Author Topic: "Grassy" flavor  (Read 899 times)

Offline Kirk

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"Grassy" flavor
« on: July 24, 2018, 12:38:50 PM »
I recently turned in a beer for a local competition. Overall I received pretty good scores, but 2 of the judges left the "grassy" remark as part of their evaluation.

I'm thinking this is due to dry hopping, but I'm open to suggestions as to what else can cause this. In the past I definitely got this flavor when dry hopping cold. Here is my general strategy to dry hopping.

1. Rack from primary to secondary
2. Dry hop secondary for 2 days (or so) at ~ 68F
3. Remove dry hop mesh container
4. Cold crash and fine with gelatin (1-2 days, sometimes longer)
5. Rack to the keg and carb.

Offline goose

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 01:20:24 PM »
I recently turned in a beer for a local competition. Overall I received pretty good scores, but 2 of the judges left the "grassy" remark as part of their evaluation.

I'm thinking this is due to dry hopping, but I'm open to suggestions as to what else can cause this. In the past I definitely got this flavor when dry hopping cold. Here is my general strategy to dry hopping.

1. Rack from primary to secondary
2. Dry hop secondary for 2 days (or so) at ~ 68F
3. Remove dry hop mesh container
4. Cold crash and fine with gelatin (1-2 days, sometimes longer)
5. Rack to the keg and carb.

Here are some ways that "grassiness" can make its way into your beer.

1)  Hop variety -  Some hops give more of a grasssy note to the beer.  Trying a different variety might help.

2)  Old malt and/or hops.  Some malts will take on a grassy note if they are stored too long or improperly (too high a storage temp or unsealed at a high humidity level.  Grain that is exposed to really high humidity tends to go slack (stale) and will have a mushy consistency when you chew some up.  I always do a "bite test" on grains that have been around for a long time to see if they are still crunchy and have a good malt flavor.  With hops, even if they don't smell cheesy after long storage, they might be grassy and you should be able to smell the grassiness.  Using really fresh ingredients, if you can get them will alleviate this issue.

3)  Using way too much hops during the boil.  Try a different variety with higher alpha acids as your bittering addition so that you can use less in the boil.

4)  Dry hopping for too long a time.  It appears that you are OK on this issue from what you stated.  Maybe a different variety of dry hops will help.  I normally dry hop for no longer than 5 days (sometimes only 3 days) in the secondary at 68-70 degrees, then rack the beer to the keg, crash it and carbonate it.  I use in in-line screen (that I got from Grainger) to capture any hop particles that are sucked out of the secondary by the racking cane before the beer hits the keg.  FYI, I don't fine most of my beers (only lagers like Helles of Octoberfest).  Sitting in the secondary for 5 days usually clears them even at room temperature.  There may still be some yeast that falls out in the keg after crashing but after the first glass or two the beer will clear up when serving.

Hope this helps
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Offline braufessor

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 01:22:23 PM »
I recently turned in a beer for a local competition. Overall I received pretty good scores, but 2 of the judges left the "grassy" remark as part of their evaluation.

I'm thinking this is due to dry hopping, but I'm open to suggestions as to what else can cause this. In the past I definitely got this flavor when dry hopping cold. Here is my general strategy to dry hopping.

1. Rack from primary to secondary
2. Dry hop secondary for 2 days (or so) at ~ 68F
3. Remove dry hop mesh container
4. Cold crash and fine with gelatin (1-2 days, sometimes longer)
5. Rack to the keg and carb.

I don't know that your "process" looks to be a problem....

Other aspects that could be an issue -
* Style of Beer?
* Which Hops?
* Amount of Hops?
*Quality of Hops/Storage of Hops before/between uses?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2018, 01:54:36 PM »
Always, always, always, first ask yourself the question: Are the judges full of crap?!  I would say that about 60% judges put out an unfortunate high level of crap.

Only after you answer that question can we answer any other questions.
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Offline braufessor

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2018, 03:53:25 PM »
Always, always, always, first ask yourself the question: Are the judges full of crap?!  I would say that about 60% judges put out an unfortunate high level of crap.

Only after you answer that question can we answer any other questions.

That is a very good point as well and I agree it is the place to start....

