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Old 09-24-2012, 06:33 PM   #1
Horseflesh
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Default Wort came out more bitter than expected

Last night I brewed a hefeweizen. When I tasted the OG sample, there was a more pronounced bitter note than I expected... not objectionable, but more than I'd expect.

The 5 gal recipe called for a 60 min boil, and these hops:

1 oz Cascade at the boil (60 mins boil time)
1 oz Tettnang at 50 mins (10 mins boil time)

I used Hopunion whole hops, not pellets.

I also had 3.3 lb of liquid yeast malt and 3 lbs of dry wheat malt. Specialty grains were about 1 lb of crystal, and 12 oz Munich, steeped at 150F for 20 mins. (I might have those amounts backwards, going from memory here.)

I used tap water, which is good tasting but pretty soft here. The recipe also called for gypsum at the boil, but I screwed up and forgot to add it til 40 minutes into the boil.

The anticipated IBU from this recipe was 18. I wanted an even less bitter brew than that, maybe around 14 IBU, which is approximately the value for Weihenstephaner hefe. So, I altered the recipe by putting in the Cascade hops at 20 minutes, for a 40 minute boil. The longer hops boil, the more bittering ... right?

(I know that there are ways to calculate IBU contributions, but I was going by the seat of my pants. I'll check Palmer's book and figure out the proper calculations next time, ahead of time.)

So anyway, like I said, the wort tasted more bitter than I expected. It was more on the first taste than the finish, if that matters.

- Does wort taste more bitter than the finished beer? I assume that perceived bitterness would remain the same as yeast don't metabolize those compounds.

- What sort of hops and boil schedule would you recommend for a low bitterness ~ 14 IBU hefe? I'm wondering where I went wrong. I expected a bigger IBU reduction from a 20 minute shorter boil, but my expectations may simply be unreasonable.

This beer will still be good, but I would like to get closer to the mark next time.

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Old 09-24-2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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Interesting recipe. Was it for an American Wheat?

Good tastebuds - that should be more bitter than a traditional hefe. Usually 1oz of quality noble hops (Hallertau, Tett) is sufficient for a hefe. Most at 45-60mins, and a little at 10-20 mins.

For this one, let it ferment out and taste it again. Wort isn't always a great indicator.

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Old 09-24-2012, 06:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horseflesh View Post
1 oz Cascade at the boil (60 mins boil time)
1 oz Tettnang at 50 mins (10 mins boil time)

Assuming everything went well with the steeping grains, I'd be interested in knowing the original gravity that you recorded and compare it to the projected IBU's. Also, "1 oz Tettnang at 50 mins" probably should have been boiling for 50 minutes.... hard to tell if you added the parantheses.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:53 PM   #4
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I think samples of wort tend to skew the perception of flavors and it changes a lot between the sample and drinking the finished product. It's not going to be drastically more bitter between a few IBUs, I'm sure it's going to be fine.

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Old 09-24-2012, 07:33 PM   #5
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TyTanium, you are right... it is an "interesting" recipe! My LHBS has a stack of recipes, and I ended up ham-handedly combining aspects of two of them for this batch.

They had a "German" hefe recipe that used German hefe yeast, part liquid and part dry malts, but that also used more hops and came out to nearly 30 IBU. Then, there was an "American" hefe that used American hefe yeast, all liquid malts, 2 kinds of specialty grain, and less hops for a target 18 IBU.

(The labeling made no sense to me as I don't expect a German hefe to be that bitter, but I still have a lot to learn.)

Anyway, while chatting with store staff I decided to use the "German" recipe's malts, because they said that using some dry malt gave the beer a heavier feel, and I like that. I used the "American" recipe's grains, because it added Munich and the "German" was just crystal. I also used the "American" hop schedule as it was listed as a less bitter outcome. Finally, I used a White Labs German hefe yeast because I like the whole hefe babana/clove thing.

Because I mixed up malts and grains the listed anticipated OGs aren't going to match either recipe. However I nailed the liquid volume at 5 gal and arrived at OG 1.055. The original recipes were both also around 1.05x.

iambeer -- the recipe sheet did say Cascade "at the boil" and the Tettnang "at 50 minutes." So yeah, only 10 minutes of Tettnang exposure.

I think the problem here is that I just don't know my hops that well, and was getting hung up on the IBU rating. In retrospect and after a little reading, TyTanium's advice of using just an ounce of noble hops like Tettnang seems like a good idea. This brew didn't need Cascade hops, and they'll just take it farther than what I had in mind.

I am sure that once the yeast do their magic, this will be a good batch, even if it wasn't what I had in mind.

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

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Old 09-24-2012, 07:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Horseflesh View Post
iambeer -- the recipe sheet did say Cascade "at the boil" and the Tettnang "at 50 minutes." So yeah, only 10 minutes of Tettnang exposure.
Sorry if this is redundant but I'm not sure if we are on the same page (otherwise, pls ignore me). "At 50 minutes" in a beer recipe means to be boiled for the remaining 50 minutes. It's a countdown to zero.

I once accidentally doubled the hops in a English Mild recipe, and it did mellow to some degree after a month, and it wasn't bad beer. It actually stood out a little from the 'norm'. But at first it tasted very bitter. Sounds like this one will be fairly unique too once it is full carbed and chilled.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iambeer View Post
Sorry if this is redundant but I'm not sure if we are on the same page (otherwise, pls ignore me). "At 50 minutes" in a beer recipe means to be boiled for the remaining 50 minutes. It's a countdown to zero.

I once accidentally doubled the hops in a English Mild recipe, and it did mellow to some degree after a month, and it wasn't bad beer. It actually stood out a little from the 'norm'. But at first it tasted very bitter. Sounds like this one will be fairly unique too once it is full carbed and chilled.
I am under the understanding that it is just the opposite, 50 minutes would mean 50 minutes into the boil (10 minutes to go on a 60 minute boil)
I have brewed mostly from kits or kit instructions and that is how they are written.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #8
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I've made a huge mistake.

Or, maybe not.

I'll check with the LHBS to make sure I am reading their intent correctly!

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Old 09-24-2012, 08:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menerdari View Post
I am under the understanding that it is just the opposite, 50 minutes would mean 50 minutes into the boil (10 minutes to go on a 60 minute boil)
I have brewed mostly from kits or kit instructions and that is how they are written.
That is interesting. It would seem easier to read that way unless you are using a typical kitchen timer which goes backwards.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:58 PM   #10
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Convention is that when you say, "the X minute hop addition" you mean, "the hop went into the boil with X minutes remaining". Thus a 10 minute addition would go in with only 10 minutes remaining while a 50 minutes addition would go in with 50 minutes remaining (fwiw, I've never heard of a 50 minute addition, which leads me to believe the OP's recipe had a 10 minute addition - i.e. 50 minutes INTO a 60 minute boil -, especially since it already included a 60 min addition)

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