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Old 03-27-2008, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Adding bitterness after fermentation?

So I'm new here. Been browsing the forums for 2 months and have found loads of very useful information. I did my first batch at the end of February and have done 5 total now. All extract with steeping grains using beersmith as a guide to create recipes (all IPA's so far).
I didn't realize until yesterday that when you don't do a full boil and have to add make-up water to the fermenter, you loose a lot of hop utilization since the boil has a higher SG than your designed OG. Therefore, the batches I've made so far will end up with fewer IBU's than I planned since my brewing equipment info wasn't enetered properly into beersmith. Now, granted, I haven't even tried any of the beer yet so it might be perfectly fine, but can I some how add bitterness to the secondary? Would boiling hops with some DME, letting it cool and adding during transfer to secondary work?

cliff notes:
1. I'm a noob
2. Homebrewtalk is awesome
3. I entered brewing equipment info into beersmith improperly
4. Made 4 batches with probably fewer IBU's than expected
4. Can I add bitterness to the secondary?

Thanks a bunch!
Nate

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Old 03-27-2008, 05:40 PM   #2
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Actually you're sweating something that would be so infintesmal in terms of bitterness "taste" that you won't even really notice...Most of us who do extract with grain, partial boils don't make any "special" twiddling in terms of hop amounts to overcompensate for the "utilization" differential based on the volume we boil our hops in...we just go by what the software figures out automatically...Most software including beercalculus can distinguish between a full volume and a partial volume boil...and most recipes whether kit or online will tell you the best volume to boil your hops and steep your grains in... and those have been calculated accordingly...

John Palmer gives a really mindblowing interview on new findings about hop utilization and IBU, and the subjectivity of "bitterness" based on some new information he's gleaned from a conference he recently attended that actually contradicts in many ways what he wrote in how to brew and has become "common wisdom."

You can listen to it by clicking here... http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicb...3-20-08ibu.mp3

Basically he says don't sweat the small stuff and RDWHAHB!

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Old 03-27-2008, 06:04 PM   #3
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"RDWHAHB"

I wish...none of it is done yet

thanks, I'll listen to it.

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Old 03-27-2008, 06:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t
"RDWHAHB"

I wish...none of it is done yet

thanks, I'll listen to it.
Then "Relax, Don't Worry and Have a Decent Microw Brew!!!!"
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Old 03-27-2008, 06:26 PM   #5
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Also, if it is any consolation and if I remember correctly, Palmer said that humans can't distinguish between 5 IBUs. Use Beersmith to look at your utilization in the partial boil, and I'd bet that it isn't off by more than 5 IBUs.

Granted:

I'm a noob as well.
I haven't listened to his radio interview so there may be new info. on the subject.

"This advice is worth what you paid for it

Beehive

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Old 03-27-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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There's a lot of debate about a lot of things in homebrewing...Hop utilization using a hopsack vs dumping in the kettle, Hotside aeration, plastic vs glass, to secondary or not yadda yadda yadda...Some of it is based on scientific fact, some of it is conjecture that has become common wisdom, some of it only matters on the commercial level, and actually has no application to the homebrewer brewing 5 gallon batches....Some of it may be so tiny (like beehive mentioned) that it really doesn't matter....And some of it really only matters if you are building your own wort through all grain, and really isn't something an extract with grains, or a beginning brewer needs to worry about in the beginning....And most of it is just a matter of personal prefrence...what works for the brewer....

Some people are nearly religuous in their fervor about certain things (EAC's), and other's are the king of RDWHAHB...and they each make great beer or horrible beer...

I guess what I'm saying is not to sweat all the minituia you hear about or read about when you're starting out...

Work on your process, follow recipes or use proven kits until you get a feel for what you are doing and then tweak your process until doing what you do works for you and makes great beer, then learn to formulate your own recipe as get a handle on how each ingredient works and why you use them....And mostly, enjoy!

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Old 03-27-2008, 07:00 PM   #7
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It's going to drive me nuts until I can actually try some of the beer.

The batch with the biggest differential showed 75 IBU's before and 58 after fixing the equipment info in beersmith.

I will try my best to relax for the next 2 months

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Old 03-27-2008, 07:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t
It's going to drive me nuts until I can actually try some of the beer.

The batch with the biggest differential showed 75 IBU's before and 58 after fixing the equipment info in beersmith.

I will try my best to relax for the next 2 months
We've all been there....Brewing more helps, and next thing you know you'll have a huge pipeline of beer....

Also "emptying bottles" to build up a stock of bottles is a great way to ease the pain of waiting!
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Old 03-27-2008, 07:39 PM   #9
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FWIW, if you taste your batch and say "damn, I love it but wish it was just a little more bitter" you can do it very easily before bottling, or on a glass per glass basis using isomerized hop extract
It's pricey, but lasts a long time and may be a good thing to have around.
Also FWIW, I have never purchased any and am not very motivated to do so. I generally appreciate everything I make for what it is.

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Old 03-27-2008, 07:42 PM   #10
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You could also boil up some hops for ~60min in water, cool it, and then add the bitter "tea" to taste during bottling.

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