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Old 08-19-2011, 11:59 PM   #1
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Default Why is my brew always bitter?

I keep reducing the boil hops to lower the IBUs, but my brews keep coming out bitter. The bitter on the back and sides of the tongue you associate from long boil hop additions. I just cracked open a bottle of my Octoberfest to see how it is coming along - excelent malt profile and flavor up front, low aroma and flavor hops, but slightly overwelming bitternes on the finish. Beer Smith shows the IBUs at 20.2, the very lowest end for the style (which is how I planned it), but it is still pretty bitter like a 50 IBU brew.

Must be something other than the hops at play here. I have this issue with most light colored ales, the darker ones seem to do much better.

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:02 AM   #2
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Post up your recipe...

I've tasted some brews that were low IBU, but used grains that give bitter flavors when in too high a percentage of the grist. Such as a stout with too much black malt...

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:03 AM   #3
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Could you be fermenting at a high temp?

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:27 AM   #4
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+1 Celticway. High temps were my issue when it came to off taste/bitterness.

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:36 AM   #5
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Sounds like astringency

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomebrewKs
+1 Celticway. High temps were my issue when it came to off taste/bitterness.
Yeah me too. Getting ferm temp control is key.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:56 AM   #7
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I live in Texas and keep the house at 79 degrees (when it is 107 outside that is cold!). Anyway, I ferment in a large tub with water, tee shirt over the fermenter with a fan blowing directly on it. I shuttle out frozen gallon jugs of water three times a day - morning before work, when I get home, and before bed. Stick on thermometer on side of my glass carboy shows around 69-70 degrees. I always use SafeAle S-05 because the range goes up to 75 degrees. I tooks special care keeping this brew as cool as possible as I will be serving it at my next Octoberfest party - but I do not question fermenting temps as being a possibility - just posting my process. One thought I just had - I used Coopers drops in the bottles to carb and it sat at room temp for the past three weeks (79-ish) - could this be my culprit?

Recipe is:

5 lbs 2 row
4 lbs Munich Malt
1/2 lb caramunic malt
1/2 caravienne malt
1 oz Tradition hops (4.4 AA 60 min)
1 oz Spalter Hops (3.0 AA 15 min)
1/2 oz Hallertauer (3.8 AA Aroma steep at flameout)
1/2 oz Hallertauer (3.8 AA Dry hop 7 days)
Fermentis SafeAle S-05
Ferment for 3 weeks at 70-ish degrees

Anyway - do you think this bitterness fade by October?

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Old 08-20-2011, 01:04 AM   #8
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Well, it might not be from the temps, but it is my suspect. Fluctuating temps will also cause off flavors percieved as bitterness. Another question: do you try an separate the cold break before it goes into your fermentor? Alot of poeple here will say it doesn't matter, that it just falls to the bottom. Well that's true until active fermentation starts, then it's all over the place. I have found when I first started using a CFC I overlooked that. When I used a Immersion chiller, the cold break settled to the bottom of my kettle and was never a problem. First couple of times with the CFC it was snowing cold break into my fermentor and did cause some nastyness. Now I pump back from my chiller into the kettle and bring the whole thing down to pitch temps. Just an idea.

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Old 08-20-2011, 01:06 AM   #9
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If it is a bitterness not caused by the hops, sadly to say that it probably won't be less.

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Old 08-20-2011, 01:14 AM   #10
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Water profile can have a massive impact on bitterness, do you brew with tap water or do you use RO? your tap water may be the culprit here.

I have found with my water here that mixing it 50/50 RO and dechlorinated tap that I can make a pretty mean english ale, if I am making a stout or porter I use all tap.

Could be that you need to start tinkering with your water or trying bottled drinking water and see if it makes a difference.

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