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Old 02-24-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
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Default No hop flavor in 59 IBU IPA

Well, it is month form my first batch and we had tasting party yesterday. I have to say, that it was successful. All friends were excited about beer quality and they like it. So my 5 gal batch is almost gone I can say I am happy with that and can't wait for another brewing, but even the beer was good and drinkable, it wasn't as I expected.

I brewed IPA (I love them!) from John Palmer's book, called Victory and Chaos. Here is the original recipe:
Grains:
9 lbs. 9,8 oz. Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3,0 SRM)
1 lbs. 3,2 oz. Munich Malt (9,0 SRM)
1 lbs. 3,2 oz. Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20,0 SRM)
Hops:
1,04 oz. Nugget [12,00 %] - Boil 60,0 min Hop 4 39,4 IBUs
2,08 oz. Goldings, East Kent [5,00 %] - Boil 15,0 min Hop 5 16,3 IBUs
1,04 oz. Goldings, East Kent [5,00 %] - Boil 5,0 min Hop 6 3,3 IBUs
Yeast:
London Ale (White Labs #WLP013)
Description:
Single infusion, batch sparge, 2 weeks in fermenter, 2 weeks in bottles
Target OG: 1,062 / FG: 1,016 / 59 IBU

Because I had some difficulty with exact ingredients, I needed to substitute some of them (I used BeerSmith to help me with this):
Grains:
9 lbs. 2,4 oz. Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3,5 SRM)
2,2 oz. Munich Malt (12,0 SRM)
1 lbs. 2,2 oz. Caraamber (40,0 SRM)
Hops:
2,76 oz. Saaz [4,45 %] - Boil 60,0 min Hop 4 39,7 IBUs
1,79 oz. Cascade [5,50 %] - Boil 15,0 min Hop 5 15,8 IBUs
0,94 oz. Willamette [5,50 %] - Boil 5,0 min Hop 6 3,3 IBUs
Yeast:
Mauribrew ALE
Description:
Target: OG: 1,059 / FG 1,014 / 59 IBU

Whole process was fine, and I finished with measured: OG: 1,052 and FG 1,014. But I probably did some mistakes and now I am trying to find out which ones. I want to make sure my next batch will taste as planned. I hope you guys will help me find what was wrong.
And what is the problem? The beer tastes like wort before boiling with hops. Which means no hop flavor!

Here is what I did and where I made possible mistakes:
1. Single infusion in mash tun cooler
I drowned my thermometer probe and it went crazy, so I started to panic and lost track of time. So only thing I know is water temperature before dough-in. After that I don't know how long and in which temp my mash was. I am guessing it was about 1,5 hour (I was searching for another thermometer all the time).
2. Boil
I used hop bags and removed all of them right after the boil ended. Then I chilled the wort outside in the snow for 4 hours (I made immersion chiller before yesterday ... yippee.
I also have to say that I tasted chilled wort before pitching the yeast and it tasted good - nice malt sweetness and great fruity hop bitterness!
3. Fermentation
As I read in the book, I should have wort colder than storage room, and rehydrated yeast colder than the wort. But I think I had everything in opposite order - yeast warmer than wort and wort warmer than room. The fermentation started after 12 hours and bubbled very crazy for about 2 days, then it bubbled slowly during whole 2 weeks.
4. Bottling
When I took my fermenter for bottling, I noticed that it is still bubbling. About one bubble every 2 min. But measured FG was saying it is ready to bottle. I bottled with priming solution made from corn sugar to target carbonation about 2.0. I mixed it slowly and let it settle for 30 min. I also ended up with a thick layer of yeas in each bottle, because I didn't use bottling bucket.
5. Drinking
First, because of thick yeast layer, I had to leave a lot of beer behind in the bottle. Shame, next time I will try to use bottling bucket and hope it will help.
Second, I am not sure about temperature. My fridge isn't large enough, so I was chilling the beer on the terrace in 28.4 F. During our party, we started with warmer beer and ended with colder ones. Here I noticed that hop flavor was getting better with lower temp, but it was still too little for 59 IBU IPA.

Ok, I know there are probably a lot of possible reasons why my beer doesn't taste like planned IPA. I hope I will go through second batch much better. But maybe you can see specific reason, which my beer lost hop flavor. I think that the problem was somewhere during the fermentation, because before it, it had great IPA taste.

So what could be a reason? Wrong mash? Hop bags? Higher starting fermentation temperature? Too young beer? Or anything different?

Thank you all for your help.



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Old 02-24-2013, 03:10 PM   #2
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It's possible it wasn't done fermenting. Just because it reached target FG doesn't mean it was done. Was the SG stable over a period of several days? How long was your fermentation? If it wasn't finished you would have more unfermented sugar in your beer which would throw off the hop/malt balance.

Also, IBU has nothing to do with hop aroma or flavor. You could use a crapload of hops for the full 60 min boil and wind up with a high IBU beer having boiled off all the aroma and flavor.

It seems you used lots of flavor and aroma hops so you should be ok. Maybe your expectations were too high? You could dry hop as well for more hop awesomeness. Or perhaps try the same recipe again using the same bittering hops, but add even more at the 5 min or flameout point.



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Old 02-24-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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Couple things that can improve the overall product.

Know the yeast you are using your substitute is a pretty lazy yeast that requires a higher mash temp and fermentation temp. The London ale yeast would have given you great results, you could also try 04.

Hop bags can be great or detrimental. If they are too small and tight you don't get the utilization you are looking for.
I would also consider leaving your hops in after the boil and whirlpool for up to 20 minutes. You will continue to get flavor and aroma.

The hop substitutes. Saaz for nugget is not really a even swap completely different character.
Even nugget as a bittering addition I still get a lot of herbal flavor and aroma.

