The black art of hop bitterness

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by TheZel66, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. TheZel66

    TheZel66 Member

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    I've been noticing for a while that I'm just don't seem to be getting the bitterness that the recipe builder is calculating for the hops I use.

    I'm using pellets, I always have a nice rolling boil, i put them in when the recipe calls... my beers all finish out missing that bitterness, tasting like a beer with far lower IBU's than the recipe says.

    Anyone have this issue?
     
  2. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    You squeezing out your hops? I noticed that makes a huge difference.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    could be your water, different water chemistry changes bitterness and hop flavor
     
  4. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Are you hitting you FG targets? Seems that lower FG beer has more perceived bitterness, where higher FG would not .. even with the same IBU calculated?
     
  5. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Professional Brewers/ breweries don't squeeze. Just sayin.

    I find that boiling on the brink of a boil-over for the entire boil makes a difference.

    Brian
     
  6. TheZel66

    TheZel66 Member

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    I've brewed with hard and soft water, and doesn't make a noticeable difference. I'm hitting my target OG and FG. Don't really understand the "squeezing" of hop pellets. I'm gonna try adding a little more hops for bittering until I get to what I appear is my target "bitterness", then add in a bitterness efficiency factor for my recipes.
     
  7. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Could be you have had so much IPA that your are now desensitized. I notice that some :)
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    it possibly could be old hops, Ive had some that were bland before, even buying them from the same place didn't quite smell as strong as I thought it should, freezing then thawing then drying can have some strange effects, yes just adjust as needed , add some magnum to the beginning boil will do the trick
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You might try a "hop sparge" to get the last of the iso alpha acids out. If you rinse the hop bag in cool water and add that to the wort (sanitary vessels, please!), you get the added benefit of a point or two of gravity. But I don't use hop bags. Up the hops a bit and mind your yeast - certain strains tend to reduce perception of hops in the final product. And I've been reading it's impossible to get over 100 IBUs regardless of what kind of hopping you use. You want really bitter, get some iso-alpha acid. It's not expensive but it's very powerful! Stone Brewing uses it, why can't we?
     
  10. TheZel66

    TheZel66 Member

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    Don't drink IPA's or any other hoppy beers; not a hop head. The porter I did was 1.057 OG and had 1 oz of target pellets at 60 minute boil for 38.8 IBU's. I can't believe what I'm tasting has a .7 BU/GU ratio.
     
  11. Les Gueux

    Les Gueux New Member

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    Does your homebrew shop give you hops with 'tested' AA% or an approximation? Sometimes the hops you buy aren't the exact alpha acid content that the cultivar or strain should have, meanwhile the calculators on the recipe builder take an average content, I know I personally always re-enter the actual AA% tested for the hops I buy.

    Add a bit of gypsum to your water increase bitterness and hop character, try out the calculators for water chemistry though, especially if you're not a hophead, it could easily overshadow the malty goodness if you overdo it.

    Most of the hops added in the last 15-20 mins of the boil will yield very little 'perceived' bitterness in the finished product. IBU is calculated in a simple way, but beer is a complex beverage! So even if the calculator says 32 IBU, if your water is more on the calcium side of things and your fermentation runs rather hot, etc. you might not get the finished results you were aiming at. Also some yeasts are more neutral and crisp than others, if you use a yeast that generates more fruity esthers the bitterness can be overshadowed.

    Off the top of my head / what I can think of.
     

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