Author Topic: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor  (Read 1681 times)

Offline sienabrewer

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Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« on: March 28, 2012, 12:11:52 PM »
So I have a question on bulk aging and it's effect on hop flavor.  Although it pains me to say it, I just don't have the time that I used to for brewing.  With new home ownership, erratic work schedule (law enforcement), and additional responsibilities it's become difficult.  I have found myself on far too many occasions with my taps empty and either nothing ready to go or waiting for a beer to finish fermenting.  As the spring kicks off I will have even less time.

To rectify my empty tap problem and hopefully not have it again this entire summer I just ordered 3 sacks of grain from Country Malt Group.  My plan is to say screw it and during my next three days off I am brewing, and brewing a lot.  I am saying forget it to the house chores and other duties and going for it.  I plan to make anywhere between 5-7 beers, which should hold me over for most of the summer (I think).

My concern is will the aging of beers in the carboy or keg decrease the hop flavor/presence as they wait to go on tap?  The styles I am making are German and American, both lagers and ales.  The lagers I'm not concerned with because they be, well lagering, in the fridge until they go on tap.  The american styles I am concerned about are my pale ales and IPAs.  I like both styles to have a nice, fresh hop flavor.  I don't go crazy on the bitterness, I emphasize hop flavor by doing large late additions.  With this flavor dissipate over time?  I'm talking about 2-4 months max on the aging time.  They will be stored in the basement where temps should not go above 65 (on the hottest summer stretches).

Offline denny

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 12:22:00 PM »
Hop aroma, and to a lesser extant flavor and bitterness, will decrease over time.  You can compensate by going heavy in the first place.  Another way to go would be to add dry hops just before you put the beers on tap.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 12:35:38 PM »
Two - four months doesn't seem like an extreme amount of aging.

I wouldn't worry about it.  If you're worried, Denny's recommendations are sound.

I rarely finish a keg in that time frame, because I'm fickle and keep swapping them out of the fridge.

But I also typically go for larger beers that need some age to mellow.
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Offline jakeamo

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 11:20:31 PM »
Living in south LA i do this every summer. The heat here and the microbes have never made a great brew for me in the summer. So i just quite brewing after march ...til september. Couple things, make the beer a little stronger <6%, and hoppier also you want to keep the cold break and hops out of your fermenter as well as oxygen (topoff). And if you dry hop as some sugest make sure you do it no more than a week or so before kegging, you want to keep all the debris in the bottom to a min. If you can keep them below 65 you should be good for summer!Secondarys and krausening with frozen hopped wort are also helpful here. If you dont want a 8 or 9% beer you can dilute with carbed h20 and have two 4.5% american lagers.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 11:43:32 PM »
If you have the room, there is no reason you can't 'lager' the ales as well. once they are done fermenting you can cold crash them and leave them at 34 until you are ready to serve. the cold will slow down the loss of hop flavour. I also agree with denny on the dry hopping. a week or two before you are ready to serve, keg with some hops in a sack and you are good to go.
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Offline jakeamo

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 12:28:09 AM »
Also the storage stability of the hop variety. I know Chinook, Galena and cluster take forever to mellow out. On the other hand Cascade, centennial, crystal, mt hood and tomahawk have "poor" storability. NOTE they rate this by AAs remaining after 6 months not taste.

 

Online kramerog

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 10:19:52 AM »
Agree with the above comments.  British IPAs are traditionally aged a year apparently and then dry hopped.  Use a paint filter bag to keep the dry hops from clogging your keg.
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Offline DaveR

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 10:39:46 AM »
Hop flavor and aroma longevity is a mystery that I'm trying to unlock. Somehow I became a hop head last year while trying to free up some room in my freezer. It may not be much, but here's what I've uncovered.

Normally I ferment and primary for 4 weeks. Then I rack to a keg. I usually dry hop right away, but I've also waited for several months. Aging, or any delay in adding dry hops, doesn't seem to matter as long as they sit in the beer week or ten days. At that point the beer is plenty hoppy. Kegging offers dry hopping advantages that you obviously don't have with bottling.

Once the dry hops are removed the flavor and aroma drops off quickly. But it levels off after about two weeks and the drop beyond that is not so apparent. I haven't tried it yet but I may dry hop a second time if a keg loses too much hoppiness. Who knows DDH or double dry hopping may catch on ;).

I've cut back late additions and I dry hop nearly everything now. It just seems like a better way to go, for me. I usually dry hop with Simcoe, Centennial, Citra or Amarillo -- the latter two being my favorite combo. I've tried 1 to 4 ounces. Two ounces -- combined not each -- per 5 gallons is the sweet spot for me. I don't notice a big increase flavor and aroma above that. It's not worth the extra hops and the reduction in beer (from absorption).

I always use leaf hops in a nylon hop bag. Sediment is never a problem. Getting the bag out once the hops have absorbed beer is. Recently I left dry hops in until the keg was half empty. That worked out pretty well. I'm racking a batch this weekend. I'm going to try leaving dry hops in for as long as there is beer in the keg.

