops, such as, Simcoe, Citra, or Centennial.  So I would like to know what exactly to look for in a hop variety before I buy it and run a test brew.

Thank you.

A lot of brewers look at myrcene content, but that really doesn’t tell the whole story. Some other components people are looking at include linalool, geraniol, nerol, and B-Citronellol, which apparently is a compound transformed from geraniol by brewers yeast. Hop analysis and resulting hop character in beer is a very complex subject, and I’m not sure there is one good answer at this point. I’ve had brews made with different hop varieties, where the analysis matches up pretty close, but the flavor profiles are completely different. And no offense to the hop suppliers’ literature, but I find their recommended substitutions to be very questionable.

So one of the best methods I've found is to taste other brewers beers that use the hops I'm interested in. Seriously, I find this so much more valuable than looking at a specification/analysis sheet.

Alpha acids definitely don’t tell the whole story-I’ve had 2 beers dry-hopped with hops at very similar high alpha acid levels, one had a huge hop presence and one had very little. So you need to be careful reading too much into the analytics, because there is more to it that really isn’t completely understood yet. In my opinion, we’re not really close to having a good understanding of the dynamics of hop flavor in craft brewed beer.
And, one last comment, hop flavor in beer is influenced by so much more than the hop variety itself-yeast variety looks to play a key role, as does fermentation temperature, pitch rate, aging temperature, where the hops are added, the beer style and the malts in the recipe, how the hops were harvested, how they were kilned, how old the hops are, storage conditions, and on and on.
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:21:43 PM
I haven't finished the book yet but I would like to ask a question that may be answered in the book but might be informative to those without the book.

I was wondering if you could just outline the top 3 (or 4 or 5) things you think makes a great IPA. Where should we really be concentrating our efforts and what is your process when designing an IPA?

Thanks,

-Mike

BTW, Loved the Ruination 10th anniversary beer.

Mike: In the proverbial nutshell, here’s what I think makes a great IPA. Thanks for the comment on the Stone Ruination Tenth! Citra/Centennial is a great dry-hop combination!

1. Brew a really dry beer. Target a terminal gravity at 3 °P or below.
2. Minimize crystal malts, or eliminate them. And only use the lightest (20°L or less) if you do want to use crystal malt.
3. Hop a lot (duh). Use multiple additions and heavy additions in the late stages of the boil and the kettle. Minimizing your first hop addition in the boil can really help reduce harsh bitterness. But don’t be afraid of overhopping later-some of the best beers we’ve made have used ridiculous amounts of hops in the late boil and in the dry-hop. The game is changing, new standards are being developed. Don’t be timid with your hop additions.
4. Use fresh hops and the right varieties. Use lots of varieties. Single hopping is great, but I’m beginning to think that the best IPAs I’ve had use many varieties throughout all the additions.
5. Try new varieties-think out of the box. Makes things more interesting.
6. Select a very clean, highly attenuative yeast strain.
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:24:10 PM
A) What are your preferred hops for bittering an IPA and why?

B) Are there any combinations of hops (or types of hops) that work particularly well together for flavor/aroma? Any combinations that you've tried that don't work well together?

•   For bittering (in IPA), I prefer high alpha hops with low aromatic/flavor profiles. This would include hops like Magnum and Warrior, and to some extent, Nugget. I avoid hops like Columbus or Chinook for bittering-the bitterness can come across as harsh, and at times, the flavors do impact or clash with the late stage hops and dry-hops. That being said, I’ve had many good beers that are bitter-hopped with highly aromatic varieties, and have really enjoyed them. But I typically avoid them when formulating our IPAs. Note that this doesn’t hold true for all beer styles.
•   Some combinations I’ve really enjoyed are a 50/50 blend of Simcoe and Amarillo, Centennial and Motueka, Cascade and any of the other C hops. Citra and Simcoe with Centennial. Columbus and Centennial can be great together. Calypso is a great new hop for blending. And I like Nelson Sauvin with Centennial and Motueka. Very, very fruity! And Crystal is a great hop to use with C hops. Though not generally recognized as an IPA type hop, it can add a lot of unique citrus and tea flavors to the hop profile. Combinations that didn’t work for me? Perhaps Chinook and Columbus-it was too much…I kind of approach hop blending like pairing beer with food: You can get the additive effect, where the result is synergistic, you can mix “like” with “like”, but don’t mix where one hop will overwhelm the other, or if the varieties’ flavors clash instead of blend.
These are tough questions! But finding the answers to these by experimenting with different combinations is what is fun about brewing beer!
Cheers,
Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:25:43 PM
Word around the kettle seems to profess the following two truisms:
  • High-alpha hops are continually developed and made accessible.
  • Long hop boil time destroys any flavor/aroma contribution and leaves only bitterness.
So, for bittering additions, why would anyone use anything but the cheapest most high alpha hop they can get their hands on?

