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Old 02-09-2013, 09:00 PM   #1
ChadChaney
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Default Need Some Serious Help

WARNING- this will be a long post, but please stick with me, I need some help!

OK, I have been brewing all grain for over a year now and I am trying to fine tune what is going on in my system, mostly because I cannot brew an IPA that even comes close to anything commercial, not even a poor example. I have discovered that I am not a fan of Centennial ( I know, who can believe it) and maybe Columbus too, I don't like the "dirt or grassy" taste I get from them. My IPA's all taste similar, bland, no hop pop or generally muted and sometimes dirty. I am using quality, well stored hops from Hop Union so I have eliminated that as an issue. I have tried using plain RO water and my tap(hose) water ( which I have sent off to Ward labs) and neither seems to make a huge difference int he finished beer. The only information I can find online about my water is that is has a hardness (average) of about 400. I can brew most other styles I try with very good-excellent results, so I am not convinced the water is the answer.

I brew in a 10 gall rubbermaid cooler with a false bottom, 10 gall stainless brew pot with the bazooka screen, and have the ability to fly or batch sparge. I usually batch sparge by draining the tun, then adding 2 different sparge additions at 168F. I use beersmith and have graduated a carboy, kettle and my water jug. I am set in BS at brewing 5.5 gall batches with 5 gallons going into the fermentor and usually hit that with no problem. I also USUALLY hit my OG or come extremely close. Oh, I also vourlaf at each time needed, but I never seem to get as clear as I would like, can always see some med-larger particles sneaking through. I use a plate chiller in the warmer months, but switch to an immersion in the winter. Regardless, I add wirfloc and whirlpool the best I can, a little hard since the temp probe in my kettle sticks on a bit.

Here is the last batch I brewed, which I just kegged and tasted yesterday. Has potential, but even after dry-hopping for 4 days at about 70Fish with 2 oz of Simcoe, I have to really try and dig out the aroma and flavor of Simcoe.
Test Batch 1 (IPA)
American IPA
Type: All Grain Date: 1/15/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer: Copper TrÖff Brewing
Boil Size: 8.01 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: My AG Setup
End of Boil Volume 6.76 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 77.6 %
Fermentation: My Aging Profile Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Ingredients


Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM) Grain 1 69.8 %
3 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 19.0 %
12.0 oz Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.8 %
8.0 oz Carapils 6-Row (Briess) (1.3 SRM) Grain 4 3.2 %
8.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 5 3.2 %
0.75 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 31.3 IBUs
0.50 oz Centennial [12.50 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 7 10.4 IBUs
1.00 oz CTZ and Simcoe Blend (2/3 Simcoe) [13.73 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 13.7 IBUs
1.00 oz CTZ and Simcoe Blend (2/3 Simcoe) [13.73 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 7.5 IBUs
1.00 oz CTZ and Simcoe Blend (2/3 Simcoe) [13.73 %] - Aroma Steep 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml] Yeast 11 -
1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [14.10 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [14.10 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 15 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 16 0.0 IBUs

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.070 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.074 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.6 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 8.5 %
Bitterness: 62.9 IBUs Calories: 249.7 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 6.2 SRM


I tried a Hopstand on this one, the last oz of hops sat for 45 mins and then I whirlpooled and chilled, trying to get as much aroma and flavor as possible. My number were as follows:

1st runnings 1.074
2nd runnings 1.052
3rd runnings 1.028
Preboil 1.049
OG 1.074
My mash eff was 66.7%
total eff was 62.7

I used an appropriate sized starter of WL001 and aerated the wort, had active ferm in 2 hours and held at about 69-70 until initial ferm was over, then rack onto dry hops. At tasting yesterday; hop character was muted, a bit of that Centennial dirty but not as much as usual, aggressively bitter and nearly no hop aroma, really disappointed.

I am looking to brew again on Monday, another IPA(till I get it right!) and could use some help. Thinking of going back to the RO water, so cold here that it takes a while to boil tap water before I brew, and maybe treating it. thinking of just adding some Gypsum to the RO?

I am wondering if I do not have my system dialed in correctly and that is causing me to get to many IBU's in the beer causing the bland, muted and mostly bitter flavor? Oh Yeah, I have my own mill too and may try a double crush this time too. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated! Or else I am back to making Berliner Weisse, Wit's and Dunkelweisse, lol.,.

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Old 02-09-2013, 09:47 PM   #2
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First: Just because your water is "hard" doesn't mean it's good for brewing or certainly for this particular style. Hardness essentially just implies a large amount of Calcium. What else is in there and how much? If you had a Ward labs test done, post the results. You should also look at the water information here at HBT in the Brew Science section. Even with hard water you could be very low in SO4, sulphate, which is an important ion for hop presence. If the water is hard but very alkaline, a distinct possibility, then you are going to have a difficult time achieving a good mash pH with a pale ale.

Second: As far as the recipe goes you may want to use more hops in early additions. That's where the basic bitterness is derived. You have a ton of hops from 10 minute later additions on to dry hopping which are primarily only for aroma. Just curious on the grains, why such a large wheat component and what is the purpose of the 8 oz of sugar?

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Old 02-09-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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First, I think water IS a large part of it.

Your tap water may not have a good mix for IPAs, and RO water needs additions.

