Author Topic: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils  (Read 1700 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2014, 02:53:30 PM »

not a popular opinion around here, but I find the calculation of FWH as a 20 min addition to be complete BS.

Have you compared a FWH beer to a beer with the same amount as a 20 min. addition?

No i have compared a dortmunder made with 60 min and 10 min hops to one with the 60 min addition used as FWH.  i preferred the FWH better.

For clarity, are you guys talking about the IBU calculation - as opposed to the amount of hops added for the comparison?  In other words, the IBU's are the same for both methods, not the amount of hops added, but the perceived bitterness is what is different between beers with the same IBU's (as calculated)?  Maybe I'm not articulating it well, so forgive me if I am confusing the meanings here.  Just trying to gain clarity.  Thanks.
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Offline denny

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2014, 02:55:56 PM »
No i have compared a dortmunder made with 60 min and 10 min hops to one with the 60 min addition used as FWH.  i preferred the FWH better.

Sure, that's fine...that's why we all brew to taste.  But it seems slim evidence to say that FWH being considered the same bitterness as a 20 min. addition is BS.
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Offline denny

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2014, 02:58:20 PM »
I guess it's one of those "try and see for yourself" things.

absofreekinlutely!
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2014, 02:59:20 PM »
I perceive FWH as closer to a 60 minute addition. While I think the bitterness (depending on hops used ) can seem a little more rounded, I perceive it as over 20 minutes regardless. But I think as long as you work FWH into your system (and palate) and can hit the bitterness you want consistently, it probably doesn't matter what time value you assign anyway.
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Offline denny

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2014, 03:04:43 PM »
For clarity, are you guys talking about the IBU calculation - as opposed to the amount of hops added for the comparison?  In other words, the IBU's are the same for both methods, not the amount of hops added, but the perceived bitterness is what is different between beers with the same IBU's (as calculated)?  Maybe I'm not articulating it well, so forgive me if I am confusing the meanings here.  Just trying to gain clarity.  Thanks.

If you look at the link I posted, I split a batch of wort.  One half got an oz. of Cascade at 60.  The other half got and oz. of the same Cascade as FWH.  All other parameters were the same.  I had the beers analyzed and the FWH only beer measured as 10% more IBU than the 60 min. only beer.  Then a blind triangle tasting was held.  Although it was not unanimous by any means, most tasters found that the FWH only beer tasted less bitter.

I have done the same thing but using FWH and a 20 min. addition as the only hops in the beer.  In this case, there was no rigorous test.   Only me comparing the beers.  But to my tastes, the amount and quality of bitterness was as close to identical as I could tell.

Paul said he preferred the bittering he got from FWH as opposed to a 60 min. addition.  While that's not what we were debating, I find it interesting that he preferred the FWH.  Could it be because the bitterness was less harsh and possibly more in line with the bitterness you get from a 20 min. addition?  I dunno.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2014, 03:12:17 PM »
Extrapolating then, would the FWH calculated addition at 10% less hops than the amount added to the 60 min batch still be more bitter, but smoother?  And what if compared to a 20 minute only addition?  May be questions to try in a split batch going three ways....sounds like something I may have to try.
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Offline blatz

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2014, 04:13:03 PM »
No i have compared a dortmunder made with 60 min and 10 min hops to one with the 60 min addition used as FWH.  i preferred the FWH better.

Sure, that's fine...that's why we all brew to taste.  But it seems slim evidence to say that FWH being considered the same bitterness as a 20 min. addition is BS.

I'm allowed to have the opinion, based on my own experience, that something is BS.  I don't recall seeing any evidence that it should be treated as a 20 minute addition either.  I bought in to the 20 min mantra for years, that every forum member regurgitates, and was never happy with the result, particularly when using very high alpha hops.  When i use it as a full boil addition +10% and just appreciate that it will be a smoother bitterness, I've had greater success.

I also interpret your 2008 conclusions the same - no where do you conclude that the FWH is better calculated as a 20 minute addition.  On the contrary, the conclusion is EXACTLY what my own brewing experience has been - that the FWH beer has a smoother bitterness than the same exact amount/type of hop used during the boil.

Perhaps the experiment should have been using 1oz of Cascade at 20min versus using 1oz of Cascade FWH to more effectively prove your assertion that it should be treated as a 20 min addition.  Personally, I'm not interested in making a 12ibu dortmunder, that I KNOW will taste like a 12IBU dortmunder, to find out.

Edit - you should actually test with a very high alpha hop, since the difference in a 20min vs FWH of say cascade is only like 12ibus, whereas simcoe it would be over 30.
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Offline santoch

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2014, 07:55:49 PM »
I'd try to hit it with finings and lager it longer to see if I could drop some of the tannins.  Maybe that might smooth it out a bit.

I'm not all that crazy of the flavors that Noble hops give once they start getting up there into IPA level IBU territory.  Below about 40 IBUs, love them!   But there's just something about them once they get up there above about 45 IBUs or so that gives off a bitterness/flavor combination that i can't put my finger on but I just don't like. 

