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Old 03-07-2011, 04:31 AM   #1
inhocbrewer
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Default IPA trouble: fermentation, flavor

I'm new to the forum and only on my third batch of brew (a strong IPA with about 135 IBU's.) After 4 days in the fermenter the activity in the airlock had totally stopped. I went ahead and took a gravity reading which came out at 1.010. It's a hair below my calculated FG of 1.012 but not significant.

What I noticed though was that after taking the lid off my primary fermenter (just using a 6 gal bucket) I began to see bubbles coming up through the brew. Since replacing the lid I've seen renewed activity in the airlock.

Here are the questions:
1. Can re-introducing oxygen into the system can restart the fermentation? My FG calculation may be off since I couldn't find a factory number for the efficiency of the yeast I'm using (Sulfale US-05). 70% was the best info that I could find online.

2. When I tasted the brew it had the really strong hop flavor that I want but had a much lighter taste overall than I'm wanting to get. This is probably because this batch was solely from extract (7 lbs of pilsner LME). Is there anything I can do at this point in the process to give it a heavier taste or is that just a lesson to be learned for next time around?

My plan is to rack this over to a carboy after the gravity readings stabilize and let it clear for at least one week before bottling. Not sure how the taste may change as it matures.

I appreciate the help!

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:47 AM   #2
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You did not introduce oxygen to your beer, you released CO2 from it, thats why you are seeing activity.

If you are not dry hopping, leave it in the primary for at least 3 weeks. It will clear properly.

What you are tasting is green beer and a world away from what you will get after it has been bottled and given enough time to adequately condition. The thin body will change and the hops will mellow.

I have a house IPA that tastes completely different each week it is in the bottle until about week 4 when it settles in to its flavor. I, too, was worried the first time I made it, but patience is the key.

By the way, for you and any other new brewer who reads this: No beer you make is adequately represented in a fermentor sample. Do not under ANY cicrumstances attempt to correct flavor or body at this stage. Give it at least 3 weeks in the fermentor and at least 3 weeks in the bottle before you judge. If you need to make adjustments you'll know for the next batch. PATIENCE.

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Old 03-07-2011, 05:07 AM   #3
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Gotcha. Thanks! So I'm assuming it's a good idea to release the co2 from time to time in order to make sure your efficiency is high. That sound right?

I am planning to dry-hop it so once the gravity readings stabilize I'll rack it to the secondary.

Thanks for the reminder on the patience!

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Old 03-07-2011, 05:23 AM   #4
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It probably tastes light and hoppy because you made a beer with a 1.050 OG and 135 IBU's!!!

I wouldn't worry about it now, but next time use 9 or 10 lbs of LME for a big IPA like that.

I agree that there is really no need to transfer to secondary. And I know everyone on here says you need 3-4 weeks in the primary, but with a 1.050 beer all you really need is about 2 weeks.

Just enjoy this beer for what it is...hop soup!

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Old 03-07-2011, 05:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inhocbrewer View Post
Gotcha. Thanks! So I'm assuming it's a good idea to release the co2 from time to time in order to make sure your efficiency is high. That sound right?
Not sure what you mean...
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:47 AM   #6
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I'm a hop head, but 135 IBU !? Great googily moogily !. I have an IPA (117 IBU) that has been in bottles for over 6 months, that is just now starting to get a better blended hop flavor. Everything up to this point has been nothing but sharp tasting. Its finally mellowing down. Its still extremely hoppy. You might need to let this one sit for a while. IIRC, with an IPA you ideally want something closer to a 1:1 ratio of IBU and SG to balance out the beer.

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Old 03-07-2011, 09:09 PM   #7
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This was the first batch where I wasn't using HME and I didn't do enough research before deciding on the recipe. Went off the local home brew shop's rough estimation. I'm a fan of the enamel stripping hop levels in some beers but want to tweak this brew to be a more balanced.

Next round I'm thinking that I'll may do a partial mash and add some specialty grains. Will probably also change up the the boil times on some of my hops. Gonna play around with some different scenarios in iBrewmaster.

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Old 03-07-2011, 10:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inhocbrewer View Post
Gotcha. Thanks! So I'm assuming it's a good idea to release the co2 from time to time in order to make sure your efficiency is high. That sound right?

I am planning to dry-hop it so once the gravity readings stabilize I'll rack it to the secondary.

Thanks for the reminder on the patience!
No, you don't need to degas the beer. Co2 will come out of solution when it comes out- weather changes, moving the fermenter, etc- but leaving it alone is the way to go. The co2 present in the fermenter will actually form a "blanket" over the beer, protecting it from oxygen, so it's a good thing to just leave it be.
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