Irish Stout

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by JKrags, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. Kane Brews

    Kane Brews New Member

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    Hi all - We brewed a Irish Stout from a brewers best kit (don't laugh), just tried it. About a month all told since brew day. Malt flavor and color is good, FG is on point, BUT Its very bitter! Just found Brewers Friend recently actually and plugged the recipe in. The kit came with 1 oz of Magnum instructed to boil for 60 min. I don't know what the AAUs were because we didn't know any better. (And .5 oz El Dorado for 5 Min). According to what I entered in BF I come up with 42.07 IBU, isn't that a lot?! What is Tinseth vs Rager? Should I ask for our money back? This is BS, we worked long and hard on this LOL, but seriously...the recipe sheet says should be 35-38 and "style" starts lower than that, and this is so disappointing. Can we do anything at this point to adjust it? :-(
     
  2. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    According to the 2015 style guidelines an Irish Stout should be 25-45 IBU's. So it really is not that far off. Sounds like maybe you need to keep an eye out for how bitter a beer you want. Maybe you would like a breakfast stout or maybe a lighter pale ale. Hit the grocery store beer isle and try a few different beers to see exactly what you enjoy. Most craft beers have the IBU's and ABV listed on the bottle. Then find a kit of the beer you like. If Irish Stout is what you like then get the same kit and don't add all the hops. Cross it off as a learning experience and brew on!
     
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  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I would not laugh at a Brewers Best kit. And shame on those who would. I’ve made a lot of good beer with those kits. If you followed the instructions and kept everything clean, you’ll get good beer. Don’t worry about it.
     
  4. Kane Brews

    Kane Brews New Member

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    Hi Head First and Jeff! Thanks for Replies!! - we are Guinness fans, Looked up and see that G is a 45 IBU. So we just did a side by side... and accounted for the fact that it's a commercial beer with all the bells and whistles, with nitro etc. and I'm telling you, our beer is actually pretty good BUT BITTER!! I'm drinking Singlecut 18 Watt right now and its seems not too be too different on bitter quotient. Ug. What could we have screwed up to make this happen? Any ideas? So In any case, we will brew on. We have used BB kits before with some success, may have to customize if we use going forward. Thanks Guys!
     
  5. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I’ve never experienced a BB kit being too bitter. But as I’m sure you’ve already considered, don’t make a universal change to all of their kits. I’d only consider a change to that specific kit. As suggested before, if you brew it again, only use half of the boiling (60 minute) hops. That’ll work, unless there was a problem with the hops in your first kit like too much hops or too bitter hops.
     
  6. sr_crudo

    sr_crudo New Member

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    jkrags, I have brewed an IPA that was over 100 IBU. It did not get bitter. It smelled over-hopped when I was bottling but after two weeks I tasted it and it was really good. The bitterness might be due to the grains that you steeped. Give it some time and it should mellow out.
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I use magnum all the time and I've never used an ounce at 60 for anything. If you don't know the AA value for the actual hops you used, it could be higher than the calculator is showing. My current bag of Magnum is 13.3 and if I plug an ounce into my Guinness Clone recipe, I get over 50 IBUs instead of the 39 that East Kent Golding gives me. I also don't use any late hops and if I plug in a half ounce of Eldorado at 5 minutes, it jumps to 0ver 56. Eldorado is a really odd choice for an Irish stout, as well as tending toward a dank, harsh bittering quality, IMO. That being said, it'll probably mellow a little.
    Next time, do a little research and dial in the IBUs based on your actual hop batch. And water profile can boost or tame bitterness, too so you could look how to change your water to accomodate different beers.
     
  8. Kane Brews

    Kane Brews New Member

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    Hi again

    Sr Crudo - i’ve been doing a lot of reading up and it does sound like in this type of beer age will be it’s friend, and hopefully that bitterness will mellow out. We don’t know much but we do know beer LOL! and it definitely tastes more bitter Than Guinness which according to Beer Advocate should be about a 45.

    So JA I think you’re absolutely right and I’m assuming their magnum hops were probably the same units as yours if that’s pretty standard. I don’t want to bash Brewer Best because I think they make a great product for beginners and we have brewed a couple decent beers from their kits but I also have a feeling when they are packing the kits whatever hops are available that would be a relatively good substitution in a style that’s what goes in there. Since discovering brewers friend a few weeks ago through a link on homebrewtalk website we have learned so much! It’s amazing!I don’t think we will use kits going forward but you never know... at least now we can check it out and make sure to use the ingredients correctly for a better result !
     
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  9. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    I brewed several Northern Brewer kits and I believe they are quite a step up in quality as they are fresh kits. Yeast, hops and grains fresh ground. And if your buying an extract kit, fresh DME/LME as well.
     
  10. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    #10 thunderwagn, Jan 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
    My guess is, is if you felt something was truly wrong with the kit, you would probably get your money back. And I'm not saying that's the right or wrong approach. I do know Brewers Best are generally good kits. I've used them. I've even purchased them at clearance prices knowing they were old and still produced decent beer.
    Brewing comes with a learning curve and it's been said by some much wiser than me, that to brew good beer, you gotta be willing to dump beer to get there sometimes. Lord knows it's tough, and I've punished myself consuming some pretty not very tasty brews. Most of us have...
    There could be many reasons why your beer is to bitter, that are no fault of the kit. One being how long it took you to cool your wort.
     
  11. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    You won't need a kit next time. You'll be able to ask for recipe help beforehand and procure the exact ingredients you need. For a Guinness clone you'll want UK hops to start with. That's a particularly easy to brew and it always turns out well almost any way you do it.
     
