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Old 04-26-2012, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default Just started brewing using a turkey fryer and beers are coming out bitter

My last two batches I've brewed have been made using a turkey fryer for the initial boil. I've used extract kits, which I've used plenty of times before, and after the fermentation and bottling, both batches have had a lingering bitter aftertaste. I've followed the instructions pretty much to a T, and have been pretty close to the suggested temps (according to the cheap-o thermometer that came with the fryer). Would this issue indicate that I'm maybe leaving the bittering hops in too long or maybe boiling at too high of a temp and altering the flavor? It's so much easier brewing with that guy, but not too impressed with the end result.


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Old 04-26-2012, 03:02 PM   #2
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Edit: I misread your post. I thought you had moved on to all-grain. Note that the points below still apply to some extent.

What do you mean by "initial" boil? Also note that you can only boil at one temperature. All that changes with more heat input is the vigor of the boil and the evaporation rate, but not the temperature of the liquid.

There are a few possibilities as to where the bitterness comes from:

1.) Tannins - this will be a mouthpuckering astringency, a little like sucking on a bag of black tea, that comes from oversparging, sparging at too hot a temperature, or mashing at too high (or sometimes too low) a pH. I recommend getting an accurate thermometer and using EZ Water Calculator (a free spreadsheet) to make sure your water is suitable for the beers you are brewing. This type of character tends to be persist as the beer ages.

2.) Increased hop utilization. When moving to full-volume all-grain boils, the hops tend to be "more efficient" at providing bitterness (both iso-alpha acids and perceived bitterness) to the beer. Simple solution is to add less bittering hops until your beers taste the way you expect them to. Excess bitterness from hops tends to fade over time.


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Old 04-26-2012, 03:05 PM   #3
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Is it an aluminum kettle? Did you oxidize it first?
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:05 PM   #4
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There are a few possibilities:
1) Your gut instinct may be correct; try reducing you hop levels.
2) You may be burning the extract. Make sure it is fully dissolved before cranking the heat to maximum (its a lot easier to burn over a turkey fryer than on an electric stove).

You cannot "boil at too high a temp"; boiling temperature is (in simplified terms) determined by your local atmospheric pressure (i.e. 100C/212F) at sea level; lower as altitude goes up). The difference between a rolling boil and a simmer is just a tiny fraction of a degree.

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Old 04-26-2012, 03:06 PM   #5
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It could also be the hop you're using for the bittering addition. For example, Chinook at 60 mins will leave a remarkably more harsh bitterness than the same amount of Magnum, which is known for its smooth bittering qualities. Something to consider!
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Try reducing the bittering hops (only those, not the additions later in the boil) by 15% and seeing if that helps.

Also, how are you chilling your wort? It seems like I get a "smoother" less harsh bitterness when I chill the wort quickly. It can take a long time to chill 5 gallons of boiling wort, though, so a wort chiller is handy.
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:08 PM   #7
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Another thing to consider is the water. If you start out with hard water, it can lead to astringency - lingering bitterness. Excessive chlorine or chloramines can cause problems as well. Try a batch with bottled spring water and see.

You can go crazy with water stuff - making up water profiles to match the style your brewing but just replacing tap water with bottled water is a good start.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotorcycleMatt View Post
Is it an aluminum kettle? Did you oxidize it first?
This may have something to do with it. All I ever did is sanitize it and start brewing in it.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patirck View Post
Try a batch with bottled spring water and see.
I've only ever used bottled water since I started brewing.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Also, how are you chilling your wort?.
I have been chilling it in an ice water bath in the sink. Usually takes 15-30 minutes to chill for a 2.5 gallon batch.


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