Author Topic: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA  (Read 36384 times)

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #45 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #46 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.

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #47 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #48 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2012, 01:17:49 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #50 on: November 14, 2012, 01:20:01 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #51 on: November 14, 2012, 01:21:43 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #52 on: November 14, 2012, 01:24:10 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #53 on: November 14, 2012, 01:25:43 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.

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #54 on: November 14, 2012, 01:27:20 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #55 on: November 14, 2012, 01:29:27 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #56 on: November 14, 2012, 01:30:47 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
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Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #57 on: November 14, 2012, 01:32:16 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2012, 01:33:55 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

Offline mitchsteele

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Re: Ask the Experts: Mitch Steele on IPA
« Reply #59 on: November 14, 2012, 01:34:42 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.