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Old 01-04-2013, 11:24 AM   #1
phenry
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Default Looking to get my IPAs out of the mid-30's.

While I know there can often be disagreement with judge's opinions, I feel like I usually agree with the scores and feedback I get. My IPAs are good by my standards, but they're definitely missing that extra umph to really open my eyes when I take my first drink. My biggest problem area seems to be flavor. I typically score between 8-12 out of 20 for this section, so I figure here is a good place to start troubleshooting. The reviews are almost always the same as well: more hops. To give you an idea of what a typical hopping schedule of mine looks like:

1 oz Bravo - 60 min
1 oz Centennial - 15 min
1 oz Chinook - 10 min
1 oz Columbus - 5 min
1 oz Cascade - 0 min
1 oz Cascade - Dry hop - 5-7 days
1 oz Centennial - Dry hop - 5-7 days

Grain bills are typically Briess 2-row with ~10-15% Vienna and ~4% C-20L, OG around 1.065-1.070, mashing around 150-152*F to typically finish out at 1.010, and fermented with S-05 around 68*F. Water is tap water, treated with campden for chloramines and CaCl2 and CaSO4 to reach:
Ca Mg Na SO4 Cl HCO3
107 19 47 300 55 73

I feel like I'm doing most things by the book, is the secret to getting a hoppier IPA to really just throw more hops in the kettle? Or should I just stick to 2 or so hop varieties so it's a "cleaner" hop profile? Any advice is welcome.

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Old 01-04-2013, 11:41 AM   #2
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My two cents.

Replace the Chinook and Columbus 5&10 min additions with half ounce each of the Cascade and Centennial. Double your 0 min addition with ounce each of the Cascade and Centennial. Move the Columbus in with the dry hops. Also, if possible, replace the Cascade with something piney, Simcoe perhaps. Balance the citrus.

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Old 01-04-2013, 11:54 AM   #3
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Try to do away completely with the 60 min addition. Add all of your hops at 20 or later and see what you get. I've started hop bursting my pale ales and the hop flavor is definitely the first thing you taste.

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies. Looking at what I've currently got in the freezer, I've been playing on Brewtarget and came up with this:

1.0 oz Chinook - 20 min
1.0 oz Centennial - 15 min
0.5 oz Cascade - 15 min
1.0 oz Chinook - 10 min
0.5 oz Cascade - 10 min
1.0 oz Centennial - 5 min
0.5 oz Cascade - 5 min
1.0 oz Centennial - 0 min
1.0 oz Chinook - 0 min
2.0 oz Cascade - 0 min
1.0 oz Centennial - Dry hop
1.5 oz Cascade - Dry hop

Which comes out to just shy of 70 IBU via Tinseth. And for the grainbill, I was thinking:

9.25 lb 2-row
2.00 lb Vienna
0.50 lb Victory
0.50 lb Crystal 20*L

Does this look more like it'll have more of an explosion of hops as far as flavor goes?

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:45 PM   #5
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Holy Sulfate Batman!

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Old 01-04-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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Also hop bursting works well but only get rid of the 60 if you don't really want bitterness from the hops but just a real big hop aroma and flavor. I like to do some light early hopping and then fo big at the end for a nice balance.

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:21 PM   #7
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From the original post, I would say you should increase all the non-bittering hops at least 50%, maybe as much as 150%. You might look into some method of steeping 2-5oz between flameout and cooling. 180 is the usual target temp for this, but I've seen lower. I know that smooth bittering is the norm, but you might try using something rougher, like chinook, to see if it has more oomph. I'm assuming you're using clean yeast; a lot of micros use English yeasts so that the fruity esters mix well with the fruity hops. You could play with the grain bill too. Try using Vienna or MO as your base malt or 50-50 with 2-row to see if it's any better.

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:37 PM   #8
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I usually go bigger then that on the dry hop. I usually do 4 ounces per 5 gallons. I am a bit of a hop head and that is usually what most of my ales get. For an IPA I do multistage dry hopping, even if its not an IIPA. After doing the Pliny clone that is pretty much what I do with most of my IPAs. 4 ounces of dry hop for a week, cold crash rack to secondary dry hop with another 4 ounces. Cold crash rack to keg and even thrown in around an ounce of dry hops into the keg in a hop bag. I am a big believer in flameout hops too I usually use quite a bit of those.

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Old 01-04-2013, 05:07 PM   #9
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Double the 60 min addition and throw in 2-4% cara-munich.

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Old 01-04-2013, 05:28 PM   #10
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A couple questions...

Are you using hop bags? muslin? nylon? stainless strainer? I think being able to throw your late additions (i.e. < 5 mins) directly into wort can make a big difference vs being bound up in a bag.

Leaf or pellet? Typically you see literature telling us that pellet hops will increase bitterness by 10% relative to leaf hops, presumably due to a higher hop oil to vegetal mass ratio. But I have found that I also get more pungent hop aroma/flavor character with pellets. Perhaps because the hop oils are more exposed after the pelletizing process when compared to raw leaf hops? This is especially applicable in the case of dry hopping, since you don't have that hot boiling wort to assist in breaking open the lupulin glands.

Age of your hops? We all know older hops contribute less bitterness, but just because year-old hops have an alpha of 9% instead of 10%, doesn't mean that they still have 90% of their aromatic character. Hop aroma/flavor compounds likely break down at different rates. My take home point here is that hop freshness matters, especially for late and dry hop additions.

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