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Old 05-03-2010, 01:40 AM   #1
timm747
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Default How to make BB IPA less bitter

Hey guys, so I've got my BB IPA kegged and have been drinking it over the last 4 days. It's about a month old. It tastes awesome except for the really bitter aftertaste. Is this just a matter of using less bittering hops (maybe half the bag?) next time around? Will it screw upt the "recipe" if I don't put everything in as the instructions recommend? I want to brew this again and once I'm comfortable with kits I'm gonna eventually go AG but I want to learn how to change final flavoring with the kits too.

Thanks for your suggestions/help.

Tim

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Old 05-03-2010, 01:49 AM   #2
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It'll probably mellow out a little as time goes on.

Sure, you can alter the recipe of a kit. You'll brew a different beer. Different but I wouldn't call it "screwed up."

Download a free trial of BeerSmith and put the recipe in, and play with the amounts to see what it will do to the bitterness.

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:18 AM   #3
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To answer your question directly: you could either cut the amount of bittering hops added at T-60 minutes (try dropping 1/3 to start with, especially in an IPA), or add it later in the boil (try adding the full amount at T-40 minutes).

Now, as a bit of explanation, I'm making an assumption here, so forgive me if I'm wrong. I'm thinking you're just starting out and haven't got a deep grasp of what your ingredients are doing for the brew. Hops come in all sorts of different flavors and types, but a hop pellet of any one type can be used for aroma, flavor or bittering, depending almost entirely on the amount of time it's in the boil (or even after the boil, as in "dry hopping"). Some hops are better for certain characteristics than others, though (Magnum is a great bittering hop, and Cascade is excellent for flavor and aroma, as well as dry hopping).

If you were to get a kit for an IPA which had only one type of hops in the kit, the instructions would tell you when to add that hop in order to get different characteristics. As a basic example, take an ounce of East Kent Goldings. Starting from the time the wort hits boil temps, generally that's considered the 60-minute mark (T-60, or the total amount of time you will boil the wort until "flameout" and cooling), you can add hops to get bittering characteristics. If you were to taste the wort after five minutes of boiling the hops, you wouldn't taste much hop flavor at all, and no bitterness, but you'd really smell it. A few more minutes and you can start tasting it more, but still no real bitterness. After twenty minutes, you'd not smell it much, but the taste would still be there, and the hint of bitterness would start to creep in.

After forty minutes, the hops doesn't taste like much, you can't really smell it, but that bitterness is increasing rapidly, and from here until the 60-minute boil mark, it's going to get more bitter.

Many British beers and some Belgiums have only a bit of hops thrown in at the beginning of the boil, and often don't have any other hops added at all. These beers are all about the grains, so all the brewers want is some bitterness to balance the sweetness.

Adding hops is all about balance with the grain bill (your malt extracts or grains). Your BB recipe was supposed to be created with this in mind. That being said, though, your tastes are not the same as mine.

That's what makes homebrewing so great: the level of control and experimentation is completely up to the brewer. Brewer's Best simply gives you the ingredients and a suggested recipe. There's no rule saying you have to follow that recipe to a fault.

Good luck on your next batch, and enjoy the hobby!

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:34 AM   #4
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Thanks Torque! Yeah I'm new (getting back into it after 25 or so years). I did the Brewer's Best IPA and from what I remember it had 3 different types of hops. One was at initial boil, one was maybe 45 minutes and the last aroma hops were at 5 minutes before end. So if I put the initial bittering hops in later in the boil this wouldn't be as bitter now? Or is it better to cut the amount?

Thanks!

Tim

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:45 AM   #5
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Well, that's a good question. I love, LOVE, hops. I love bitterness, the more the better. I love the aroma, as well. So if it were me, and I really wanted less bitterness, I'd move the entire amount to later in the brew session. This would then impart more flavor than bitterness.

If you're not big on the hops, you may want to cut the amount at the start of the boil instead.

Better yet, next time stay away from the IPA and try a Pale Ale recipe. Usually similar in grain bill, but the hopping schedule and amounts are less than IPAs. India Pale Ales were made historically to be stable in shipping from England to India. Adding ridiculous amounts of hops kept the flavor lively as well as protected the beer from infection. Pale ales have been lighter in hop bitterness, meant to be kept "in country".

I started out with Brewer's Best kits, but had some problems with their quality. Most of the time they're fine, but be aware that there are other kits available from on-line distributors which are generally known to have a higher quality (and better recipes). Try some of the kits available from Northern Brewer, Austin Homebrew Supplies (I really like theirs), Midwest Supplies or Brewmaster's Warehouse. I have yet to brew a bad beer from any of them, at least not because of any fault of theirs.

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Old 05-03-2010, 05:44 PM   #6
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That's what I'll do then, wait til later in the boil. Is there a specific time in the boil to do things or is it all tongue in cheek to see what happens? Like if I put all the bittering hops in 1/2 way thru the boil, do you think that would be ok are are we talking only waiting like 15 minutes before the end of the boil???

Thanks again!

Tim

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Old 05-03-2010, 05:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timm747 View Post
That's what I'll do then, wait til later in the boil. Is there a specific time in the boil to do things or is it all tongue in cheek to see what happens? Like if I put all the bittering hops in 1/2 way thru the boil, do you think that would be ok are are we talking only waiting like 15 minutes before the end of the boil???

Thanks again!

Tim
You can calculate the amount the hops will bitter the beer. There are several online calculators and programs that can calculate IBU (International Bitterness Unit). You can check BJCP guidelines for a basis to plan recipes around till you get a feel for how much IBUs effect a beer.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timm747 View Post
Thanks Torque! Yeah I'm new (getting back into it after 25 or so years). I did the Brewer's Best IPA and from what I remember it had 3 different types of hops. One was at initial boil, one was maybe 45 minutes and the last aroma hops were at 5 minutes before end. So if I put the initial bittering hops in later in the boil this wouldn't be as bitter now? Or is it better to cut the amount?

Thanks!

Tim
Moving the hops forward in the boil would reduce bitterness. However moving hops around the boil will change the taste. To cut down on bitterness reduce the amount of hops in the 60 min addition.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:11 PM   #9
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I was going to add, by adding the hops later in the boil, yeah, you will be reducing bitterness, but increasing the aroma. You may or may not like the results. If you like the aeromatics of what you have but simply want less bitterness, I'd go with adding less in the early stages of the boil and saving the hops for a different batch.

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Old 05-04-2010, 02:16 AM   #10
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Download a free trial of BeerSmith and put the recipe in, and play with the amounts to see what it will do to the bitterness.
Yep, I think it's a good idea for any beginning brewer to do what the others have suggested here and play around with one of the free online calcs or download a copy of BeerSmith (Win), BeerTools Pro (Win/Mac), Beer Alchemy (Mac) or Brewtarget (*nix, at brewtarget.sourceforge.net ). Brewtarget's free, the others at least have a free trial before you have to buy. There are also apps available on iPhone/iPod touch (iBrewMaster and Beer Alchemy Touch). I'm a Mac user mainly; I picked up Beer Alchemy, and I have it up and running many times throughout the week when I just want to play around.

These tools are a blast to dink around with. They'll help you to get your head around the numbers part of homebrewing. Download/input some recipes to give you an idea of what certain styles look like, and modify to your heart's content. Feel free to post your recipes to this forum for suggestions, as well! Many times the programs will help you to keep numbers straight for a certain style, but the numbers don't tell the whole story; the thousands of brewers here will help you fill in the rest.
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