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Old 03-11-2011, 06:46 PM   #11
ajdelange
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Some people do not like harsh hop bitterness. In general, a brewers in Germany are apparently of the opinion that a good chloride to sulfate ratio is infinite i.e. no sulfate (though of course many German beers are brewed with a goodly amount). I suspect that the original poster is one of those people. The first thing to suspect when one has harsh hops is that the water may contain more sulfate than is commensurate with hops which are not rough. To see if this is the case I recommend brewing with as little sulfate as possible. If the bitterness is still over the top then one needs to look beyond sulfate i.e. to which cultivar has been selected and amounts and times. IOW sulfate is not the whole story but it can be a big part of it.

The common perception that chloride to sulfate ratio is a design parameter for beers is, IMO, a cruel hoax. They are not antipodal. One cannot fix high sulfate by adding more chloride. He needs to remove the sulfate and dilution is the easiest way to do that.

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Old 03-11-2011, 10:21 PM   #12
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Now to clarify, the bitterness I'm tasting is not the same as a hop bitterness from a beer that's suppossed to be hoppy. the last 3 beers I've had the problem with have all been under 40 IBUs. I know (and love) the taste of APAs and IPAs, so a robust hop flavor is welcome with that style.

The bitterness in the first two batches is so bad that i can't finish one beer. When I said it is earthy, and compared it to possibly English hops, I mean in the earth tone only. There isn't any hops type bitterness. Earthy is just the best adjective I can describe it by. Actually, I can't even taste any hops flavor because the bitterness is too strong.

Again, the only significant thing these batches have in common is water, and the bitterness has been proportianate to the increasing dilutuon I'm trying. My water tastes fine, but I'm just wondering if there is something I have been missing.

From your help and comments, am I right in saying it seems I can rule out Sulfate as a cause of the bitterness, since even at 3x the rate, the taste would still be manageable?

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Old 03-12-2011, 05:23 AM   #13
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I think you can rule out sulfate because it is clearly at 20 mg/L which should not be a problem. At 3X it would be a problem for some beers but we have established that you don't have 3X.

Sulfate acting with hops is the usual culprit when water is responsible but magnesium can also be a source of bitterness. If yours is at 20 mg/L with a 1:1 dilution that implies 40 in the source and that's quite a bit. I'd think at 20 it would be under control but perhaps you are hypersensitive. What do other drinkers have to say about these beers? Bicarbonate also sometimes gets blamed for the bitterness.

But I'd say the evidence is pretty clear: if the unpleasantry is proportional to the amount of tap water you are using then use as little of it as possible i.e. brew with RO water. You should at least do that once as an experiment to see if it makes your problem go away. Be sure to supplement calcium following the guidelines in the Primer in the Stickies. If you still have this problem with RO water then you will know it is the way you are handling the hops that is to blame and can attack on that front.

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Old 03-12-2011, 12:14 PM   #14
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I have a thought, and maybe its not an issue, but could this bitterness be attributable to yeast bite?

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Old 03-12-2011, 01:03 PM   #15
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Yes, it definitely could. Yeast cells attract the bittering principal in hops to their cell surfaces. Yeast from a hoppy beer is very bitter. If you are familiar with the Australian Vegemite or the British Marmite you will know what I am talking about. Now, of course, if the taste is there in beer which has dropped clear that can't be the cause.

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Old 03-12-2011, 01:04 PM   #16
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I thought it might be yeast bite too, so this last batch, I cold crashed it for 2 days to try to drop the yeast out. It's clear as a bell (and taking a little longer to fully carb), but it still has a bit of the bitterness as well.

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Old 03-12-2011, 01:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
What do other drinkers have to say about these beers? Bicarbonate also sometimes gets blamed for the bitterness.
Friends/family who have tasted each progressive beer have also said it was "bitter" But, they are all BMC drinkers, so they couldn't really be more helpful than that.

Can you help clarify this: doesn't an acid addition help to bring down the bicarbinate's affect on the water? At a level of 155, shouldn't that still be acceptable in a blonde, or would that amount be noticable? I know I have hard water, so I've used lactic acid in this last batch to bring it down.
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