Assuming that there is some good reason for not always using a super-high-alpha bittering hop, what else should be considered? What, besides bitterness, is transferred into the final beer if not flavor or aroma?

I don’t agree at all with Number 2. The hop flavor (depends on the variety) does carry through, which is why I prefer a clean bitterness hop for bittering. When using strongly flavored hops,the flavors can carry over and clash with your flavor hop additions.  And I think the reality of number 1 is changing as growers and suppliers are beginning to understand what we craft brewers are looking for. Sure, craft beer is less than 10% of the beer business, but craft brewers use 3-4 times more hops per barrel than large brewers use. This makes craft brewers a very important customer for hop growers, and the growers and craft brewers are now starting to work together to get the hops and the quality we all want.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:27:20 PM
When designing an IPA, what specific component or combination of chemical components in the hop am I looking for?  I want to venture out more, and try new hop varieties in an IPA.  Besides looking for the freshest hops, should I be looking at hop components such as, total oil, co-humulone, beta-acids, alpha-acids, myrcene, humulene, or farnesene?

Often times I can't find the classic IPA hops, such as, Simcoe, Citra, or Centennial.  So I would like to know what exactly to look for in a hop variety before I buy it and run a test brew.

Thank you.

I'd like to piggyback this question as well with respect to dry hopping temperature as it relates to hop essential oils ratios. I usually dry hop in keg for a period close to fermentation temperature, but I would like to know how these variables effect aroma over ranges from near freezing to room temp.

Thanks

I have no scientific evidence to back this up (I’m sure it’s out there, I just haven’t seen it), but I feel pretty strongly that warmer temperature provides better flavor extraction. Anything I’ve tried dry-hopping cold has had really reduced oil intensity. The amount of yeast in the beer at dry-hopping is important too, as is the yeast variety. I like to dry-hop at the warmest temperature possible after removing the yeast-that usually is in the low 60s. We chill after 36 hrs to 34°F then hold for a total of 7 days hop residence.
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:29:27 PM
One more question:

Do you have any techniques to favor certain flavors/aromas over others from a type of hop in the finished beer. Specifically, is there a way to get that great tangerine character out of Summit without getting the onion/feet/cheese character. Another example would be for hops like Cascade or Amarillo that have both floral and citrus qualities, is there a way to adjust the balance towards either floral or citrus in the finished beer?

 Great question! I really think this has more to do with growing conditions and processing conditions than anything a brewer can do. I’ve been reading lately that the garlicky character develops later in the harvest, and harvesting earlier can reduce those compounds. Also, kilning/drying the hops at lower temperatures is something that a lot of growers are exploring now to determine if it helps retain those really nice fresh hop flavors. The citrusy vs floral balance in varieties like Cascade and Amarillo I also believe is due to growing conditions, soil conditions, and processing conditions, rather than anything a brewer can do. There is a lot of very important research being done in these areas now, so stay tuned.
-Mitch
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:30:47 PM
Hi Mitch!

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!  I've been home brewing for a couple of years on the same system.  I'm producing 5 gallon batches currently, and I'm thinking of upgrading my setup to brew bigger batches.  I think you're experience brewing on many different size systems would help me.

