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Old 09-23-2010, 04:12 PM   #1
anervusguy
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Default Too Bitter - What am I doing wrong?

I brewed the NortherBrewer Cream Ale kit about a month ago and finally cracked the first bottle open last night for a taste. I was very disappointed in the bitterness of the beer. I expected to taste a light bitterness, kind of like a Megabrewer style beer but it is very bitter.

I boiled the hops in about two and a half gallons of wort for an hour as directed. At flameout, I removed the hops bag and quickly chilled with an immersion chiller.

The ingredients are listed here:
SPECIALTY GRAIN
-- 0.75 lbs Gambrinus Honey Malt
-- 0.25 lbs Dingemans Biscuit
FERMENTABLES
-- 6 lbs Pilsen malt syrup
HOPS & FLAVORINGS
-- 1 oz Cluster (60 min)
YEAST
-- DRY YEAST: Safale US-05 Ale Yeast.

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Old 09-23-2010, 04:17 PM   #2
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Check the recipe. They may have sent an ounce, but didn't require all of it. Cluster can run from 5-9% AA.

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Old 09-23-2010, 04:28 PM   #3
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Hop bitterness is one of those things I've noticed is the first thing to mellow out when aging it in the bottle, the difference a week, two weeks, and three weeks makes is very noticeable, like totally different beers.

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Old 09-24-2010, 12:11 PM   #4
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I thought the same thing about the Hops. I'm still a little new to the brewing process so I figured they knew what they were doing when they formulated the kit. If I use Cluster hops again in the future, I may just cut the volume back a little.

I'll let it sit in the bottle a little longer. I bottled it two weeks ago so it's probably still a little green.

Thanks!!

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Old 09-25-2010, 10:59 AM   #5
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Please post back at your next taste...I am brewing this kit today and am curious as to how it comes out. This will be my first try at kegging also, so I'm pretty excited!

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Old 09-25-2010, 01:14 PM   #6
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I see you have the Cream Ale kit. I don't know why they call it a cream ale kit but nevertheless it is very good beer. I brew this one quite a bit and you don't have to worry......you just have to wait. In fact if I was you I would drink a bottle every two days or three days and you will be amazed at how fast the beer improves. I'm not sure who wrote it here once( I think it was Revvy or Yooper) and they said "there is a reason they call it bottle conditioning." Just because your beer in the bottle does not mean it is finished! My last batch of Cream Ale was MALTY MALTY MALTY after a week of bottling. Two weeks later later it was great. I always try to put at least a 12 back away and drink it 4-6 months later. Do it and you will be amazed.
PS The hops will mellow with time and don't throw it out!

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Old 09-25-2010, 01:31 PM   #7
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Hey Nervus (I love your username), if you already know all of this, apologies.

Bitterness in beer is measured in IBUs (International Bittering Units). If you are looking to make a lighter beer that may appeal to BMC drinkers, IBUs in the +/- 15 range is about right. You can see the hops schedule I use in a lighter beer, with a bitterness of 14.3 IBU here http://www.singingboysbrewing.com/Dr...-t-a-word.html

Hops have an alpha acid rating, sometimes shorthanded as AA%. The higher the percentage, the more bitterness (IBUs) the hops will add to the beer. If you look at the recipe link above, you'll see that I used two types of hops, one 7.4% AA and the other 5.2% AA - these would be considered lower bitterness hops.

Another factor is the length of time you boil the hops - the longer the boil the more bitterness is extracted and the higher the final IBUs in your beer. One hour, as described in your recipe, is a standard length for a bitterness hop addition. Sometimes, we add hops at other, short times, too to impart some bitterness, but also flavor and aroma.

You can predict the IBUs you will get from a recipe, using either long-hand math (there are some guys here who really love doing that) or using some software like BeerSmith.

Cheers, Salud and Skoal!

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Old 09-25-2010, 04:00 PM   #8
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The recipe on the website does call for 1 oz Cluster, and
the promash file for the recipe on the website says it's
supposed to be 31 IBU. That seems way high for a cream
ale (I would think 15 would about right).

So instead of having to wait for it to mellow out, just use
half as much hops next time.

Ray

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Old 09-27-2010, 11:43 AM   #9
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Thanks!! I'm going to let it condition for a week or so longer. Hopefully, it will mellow out a bit more.

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Old 09-27-2010, 04:17 PM   #10
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Ok, I chilled one today and had a taste. It's better than it was a week ago but it's still a little bitter for the style of beer. Now, the taste while drinking is acceptable. The after taste is still a bit strong. I'm going to let it sit another week and try it again and let you all know how it tastes.

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