Low IBU

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by aiello1965, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. beer1965

    beer1965 Member

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    Hi Everyone.. I just brewed my first batch and am trying to figure out how it all works. My goal was to make a Blond American Ale style partial mash beer using some local raw honey in the process. I have two question if you could help:

    Hops --- When I bought supplies I mentioned that I wasn't looking for an overly hoppy beer. I ended up putting 0.75oz Willamet 4.2 in at 60 minutes and 1.25oz at 50 minutes. Using this site I realized that my IBU seems very low coming in at 3.97. I think I might have messed up the hops. Too late do do anything or should I consider adding dry hops to the carboy? I just brewed yesterday and fermentation is just about to start. If you think I should add dry hops - what kind and how much and when at this stage?

    Honey --- I'm going to be adding the honey at peak krausen. How do you calculate ABV when you're adding sugars after you've taken an original gravity reading (mine was 1.0325)?

    Thank you in advance! frank!

    Recipe link: https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/804205/first-honey-ale
     
  2. beer1965

    beer1965 Member

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    The system won't let me edit the post above. I meant to add that I'm thinking the IBUs need to be higher as I'm going to be adding the honey. My concern is that with an IBU of about 4, adding honey might make the beer a bit too sweet rather than refreshing!
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Adding honey doesn't make the beer sweet. It ferments out, yielding alcohol and reducing body.
     
  4. beer1965

    beer1965 Member

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    Thanks!
     
  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That's not what your recipe says. It shows 50 and 10 for the hop additions. If you actually added and boiled for 60 and 50 minutes, your IBUs will be higher. And did you actually boil 5 gallons of extract in 1 gallon of water without scorching or burning?
    Your OG for purposes of ABV calculation will be as if you added the honey in the boil. I'm not sure how you got to 1.032 instead of about 1.042 before the honey addition...probably a volume miscalculation or you left some of your wort in the boil pot on transfer and dilution.
     
  6. beer1965

    beer1965 Member

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    Thanks for catching the mistake. The recipe is correct - 0.75 at 60 and 1.25 at 10 minutes. I used 1 gallon to steep the barley at 155 and then added another 1.5 gallons of water and brought it to a boil. I took it off flame, mixed in the 5lb DME, put it on the flame, brought it to a boil , added the 0.75oz hops and then started the timer. I sturred occasionally to make sure I wasn't burning the bottom. I had a good rolling (but not out of control) boil for the full hour. The bottom of the pot was clean when I emptied it after cool-down into the carboy. The OG could have been 1.4.. It looked between 1.3 and 1.4.. so that could be my reading error in learning how to read the hydrometer. I lost a lot of water volume to the boil and used more water than 5 gallons all in - probably closer to 7 is my guess.. I know because I filled the carboy with water a few days ago to let the water settle our the chlorine. I still used a camden(?) tablet.. but had to prep more water to fill the carboy up to the 5 gallon mark. That could be why the OG was lower..
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I thought that this might be the case...it's a much more typical way of doing a recipe like this. That means your boil size is 2.5 gallons, not 1 gallon. And that means that your IBUs are over 13, not less than 4. You're still a little short of IBUs for a typical blonde ale, but you won't really notice.
    Dry-hopping won't add IBUs per se but you'll get a little more perception of bitterness. Throw in an ounce of Willamette after krausen drops just because it'll make the beer better and enjoy as is.
    Your gravity could easily be off if the volume of water you added was a little more than calculated. Even an extra quart starts to have an impact. Don't sweat it and assume that it's in the range of your original calculation. The ABV won't be more than about a half-point different and won't be noticeable.
     
  8. NBH

    NBH New Member

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    I have a similar problem with my second ever batch. I started with a Cream Ale extract kit. Then instead of following the recipe, I added DME to increase OG and ABV, but did not think to increase hops. IBU is about 12.5. I need much more bittering to balance the 1.065 OG. Is it feasible to increase IBU by boiling bitter orange peel and add the resulting, cooled liquid to fermenter?

    If so, how much orange peel should I use to increase IBU to ~50?

    I plan to dry hop before secondary fermenting with 2 oz Amarillo hops pellets.
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That's a drastically different type of bittering and the result wouldn't necessarily be good. I have increased IBUs by using an ounce of hops in a short boil of a small amount of extract to add to the fermenter. You need to be sure that you're still in active fermentation but it can work.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Why don't you just boil hops instead: Make up a weak wort with DME, add the IBUs there, then add that into your beer and let it ferment out? Bitter orange does not have iso alpha acids so does not contribute to the IBUs (mg Iso Alpha Acid per liter). It may contribute some bitterness but it will also add orange flavor.
     
  11. NBH

    NBH New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I was going by the word "bitter" in the name, bitter orange peel. I'll try a small boil with hops.
     
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  12. NBH

    NBH New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. I'll try your suggestion.

    This forum is a great resource. Thanks to the helpful people who are willing to help a beginner.
     

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