Author Topic: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?  (Read 1060 times)

Offline syncopadence

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Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« on: March 08, 2015, 09:12:59 PM »
Ok, so please forgive my newbie ignorance, but will using a hop steeper make my beer less bitter? Also, do these only work with whole hops as opposed to pellets?  I'm just wondering because my stouts seem to be coming out too bitter, and I feel like it's because I'm just throwing the pellets into the boil.  I'm using 2 to 3 oz's of pellets, but seems to come out too bitter.  Can anyone shed some light on this for me?  Thank you in advance for any help!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2015, 09:18:48 PM »
Ok, so please forgive my newbie ignorance, but will using a hop steeper make my beer less bitter? Also, do these only work with whole hops as opposed to pellets?  I'm just wondering because my stouts seem to be coming out too bitter, and I feel like it's because I'm just throwing the pellets into the boil.  I'm using 2 to 3 oz's of pellets, but seems to come out too bitter.  Can anyone shed some light on this for me?  Thank you in advance for any help!

By hop steeper, are you talking about a hop spider?  A lot of brewers throw hops in loosely, so that's not your problem. You're just adding too many IBUs into your beer. Do you use software to calculate your hop additions? You should post a recipe so we can help you.
Jon H.

Offline syncopadence

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2015, 09:24:20 PM »
- 2-row Brewers Malt 10lb
- Briess Caramel 60L 1lb
- Muntons Chocolate 1lb
- 1oz cocoa nibs
- 3 small cinnamon sticks
- 1oz Fuggle, 1oz Williamette, and 1oz Nugget
- Safale US-5 dry ale yeast

I didn't add any secondary ingredients to the fermenter, all in the boil.  I can't remember what order I did the hops, but I think it was 60 mins, 45 mins, 30 mins.  I'm not sure what a hop spider, but a local brew shop has a steeper for hops.  And I don't use a software (mainly because I don't know of any), I just loosely go by tried and true recipes (although I do deviate).  Does this help?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 09:25:55 PM by syncopadence »

Offline Stevie

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2015, 09:31:26 PM »
How large of a batch? What are the alpha ratings of the hops? When are you adding the hops? All grain or extract? Are you using a recipe?

Doubt adding the hops right to boil is the cause.

Offline syncopadence

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2015, 09:39:32 PM »
How large of a batch? What are the alpha ratings of the hops? When are you adding the hops? All grain or extract? Are you using a recipe?

Doubt adding the hops right to boil is the cause.

5 gallon batch, about 4.8 for Fuggle and Williamette & 12 for Nugget, 60 45 & 30 min, all grain, and I deviated from a recipe I saw to try and create some different flavors.  I asked a couple guys at my local homebrew shop and they both seemed to think it'd be good.   I definitely don't taste any of the chocolate or cinnamon, just turned out almost like a hoppy dark brown ale...
I guess what I'd also like to know (if this isn't too loaded of a question) is what are the biggest contributors to IBU's?
Does fermenting play a part? I let it ferment for a month and then bottled.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 09:42:36 PM by syncopadence »

Offline Stevie

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2015, 09:43:31 PM »
Biggest contribution is from the 45 and 60 min hops. A bit from the 30. Detail out the recipe. The amount is based on AA, amount, volume, gravity, and time.

Offline syncopadence

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2015, 09:50:48 PM »
Biggest contribution is from the 45 and 60 min hops. A bit from the 30. Detail out the recipe. The amount is based on AA, amount, volume, gravity, and time.

Unfortunately I don't remember which hops I added at each of those time intervals, I just remember how much of what I used. But I'm just going to scratch that recipe.  Does higher alpha mean more bitter?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2015, 10:03:14 PM »
Yep

Offline syncopadence

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2015, 10:08:19 PM »
Yep

Gotcha.  So ultimately in theory, leaving out the 12% nugget, or substituting it with a lower alpha hop, would yield a lower IBU beer?
Also, any idea why I don't taste any of the secondary ingredients? I added them during the last 15 minutes of the boil.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 10:10:24 PM by syncopadence »

Offline Stevie

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2015, 11:58:02 PM »
Without a recipe, it's all speculation.

As far as reducing bitterness, you can go either way. Less hops, or lower AA hops.

Most brewing books will have the formulas for calculating bitterness and software does a good job as well.

Offline syncopadence

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2015, 01:07:31 AM »
Without a recipe, it's all speculation.

As far as reducing bitterness, you can go either way. Less hops, or lower AA hops.

Most brewing books will have the formulas for calculating bitterness and software does a good job as well.

Any recommendation on software?

Offline MikeMehal

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2015, 01:20:38 AM »
Take a look at BeerSmith. Free trial.




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Offline riceral

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2015, 03:32:31 PM »
I use BeerSmith and like it. I don't use it as gospel but have gotten good results using it.

Another option is Brewer's Friend   http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/calculator/  and looks free. Full disclosure: I haven't used it but some in my local club use it and seem to like it.

Ralph R.

Offline tonyjk70

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2015, 04:04:54 PM »
I would add the nibs and cinnamon at flame out and leave in for the first week of fermentation. Boiling will remove all the flavour and aromatic qualitys, think of it like your dry hopping.

Offline tonyjk70

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Re: Should I use a hop steeper? Why is my beer so bitter?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2015, 04:17:11 PM »
Also get a diary and write everything down, if you are using a friend or online recipe  ask for the method, most would be delighted someone I'd making a copy of their brew. Ps go get a book called How to brew. It's a Newbys dream come true it tells you everything. It's not a slight. buy the best information you will get when your new. It'll save you money and help you. I've only been brewing since 2013. But already made 11 brews. The last 3 all grain. So far my beers been well received and I've been told I should don't full time.