- You said your beers scored well, so were the judges criticizing the "grassy" or just describing the perception of the hops?

- Grassy is a "descriptor" for some hops that is not inherently bad.  Some hops are not "fruity" or "Citrusy" - they are "grassy" or "earthy" or "spicy."  So, if it was conveyed in a way that did not specifically say it was a negative, it could simply be that.

-Most importantly  - do YOU find it "grassy?"  Do YOU find it to be negative in that regard? Do your friends find it grassy (in a bad way)? If not..... Don't chase a problem that is not a problem to you.

Offline jeffy

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2018, 04:15:38 PM »
Always, always, always, first ask yourself the question: Are the judges full of crap?!  I would say that about 60% judges put out an unfortunate high level of crap.

Only after you answer that question can we answer any other questions.

That is a very good point as well and I agree it is the place to start....

- You said your beers scored well, so were the judges criticizing the "grassy" or just describing the perception of the hops?

- Grassy is a "descriptor" for some hops that is not inherently bad.  Some hops are not "fruity" or "Citrusy" - they are "grassy" or "earthy" or "spicy."  So, if it was conveyed in a way that did not specifically say it was a negative, it could simply be that.

-Most importantly  - do YOU find it "grassy?"  Do YOU find it to be negative in that regard? Do your friends find it grassy (in a bad way)? If not..... Don't chase a problem that is not a problem to you.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 05:10:02 PM »
Always, always, always, first ask yourself the question: Are the judges full of crap?!  I would say that about 60% judges put out an unfortunate high level of crap.

Only after you answer that question can we answer any other questions.

That is a very good point as well and I agree it is the place to start....

- You said your beers scored well, so were the judges criticizing the "grassy" or just describing the perception of the hops?

- Grassy is a "descriptor" for some hops that is not inherently bad.  Some hops are not "fruity" or "Citrusy" - they are "grassy" or "earthy" or "spicy."  So, if it was conveyed in a way that did not specifically say it was a negative, it could simply be that.

-Most importantly  - do YOU find it "grassy?"  Do YOU find it to be negative in that regard? Do your friends find it grassy (in a bad way)? If not..... Don't chase a problem that is not a problem to you.
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Yes. Grassy hops search.
https://ychhops.com/varieties/aroma/grassy
https://beerandbrewing.com/off-flavor-of-the-week-grassy/
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Offline kramerog

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2018, 08:55:07 PM »
1. Rack from primary to secondary
2. Dry hop secondary for 2 days (or so) at ~ 68F
3. Remove dry hop mesh container
4. Cold crash and fine with gelatin (1-2 days, sometimes longer)
5. Rack to the keg and carb.
Was there a 6th step of transferring to bottles?

Before you conclude that the judges are wrong, you have to taste the beer you provided the judges.  If you provided beer in bottles then you can't judge the judges by tasting the kegged beer; you have to taste the bottled beer, which means bottling extra for you to taste after the competition.

Offline James K

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2018, 10:02:31 PM »
I think the biggest thing we mainly need to know is, what style of beer did you submit for judging. Grassy is fine for many pale ales and IPAs, but if you submitted a kölsch or a stout it would be out of place.

Are the judges who comment grassy much different in points? And what other comments were left for the beer?
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Offline Kirk

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2018, 11:09:46 PM »
I recently turned in a beer for a local competition. Overall I received pretty good scores, but 2 of the judges left the "grassy" remark as part of their evaluation.

I'm thinking this is due to dry hopping, but I'm open to suggestions as to what else can cause this. In the past I definitely got this flavor when dry hopping cold. Here is my general strategy to dry hopping.

1. Rack from primary to secondary
2. Dry hop secondary for 2 days (or so) at ~ 68F
3. Remove dry hop mesh container
4. Cold crash and fine with gelatin (1-2 days, sometimes longer)
5. Rack to the keg and carb.

I don't know that your "process" looks to be a problem....

Other aspects that could be an issue -
* Style of Beer?
* Which Hops?
* Amount of Hops?
*Quality of Hops/Storage of Hops before/between uses?

