Author Topic: Adding bitterness post-fermentation  (Read 2285 times)

Offline Headless Monk

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Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« on: April 23, 2012, 06:22:38 PM »
I brewed a "clean out the cupboard" lager about six weeks ago.  I tapped the first keg this past weekend and the beer could be better.

I was aiming for something vienna-ish, but, in retrospect, shouldn't have added any crystal malts.  I figure, though, that if I can increase the bitterness it might make a nice altbier.

The recipe was as follows (10 gal):
10.0 lb Pils Malt
7.25 lb Vienna Malt
0.75 lb Dark Munich Malt
0.5 lb CaraMunich III Malt
0.5 lb CaraAroma Malt
2.0 oz Hersbrucker (60)
2.0 oz Tettnanger (20)
1.0 oz Hersbrucker (10)
1.0 oz Tettnanger (10)
WLP830 cake from a previous batch

So, I've thought of a few possible fixes and am interested in other's experiences.

1)  Add some sort of hop extract.  I have no experience with this and am open to suggestions.

2)  Add some sort of hop tea.  Again, I have no experience with this and am open to suggestions.

3)  Rack it onto a Roeselare cake that will be available soon and see what happens.

4)  Any other ideas.

Thanks in advance.
Nate
Norfolk, Virginia

Offline tygo

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2012, 06:33:44 PM »
The hop extracts still require boiling to isomerize the alpha acids so I don't think that'd help.  Same basic problem with hop tea.  You could brew a hoppier and complementary beer.  Or an overhopped version of the same beer, and blend to taste.
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Offline Headless Monk

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2012, 06:59:14 PM »
The hop extracts still require boiling to isomerize the alpha acids so I don't think that'd help.  Same basic problem with hop tea.

I have read that the HopShot that Northern brewer sells does require boiling, but I thought I read something about another extract that was already isomerized (can't find it now of course).

Is the tea just water and hops?  Do the alpha acids isomerize without it being in wort?
Nate
Norfolk, Virginia

Offline erockrph

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2012, 07:03:48 PM »
How is the sulfate level in your brewing water? If its low maybe some gypsum might help a little?

Otherwise you could brew a mini batch of a neutral beer with a similar OG. Something like 3 gallons with just Pilsner dme. Then use a mega dose of something clean like magnum or horizon at 60 minutes. Blend that back in to taste.
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Offline hoser

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 08:06:04 PM »
Well, first I will say it is hard to "fix" a beer post ferment.  But, if you are thinking you won't drink it because you didn't like how it tastes, I suppose is no harm in trying? 

I have used this product once or twice with some success.  It doesn't require boiling, either.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/7835//IsoHop_Bitterness_Extract_1_oz


Offline maxieboy

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 03:23:32 AM »
Well, first I will say it is hard to "fix" a beer post ferment.  But, if you are thinking you won't drink it because you didn't like how it tastes, I suppose is no harm in trying? 

I have used this product once or twice with some success.  It doesn't require boiling, either.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/7835//IsoHop_Bitterness_Extract_1_oz

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Offline Headless Monk

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2012, 04:09:44 AM »
How is the sulfate level in your brewing water? If its low maybe some gypsum might help a little?

Sulfate averages around 27 mg/L, versus a chloride level of about 17 mg/L.  And I added more chloride in the mash (to bump up calcium - my water has really low calcium).

Are you suggesting I add gypsum next time I brew?  Or are you suggesting I add some to the fermented beer?   Adding brewing salts directly to a fermented beer is an idea that I hadn't considered.
Nate
Norfolk, Virginia

Offline Headless Monk

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2012, 04:11:54 AM »
Well, first I will say it is hard to "fix" a beer post ferment.  But, if you are thinking you won't drink it because you didn't like how it tastes, I suppose is no harm in trying? 

I have used this product once or twice with some success.  It doesn't require boiling, either.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/7835//IsoHop_Bitterness_Extract_1_oz

Oh, I'll drink it.  ;)  It isn't a bad beer.  Just could be better.

I think that extract you linked to may be what I had come across.  Thanks for the link.
Nate
Norfolk, Virginia

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2012, 04:52:55 AM »
Brew it again with a higher bitterness and blend. That is on way to fix it.

Jeff Rankert
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2012, 06:25:16 AM »

Are you suggesting I add gypsum next time I brew?  Or are you suggesting I add some to the fermented beer?   Adding brewing salts directly to a fermented beer is an idea that I hadn't considered.

Possibly both?

For future brews, 27 mg/l of SO4 is fairly low for the beer you were brewing - its closer to a Pilsner-type profile.

Noonan says the water in Vienna has similiar sulfate levels to those in Dortmund - so I'm not surprised your wanting more of a bitter punch for your brew. Consult his book or Martin Brungard's "Bru'n Water" app - they are the experts.

For this brew - try adding a bit of gypsum in the keg, purging the hell out of it, then shaking it up a bit. If that doesn't work - go with the brew bitter and blend technique.
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Offline gmwren

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Re: Adding bitterness post-fermentation
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2012, 08:09:21 AM »
HopTech carries Iso Hop for bittering. Doesn't take much, easy to use. It has been awhile since I've used it because I am diligent in accounting for hop age and storage condition for the whole hops I use.