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Old 12-24-2010, 02:49 AM   #1
scheffehcs
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Default Losing hoppiness in IPAs

Hello All.
Long time reader, first time poster. Please forgive any n00biness.
My brewing buddies and I have been extract brewing for about a year now; we meet up once a week and usually brew 2 or 3 five gallon batches a month. Back in July we decided to concentrate our efforts on making a great, original IPA recipe. We brewed 6 batches (which we lovingly dubbed our "Spearhead IPA" or SI) from July to September. The first batch was our base recipe, and every subsequent batch had one variation (different hop schedule, different specialty malt, a couple with different sugar sources, etc). We were very pleased with our results, and even won a local homebrew competition which featured a few of these IPAs.
We polished off most of the beer as we brewed, but kept 6 bottles of each for a future taste test. The first taste test was last night, and we were quite surprised at how our IPAs have aged.
The first problem was not too surprising: the AWESOME hoppy aroma that was prominent within the first month of bottling was no longer there in any of the beers. I have yet to try a commercial beer that REALLY captures that super fresh hop aroma, so it wasn't a shock that we lost it too.
The second problem arose at last night's tasting: the aroma was almost completely gone in the first few batches, and significantly diminished in the later batches, PLUS, the hoppy bitterness in all the beers was dramatically reduced. It felt like we were drinking different beers, like weak pale ales.
Since the 6 batches were brewed over a two-month period, we concluded that the reduction of both aroma and bitterness was due to age (SI-6, being the most recently brewed and bottled, was the most bitter and aromatic - the others decreased in hoppiness with age.)
Here is the bottomline:
Is there anyway to preserve that amazingly fresh hoppy aroma that leaves after the first few weeks of bottling?
More importantly, is it normal for IPAs to lose their bitterness and aroma after a few months of sitting around?
Thanks in advance for any sage advice you might have, and apologies if I left out any relevant information.
Brew on!

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Old 12-24-2010, 02:57 AM   #2
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It is normal for hops tolose their hoppiness over ageing. As for keeping the hoppyness, maybe you can reintroduce them to hops from a tap(like a randal enamel). Now I know you said it was bottled soin your case idk.

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Old 12-24-2010, 03:41 AM   #3
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Only way to preserver those wonderful IPA hop aromas is to drink faster and brew more so you always have fresh beer that doesn't age

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Old 12-24-2010, 04:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scheffehcs View Post
Here is the bottomline:
Is there anyway to preserve that amazingly fresh hoppy aroma that leaves after the first few weeks of bottling?
More importantly, is it normal for IPAs to lose their bitterness and aroma after a few months of sitting around?
Thanks in advance for any sage advice you might have, and apologies if I left out any relevant information.
Brew on!
To preserve the flavor when bottling, you may want to just increase the hop quantity in the recipe a bit. That way it starts off with more, and by the time you're into the bottles in a few weeks your flavor/aroma are still there. Other than that, the best advice is really to just drink fast, or think of the later bottles as a different beer.

The loss of bitterness/aroma is perfectly normal. Sad, but normal. The aroma goes first, then the hop flavor, then the bitterness.
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Old 12-24-2010, 06:38 PM   #5
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I notice the exact same thing when I did my SN Torpedo clone. After being patient and letting the bottles carb up for three weeks the beer was phenomenal. I like it so much I savored them, drinking them slowly. Big mistake on my part. The last bottle went away just recently and the flavor profile of it compared to the first is vastly different. I would say it was a different beer if I didn't know better.

I still wonder how fast the turnaround for a commercial IPA is. If they sit on the shelves a long time I guess they too will begin to change.

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Old 12-24-2010, 06:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scheffehcs View Post
Is there anyway to preserve that amazingly fresh hoppy aroma that leaves after the first few weeks of bottling?

More importantly, is it normal for IPAs to lose their bitterness and aroma after a few months of sitting around?
Simply put, NO and Yes. That's why you brew IPA's fast and drink em' young. insert cheesy western music.
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:06 PM   #7
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You can try bottle-hopping.

If you put a single hop cone in each 22 oz bottle, they'll be damn hoppy and fresh tasting.

It gets a bit tricky when you open the bottles, the hops may shoot out. I eventually bought one of these Wine Bottle Filters to filter out the hop.

Basically, I quickly open the bottle and then slam the filter into the bottle, then pour the beer out into a large vessel, there's usually quite bit of foaming.

PITA? Yes. Amazing aroma? You betcha.

I've also put hop pellets into bottles. If you don't mind green stuff in your teeth, it's pretty great.

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Old 12-24-2010, 07:39 PM   #8
Hex
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Hmmm, hop widget?

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Old 12-24-2010, 10:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex View Post
Hmmm, hop widget?
That would be amazing!
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:16 PM   #10
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I've been toying with the idea...

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