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Old 04-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #1
LovesIPA
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Default My IPAs taste like crap

And I can't figure out why. I've brewed half a dozen IPAs, trying to change things around and eliminate process issues and I just can't figure out what's going on. I've brewed a couple of stouts and they've come out fantastic.

I do all-grain 5 gallon batches. I use a 10 gallon igloo cooler for a mash tun. I'm meticulous about sanitation (never had an infection). I use starters from liquid yeast (Wyeast, WL) correctly sized for the beer. Except for one batch that was the victim of a broken racking cane, I'm careful about oxidation issues. That one tasted a little worse than the rest. Since I bought a thermapen, I've hit target mash temps to within a degree. The one I'm drinking now was mashed a little high - 154 - but that was pre-thermapen. Also, my notes on this particular batch are a little sparse because I was pretty

The taste is really hard to describe. There is a ton of hop aroma and flavor, but it's masked by the aroma and taste of something else that's not hops and not grain. It's really hard to describe it and I'm pretty horrible at describing tastes and aromas anyway. It is definitely not a pleasant flavor. The beer is drinkable (barely) but I don't like the idea of serving it to people. I would like a nice, clean hop flavor and aroma. Whatever this is, it comes close to masking the hops.

I thought it might be lack of proper minerals but I added 3g of MgSO4 and 7g of CaSO4 for the Racer 5 clone that I brewed almost 3 weeks ago. I sampled it today and it has the same lousy flavor and aroma.

I know this isn't much to go on, but I just can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

I'd be happy to answer any questions about process, ingredients, etc. I just need to get this figured out.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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What yeast are you using to ferment these batches? Different strains?
Give us one of the recipes youve been using also.
Do you use any fining agents? (isinglas, irishmoss, whirfloc)
Bottle or Keg?

Im not to smart with water profile but if your stouts are great your water might have high alkalinity.
Also @ 3 weeks from grain you still have a VERY green (young) IPA
I usually wait (try to) atleast 2-3 weeks after bottling/kegging for samples.
You would be surprised how much more hop aroma/flavor you get when its propperly carbed.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:03 PM   #3
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Funny, I was told its impossible to screw up an IPA but my only attempt at one was bad. I wish I had more to tell you, but until I get mine straightened out, I've got nothing.

I'm drastically changing my hop schedule to see if that fixes my beer. Thinking of buying the ingredients tonight and trying this weekend.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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Are your terrible IPA's your own recipe, someone elses, or a kit?

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:05 PM   #5
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Do you take hydrometer readings for specific gravity? Also, do you use a carbon filter or buy spring water? Chlorine is nasty, but less so in an IPA because of masking of the hops.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:07 PM   #6
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In addition to the above requested info, read through this list of possible off flavors. It might help you better describe what your tasting.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:14 PM   #7
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Chloramine made mine taste twangy (??) until i started using campden then filtering. You don't know the mix of Chlorine/Chloramine in your water. It wasn't super noticeable until I did paler beers (read hoppy).

Easy Test: Brew one with Deer Park Water and add some gypsum to get your sulfates up and see how it turns out.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:45 PM   #8
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My guesses in no particular order (with info currently known):

1.) Water quality issue. Try using spring water in jugs or RO water and repeat one of those recent efforts to see if it clears up the problem. If you're already using one of those water types, nevermind.

2.) Fermentation temps uncontrolled, too high.

3.) Combo of 1 & 2.

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Old 04-26-2013, 06:46 PM   #9
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What was your fermentation temps? I just had an American pale ale destroyed by a big spike in my temps. The brew usually has great hop flavor and aroma but the phenols produced completely wiped them out. Fruity esters can sometimes overshadow your hops but not nearly as bad as phenols, IME.

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Old 04-26-2013, 07:36 PM   #10
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Ok I'll try and hit everyone's questions in one post.

I've tried several different strains, but mostly US-05. Also one or maybe two with WLP001.

The one I'm drinking now is a kit from Northern Brewer. http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/allgrain/AG-KiwiExpress.pdf

I've bought kits online. I've bought grain from the LHBS as well. I've followed recipes and one was a "leftover" IPA made with some grains and hops I had laying around from other batches. All had the same off-flavor.

I don't use any fining agents. I've cold crashed a couple to try and clear them because they've been coming out cloudy as well.

I keg. I built a keezer a couple months ago.

The batch that I just killed last night was brewed on 3/6 and kegged on 4/2. The last pint tasted just like the first. I don't think it's an aging issue.

I do take hydrometer readings. Pre-boil, post-boil, and post-fermentation. Some have finished lower than others but all are right where they should be or close to it.

I have been using tap water. The very last batch that I brewed (on 4/19) was brewed with purified water and I added brewing salts. It's too early to tell if it has the off-flavor or not.

I will look through the PDF of off-flavors. Very helpful, thank you.

Ferm temps - I thought this was it too. The first few were fermented in about a 68-70 degree room. Then I learned from HBT that's too warm. I killed two kegs at a party and the next batch went into the keezer set at 64*. Same result. My keezer is full again and I haven't gotten around to getting another chest freezer yet, so I've been doing the swamp cooler thing and it's keeping the temps down pretty good.

Thanks for all the great feedback so far.

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