American Pale Ale
Boil hops were cascade 1.5 oz
Flavor hops were Amarillo/ - 1.5oz
Dry hopping was cascade/Citra - 2oz for 5 gallons

Storage - All hops are less than 6 months old (best that I can tell)

Offline Kirk

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 11:11:13 PM »
Always, always, always, first ask yourself the question: Are the judges full of crap?!  I would say that about 60% judges put out an unfortunate high level of crap.

Only after you answer that question can we answer any other questions.

Good question....The only one there that owned a brewery rated it the highest (41/50). Although 2 of the others said it was a little grassy. I'll admit - I don't have the best palette.

Offline Kirk

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 11:13:24 PM »
Always, always, always, first ask yourself the question: Are the judges full of crap?!  I would say that about 60% judges put out an unfortunate high level of crap.

Only after you answer that question can we answer any other questions.

That is a very good point as well and I agree it is the place to start....

- You said your beers scored well, so were the judges criticizing the "grassy" or just describing the perception of the hops?

- Grassy is a "descriptor" for some hops that is not inherently bad.  Some hops are not "fruity" or "Citrusy" - they are "grassy" or "earthy" or "spicy."  So, if it was conveyed in a way that did not specifically say it was a negative, it could simply be that.

-Most importantly  - do YOU find it "grassy?"  Do YOU find it to be negative in that regard? Do your friends find it grassy (in a bad way)? If not..... Don't chase a problem that is not a problem to you.

Yeah good point... I find it a little on the sweet side, or not bitter enough for the style. 2 of the 3 judges found it grassy and rated it a 34 and 35 out of 50. The other judge (owned the brewery pub we were at) rated it 41/50 and had no mention of it being grassy. I don't find it necessarily grass, but I know my palette isn't the best. :)

Offline Kirk

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2018, 11:14:37 PM »
1. Rack from primary to secondary
2. Dry hop secondary for 2 days (or so) at ~ 68F
3. Remove dry hop mesh container
4. Cold crash and fine with gelatin (1-2 days, sometimes longer)
5. Rack to the keg and carb.
Was there a 6th step of transferring to bottles?

Before you conclude that the judges are wrong, you have to taste the beer you provided the judges.  If you provided beer in bottles then you can't judge the judges by tasting the kegged beer; you have to taste the bottled beer, which means bottling extra for you to taste after the competition.

Yes I bottled it from the keg and provided the samples to be judged. It tastes the same either way for me.

Offline Kirk

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2018, 11:17:31 PM »
I think the biggest thing we mainly need to know is, what style of beer did you submit for judging. Grassy is fine for many pale ales and IPAs, but if you submitted a kölsch or a stout it would be out of place.

Are the judges who comment grassy much different in points? And what other comments were left for the beer?

American Pale ale - IBU is around 50 (according to BeerSmith). I find it a little too sweet (caramel 20L malt is the likely culprit), but not necessarily grassy. The biggest contributor would likely be the dry hopping, but I don't know if I'm necessarily doing anything wrong with it or just the nature of the hops I chose (Citra, Cascade).

Offline kramerog

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Re: "Grassy" flavor
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2018, 11:48:50 PM »
Always, always, always, first ask yourself the question: Are the judges full of crap?!  I would say that about 60% judges put out an unfortunate high level of crap.

Only after you answer that question can we answer any other questions.

That is a very good point as well and I agree it is the place to start....

- You said your beers scored well, so were the judges criticizing the "grassy" or just describing the perception of the hops?

- Grassy is a "descriptor" for some hops that is not inherently bad.  Some hops are not "fruity" or "Citrusy" - they are "grassy" or "earthy" or "spicy."  So, if it was conveyed in a way that did not specifically say it was a negative, it could simply be that.

-Most importantly  - do YOU find it "grassy?"  Do YOU find it to be negative in that regard? Do your friends find it grassy (in a bad way)? If not..... Don't chase a problem that is not a problem to you.

Yeah good point... I find it a little on the sweet side, or not bitter enough for the style. 2 of the 3 judges found it grassy and rated it a 34 and 35 out of 50. The other judge (owned the brewery pub we were at) rated it 41/50 and had no mention of it being grassy. I don't find it necessarily grass, but I know my palette isn't the best. :)

One more thing - do you know how the comnpetition bottles were shipped or stored vs the bottles you kept.  Some beers come into competitions quite a bit damaged.