I didn't see if you had a hydrometer to measure or just waited the "two weeks" but this is also key to making sure the yeast has finished up. Two weeks is not always enough time.

Lastly cold crashing before bottling will leave plenty of yeast in suspension but clear it up to minimize the sediment in every bottle.

Cheers

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Old 02-24-2013, 03:28 PM   #4
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Also what was the pre dough in temperature?


It sounds like you could have mashed too high. I'd be shooting for 150 or thereabouts for such a beer.

Sounds like a case of brew day obstacles! Losing the thermometer and whatnot

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Old 02-24-2013, 03:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eladaos View Post

So what could be a reason? Wrong mash? Hop bags? Higher starting fermentation temperature? Too young beer? Or anything different?

Thank you all for your help.
There really aren't enough hops for flavor and aroma additions- the cascade is enough, but willamette is pretty subtle. English IPAs are more subtle in the hops flavor and aroma anyway, but cascade and willamette aren't really a good sub for EKG hops. You "matched" the IBUs, but not the flavor and aroma additions where IBUs don't matter.

The recipe has heavy malt flavors (Munich malt) and a bit too much cara 40L malt for a hop forward flavor and aroma. The original recipe has a lighter crystal malt, which does make a difference, as well as less Munich malt (also makes a difference).

I think mostly the recipe isn't what you expected if you were looking for a hop forward American style IPA.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:23 PM   #6
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Wow, what a great people here. Thank you all for your comments, it is very helpful. As I see, probably the biggest problem was the recipe. I really tried to find similar ingredients according their description, but it wasn't easy. My country is home of "Lagers" and it is very difficult to find proper things for Ales. I probably also depended too much on Beersmith numbers, when finding alternatives. Well, I will try to find proper ingredients or substitute them more precisely.

Now, to your comments:

Fermentation - I was fermenting for 2 weeks. I measured gravity before (1,059) and after (1,014) with hydrometer. I reached 1/4 of the OG, so I though fermentation is done. I measured only once before bottling to make sure it is ready.

Yeast - London Yeasts are unavailable in my country, so I need to use some of dry ones. I wanted to use Danstar Windsor Ale, but ordered Mauribrew by mistake. So you are recommending Safale S-04 as a good alternative for IPAs? If yes, it is great, because it is available in most of the local shops.

Hop bags - I will try to not use them next time. Which also means that they will stay in wort until transferring to the fermenter, which should be better, right?

Bottling - Cold crashing? I saw some posts about this method, so I will do some research on this. Thanks.

Mash - Mash water temp should be about 160 F. This is only temp I got properly, then the probe went crazy when checking mash temp after dough-in.

Hops - I thought that Cascade and Willamette are almost the same and when I smell the pellets, it really looks the same. But probably not. I really tried to find EKG, but with no luck. So I bet on Saaz, which looked similar and which is also available everywhere, because it grows here.

Malts - I wasn't able to find Crystal in my country. And I found that Cara... malts substitutes them and I wanted 20L Carared, but it wasn't available so I took Caraamber and thought it will only make darker beer. When calculating malts, I was looking only on the color indicator, which was a big mistake as I can see.

Well, it looks I have to find another recipe, maybe from my country with ingredients I can get here. And I should follow the recipe more precisely. I will also not use hop bags and consider dry hopping. Maybe right mashing with good thermometer and quick cooling with chiller will also help.

Thank you brewers!

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Old 02-24-2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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One more question - even though all what we've discussed here, I still don't understand one thing:
When I tasted it right before the fermentation, the bitterness and fruity hop flavor were very noticeable. After fermentation, they were gone. Why? I expected more flavor from the yeast, joining all flavors together, less sweetness because of the sugars lost during fermentation, but not the taste of the wort before boiling with all hops lost? What happened during the fermentation?

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Old 02-24-2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eladaos View Post
One more question - even though all what we've discussed here, I still don't understand one thing:
When I tasted it right before the fermentation, the bitterness and fruity hop flavor were very noticeable. After fermentation, they were gone. Why? I expected more flavor from the yeast, joining all flavors together, less sweetness because of the sugars lost during fermentation, but not the taste of the wort before boiling with all hops lost? What happened during the fermentation?
Fermentation changes the beer dramatically- the fermentable sugars are gone and so the entire flavor changes.

I'd suggest that if you want an English style IPA to stick with English yeast (S04 is fine) and British malts and hops, but for an American style IPA to go with US ingredients. Using cara- malts (german) for crystal/caramel malts is fine- but sub with the correct one. They are not interchangeable, and not only the color but the flavor is different.

Beersmith is a great start, but I don't like the conversions or subs it provides most of the time. Once you convert the recipe, you can post it up and have one of us check it over to see if you're close. IBUs aren't the whole picture- hops flavors and aromas are hugely different. Just like sugar and salt, as an example. They look the same, weigh about the same, and don't smell too different. But they aren't interchangable at all! That's also true of hops- Saaz hops are nothing like EKG hops in the least. They are both hops, and neither are citrusy, but that's the only similiarity!
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:34 PM   #9
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Thanks a lot Yooper, it is clear now. I am searching for more equipment now and I want to start with another batch ASAP. If I won't be able to get exact ingredients, I will post the recipe to make sure I am close with substitution.

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Old 02-25-2013, 12:30 AM   #10
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Sorry I didn't clarify about the term cold crashing. All I mean by this is to place your fermentor in a cold location for 12-24 hours before bottling time. When you are ready to bottle, siphon into your bottling bucket(being careful not to disturb the yeast cake/trub), prime with dextrose, mix and bottle.

This period of cold allows solids (protein, hop solids, yeast) to fall out of suspension. Giving you a very clear beer with less sediment in your bottle



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