Author Topic: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?  (Read 4173 times)

Offline Brewbeerd

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Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« on: July 26, 2014, 01:01:35 AM »
Hey all, time to go to the community for help. Please bear with me as this is kind of lengthy. I'm a newer all grain brewer with six batches of IPAs completed so far since March of this year with only one of them turning out as planned. After dialing in problems like yeast pitching rates and steady controlled fermentation temps I finally got a very good IPA on batch #5. So I had high hopes for batch #6, an all Citra hopped IPA. But after following an almost identical procedure I instead got a quite bland beer with a fairly high bitterness, but none of the fresh hop flavor of the previous successful batch. Also it has a very similar flavor profile compared to the other failed IPAs. No real off flavors to speak of perhaps maybe a very slight metallic taste. Just bland, blunt bitterness w/ no pleasant hop flavor. Has a mild hop aroma. Recipe and procedure as follows:

Target 5.5 gal in fermenter
12lb US two-row pale malt
1lb crystal 40
1lb Vienna
1lb Carapils

1oz Citra 60 mins
1oz Citra 20 mins
1oz Citra and .5 TSP Irish Moss at 15 mins
1oz Citra and .5 TSP Yeast Nutrient at 10 mins
2oz Citra 5 mins
2oz Citra 0 mins
Dry hop 1wk 4oz Zythos

Used Kroger Spring water. Started with 4.68 gal strike water. Mashed at 149 deg for 75 mins. No mash out. Vorlaufed. Fly sparged w/ 4 gal at ~167 deg until collected 7.3 gallons into 10 gal Megapot. Took ~25 mins. Mash pH strips bought at local home brew shop indicate low (4.9ish?) mash pH. I realize this is low if the strips are accurate but I haven't made the dive into water chemistry yet. Previous batch (and all other previous) used tap water and that one turned out really well. Boiled for 90 mins down to 5.5 gallons. Chilled in just under 20 mins to 70 deg. My OG target was 1.062 and I hit 1.054

Pitched a 36 hour old stir plate 1.6L yeast starter of fresh Wyeast 1056. Gradually brought temp down to 61 deg, ~8 hour lag time. Held at 61 deg for 7 days, gradually brought temp up to 68 during days 8-11. Held at 70 deg until day 21, then racked to secondary and dry hopped w/ 4oz of Zythos for 7 days. Fermentation was very vigorous, required blow off tubing. After total fermentation completed I cold crashed to 35 deg for 24 hours, added gelatin finings and kept in fridge for 4 days total. Racked to CO2 purged keg and force carbed over 48 hours at about 38 deg. I realize just over 4 weeks is a pretty quick turn around but as I mentioned I followed almost the exact same schedule w/ my previous batch (used White Labs 001 at 66 deg and different hops/malts) with very good results. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all !!

Offline robdacook

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2014, 01:15:19 AM »
Interesting that you noted your fermentation was very vigorous. I have brewed several APA's and noticed the more turbulent the fermentation is, the less aroma I get. I have heard that CO2 formation can scrub aroma from beer as it is fermenting.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2014, 01:46:08 AM »
Try a hop stand. It will add boatloads of hop flavor.
Eric B.

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Offline fmader

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2014, 01:55:59 AM »
You might be losing aroma with the gelatin. It's been noted that it will pull some of the hop aroma and flavor out of a beer. It has it's place, but I wouldn't use it in a hop forward beer.

I will also suggest that you combine some of your hop additions and maybe consider a first wort hop addition. I'm going to give you my typical hop schedule for an IPA, but I will also say that it might not be the best schedule but I certainly like the results. I also use about a pound of hops for an IPA with 10-12 oz in a kettle.

First wort hop (2 oz)
60 minute (1-2 oz)
10 minute (4 oz) - also add whirlfloc and yeast nutrient here
0 minute (at least 4 oz with a 30 minute hopstand)
Dry hop in a secondary (at least 4 oz)

You also may want to add a teaspoon of gypsum to your boil kettle for hoppy beers.
Frank

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2014, 02:02:49 AM »
+1 to the hopstand.  But it sounds like a pH or water chemistry issue. I remember hoppy beers before I got a handle on pH where I added lots of hops (I'm not shy with them) and ended up with a beer with muted hop character. If your pH were well controlled (~ 5.4 for hoppy beers IMO) then I would recommend adding some gypsum to your hoppy beers to bring out hop character. But it looks as if you had some pH issues here. I highly recommend downloading Bru'nWater - it will help you predict your pH and help make your beer consistently good.
Jon H.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2014, 02:06:13 AM »
+1 to Frank as well - gelatin will strip away a slight amount of hop character. I compensate by adding maybe 10% more hops when I plan to use it.
Jon H.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2014, 02:07:39 AM »
Spring water is a truly meaningless term when it comes to water quality. If anything, spring water is a poor choice for brewing water. In many cases, spring water is no better than what comes out of many taps and for most brewing it requires some adjustments to make it suitable for brewing.

