Author Topic: Trouble with hoppy beers  (Read 1489 times)

Offline qm3k

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Trouble with hoppy beers
« on: August 14, 2016, 05:12:27 PM »
I have been having trouble with hoppy beers. For a long time I thought I was having a brewing-wide problem, but after stepping away from hoppy beers for a while I have regained my confidence a bit.

I recently brewed the American Pale Ale recipe out of Brewing Classic Styles, and the old problems are back. The beer is very...not beer-like. The biggest issue is that there is no hop character of any kind...little to no actual bitterness, no flavor from the late additions, no aroma from the flameout additions. In looking back over my failures over the years, I actually think that the beers would have been great if there had been any hop character in them...picture your favorite beer with all of the hops stripped out...that's sort of what I'm getting.

The hopping schedule as printed is:

Horizon 13% .66 oz 60 min.
Cascade 6% .5 oz 10 min
Centennial 9% 10 min
Cascade 6% 0 min
Centennial 9% 0 min

When I was brewing hoppy beers well (there was a time), I was NOT using the Horizon addition (I couldn't get them). I am wondering if that may be part of it...I may not like that hop. But that doesn't explain the lack of any kind of character from the other additions.

I have adjusted the water (used Bru N Water's Pale Ale Profile built from RO). I do brew with hop bags, but this never caused an issue in the past. I fermented at 68F.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 06:52:44 PM »
How do you treat your RO water? What is your usual adjustment for your last batch (and what's your recipe)?

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Offline santoch

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2016, 07:00:36 PM »
My first thought was lack of minerals (particularly sulfate) but you state that you build from RO using Brunwater, so assuming you use the pale ale profile, I'll rule that out.

I noticed you made no mention of dry hops.  Try that.  You'd be amazed at what a difference it makes.

You say you use hop bags.  How fine/coarse is the weave?
I've used some very fine bags that decreased hop character and stopped using them altogether because of that and the whole "more trub seems to make a better beer" thing from brulosophy.

Try a batch with NO bags at all but keep all other things constant.
Try it with pellets instead of whole hops.
Try it with Chinook instead of Horizon.
Try the same recipe with 2 oz additions for all after 10 mins.
Maybe you have bought a big batch of older hops and they just don't have many aromatics left in them?   If you bought a big batch, how do you store them?


« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 03:39:06 PM by santoch »
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Offline denny

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2016, 07:25:38 PM »
How do you treat your RO water? What is your usual adjustment for your last batch (and what's your recipe)?

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He said he uses the Brunwater pale ale profile.  That should be fine.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2016, 07:56:39 PM »
Agreed with the above. Also, if it really does seem like you have no hop character in your hoppy beers, you need to limit exposure to air whenever possible. Hop character is easily oxidized and will dimish in a hurry in contact with oxygen in the air. Things like purging kegs with CO2, doing closed transfers when possible, and avoiding splashing of the beer will help prevent oxidation of hop compounds. Just my personal preference - I like to dry hop after the beer has cleared out thoroughly, as yeast will absorb hop oils. I actually dry hop in keg and the aromas last nicely for weeks. It seems like you have a handle on your water. If you're doing well with these other things, use more hops!
Jon H.

Offline yso191

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2016, 01:38:50 PM »
There is no indication of how many ounces of hops you are using for your flavor/aroma additions.  Also, how many gallons is the batch size?

My typical 5 gallon Pale Ale has 5 ounces of hops in the late additions and 5 ounces in the dry hop.
Steve
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Offline zwiller

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2016, 02:27:12 PM »
There is no indication of how many ounces of hops you are using for your flavor/aroma additions.  Also, how many gallons is the batch size?

My typical 5 gallon Pale Ale has 5 ounces of hops in the late additions and 5 ounces in the dry hop.

Not enough hops gets my vote too but 5oz dry hop in PA?!  That's pretty heavy handed, even for a hop junkie like me.  For PA in the vein of SNPA, I'd be around 2oz late and 2oz hop steep, no dry hop.  I consider more modern PA actually IPA and would bump up accordingly. 
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2016, 02:29:31 PM »
What size bags are you using? I used the 5x7 bags in the past and would put 1.5oz tops in them. More than that and the hop matter became a hop turd in a bag.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2016, 02:37:53 PM »
What size bags are you using? I used the 5x7 bags in the past and would put 1.5oz tops in them. More than that and the hop matter became a hop turd in a bag.


+1.  Same reason I stopped using the dry hop canister for IPAs. It works fine with 3 or less oz of hops, over that and you get a hop turd. I still like the 5 gallon paint strainer bags. Plenty of room for the hops to break down completely and circulate the goodness.
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Offline zwiller

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2016, 02:41:20 PM »
SNIP hop turd in a bag.

I was never a fan of hop bags and this just seals the deal...   ;D   
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline Stevie

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2016, 02:43:54 PM »
Reading over your post again and you mention not using the Horizon addition, did you replace with another hop with a similar AA%?

Offline yso191

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2016, 06:42:40 PM »
There is no indication of how many ounces of hops you are using for your flavor/aroma additions.  Also, how many gallons is the batch size?

My typical 5 gallon Pale Ale has 5 ounces of hops in the late additions and 5 ounces in the dry hop.

Not enough hops gets my vote too but 5oz dry hop in PA?!  That's pretty heavy handed, even for a hop junkie like me.  For PA in the vein of SNPA, I'd be around 2oz late and 2oz hop steep, no dry hop.  I consider more modern PA actually IPA and would bump up accordingly.

Yes, that is a personal preference thing.  For me the difference between an APA and an AIPA is bitterness.  I like just as much hop flavor and aroma in a Pale Ale as an IPA.  You should see the hopping I do for an Imperial IPA!  Yum!
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Offline Biran

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2016, 10:56:12 PM »
I'm guessing this isn't an issue, but are your hops stored refrigerated?

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2016, 12:03:44 AM »
You didn't mention the quantity of finishing hops. I typically am adding 1 to 2 oz of the late hops in a 5 gal batch. I prefer pellet hops since they release more of their contents because they've had the snot beat out of them during pelletizing.

I am not a fan of hop sacks...even big ones. I tried them earlier in my career and found they significantly reduced my hop utilization and flavor...even in the loosest of sacks.

You mention using the Pale Ale profile and RO water. How are you adding alkalinity to your mashing water? That big dose of gypsum, epsom, and CaCl will drive mashing pH down lower than desirable for good hop extraction. You have to add some alkalinity to the mashing water in order to keep the mash pH around 5.4 which I've found to be beneficial to extracting those hop bittering and flavor.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Trouble with hoppy beers
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2016, 01:08:27 AM »
How do you treat your RO water? What is your usual adjustment for your last batch (and what's your recipe)?

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He said he uses the Brunwater pale ale profile.  That should be fine.

That's why I asked what his mash additions and recipe was...
You didn't mention the quantity of finishing hops. I typically am adding 1 to 2 oz of the late hops in a 5 gal batch. I prefer pellet hops since they release more of their contents because they've had the snot beat out of them during pelletizing.

I am not a fan of hop sacks...even big ones. I tried them earlier in my career and found they significantly reduced my hop utilization and flavor...even in the loosest of sacks.

You mention using the Pale Ale profile and RO water. How are you adding alkalinity to your mashing water? That big dose of gypsum, epsom, and CaCl will drive mashing pH down lower than desirable for good hop extraction. You have to add some alkalinity to the mashing water in order to keep the mash pH around 5.4 which I've found to be beneficial to extracting those hop bittering and flavor.


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