One trick I learned is to use dental floss to suspend the hop bag in the keg. When I used string the CO2 pressure would leak from where the string met the o-ring (in a corny). That doesn't happen with dental floss. So I can pressurize the keg with the hops suspended, hopefully just off the bottom. I also put a couple of hefty stainless steel bolts in the bag so it sinks.

I have a keg of pale ale that I brewed last August. I wasn't drinking it so I yanked it from my keezer. It's just been sitting. It's not a bad beer, but it's just sort of boring. Two weeks ago I decided to add dry hops to maybe salvage it. I went with Mt Hood this time. Hopefully it made a blah beer into something more interesting. Hops are where it's at. I just wish someone would plant more Amarillo.  :-\

Online kramerog

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 07:18:37 PM »
Once the dry hops are removed the flavor and aroma drops off quickly. But it levels off after about two weeks and the drop beyond that is not so apparent. I haven't tried it yet but I may dry hop a second time if a keg loses too much hoppiness. Who knows DDH or double dry hopping may catch on ;).

I've cut back late additions and I dry hop nearly everything now. It just seems like a better way to go, for me. I usually dry hop with Simcoe, Centennial, Citra or Amarillo -- the latter two being my favorite combo. I've tried 1 to 4 ounces. Two ounces -- combined not each -- per 5 gallons is the sweet spot for me. I don't notice a big increase flavor and aroma above that. It's not worth the extra hops and the reduction in beer (from absorption).

I always use leaf hops in a nylon hop bag. Sediment is never a problem. Getting the bag out once the hops have absorbed beer is. Recently I left dry hops in until the keg was half empty. That worked out pretty well. I'm racking a batch this weekend. I'm going to try leaving dry hops in for as long as there is beer in the keg.

One trick I learned is to use dental floss to suspend the hop bag in the keg. When I used string the CO2 pressure would leak from where the string met the o-ring (in a corny). That doesn't happen with dental floss. So I can pressurize the keg with the hops suspended, hopefully just off the bottom. I also put a couple of hefty stainless steel bolts in the bag so it sinks.
DaveR,
Why do you remove the dry hops? I'm new to kegging but so far leaving a bad of dry hops in the beer seems fine.
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Offline zen_brew

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 07:36:12 PM »
DaveR,
Why do you remove the dry hops? I'm new to kegging but so far leaving a bad of dry hops in the beer seems fine.

 I think it depends on how quickly you consume the keg. Prolonged exposure, especially at cooler temperatures, tends to extract a grassy or vegetal flavor from hops sometimes.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 08:42:01 AM by dbeechum »
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Offline denny

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2012, 08:36:33 AM »
I think it depends on how quickly you consume the keg. Prolonged exposure, especially at cooler temperatures, tends to extract a grassy or vegetal flavor from hops sometimes.

My kegs last 2-3 months and the dry hops are in there the whole time....no problems.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 10:59:36 AM »
I agree with Denny and I have left dry hops in the keg for as long as 5 months without a problem.  It was Denny's RIPA that lasted that long only because I told everyone that the batch had gone wrong...sometimes a little deviousness is required to keep a favorite on tap!!!
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Offline thirsty

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2012, 05:04:10 PM »
It was Denny's RIPA that lasted that long only because I told everyone that the batch had gone wrong...sometimes a little deviousness is required to keep a favorite on tap!!!

Amen to that, brother.

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Offline sienabrewer

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2012, 06:12:26 PM »
So I think just upping the hops a slight amount is going to do it for me.  After reading the posts I don't think I am going to experience a huge drop in flavor or freshness over a period of, at most, 4 months.  Thanks for the helpful advice

Offline DaveR

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Re: Bulk Aging and its effect on hop flavor
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2012, 04:29:44 PM »
DaveR,
Why do you remove the dry hops? I'm new to kegging but so far leaving a bad of dry hops in the beer seems fine.

I removed the hops for several reasons. I'd read about potential flavor issues and was concerned about that for a time. I'm not so worried about that now.

Secondly, I didn't want to interfere with the dip tube. As unlikely as that is I had a friend who had a problem. The string in the hop bag got into the tube and created a headache.

I wanted to suspending the hop bag and I tried various things. I attaching the tie string to the short intake tube but it slipped off. I took a long piece of copper wire, sanitized it, and made a hook on the end to retrieve it. (that was quite a few kegs ago).

I tried letting the string stick out of the top when I sealed the keg, but that leaked CO2. I tried a lot of things, but attaching 10 inches of dental floss onto the hop bag string did the trick. The dental floss sticks out of the lid, but the o-ring still seals. The hop sack stays just off the bottom of the keg (with the SS bolts as weights).

I'm sure there are lots of ways to go about dry hopping in a keg, but this is simple (moreso than it sounds) and it works for me.