Since it appears that you didn't acidify or add hardness minerals, there is approximately a 0.0% chance that your mash pH was anywhere near 4.9. If that spring water had no alkalinity, the best you could expect with a typical IPA grist is maybe 5.6 to 5.7. If that water had alkalinity, then the mash and wort pH was likely higher. That may indicate that tannin and silicate extraction was likely. It appears that the pH strips are crap. That is typical for any paper strips. The plastic ColorpHast strips are typically more reliable, but tend to read about 0.3 units low.

Acidifying the mashing and sparging water is a pretty critical thing. Unfortunately, starting with an unknown water quality in that spring water, does not give you a reference point for figuring out what you should have done for water adjustment. The first thing is to know what your water has in it!

A final note is that adding an appropriate amount of certain minerals often improves beer flavor. Water with little 'flavor' ion content can taste bland. Learning how to dose your water to meet the requirements of your desired beer is an important step in moving from 'so so' to great.
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Offline dcb

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2014, 02:11:05 AM »
I was also going to suggest increasing your sulphate (adding gypsum) to bring out the hops, though it's not clear to me why you had one good batch if you used the same water.  But I'll second the suggestion to explore your water composition with some sort of software.  I like the Brewer's Friend calc.

Offline Brewbeerd

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2014, 02:26:00 AM »
Thanks for the quick replies! Regarding the water issue, I tried spring water on the batch in question to see if it made any difference compared to prior batches with tap water. So far no, but I would add that when I opened the store bought "spring water", I noticed a substantial chlorine smell. So I decided to boil the entire brew supply of water used in this current topic batch for ~15 mins to try and drive off the suspected impurities. For what it's worth my tap water tastes/smells fine so I'd never added Campden tablets before. I suppose the wild card in all of this is the good batch I made using untreated tap water. I've suspected water chemistry and/or mash pH for awhile now and so have been reading up as much as possible. I currently have two batches fermenting using only RO water w/ 1 TSP per 5 gal of gypsum and calcium chloride added. Hopefully this will give me a better comparison.  My local water report is pretty vague and I thought I might have better luck building water up from RO. 

Offline Kinetic

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2014, 12:36:58 PM »
Your hop schedule should produce plenty of mango/pineapple flavor and aroma from Citra.  Hop stands are nice, but it isn't required for good flavor and aroma.

My guess is the problem is related to water content and mash pH.  Store bought spring water is a crap shoot.  You will have better consistency with RO water and mineral additions. It's also possible your hops aren't the best examples of Citra due to age, storage conditions or crop variance.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2014, 03:10:09 PM »
In my opinion all citra IPAs are pretty blah. Blend in some cascade, Simcoe, amarillo, or centennial and it's great. Try mixing a bit with some sierra pale ale.

Offline duboman

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2014, 06:53:54 PM »
I'll chime in with the hop stands, mixing up the hops a bit and no gelatin.

My experience with my hoppy beers early on was regardless of what i did they all tasted similar until I got into water chemistry so my main thought is that's where you need to focus your adjustments, especially the sulfates as Martin and others pointed out
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Offline bboy9000

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2014, 07:47:59 PM »

In my opinion all citra IPAs are pretty blah. Blend in some cascade, Simcoe, amarillo, or centennial and it's great. Try mixing a bit with some sierra pale ale.

I've brewed some of my best IPA's using some combination of the hops with citra added in the last few minutes and as a dry hop.
Brian
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Offline Kinetic

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2014, 07:52:36 PM »
I see you made the same thread elsewhere.  The Caramel Police, Oxygen Gestapo and the Chill and Decant Enforcement Agency predictably showed up.  You can disregard their comments.   

Offline Brewbeerd

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Re: Bland IPA w/ lots of late hops?!?
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2014, 08:32:18 PM »
I appreciate all the input, thank you. I will take everything into account. All hops were Hop Union but mail ordered. I did not decant the starter. Secondary was not CO2 purged but was a very gentle transfer. And also used gelatin on the previous batch(s) but will be skipping that in the future. No point to crystal clear beer that doesn't taste very good. Was worried about the beer being young but I've had this similar flavor issue in IPAs aged for 12+ weeks, and previous batch aged at about 5 weeks and was very good. Regarding decanting the starter of oxygenated wort, wouldn't any oxygen introduced prior to pitching be scrubbed out during fermentation?  I will post an update after letting this age for awhile and when the RO batch turns out.  Thanks!