My question is multi-part, but all parts revolve around scaling up recipes.  First, on a personal level, if I were to upgrade to a system that is capable of producing batches three times the size I am currently producing is scaling up my recipes as simple as multiplying my ingredients by three?  What are the common problems that I should be prepared for when scaling up recipes to larger systems?  What size of a pilot system do yo use at Stone to test new recipes?  And, lastly, how do you go about formulating recipes from a homebrew system to brew on your full scale production brew house... is it all about proportions and percentages or are there limiting factors too?

Thanks again!

You can’t really scale up without fully understanding the efficiencies on both brewing systems. Scaling up directly is a good place to start, but go into the process knowing that further adjustments will be required. What we do at Stone is pilot brew on a 20 gallon More Beer System. But when we scale up to our production brewhouse, I use past brew recipes from the production brewhouse to determine what I need as far as grain and hops to hit the analytical targets. We use pilot brewing more for ingredient and recipe evaluation-and when we brew a large batch, I use the %’s, but not necessarily the weights as a direct scale up. Does that make sense?
-Mitch
________________________________________
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:32:16 PM
Hello and thanks to Mitch for taking the time to answer questions for the homebrewing community!  Also, thank goodness Stone is finally in Iowa!
     Here is my question.  I can not seem to make an IPA that is even close to commercial levels and I always seem to get the same flavor profile; a kind of dirt flavor with a nasty bitterness.  I have tried different water, malts, hops, mash temps and hop addition times.  I am shooting for a nice dank or resinous IPA and have been using Simcoe, Centennial, Chinnok and CTZ mostly.  I am pretty confident that the hops are not the problem as I have used from several different sources. I am also pretty solid on my fermentation temps.  I usually just toss my pellets into the boil and ferment for 2 weeks or so.  My last 2 ideas are to bag my hops and to rack off the trub as soon as the bulk of fermentation is done, any other helpful hints?

Thanks again, Chad

Hi Chad: Not sure what’s going on here. As I mentioned in previous posts, temperature is important, as is the quality of the hops and the amount you are using. From a recipe standpoint, perhaps lower the amount of hops added at the start of the boil, and bulk up the hopping towards the end of the boil or in the whirlpool process. Definitely rack your beer off the yeast when you are close to terminal gravity, and don’t dry-hop until you rack. Excessive yeast contact time with the finished beer can result in some pretty nasty flavors. As can excessive trub carryover from the boil/whirlpool to the fermentor. Flavors like you describe can come from many sources or procedures, so it’s a tough question.
Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:33:55 PM
I have often wondered how close to reality the hop bitterness is calculated for historical IPA's.  You mentioned at one point in your book that Americans sometimes heated the hops too much when drying them, but moisture content is important when calculating the weight of hops in any recipe.  Also, it said that sometimes fresh hops were used, but I assume you meant hops that weren't already used in the recipe, not actually fresh or "wet" hops.  Cold storage wasn't available for the most part, so the bitterness would decrease over the season.  I also read that brewers sometimes removed hops from the boil after certain times because they thought it would add harsh flavors.
Do we pretty much assume that all the hops in the 1800's were about the same alpha acid percentage and fairly low - 3 or 4?
So when the historical brewer's log says 5 pounds per barrel, just how much hop flavor or bitterness is that really?

Hi Jeff: This is a really good question. Some points of clarification: Historically, IPAs were only brewed in the fall, and the hops used were “fresh” which meant that they were from that year’s harvest. They were kilned and pressed into storage sacks, so they weren’t fresh like a “wet hop”.

Aged hops were not used in IPA, as a general rule-we saw this in many brewing logs-“Fresh Kents” or “Fresh Farnham” in the IPA recipes. Hops were kilned back then, but to what moisture content I do not know. So really, the hops were of top available quality when the brewers made their IPAs-they stopped brewing IPA in the winter, and didn’t start IPA brewing again until they had the new crop of hops. Brewers knew to keep their hops cold, so the hops were stored in the coldest locations possible, but even so, they saved the freshest, best hops for the IPA. So the alpha acids probably hadn’t dropped much when they were used. Most experts estimate the Goldings hops at 3-4% alpha acids during that time period. Seems reasonable to me, but no one really knows for sure.
Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:34:42 PM
Albeit not likely .. I would like Mitch's feedback on hops in Arrogant Bastard. The CYBI and other "standard" recipes call for Chinook. The Craft of Stone Brewing, absent of A.B, references a lot of non-Chinook hops for the hoppy beers.

