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shadow700 06-16-2011 12:07 AM

getting low IBU and lots of carmel flavor
 
I am new to home brewing, done about 6, 5gallon batches.
I use extract and on a few occasions have added dry extract to bump up fermentable sugars for higher ABV. I have done three IPA's including a ruination clone. For those that know that beer it is high on the IBU scale and I love my hoppy bitter flavoring.
so far all the beers have turned out great but the IBU's (bitterness and hoppy flavor) is really low. Also there is always a strong carmel flavor which isnt bad but is getting old with all the beers tasting very similar.
I have read some on making the beer more bitter, more hops, changing the hops, boiling hops later and adding them to the fermentor etc...
in the future I will be using more bittering hops but
what could be the reason for following the recipes nearly perfectly and none of the beers coming out as hoppy or as bitter as they seem they should be?
what hops do you guys and gals like for bittering and really giving your beer a hoppy flavor?

bruin_ale 06-16-2011 12:11 AM

Can you post a recipe for one of them?
Also, what kind of yeast are you using and how much are you pitching? It may be that all of your beers are underattenuated leading to a sweeter tasting beer.

RIT_Warrior 06-16-2011 12:18 AM

Do you know how the hops are getting stored? Hops do lose their AA over time...it is possible that is one reason you aren't getting the alphas out of the hops that you expect.

Another reason would be the extract. Here's a few tips for that:

1. Boil the hops, not the extract. Use late extract additions if you aren't already.
2. Use the lightest extract you can find. Use your steeping grains to get the color and body you want.
3. Are you getting the FGs you expect? If you aren't, try using a more fermentable extract. It isn't a hard and fast rule, but in general American extracts will be more fermentable and will give a lower FG than European extracts.
4. If you aren't getting the FGs you want, and you are sure everything else is OK, you might try replacing a little DME with an equal amount of sugar (I'm probably going to get crap for suggesting this). This will lower the final gravity and thin out the body a bit.

Zamial 06-16-2011 01:00 AM

I think Ritwarrior is on the right path.

This is a condensed short and sweet of how + why that I have read to "do it right" by the gurus here and beyond...

Process changes:
Are you doing full boils? (I will guess not) If not, you should try to grab up a turkey fryer and move outside if possible. Craigs List has them pretty often & cheaply. If this is just not possible do "split boils" use 2, 4 gallon pots and split the batch to simulate a full boil. When they are both done and cooled, dump them both into your fermenter. The reason for this is top off water is the enemy! (No hop goodness in water!) For hoppy beers the less top off you use the better, in most cases.

For extract brewing you will NEED some sugars in the water to get decent hop utilization. Use 1/2 the needed extract (or 1/4 if split boiling) to aid in this.

Hop additions: the longer the hops are boiled the more bitterness you get but you will loose most the aroma and flavor qualities. Usually the Bittering is done from 90-60min. The between bittering and flavor is 30 min. The Flavor is 15-10 min. and the aroma is 5-0 min. for additions.

Different hop varieties are better at specific jobs: You need to figure out what hop does what. Example a bittering hop may have no flavor or aroma qualities. Each hop is different. This should help you understand: http://www.roguebrewers.com/Hop_Profiles.html

You mentioned dry hopping. This is done to get extra aroma and a little flavor since you loose some of this during the fermentation. Hops are added into the secondary for this reason.

Things that can effect hops and your end product:
- The age and how hops are stored. Best bet is keep them in your freezer for storing in airtight packaging.
- Extract brewing requires slightly more hops than all grain due to decreased hop utilization.

Hop this helps!

PS. next time to up the ABV add in some dextrose (corn sugar, the same thing you use for bottling). It will add to the end flavor of a high ABV + IBU IIPA.

shadow700 06-19-2011 03:14 AM

I will post a recipe as soon as I can. we have followed recommended recipes that have been tried and tested but I will post some so you all can see.
We have used the us 05 yeast, two packs one time, one pack one time, mostly liquid vials of yeast, one vial each time and one time we used the packs of yeast that you break the inside pouch and set out for a few hours and the pack expands, not sure what these are called.
hops when purchased are stored in a fridge and when stored at my home its fridge or freezer but once opened they aren't airtight seals anymore.
In general this is what we follow, steep grains, remove grains, bring to boil, add extract start 60 min timer, boil, add first set of hops then follow hop addition schedule for rest of the boil. remove from heat, wort chiller cools wort, add to cold water into carboy aerate pitch yeast aerate set up blow off tube and let it work its magic.
So extract is boiled the entire 60min.
most of our extracts have been light or extra light extract, once used a darker for a stout and once used an amber.
FG's, we are hitting the OG's and FG's with in reason. we are rarely very far off only a couple points and it usually is even amounts we are off on OG and FG. now only twice have we taken a couple readings over a couple days to make sure it is at FG. we usually take a reading and see that its within reason of the recipe and the OG and then go to bottling.
with the exception of two brews, all our brews have sat in primary for two weeks, then get bottled, sit for two weeks cold crash in fridge for 1 day to 7 days. we had one brew that went two weeks in primary and 10 days in secondary and one brew that went three weeks in primary.
our boils are usually 3 gallons, some times a little less. once we split 4 gallons into two pots
in order to up the ABV we have added corn sugar and also rice sugar in the last brew.
Maybe we need to simply add extract later in the boil? at what point?
Maybe we need to up the hops and style of hops since we love our hops? the last brew we used apollo (19% AA) and magnum (17%) and amarillo (10.4%) (its in primary right now)
thanks for the advise, I love this hobby but need to supplement it with trips to the gym since the gut is growing now! Ive lost weight in the wallet however!

Yooper 06-19-2011 03:23 AM

Adding the extract (or at least the majority of it) near the end of the boil is one way to get rid of too much extract-y taste.

Another thing that is huge for IPAs is the size of the boil. Think of it this way. There is only a maximum of about 100 IBUs that can be isomerized in wort. It's "saturated" at that level, so to speak.

So, if you're boiling 2.5 gallons of wort, even with a ton of hops, the most you can get is 100 IBUs in it. Then, you add 2.5 gallons of water to top up the batch. That means the absolutely maximum you can have in that batch is 50 IBUs. (2.5 gallons of 100 IBUs + 2.5 gallons of 0 Ibus= 50 total IBUs). It's unlikely that you have 100 IBUs to begin with, so you can see that you may have only 30 IBUs as an example in your IPA.

So, the answer first would be to do the biggest boils you can. Even a 3.5 gallon boil would be better. That would "dilute" the IBUs less. The split boil is a good idea, and I'd continue to do that if nothing else.

The second issue is the carmelly extract flavor. That can be fixed by adding most of the extract at the end of the boil (even flame out). Another issue could be underpitching of yeast (two smackpacks may not be enough). That can cause some underattenuation issues.

The first place to start is simply adding most of the extract late, and try to increase the size of your boil. Use S05 at first (one package if you're under 1.070 or so) so that the underpitching is out of the equation.

Make sure you get a nice hard rolling boil, as a limp boil can also contribute to poor hops utlization.

shadow700 06-29-2011 09:21 PM

thanks for the info guys. this hobby is becoming my best friend and worst enemy to my gut but I am looking forward to the next brew to try some of your hints

robtotten 06-30-2011 12:56 AM

Make sure you're not pitching the yeast way too hot. That could cause problems with attenuation. Also make sure it can get up towards 70 at the very end of fermentation to finish things off.


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