I'd try RO water again, but adding some gypsum (we can help you with that) to get the proper balance and the proper pH.

Your recipe is ok, although a long hopstand can actually work against you if it's really hot, for flavor/aroma in the finished beer.

I'd try a super simple recipe next time. I mean, super simple. And RO water with gypsum additions, and maybe some acid to reduce the pH. (A lower pH, within reason, brings out more hops flavor).

Something really simple like this:

10 pounds two-rwo
.5 pound crystal

.5 ounce magnum 60 minutes
1 oz amarillo 15 minutes (if you can find them!)
1 oz cascade 10 minutes
1 oz amarillo 5 minutes
1 oz cascade flame out
dryhop with 1 oz of amarillo and cascade 5 days before packaging.

That would be very grapefruity- but you can see then if you get hops flavor and aroma in a "clean" beer.

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Old 02-09-2013, 10:18 PM   #4
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Not sure how you got an IBU of 62.9 because all the IBU calculators give me a IBU around 90. I like yooper suggestion of simplifying the recipe. Also get your tap water checked. If it's not a well then who knows what all the city adds to it.

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:37 AM   #5
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Big Ed, I sent my water off yesterday to Ward so I do not have a report to post yet. The only information I can find for my water online is from the Chamber of Commerce and the hardness statement is all they mention. As for the bitterness, there is plenty, actually a tad much, just a tad. But the beer was also warm and flat, but in my opinion it doesn't change that much when cold and carbed. As for the sugar, to help dry it out a bit and the wheat becasue I like the character it gives, plus head and body, a touch of 2 hearted style to the brew.

BobC, the IBU's are listed in BS at 62.9, but I have the last ounce listed as aroma hop and think I might not have a time value for it. I am assuming that is where the extra bit of bitterness came from in the beer? So in BS for flameout/steep I need to make sure to put the steep time then, duh.

Yooper, I did a SmaSh with Centennial that turned out pretty solid, minus the fact that I think the flavor of Centennial doesn't do it for me. Even in Stone IPA or Ruination I get that flavor, so I have decided to steer clear of Centennial. Anyway, I did something like 12 lbs 2 row, 2 lbs wheat and 1 0z @ 60, 10,5 0 min and still lacked the aroma I was shooting for. Same thing for a CTZ SMaSh except that was undrinkable, so bitter. I will go back to the RO water until I get my report back from Ward. I will make a simplified grain bill, something along the lines of 10 lbs Marris Otter .5 lb lt/dk Munich, I am out of 2 row and crystal and the nearest brewshop is 2 hrs away. I have Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, Magnum, Chinook, Summit and CTZ right now. I was leaning Simcoe/Amarillo instead of the Cascade? I will get the recipe all figured up and post tomorrow and see what we can do to the RO water.

Any thoughts about the efficiency and the mash efficiency being so low?

Thanks for all the help so far guys and Yooper!

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:39 AM   #6
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Yooper, forgot to mention I have some Acid malt I could use as well.

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadChaney View Post
Yooper, forgot to mention I have some Acid malt I could use as well.
That would help, to make sure you're hitting the correct mash pH. I'd suggest a spreadsheet, like Bru'n water. It's hard at first but you'll get the hang of it. It can help you predict mash pH as well as make sure you have the proper amount of sulfate and the like.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:16 AM   #8
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Yooper, just reading through it right now to figure out how to make RO my water input, think I have a handle on it so far, thanks again. I'll keep you posted. What do you think about Simcoe/Amarillo instead of the Amarillo/Cascade?

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Old 02-10-2013, 03:19 AM   #9
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Yooper, you use beersmith?

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Old 02-10-2013, 03:19 AM   #10
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I first want to start by asking what type of IPA are you trying to brew? What is it about your IPA that is lacking? Are you not getting the correct bitterness or are you not achieving the forward hop flavor/aroma you are looking for? I agree with the post above that you should definitely simplify your recipe. Go with the recipe that was posted above. As far as process goes I have the following questions.

How long are you fly sparging for? Is the beer clean when it is going into the kettle? If you are batch sparging then is the beer clean when going into the kettle?

Have you tried a 90 minute boil. There are a lot of processes going on in the boil. I personally never boil for less than 90 minutes.

Are you sure you are pitching the appropriate amount of yeast. You say that fermentation begins after 2 hours which is really quick? Are you over pitching?

Can you ferment at 65 degrees? You are toying with off-flavors when fermenting near 70 degrees with that yeast strain.

Have you tried dry hopping for 7 days?

For the mash efficiency - Have you calibrated your mill recently? Your rollers might have moved too far apart for a good crush. .039-.040 should give you good efficiency, although 77% is pretty good. It is above average.

What are you mashing at? Seems appropriate with the attenuation you are getting.

Do you know what your mash ph levels are? 5.2-5.5 is ideal.

Definitely post your water results when you get them. Try the RO water with Gypsum as well.

Also a note. Your dry hopping additions will not add IBU's.

How much are you losing when kegging? You said you are ending up 5 gallons in fermentation but you will lose at least a half gallon due to grub when kegging.

Have you tried using finings to clear the beer? Are you racking to a secondary before dry hopping or are you dry hopping in primary?

Sorry for all of out of order questions. I write them as I think of them?

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