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2014, 09:39:50 PM »
Once I had an APA that was 35.6 Tinseth. I switched it to Rager which dropped it to 35.1 and it was much better.

Sorry attempt at humor. I'm just curious is FWH shouldn't just be calculated as FWH. Pick wherever time you wish (20, 60, 90, whichever) and stick with it so you can adjust on the next batch. In my opinion, the IBU number on your recipe won't change the flavor much. About as much as changing it from Tinseth to Rager.

Offline erockrph

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2014, 10:31:18 AM »
I think there is a lot more to hop bitterness than simply IBUs. Bitterness "quality"(rough vs smooth) is almost as important as "quantity" (IBUs), particularly in hoppy beers. I think there is a lot of variance in perception of these factors as well.

My current house IPA measured 98 IBU in a lab. It uses all flameout/whirlpool hops (no boil additions). When I drink it on its own, it tastes like 60 IBUs, with a smooth bitterness. When I drink it with food it tastes like 100 tongue-clinging IBUs and completely blows out my palate. Same beer, two different perceptions even to the same person.

By calculating FWH as a 20 minute addition, I see it as trying to approximate the bittering quality by adjusting the bittering quantity (IBU) calculation. And it also approximates the additional flavor contribution from the FWH.

The thing is, I'm starting to think that this approximation isn't really doing what I want it to do. Personally, I'm starting to look at each of my hop additions individually instead of my total IBUs for a beer. Since I've moved to adding all my late hops at flameout, that's a fairly simple approach for me.
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Offline redzim

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils [bump with new idea]
« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2014, 06:20:19 PM »
I'd like to get back to the original question of this post (since I'm the OP), and not the later discussion on the bitterness of FWH (as interesting as it is)...

I tapped my most recent beer a few days ago, a Schwarzbier that has been lagering for a little over 4 weeks. I've brewed this recipe every year for 5 years and never had a problem with it; it's very close to Kostritzer (I lived a few km from the Kostritzer Brauerei in Germany a few years back, biked past it a lot, and it's a top-ten beer for me). Anyways...  I sample it, and there is this same weird lingering tannic bitterness and astringency that I had in the Pilsner this spring.  Fairly unpleasant...   with the Pils, it reduced a little after about 8 weeks in the keg but not very much.

So I have a theory: the Pilsner was the first beer I fined with Biofine Clear; prior to that i used a gelatin solution.  Some quick googling shows that possibly gelatin and biofine react or precipitate different compounds differently, and that perhaps gelatin pulls tannins, astringent compounds, and hop polyphenols out of solution more effectively than biofine clear (see this thread http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=&t=19626 and this http://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/fining-agents.192243/)

Of course I've brewed a bunch of other beers in between the Pils and the Schwarz and none of them exhibit this odd taste. So part B of the theory is that the excessive hop matter used to bitter these two beers is somehow involved.  See, these two beers are the only two that I've bittered with large amounts (>4 oz) of low alpha (4-5%) hops for 60+ mins. Other lagers I've brewed this spring/summer were bittered with hi-alpha magnum, in <2oz amounts. (All 10-gal batches, BTW). In both beers, there was over 6oz of low alpha hops in total. 

So question is, is there something in my brewing process that is creating tannins, astringency, or whatever, with large amounts of low alpha hops, and then was gelatin somehow able to clean that up but Bionfine can't clean it up?

Adding to the mystery is that these two beers were brewed with the exact same pound of Mittelfruh pellets from HopsDirect, and I haven't used those hops in any other beer. So perhaps it's just a wacky bag of hops?

Anyways, one idea is to mix up a little gelatin and dump it in the keg (it's carbed, but apparently one can still do that) and see what happens in a few days.  I will try this if no one has other suggestions.

Of course I guess long term I should somehow fix my recipes or process to avoid the creating of these flavor compounds.

Sorry for going on so long,
Red

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2014, 06:31:56 PM »
As for the first point, I feel gelatin does seem to reduce hop bitterness and overall 'hoppiness' a bit more than Biofine. It could be as simple as that. I actually add a small amount more hops when I use gelatin, to get the hop character I'm after.
Jon H.

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils [bump with new idea]
« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2014, 07:48:32 PM »


Adding to the mystery is that these two beers were brewed with the exact same pound of Mittelfruh pellets from HopsDirect, and I haven't used those hops in any other beer. So perhaps it's just a wacky bag of hops?


Maybe mislabeled hops? Pretty sure that has happened to me. Perhaps they were magnum or CTZ. Who knows. Mistakes do happen.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2014, 05:23:40 AM »
I am with blatz, that FWH = 20 minute addition is a farce.  My intuition tells me so.  I don't care to experiment to prove my theory.  It just makes zero logical sense is all.
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Re: troubleshoot my too-bitter North German Pils
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2014, 05:48:28 AM »

I am with blatz, that FWH = 20 minute addition is a farce.  My intuition tells me so.  I don't care to experiment to prove my theory.  It just makes zero logical sense is all.

I brew a kolsch with 1oz of nelson fwh as the only addition. I've been meaning to try it with only a 20 minute addition to compare. Not enough brew days.