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Messages - mitchsteele

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16
Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« on: November 14, 2012, 01:14:34 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

17
Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« on: November 14, 2012, 01:10:31 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

18
Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« on: November 14, 2012, 01:04:49 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.

19
Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« on: November 14, 2012, 01:02:01 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

20
Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« on: November 14, 2012, 12:58:36 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

21
Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« on: November 14, 2012, 12:57:20 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

22
Ask the Experts / Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« on: November 14, 2012, 12:55:33 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

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