Crossing the fingers and holding my breath ...

Ha ha ha! No Arrogant Bastard recipe information shall come from me! Nice try!  Ask Tasty McDole if you don’t believe me.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:37:12 PM
Some of the best IPA's I've had are not overly bitter (at least to my palette).  Conversely, some of the WORST ones I've had ARE overly bitter!  To me, the real genius of an IPA lies in linking up a substantial, complex (yet background) malt profile with a layered, pleasant, and aggressive hop profile.  Just an example, and I know it is marketed as an APA, but Dale's is a great example of this.  If googled, you can find dozens of amateur video reviews of this beer, relishing its 'hoppiness'.  While it is 'hoppy', I think the reason it sells so well, drinks so well, and INTRODUCES so many people to the category so well, is that its malt background balances out a great hop bouquet.   

Are there any key processes or malts that brewers (particularly on a homebrew scale) could/should play with to get these types of results?  Melanoidin?  Biscuit?  Base of Marris Otter?

Great job on the "Enjoy By" IPA btw!

Cheers-

I really think success in bitterness balance has more to do with hopping regime. The Burst hopping or hop bursting technique, which we use a modified version of in our Stone Enjoy By IPA, results in a very mellow bitterness. Just 50% of the bitterness in our beer comes from the early addition hops-the beer comes in at over 80 IBU’s, but the bitterness is very mellow and smooth. So try that technique.
As far as malts go, yes, adding malt complexity can help tame bitterness, but sometimes at the expense of hop flavor and aroma intensity, which is why I’d prefer not use specialty malts, except in small amounts. Brewing with Light Munich or Vienna malts can add malt complexity to IPA without adding raisiny flavors.
Obviously, brewers differ on their approach to using specialty malts in their IPA, and I’ve had plenty of great IPA that had substantial roasted or crystal malt character. And while those beers tasted great, from my experience they may not age as well. Lots of Double IPAs turn into Barley Wines as they age. That’s not desirable to me. I’d rather drink it fresh, with maximum hop flavor.
-Mitch
________________________________________
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:38:10 PM
I just brewed a Black Double IPA using Carafa III at 5.4% of grist; a base of Maris Otter, some crystal and what-not, and what I deemed to be a ridiculous hop schedule (over half a pound spread out over 5 minute intervals for a 60-minute boil). It'll get 2 dry-hop charges over a 10-day period as well.

Thinking that this should first be a double IPA, then it should be black, I tried to keep the dark malt at a level where it would just make the beer dark, but not too "roasty" so as not to compete with the hops.

When I was done collecting the wort, it was quite dark and it smelled a bit more roasty than I thought it would, but not too roasty (not quite stout-like), in my opinion.

With enough hops and what I hope turns out to be a balanced malt background and considering the dark malt was only 5.4% of grist; will the slight roasty character I smell now mellow in the fermenter or otherwise fall to the background where it should be?

I agree with your approach! Formulate an IPA (or Double IPA) first, then add the dark malt. Carafa is a great malt to use in a dark IPA. The roastiness will drop out some and will be balanced out by your dry-hopping-so don’t worry too much about that roast flavor in your wort! 3-6% Carafa addition seems to work really well.
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:39:08 PM
Mitch,

First off, thank you for a very fun and insightful read!  Love the book!  Second, thanks for making bad ass hoppy beers!  Can't wait until they hit the Nebraska market someday, but Iowa and Missouri will do for now ;D.

A couple of questions:

1.  Can you elaborate on the hop additions used in the recipe section of the book?  I know they are calculated by weight, so when you say for example in the Ruination recipe "62.5% Columbus at the start of the boil, then add 37.5% Centennial during the whirlpool,"  that should be 62.5% of the hop mass is Columbus at 90 minutes and then the remainder of the mass is centennial at flameout/WP.  Is this something where we just need to put it into our software of choice and fudge around with the numbers?  This doesn't seem to take into account changes is AA% on a yearly basis.  I understand the issues with utilization, you mention, based on equipment.  Is there a way you can take us back to middle school and do an example/demonstration of the hop calculations for a recipe based on the parameters in the book? :P

2.  Can you take us through the process of designing/building a malt/grist bill and hop selection and additions for your 2 new latest hoppy beer releases (or any beer for that matter): Ruination 10th Anniversary and "Enjoy By?"  How do these beers differ from the original Ruination or the regular IPA in Stone's portfolio?  Did you incorporate some of the info you learned while researching IPAs into these 2 newest releases?  What are you looking for in the finished product in beers like this?

