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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Hop utilisation in different styles of beer.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:44 PM   #1
Biggles
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Default Hop utilisation in different styles of beer.

I'm just brewing my first CDA from a modified recipe. The original recipe would have yielded a beer with 122IBU! I cut the hops back (Chinnok and Centennial) to hit around 70IBU, which should be plenty for an IPA style beer. The beer itself is dark crystal and chocolate malts on a pale base, and is around 35-40SRM. When I racked to secondary, the beer was more malty sweet than hoppy bitter, which surprised me for a 70IBU beer (OG 1.055, FG 1.014).

My question: Does the type of grain (I guess that affects pH) and gravity of the wort affect hop utilisation? Is 120 IBU (tinseth calculation) in a beer of this kind really much lower?

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:37 PM   #2
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How much dark crystal/chocolate malt was in the batch?

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:51 PM   #3
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Could be a number of things. The malt choices/amounts could tipping the balance toward the malt. Could be your water profile is favoring the malt sweetness vs the hop bitterness in terms of taste perception.

Increasing gravity does suppress hop utilization, but I don't think it would be enough to make that much difference. pH affects utilization as well, with lower pH decreasing utilization (ideal is around pH 8, which is nowhere near mash or wort pH). But I don't think that would be the culprit either, as in all likelihood your pH was buffered somewhere 5.1 -5.6 range, the difference between those extreme values probably not influencing utilization more than a couple IBUs if at all.

Could also have to do with your hop straining method -- large late additions not making it into the main part of the boil? A big 2 oz addition of a high alpha hop for 5 minutes can make a fairly substantial difference compared to only a minute or two, if it was trapped in a fine mesh bag or something...

Or perhaps the alpha acid content in the hops wasn't accurate?

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:18 PM   #4
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What was the recipe? Crystal certainly adds sweetness.

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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Sounds like the BU:GU ratio is out of balance. If you lower the hops you'll want to lower the final gravity as well to keep it in balance. You are at 75% attenuation which is pretty middle of the road, so that all adds up. Next time if you mash at a lower temperature for longer, or add some simple sugars you can dry it out to achieve the balance you are looking for. On this beer I think your options are dry hoping or making a hop tea.

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Old 11-13-2012, 10:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
Sounds like the BU:GU ratio is out of balance. If you lower the hops you'll want to lower the final gravity as well to keep it in balance. You are at 75% attenuation which is pretty middle of the road, so that all adds up. Next time if you mash at a lower temperature for longer, or add some simple sugars you can dry it out to achieve the balance you are looking for. On this beer I think your options are dry hoping or making a hop tea.
I lowered to hops to correct the BU:GU. Here's my recipe:
http://hopville.com/recipe/1657675

It may just be that I wasn't really tasting it because it's just come out of primary. It did taste nice, but not as bitter as I had anticipated.

I'm in Vancouver, BC, used untreated water (no chlorine, not really basic, just nice water really). The centennials were picked from a friend's harvest, which is definitely the wildcard, but I boiled some to try them, and they did seem to be fairly strong.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
I lowered to hops to correct the BU:GU.
I see, so you lowered the IBU to put it into style.
Quote:
American-style India black ale has medium high to high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content, balanced with a medium body. The style is further characterized by a moderate degree of caramel malt character and medium to strong dark roasted malt flavor and aroma. High astringency and high degree of burnt roast malt character should be absent. Fruity, floral and herbal character from hops of all origins may contribute to aroma and flavor.
Original Gravity (ºPlato) 1.056-1.075 (14-18.2 ºPlato) ● Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato) 1.012-1.018 (3-4.5 ºPlato) ● Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5-6% (6 -7.5%) ● Bitterness (IBU) 50-70 ● Color SRM (EBC) 25+ (50+ EBC)
Thanks for posting a link to your recipie. Chinook and Centennial are high alpha acid hops, but the numbers still look a little high to me. Are those the numbers from the hop package? how about storage? Hops loose about 50% of their AA in one year if not stored in the fridge.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
I see, so you lowered the IBU to put it into style.

Thanks for posting a link to your recipie. Chinook and Centennial are high alpha acid hops, but the numbers still look a little high to me. Are those the numbers from the hop package? how about storage? Hops loose about 50% of their AA in one year if not stored in the fridge.
The chinook was from my homebrew store, and were freeze dried. The centennials I dried and froze myself about 6 weeks ago, and I was going off a median value from what centennials seem to be around here. Either way, I don't think it would have dropped the bitterness too much. Who knows. It's still good beer, just not quite what I was wanting.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:21 PM   #9
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Dropping the AA on the centennials and chinook to normal low (8/11% respectively) still keeps my IBU at 50, so maybe it's just the residual sweetness of the darker grains dominating. I'll report back once it's carbed up with the dry hops, it will probably be a different story then.

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