WARNING- this will be a long post, but please stick with me, I need some help!
OK, I have been brewing all grain for over a year now and I am trying to fine tune what is going on in my system, mostly because I cannot brew an IPA that even comes close to anything commercial, not even a poor example. I have discovered that I am not a fan of Centennial ( I know, who can believe it) and maybe Columbus too, I don't like the "dirt or grassy" taste I get from them. My IPA's all taste similar, bland, no hop pop or generally muted and sometimes dirty. I am using quality, well stored hops from Hop Union so I have eliminated that as an issue. I have tried using plain RO water and my tap(hose) water ( which I have sent off to Ward labs) and neither seems to make a huge difference int he finished beer. The only information I can find online about my water is that is has a hardness (average) of about 400. I can brew most other styles I try with very good-excellent results, so I am not convinced the water is the answer.
I brew in a 10 gall rubbermaid cooler with a false bottom, 10 gall stainless brew pot with the bazooka screen, and have the ability to fly or batch sparge. I usually batch sparge by draining the tun, then adding 2 different sparge additions at 168F. I use beersmith and have graduated a carboy, kettle and my water jug. I am set in BS at brewing 5.5 gall batches with 5 gallons going into the fermentor and usually hit that with no problem. I also USUALLY hit my OG or come extremely close. Oh, I also vourlaf at each time needed, but I never seem to get as clear as I would like, can always see some med-larger particles sneaking through. I use a plate chiller in the warmer months, but switch to an immersion in the winter. Regardless, I add wirfloc and whirlpool the best I can, a little hard since the temp probe in my kettle sticks on a bit.
Here is the last batch I brewed, which I just kegged and tasted yesterday. Has potential, but even after dry-hopping for 4 days at about 70Fish with 2 oz of Simcoe, I have to really try and dig out the aroma and flavor of Simcoe.
Test Batch 1 (IPA)
Type: All Grain Date: 1/15/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer: Copper TrÖff Brewing
Boil Size: 8.01 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: My AG Setup
End of Boil Volume 6.76 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 77.6 %
Fermentation: My Aging Profile Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM) Grain 1 69.8 %
3 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 19.0 %
12.0 oz Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.8 %
8.0 oz Carapils 6-Row (Briess) (1.3 SRM) Grain 4 3.2 %
8.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 5 3.2 %
0.75 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 31.3 IBUs
0.50 oz Centennial [12.50 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 7 10.4 IBUs
1.00 oz CTZ and Simcoe Blend (2/3 Simcoe) [13.73 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 13.7 IBUs
1.00 oz CTZ and Simcoe Blend (2/3 Simcoe) [13.73 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 7.5 IBUs
1.00 oz CTZ and Simcoe Blend (2/3 Simcoe) [13.73 %] - Aroma Steep 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml] Yeast 11 -
1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [14.10 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [14.10 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 15 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 16 0.0 IBUs
Est Original Gravity: 1.070 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.074 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.6 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 8.5 %
Bitterness: 62.9 IBUs Calories: 249.7 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 6.2 SRM
I tried a Hopstand on this one, the last oz of hops sat for 45 mins and then I whirlpooled and chilled, trying to get as much aroma and flavor as possible. My number were as follows:
1st runnings 1.074
2nd runnings 1.052
3rd runnings 1.028
My mash eff was 66.7%
total eff was 62.7
I used an appropriate sized starter of WL001 and aerated the wort, had active ferm in 2 hours and held at about 69-70 until initial ferm was over, then rack onto dry hops. At tasting yesterday; hop character was muted, a bit of that Centennial dirty but not as much as usual, aggressively bitter and nearly no hop aroma, really disappointed.
I am looking to brew again on Monday, another IPA(till I get it right!) and could use some help. Thinking of going back to the RO water, so cold here that it takes a while to boil tap water before I brew, and maybe treating it. thinking of just adding some Gypsum to the RO?
I am wondering if I do not have my system dialed in correctly and that is causing me to get to many IBU's in the beer causing the bland, muted and mostly bitter flavor? Oh Yeah, I have my own mill too and may try a double crush this time too. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated! Or else I am back to making Berliner Weisse, Wit's and Dunkelweisse, lol.,.