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Old 10-15-2011, 09:13 PM   #1
66Fox's Avatar
Oct 2011
The Keystone State
Posts: 17

Hi all,

I’ve been lurking here a while, but I finally pulled the trigger, signed up, and bought a membership.

I’ve done mostly extract brews (about 8) with only one all-grain batch—on borrowed equipment—since January. My last brew was the American Stout out of BCS (pg 173). What (I think) I blew was the hops. I tried to match AAUs (or is HBUs more appropriate), as I had no horizon hops. I used 2oz of hallertau and 1oz of EKG (using up what was in the freezer) at 60 min and 1oz cascade and .5oz of centennial at 10min. (I was supposed to use horizon 1.4 oz at 60 min and 1oz centennial at 10 min) The rest of brew day went as planned and my numbers were within the range in BCS.

I think this beer tastes “sweet”; I thought the Foreign Extra Stout (also from BCS) I brewed before this tasted “sweet” as well. I blamed it on inexperience and lack of attenuation, or something along those lines.

I reread the chapter in Palmer’s How to Brew on hops and his calculations (or my math) and the IBUs numbers in BCS for the American Stout don’t add up.

So, some questions regarding hops:

If I didn’t get a proper bittering addition, will that make my beers taste “sweet”?

Is using the hop sacks that come with most kits (I washed them and reuse them) going to decrease the IBUs from my hops; if so how much?

Anything else I can do to correct this?

Oh, I was using hops pellets.

I’d like to try and brew an APA, Great Lakes Brewing Burning River is (now) a favorite, and I’d like to get the hops right—maybe a little over if I had to be off. I was told in another forum that home brewing would turn me into a hophead—just give in and accept it. Maybe it’s true; I do appreciate a good hoppy beer now when I never used to care for Burning River

Insight or links to any threads on this is appreciated.


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Old 10-16-2011, 03:42 PM   #2
Double_D's Avatar
Feb 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
Posts: 1,947
Liked 204 Times on 150 Posts

If the bittering addition wasn't enough it wouldn't balance the malt out so you could say it would make it sweet.

The hop sack might be to small and not allow the wort to come into contact with the hops efficiently. Think of tea in a bag vs. just floating in water.

The hop pellets give you a better theoretical bitterness yield but if your hallertau was on the low end at 3% and your EKG (I've never seen this one sorry) was less bitter than you expect you may not have made up for the lack of your horizon.

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Old 10-16-2011, 04:23 PM   #3
Mar 2010
Posts: 7,624
Liked 637 Times on 556 Posts

You should have gotten plenty of bitterness from those hops. Probably around 40 to 50 IBUs.

What was the OG and FG, and what ingredients. Without knowing very much about the beer, I would first suspect the sweetness is probably from the grains and a high FG.

When using a lot of hops, I feel hop bags restrict the extractiuon of the hop oils, and I let the hops swim free, but it's probably OK in a 60 minute boil.

Pellets will increase IBUs (roughly 10%, because it is easier to extract the oils from them as opposed to leaf.

Hop age and storage will affect the amount of bitterness you can get from hops. The ideal storage is vacuum packed in a freezer; you might lose 10% (or less) per year. If stored opened at room temperature you can lose 25 to 50% in 6 months.

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Old 10-18-2011, 11:41 PM   #4
66Fox's Avatar
Oct 2011
The Keystone State
Posts: 17

Thanks for the help.

Double D:
Yeah the hops bags were small about the size of standard man's crew sock. Although they were always under water and given the darkness of the wort--out of site--during the boil. From now on, I'm just throwing the hops--pellet or whole--into the brewpot and I'll with deal it later.

My OG was 1.074 (recipe called for 1.072) and my FG was 1.020 (recipe called for 1.017) The recipe was extract 11lbs light LME just delivered the week I brewed. 1lb black roasted barley, .75lb chocolate malt, and .75lb crystal 60. The hops (pellet) were bought this spring (I just started brewing in Jan) and kept in their mylar bags in my keezer until used. I have a vacuum sealer, so I can reseal the bags as I use out of them.

Oh, I made no adjustments to the recipe based on the fact I was using pelleted hops.

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