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Old 10-17-2011, 07:41 AM   #1
CosmicJam
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Default Which bittering hops should I invest in?

Hi,

I have been bittering with AU Galaxy and US Cascade for the past few beers and been finding the bitterness too harsh. I'm going to invest in 100 grams of a high alpha hop to use only for bittering. At the moment I'm torn between Warrior or Magnum. Does anyone have any experience on which would give the smoothest bitterness?

Also considering Horizon or Chinook as I have heard they have better aroma so are more dual purpose (although Chinook wont be as clean).

Its got to the point where I am lowering IBU's on my beers to reduce the astringent bitterness but then ending up with an unbalanced malty sweetish beer (also having problems with attenuation but thats another story).

Thanks.

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Old 10-17-2011, 08:45 AM   #2
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Warrior or Magnum are the only two bittering hops I use. I would go with Warrior, if only because it usually packs a bigger punch than Magnum.

I would steer clear of Chinook if you don't like Galaxy for bittering.

On a side note, is it possible that your scale is messed up? If you're backing off bittering additions to reduce the harsh character, then maybe you were adding too much to begin with?? Just a thought.

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Old 10-17-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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So they are similar in taste and bitterness just Warrior packs a bigger punch in the sense it has higher AA?

To be honest it could be a number of my procedures that are causing the bitterness such as over-sparging and extracting tannins or fermentation issues (my palate isn't good enough to tell). I instantly assumed hops because its something that's easy to change and rule out. In my most recent beer I experimented with FWH and the hydo samples seem better so far.

I don't think I was adding too much before because I'm using beersmith to estimate IBU. Its a very specific sharp taste to the beer, almost like it has a razor blade in it cutting your tongue and throat not the mouth filling bitterness of commercial beers.

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Old 10-17-2011, 11:26 AM   #4
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1. Both Warrior and Magnum will give you the clean bitterness you're looking for.

2. I didn't mean to say that you were formulating the IBU's wrong, but if your scale was reading incorrectly, you could be adding too many hops. I would suspect this isn't the case. Chinook is a very abrasive bittering hop. Some like it, I don't.

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Old 10-17-2011, 11:42 AM   #5
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Check your water chemistry.

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Old 10-17-2011, 12:12 PM   #6
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I never even thought about water chemistry. What can I add to reduce harsh bitterness in something like an APA?

I use pretty much 100% rain water (only barrier filtered). All I have tested it for is pH and it is surprisingly neutral. Sometimes I use a small proportion of unfiltered tap water which I believe is quite 'hard'.

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Old 10-17-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicJam View Post
I never even thought about water chemistry. What can I add to reduce harsh bitterness in something like an APA?

I use pretty much 100% rain water (only barrier filtered). All I have tested it for is pH and it is surprisingly neutral. Sometimes I use a small proportion of unfiltered tap water which I believe is quite 'hard'.
Check out the Brewing Science subforum.

Generally, sulfates enhance bitterness...so if you wanted to back that off, you'd cut your water with RO or distilled. But you really need a baseline...the Wards Lab $16 homebrew test is pretty key to finding your mineral baseline.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:11 PM   #8
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I love Chinook as a dual purpose bittering and aroma hop. But if you want clean bittering I'd go with Warrior. Until I ran out of my supply that's what I'd use for all of my hop bombs.

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Old 10-17-2011, 05:19 PM   #9
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I'm starting to use Hop extract for bittering. Tossing in 5g of goo is an easy accurate way to control things. Seems to be a more rounded, less sharp bittering.

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Old 10-17-2011, 05:48 PM   #10
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I might be wrong but I understood that rain water doesn't have enough salts and minerals so you may need to add some coarbonates and other stuff to make appropriate brewing water. Your tap water may be better. Or maybe you could try half and half.

Also how long have you left your beer to age. If you are making a hoppy beer it may take a bit of time before the rough edges come off.

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