  12. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If the kit and recipe called for those hop additions, there aren't too many ways that it could be in the right IBU range. The Magnum would have to be in the 9% AA range and I've never run across that. And who puts El Dorado hops in an Irish Dry Stout? :eek::D
     
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  13. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Lol. El Dorado? I thought that kit used Northern Brewer? 10 AA isn't out of range of Magnum and we don't know so it's all a guess. That's why I said COULD be many reasons that aren't the kits fault. It very well could be a kit issue and if the brewer feels so inclined, he should complain. That's a decision he must make. If the kit was purchased from a reputable brew shop, I'm sure they would make it right to keep a future costumer. But I agree, adding an oz of Mags for 60 min boil does sound pretty steep.
    One good thing. Sounds like the brewer has found BF and can now enter recipes beforehand!
     
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  14. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Even at 10AA, it pushes high with the El Dorado addition. Again...why would they ever think El Dorado is a hop for Irish Stout?
    And I just checked the recipe for the Brewer's Best Kit online and that calls for an ounce of El Dorado at 55 as well as a half-ounce at 5. Even at it's lower range, that goes almost 60 IBUs and they state that the IBUs are 35-38. Seems like someone isn't keeping up with QC.
    Too bad new brewers might buy that thinking they're going to get a Guinness-like beer, but a lot of their kits get good reviews.
     
  15. Kane Brews

    Kane Brews New Member

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    Thanks guys! We got the wort to 70 degrees in about 20-25 so I don't think that was the issue. I may send Brewers Best a note on the website to get their take and see what they say, I'll let you know!
     
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  16. Kane Brews

    Kane Brews New Member

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    Hi guys so for better or worse this was their response below ( and FYI they did respond in a very timely manner! ). For the record we kept a close watch on our steeping temperature and we use store bought springwater not tapwater for our beer although maybe we should be testing the pH ? Hummm. I thought I read somewhere at one point it didn’t really matter in extract brewing .

    >>>>>>>>

    Thank you for choosing Brewer’s Best® line of home craft beer making products. Sorry to hear that you’re experiencing excessive bitterness in your Irish Stout. Just curious how you’re calculating the IBUS? Please note that using an app isn’t always that most accurate as you will likely yield a different results if you plug the same recipe into 3 different brewing apps, because a lot of them use an estimated Alpha Acid rating rather than the actual AA of the hops. Here at Brewer’s Best® we do the math the long, old-fashioned way, using the equation:

    IBU = AAU x U x 75/V

    Figuring all the variables to plug into this equation is a pretty in-depth process, so for the sake of boring you to death with a 5 page email, we would like to let you know that we double checked our calculation and get an end IBU of 37.5. Keeping in mind that everyone’s palate is different and we all experience flavors differently, I’m curious if perhaps there is a bit of astringency in your beer. There are a couple things that can cause increased astringency, one being – if the temp of the water you steep your grains in reaches 170, you can leech tannins into the beer. An astringent characteristic could also be caused from water that has a high alkaline content, which causes the pH of the water go above 6. Optimal water pH is 5.2.

    Lastly here – depending what is causing this excessive “bitterness” we can’t say whether or not it will “mellow out” or not. Darker beers like Porters and Stouts are kind of like a fine wine and do get better with age. In terms of storage, if carbonation has formed nicely feel free to throw some in the fridge, that won’t affect how the beer ages. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Thanks.

    <<<<<<<<<
     
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  17. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    So the calculator that we've all been using with great success is giving values that are twice what their calculations say it should be? I don't buy it. Based specifically on their El Dorado additions found online, I don't see how they can be holding to 37.5. Also I find El Dorado to be a particulary harsh hop when used for anything other than flame out or dry hopping and I don't doubt that that's part of what you're experiencing.
    Just let everything ride and you'll have a drinkable beer at the end of the process. Chalk it up to experience and build a recipe that's more to your liking.
     
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  18. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    I Have been away from extract batches for a while so CORRECT me if I'm wrong but part of the equation they would use would include volume of boil. There is the possibility of their calculation being for a partial boil, which would lower the IBU`s from a full boil. Are you boiling a full 5 gal JKrags or boiling a smaller volume and adding cool water at flame out to get your full volume and do the kit directions call for a full 5gal?
     
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  19. Kane Brews

    Kane Brews New Member

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    Head first that is a good point! and interestingly enough they didn’t ask what volume we used. We did a little over 2 1/2 gallons in the brew pot to allow for some boil off and added another 2 1/2 gallons of room temperature water to the fermenter after we had cooled the wort. Their instructions note that you can do a full boil, but not to change any of the ingredients. I just went back to the recipe I created in Brewer’s Friend (after-the-fact because I hadn’t discovered this website yet!), changed it to a full boil and the calculator comes up with 64 IBUs! Yikes! The Great irony of that is that we got a 6 gallon brew pot for Christmas, unpacked it that morning to discover that it had to be put together. We didn’t have the proper tools on hand or any pipe tape, so we pulled out the old 4 gallon and brewed on!
     
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  20. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    Were there specialty grains that you steeped? If so, did you stick to the right temp range for the water? Too high of a temp can force tannins into the wort. It can create a bitter harsh taste. Some people say that squeezing the specialty grains after steeping can force tannins too. Some debate over that though.

    Like someone else said, stouts need some time in the bottle to mellow out and allow the harshness to fade. Give it a bit more time.
     
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