Author Topic: IPA bitterness  (Read 2500 times)

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2341
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
IPA bitterness
« on: November 24, 2010, 04:03:21 AM »
So, I'm almost a week into fermentation on my Longbrook IPA (http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/LongbrookIPA). I tried a bit to see how the flavors were going along, and OOF. Bitter city! And not in a good way either. Aroma was pretty good, color was good, but the bitterness is overpowering everything right now. I know that bitterness mellows with a bit of aging, but how long until I know whether it's going to be actually drinkable? Does a week make a big difference in that loss of bitterness?
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6035
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 06:05:22 AM »
It is still yeasty I would think, and it can have "yeast bite".  The bitter resins are attracted to the yeast cells, and cause a harsh bitterness.  Wait a little until it clears, I find my IPA's best when bright.  But often I get only 3 or 4 pints of the bright beer before the keg blows!
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline thcipriani

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 07:40:22 AM »
+1 to above. As the yeast floc you'll lose yeast byte and some iso-alpha-acid'll drop out too. However, that recipe is pretty ambiguous - did you add the amount specified of each hop listed or did you divide the total addition weight by the number of varieties listed (e.g. For your 60min addition did you use 1.4oz. each centennial/warrior or 0.7oz each totaling a 1.4oz addition)? That would make a huge difference, and it is possible to misinterpret a recipe that strange.
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2341
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 08:32:04 AM »
+1 to above. As the yeast floc you'll lose yeast byte and some iso-alpha-acid'll drop out too. However, that recipe is pretty ambiguous - did you add the amount specified of each hop listed or did you divide the total addition weight by the number of varieties listed (e.g. For your 60min addition did you use 1.4oz. each centennial/warrior or 0.7oz each totaling a 1.4oz addition)? That would make a huge difference, and it is possible to misinterpret a recipe that strange.

I used 1.4oz of one - I was taking it to mean use one hop variety or the other, and actually I didn't have the hops they specified, so I used other varieties with similar alpha acids, with Target hops being used for the high a-a hops. To be honest I kept the weight correct for each addition but just sorta threw in whatever felt right. There's a mix of Cascade, target, hallertau fuggles and mt hood in there.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline octess

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 41
  • the octess project
    • View Profile
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2010, 08:35:06 PM »
Hi there! Do you monitor the attenuation when sampling? That could reveal a lot about yeast activity. How did the krausen go? Did it take long before full power?
Secondly, what is your target IBU? I mean with the varieties and quantities of hops you actually used?
Bitterness will actually fade a little with fermentation (yeast activity), flocculation (protein and yeast parts falling to the bottom of the fermentor), etc.
Viva el art of brewing alchemy!

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2341
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 01:32:56 AM »
Hi there! Do you monitor the attenuation when sampling? That could reveal a lot about yeast activity. How did the krausen go? Did it take long before full power?
Secondly, what is your target IBU? I mean with the varieties and quantities of hops you actually used?
Bitterness will actually fade a little with fermentation (yeast activity), flocculation (protein and yeast parts falling to the bottom of the fermentor), etc.

Ahoy hoy, Actually... er... no. Attenuation = a gravity reading, right? I'll go check right now... Ok, back. Gravity at 1.010, down from 1.060 OG. Woohoo! Also, I just tasted it. Holy cow! It's amazing!  :D :D :D

For target IBU, I honestly wasn't really caring. This is my first AIPA and I just kinda winged it as far as hops went, trying to pick hops that were somewhat close in terms of %aA. I guess next time I should try to do a better job of calculating all that, but as it is, so far I'm pretty hoppy happy!
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline octess

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 41
  • the octess project
    • View Profile
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2010, 07:38:16 PM »
Hi again! I just meant to say that the initial bitterness will be softened a little with the yeast's activity, godisgood!
Attenuation is a calculus (in%) by which you can monitor your yeast's well being, sort of speak!
Here it is:
O.G. - F.G. / (O.G. - 1), multiply that by 100 and you'll get your attenuation %!
If you hit under the % stated by the company you can deal with it.
Of course if your fermentation isn't over, you'll have to monitor the gravity to attest the final countdown of your yeast's metaphysical and mystical operation  ;D!!
Viva el art of brewing alchemy!

Offline thatguy314

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 08:14:18 AM »
It is still yeasty I would think, and it can have "yeast bite".  The bitter resins are attracted to the yeast cells, and cause a harsh bitterness.  Wait a little until it clears, I find my IPA's best when bright.  But often I get only 3 or 4 pints of the bright beer before the keg blows!

1056/001 doesn't like to drop out of solution until it's chilled.  I find that if I give my beer 2-3 days before I drink it and I don't shake to carbonate etc., it'll drop quite clear and all the gunk will settle to the bottom of the keg (or carboy as I prefer to do it).