Thanks again and cheers!
Brian Hoesing

Hi Brian:
1.   Yes, I know this a bit confusing.  Another way to look at it:
Target IBU: 105
SOB:
   Columbus   62.5%

Whirlpool:
   Centennial   37.5%
This is based on alpha acids of 10% for the Centennial and 12.8% for the Columbus. I should have included those numbers in the recipe-my apologies!
As far as calculating this out, the BeerSmith and ProMash systems work well. There are also hop calculators on the web, such as the Rager formula. John Palmer’s book, How To Brew, also has an excellent hop calculation technique that accounts for boil time and gravity of the wort.
I opted not to try and put this information in the book because there are so many formulas out there, and your results will vary significantly depending on the parameters of your brewing system. It’s a bit of a crapshoot, honestly, and I hesitated to recommend one system over another.

2. What we did with the Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA was simply add more hops! We made it a higher alcohol beer (from 7.7% to 10.8%), by adding more pale malt-we kept the light crystal at the same weight, but increased the pale malt to reduce the total crystal % from 5.8% to about 4%, and then added more hops across the board. We used the same varieties as in regular Stone Ruination IPA, with the exception of the dry hop, where we added Citra to the Centennial, and the overall dry hop rate was doubled.  One of the most heavily hopped beers we have ever brewed.
With the Stone Enjoy By IPA, we took a different approach, using the hop bursting technique, sort of, and a recipe approach similar to what homebrewer Kelsey McNair used in the beer we brewed together-the Kelsey McNair/Ballast Point/Stone San Diego County Session Ale, where many hop varieties were added in the late stage additions. In the case of the Stone Enjoy By IPA, we used 11 different hop varieties, and all but one variety were used in late hop and/or dry-hop. I am liking this technique, a lot.

Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mitchsteele on November 14, 2012, 08:45:18 PM
Hi Mitch -

Just wanted to get your take on whirlpool hopping. Do you have a preferred whirlpool schedule? Does it depend on what you are brewing? Is there a point where you might as well just make a late boil addition?Thanks in advance!

We whirlpool hop a LOT here at Stone Brewing Co. To be honest, I always late kettle hopped until I came here. Whirlpool hopping is a technique I've grown very fond of, but one has to be careful with whirlpool residence times being consistent. You get a surprising amount of bitterness from whirlpool hopping also-we're trying to quantify that now.
From a practical standpoint, whirlpool hopping is easier for us than late kettle hopping because, having a separate whirlpool, we can add the hops at anytime to the empty whirlpool, and then just wait for the wort transfer.
We approach whirlpool hopping like late kettle hopping-same types of quantities and varieties. We tend to go heavy here (1/2-1.5 pounds per barrel), which can disrupt our trub pile-which can be problematic!
-Mitch
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: denny on November 14, 2012, 10:25:02 PM
Mitch, on behalf of all of us, I want to thank you for your generous donation of time and knowledge!  You'll help us all make better IPA!
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: blatz on November 14, 2012, 10:27:06 PM
Mitch, on behalf of all of us, I want to thank you for your generous donation of time and knowledge!  You'll help us all make better IPA!

+1 - awesome answers!  just wish I'd gotten my question up in time - guess I'll have to make  a trip out to stone sometime!
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: Frydaddy on November 15, 2012, 01:08:43 PM
Great stuff. Thank-you Mitch for taking the time out of your busy schedule, I'm sure...to answer these questions.
Title: Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
Post by: mmitchem on November 15, 2012, 07:02:12 PM
Thanks so much Mitch. It is always a treat and a privilege to get practical, honest knowledge from a pro like yourself. Stay classy Mitch Steele!