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Old 09-28-2012, 05:12 AM   #1
nufad
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Default Sweet Imperial IPA

This is my first time brewing an imperial IPA, and I was hoping for some advice. After 2 weeks, the FG is 1.020 (OG=1.090). According to Beersmith, the beer should have around 90 IBUs, but the beer tastes sweeter than I was hoping.

To compensate for the sweetness, I was thinking of making up a hop tea to add some IBUs and hop flavour/aroma at bottling time. According to beersmith, I should be able to saturate two cups of water with an ounce of cascade hops after a 5 minute boil. I'll dilute this into 9L of beer (18-fold dilution), giving me an additional 5-10 IBU and (hopefully) a whack of hop flavour and aroma. However, I've read on HBT that the saturation level for isomerized alpha acids in beer wort is around 90 IBU, but I often read of IIPAs having 100+ IBUs. How is this possible (or is it)?

Does anyone have any experience with this? Will adding the tea make a noticeable difference? While part of me wants to leave it be, I also want this beer to turn out as well as possible. Thanks for your help!

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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Calculated wort IBU and measured finished beer IBU are entirely different. The calculators just add the individual contributions together and don't take any saturation effects into account. So, you could easily make a beer with a calculated IBU of 200, 400, 1000 etc. The real, measured IBU isn't going to be anywhere close to that though.

If you want to make a hop tea, go ahead an experiment with it. Don't just dump it all in your secondary. Draw out a cup and add a bit of your tea to it and taste. If you like it, them mix up the whole batch.

The real contributor to sweetness is the FG @ 20 points. Typically, you want your IIPA's to finish as dry as possible. The usual ways to do that are to use a highlly attenuating yeast, mash at a low temp, and consider sugar additions.

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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Let it sit in the primary longer, 3-4 weeks with an OG that big. However, I just made a small (2.5 gallon) batch of my first IIPA, and the FG finished at 1.015. I over pitched it big time to be ready for a trip in October. This took 2 weeks to get there, but it was a smaller batch than yours and my OG was lower @ 1.085. That's one of my dislikes on some IIPA's, they are too sweet.

What was the recipe btw?

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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Rather than hop tea (although I'm intrigued by the idea), I would just say to dry hop it with that ounce of Cascades.

You may perceive the beer as too sweet now, but this may change after bottle conditioning. The carbonation will cut through some of that sweetness, and change your perceptions of it. I try not to get too discouraged by the taste of green beer.

Yes, 1.020 is higher than you want it to finish, so think of this recipe as a learning experience. Start planning your next batch, making changes such as those suggested by billl. And who knows, by then you may find that you like this beer (even if would would like it better if it were drier).

Cheers!

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #5
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There is some hubbubb (I've been told) that some people think that WestCoast IPAs and EastCoast IPAs should be different BJCP categories. I've had IIPA's that span the spectrum of sweet to dry. It's a preference thing. I myself have one that I mashed a bit too high and is probably not going to get much below 1.018 from 1.084, but I've had that same recipe down to 1.010 with a different mash temp.

If you just want a rich, full bodied beer with lots of hops to balance out the sweetness, you can do an east coast style that ends higher, if you want a drier, accentuate the hops west coast style, add some sugar and mash at lower temps, as Billl mentioned. The yeast part is true too, although I tend to use the same yeast for all my ales and it's pretty highly attenuating (SD Super Yeast).

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #6
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Great point frasier about carbonic acid helping to mitigate some of the sweetness.

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I'll let it ride for another week and bottle with a hopped tea. I've already modified my recipe for the next batch (slightly lower OG and substituted 5% of the grain bill with sugar).

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