From the original post, I agree with HamiltonT... it sounds like Fusel Alcohol. But, is that because of fermentation temperature or is the Asu making big beers? If he's making big beers then all he may need to do is let it condition, I know my big beers have been harsher in alcohol until they have sat long enough... and that depends on how big the original gravity was on each batch. Anyway... just a thought.
High sulfate to chloride ratio will definitely increase the hop bitterness.