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Old 09-26-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
motleybrew
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Default Where's the Hops?

So I'm finishing up my first batch of AG amber ale. I did a 60 minute boil with mt. hood, and 15 min. of willamette hops. The recipe I had called for cascade or northern brewer (can't remember which) hops which I didn't use. Long story short, my finished beer is malty but has almost no hops flavor. I plan to bottle in a few days, and fermentations is pretty much completed. The beer isn't BAD, but I just wish it had more hops to it. Can I add a little more hop to it by dry hopping it before bottling, or is it too late?

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Old 09-26-2013, 04:44 PM   #2
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You can certainly dry hop it in your primary fermenter, and that would add some more hop aroma.
Typically, amber ales are more focused on that malt sweetness than hop presence.

The 60 minute addition gave it the easy hop bitterness, and the 15 gave it some aroma. However, without a 10, 5 or 0 minute addition, there isn't too much aroma there.

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Old 09-26-2013, 05:45 PM   #3
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Both Mt Hood and Willamette are pretty low AA hops, so they won't give off too much bitterness, not to mention both are more of a low key hops unlike Cascade would be.

Also, Ambers are supposed to be much more malty than hoppy so I don't think you are fine as far as the beer goes.

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Old 09-26-2013, 06:09 PM   #4
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Hop aroma comes from late additions, flame out additions, or dry hopping. 40-20 minutes mark is the standard for flavor, but the aroma gets boiled off. The 5 minute or so mark is for aroma and you can use even like a simcoe that has high alpha acids and it wouldn't make it exceptionally bitter.

Dry hopping will give it aroma. But, for that kind of beer what I would try next time is adding those same Willamette hops 5 minutes before boil ends. Alternatively, and this is what I would try for that to stay from it getting overly hoppy, is to not only increase the Willamette, but do a FWH with some of the Willamette you use. That beer is not supposed to be hoppy, but you can do what you want; however, to stay in style the recipes you will most likely find won't have late hop additions and certainly not dry hops.

I use beer tools to help with recipes and this site here: http://beerlegends.com/amarillo-hops is what I use for cross referencing my hops usage.

For this brew, add some dry hops and even though it is for aroma you will get a little flavor and aroma brings out the flavor there also, it will make a difference. Add .25 oz of something that is stinky that you like and don't worry about acid level. You could use simcoe for instance.. I'd just use whatever you have around that smells the most fresh and dank.

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Old 09-26-2013, 06:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I wasn't aware that amber ale should be on the sweet side. Obviously, without you tasting it I can only try to describe the level of hoppiness it has. I can't detect any, it tastes like malt, that's it. Other amber ales I've had (long trail, or city steam; both are new england micros, city steam being from Hartford), are definitely bittered from hops. Not like an IPA, but definitely there. I might try to add the .25oz of willamette for 24 hours before I send it to cold crash and then bottling.

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Old 09-26-2013, 06:24 PM   #6
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What was the IBU supposed to be in your recipe and what were the AA% of the hops you used and how much of each did you use? You're talking about flavor and bitterness interchangeably, but they are two separate things. The bitterness is coming from the 60 min addition. If you used a lower AA% hop than the recipe called for and didn't compensate the amount it will not turn out as intended.

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Old 09-26-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
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Hey Motley, I didn't see that you were from CT as well.

Do what you want. It's your beer. If you want a hoppy amber, then go for it. I think that a lot of American craft breweries tend to add more hops than traditional style because that's the thing these days. So I'm not surprised that city steam has a hop-forward amber.

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Old 09-27-2013, 12:21 AM   #8
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I calculated the IBU to be somewhere around 23-25.

Willamette is around 4.8%
Mt. Hood is 5.8%

I used .5 oz of each.

So, my math is:

.5oz of mt. hood @ 5.8% = 2.9 AAU
.5oz of willamette @ 4.8% = 2.4 AAU

IBU = AAU x U (used respective number via John Palmer's table) x 75 / Volume of recipe

2.9 x .256 (boil gravity was 1.045 and mt. hood was a 60 minute addition) x 75 / 3 (3 gallon batch) = 18.56

2.4 x .129 (15 min. addition for willamette) x 75 / 3 = 7.74

18.56+7.74=26.3

I would figure from an IBU of that range, it would have a comparable bitterness to almost a Sam Adams kind of kick.


Name:Mt. Hood

Grown:US

Profile:
Mild, clean aroma. One of three hops bred as domestic replacements for Hallertauer Mittelfrüh.

Usage: Finishing for German style lagers

Example: Anderson Valley High Rollers Wheat Beer

AA Range:3.5 - 8%

Substitute:
Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Hallertauer Hersbrucker, Liberty,
Tettnang, Ultra



Name:Willamette

Grown:US

Profile:
Mild, spicy, grassy, floral aroma

Usage:Finishing / dry hopping for American / British style ales

Example:
Sierra Nevada Porter, Ballard Bitter, Anderson Valley Boont Amber, Redhook ESB

AA Range:4 - 7%

Substitute:Fuggles

This hop info is straight from John Palmer's book. I know the hops I ended up using are more of a finishing hop, but I kinda expected a little more bitterness than what I have.

edit:

My issue isn't so much wanting to "buck the system" and make a hoppy amber (which is supposedly not intended to be so, but that is a discussion for another time), as it is having results match predictions. My math says one thing, but my tongue says another. Albeit, I am not exactly a seasoned veteran of determining approximate IBU from taste. I'm just going from the info that says the hops used, in the amounts stated, will produce a bitterness similar to X beer.

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