However the yeast won't flocculate well if you have incredibly soft water.  I live in NYC where our water's very soft, and I make sure that I always bring the calcium levels up to 60-70 ppm for every brew I do.

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2010, 11:14:14 AM »
Have you brewed beers with that much alpha acid before? It might be that the beer is just over hopped for your taste.

I remember brewing a SNPA clone in my early days.  The estimates bitterness of that recipe was 39 IBU and it seemed way too bitter for me. I since learned what estimated IBUs or to some extent alpha-acid content I should shoot for in my beers.

I had cloudy hoppy beers before and don’t remember a bitterness that I would attribute to yeast bite. I always considered yeast bite as something subtle that would be distracting but not something that would create an In-Your-Face bitterness.

kai




Offline mabrungard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1391
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2010, 12:10:34 PM »
Another consideration is the contributions of polyphenols in the perception of bitterness.  An IPA is likely highly hopped and can typically contain a significant concentration of polyphenols from the hops.  These too can be expected to largely drop out of solution when the beer is chilled.  If there is still a significant haze after chilling, then an addition of a clarifying agent such as polyclar can help to precipitate the polyphenols and other bittering components.

Assuming that there wasn't an error in the recipe formulation or in the quote of hop alpha acids, I'm positive that the beer bittering will moderate with chilling and aging.
 
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brun-Water/464551136933908

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8808
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2010, 02:27:06 PM »
Another thing to consider is the attenuation in that Longbrook achieved 76% and your beer is at 83% right now. So your beer is over 10% more attenuated and will lend a dryness which can magnify the perceived bitterness.

I think there are other factors like your palate, the age of the beer, other things mentioned (polyphenols, resins, etc...) and the sheer amount of IBU's present in that recipe.

I think given some time for the beer to drop clear, chilling and carbonating will render a beer different and better than the one tasted today.

Good Luck!
Ron Price

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2341
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2010, 03:55:14 AM »
It is still yeasty I would think, and it can have "yeast bite".  The bitter resins are attracted to the yeast cells, and cause a harsh bitterness.  Wait a little until it clears, I find my IPA's best when bright.  But often I get only 3 or 4 pints of the bright beer before the keg blows!

1056/001 doesn't like to drop out of solution until it's chilled.  I find that if I give my beer 2-3 days before I drink it and I don't shake to carbonate etc., it'll drop quite clear and all the gunk will settle to the bottom of the keg (or carboy as I prefer to do it).

However the yeast won't flocculate well if you have incredibly soft water.  I live in NYC where our water's very soft, and I make sure that I always bring the calcium levels up to 60-70 ppm for every brew I do.

I didn't know about the yeast flocculation thing - but water softness isn't a big deal here... You should see the inside of our electric kettle. Looks like the mines of moria.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2341
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2010, 03:57:05 AM »
Have you brewed beers with that much alpha acid before? It might be that the beer is just over hopped for your taste.

I remember brewing a SNPA clone in my early days.  The estimates bitterness of that recipe was 39 IBU and it seemed way too bitter for me. I since learned what estimated IBUs or to some extent alpha-acid content I should shoot for in my beers.

I had cloudy hoppy beers before and don’t remember a bitterness that I would attribute to yeast bite. I always considered yeast bite as something subtle that would be distracting but not something that would create an In-Your-Face bitterness.

I've not but I think after tasting it several times that it was just too 'young' as it's now quite palatable. Still a bitter zing, but not horribly so like earlier.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2341
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2010, 04:01:33 AM »
Another consideration is the contributions of polyphenols in the perception of bitterness.  An IPA is likely highly hopped and can typically contain a significant concentration of polyphenols from the hops.  These too can be expected to largely drop out of solution when the beer is chilled.  If there is still a significant haze after chilling, then an addition of a clarifying agent such as polyclar can help to precipitate the polyphenols and other bittering components.

Assuming that there wasn't an error in the recipe formulation or in the quote of hop alpha acids, I'm positive that the beer bittering will moderate with chilling and aging.
 

Interesting, I wasn't aware of the polyphenol contribution. Are these the same phenols that give peat its aroma?

I'll be racking to secondary tonight and as my cave is around 12 deg C right now I expect to get a lot of condensate (can you say that?) in the next few days. Another related question, should I worry about diacetyl with the wyeast 1056 at those temps (55 f/12 c)? I've never fermented this cold before and so am unsure what could happen.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline malzig

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 466
    • View Profile
Re: IPA bitterness
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2010, 06:58:27 AM »
I didn't know about the yeast flocculation thing - but water softness isn't a big deal here... You should see the inside of our electric kettle. Looks like the mines of moria.
This water hardness will make your beer seem more sharply or even harshly bitter than the same beer made somewhere with softer water, even though it will help remove some harshness by precipitating polyphenols-protein complexes and improving yeast flocculation.

Polyphenols are also known as tannins.