Author Topic: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA  (Read 493 times)

Offline jc24

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Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« on: December 11, 2017, 12:53:44 PM »
Hi all, I've been brewing for a while but have only recently moved to all grain, and have only adjusted my water chemistry in my last brew. I attempted a Grapefruit IPA which has been fermenting for 6 days now, and the samples I've been pulling have been insanely bitter. Sweet upfront, but then a bitterness that creeps up and just keeps going until you wish you never tried it. I'm going to dump it.

The trouble is, there were so many new things in my process (I've never even used grapefruit before in a brew) that I can't isolate any one thing to be certain of the culprit, so I'm hoping some of the experienced brewers here would be able to take a punt.

I'm thinking it could be any one, or a combination of the following:
- I used grapefruit zest, not peel. Perhaps I zested the pithe as well as the outer skin? I know the pithe is something you definitely want to leave behind.
- I've never used Chinook before and have heard that it's got an aggressive bitterness to it? I'd be surprised if this was the sole cause though...
- my mash pH could have been too high. I forgot to get the buffering solutions to calibrate my pH meter so the readings may have been off, but my mash pH was reading 6.5 which is obviously way too high. But I'm thinking that the meter may be to blame here. I last calibrated it about 2 - 3 months ago.
- IBUs could be too high considering I'm using grapefruit?
- the scales I used for measuring salt additions could have been too cheap and inaccurate? I think the water profile I was aiming for was fine, but maybe I missed it due to inaccurate measurements.

Here was the recipe:
Started with RO water, aimed for the 'Hoppy Pale Ale' water profile in Beersmith (added gypsum, epsom salt and CaCl). RA -40ppm as CaCO3, Sulphate:Chloride ratio =  5.3:1

OG: 1.061
FG: 1.010
IBU: 62

Boil volume: 32L

Mashed in @ 65°C for 90mins
Mashed out @ 75°C for 10mins

42% Pale
42% Golden Promise
9% Munich
7% Dextrose

60min total boil time

25g Chinook @ 20mins
20g Chinook @ 5mins
50g Cascade @ 5mins
35g Riwaka @ 5mins
30g Chinook @ 0mins (5min whirlpool + 10min rest)
45g Riwaka @ 0mins (5min whirlpool + 10min rest)
55g Cascade @ 0mins (5min whirlpool + 10min rest)
Zest of 1 grapefruit @ 5mins

Pitched x2 packets of US-05 @ 17°C, fermented @ 20°C

Was going to dry hop and add zest of 2 more grapefruits when fermentation is done, but as I'm going to dump it, I won't :-)

Thanks in advance for your help.

Offline Bob357

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Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 03:51:26 PM »
Don't dump it. Give it a couple of more weeks in primary. It may very well mellow quite a bit. Really looks like a solid and balanced IPA. Not sure about the grapefruit as I've never used it in beer, but would expect some of its tartness to go away with some conditioning. The suspended yeast is likely contributing to the lingering tartness as well.

Chinook hops shouldn't add too much sharpness when used as later additions. The high sulfate/chloride ratio would contribute to perceived bitterness. Whether or not that is a problem would depend on their concentrations.

As for mash pH, most meters should be checked for calibration before each batch. If you run out of calibration solution(s), use one of the online calculators. Most will get you pretty close.

Lastly, rather than adding fruit or spices in the boil or fermenter I like to either use a non fermentable bottled flavoring or make a tincture and add to taste just before packaging. That prevents overdoing it.

 
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Offline jtoots

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Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 04:13:04 PM »
It's only been fermenting 6 days, don't dump it.  Beers taste totally different when they're warm, straight from the fermenter and uncarbonated (not to mention potentially still fermenting) than they will cold and fermented.

Offline denny

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Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 04:28:16 PM »
It's only been fermenting 6 days, don't dump it.  Beers taste totally different when they're warm, straight from the fermenter and uncarbonated (not to mention potentially still fermenting) than they will cold and fermented.

THIS^^^^
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Offline blatz

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Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 07:38:19 PM »
what they said ^^^.

To be honest, in 'green/young' IPAs, I often find the samples to be completely different from conditioned, mature beer even moreso than other beers.  My presumption is that there is still a lot of resin residue that hasn't flocced to the bottom yet. 

On a different note, I tapped a helles that before lagering I felt was too bitter for the style.  It is incredible and perfectly balanced now.
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Offline jc24

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Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 09:50:13 PM »
Thanks all, I realise beer changes a lot with time, but samples from other batches of IPAs I’ve taken at this time have tasted a lot more balanced. I love bitterness in my brews, but this is way overboard. Still, I’ll leave it for another week or 2 and see what happens.

Offline jtoots

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Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2017, 03:00:09 PM »
Thanks all, I realise beer changes a lot with time, but samples from other batches of IPAs I’ve taken at this time have tasted a lot more balanced. I love bitterness in my brews, but this is way overboard. Still, I’ll leave it for another week or 2 and see what happens.

Awesome, I was worried we were too late!  Fingers crossed it turns out great :)

Offline chinaski

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Re: Silly bitterness in Grapefruit IPA
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2017, 02:10:26 AM »
I'd say wait.  Instead of dumping it, you might considering blending it with a batch with lower bitterness.  I've taken that approach which I had an over-bittered pale ale once with great success (and twice as much beer).