All my IPAs taste the same

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jabergess

jabergess

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Ok. I bought the ingredients to make 2 SMaSH batches. One Citra and one Centennial. We'll see how it goes. I also bought a pH meter to measure pH because that's probably the only thing left I don't know about or have a gadget for.
 
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jabergess

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California Select 2-row. Technically it isn't a "SM" because it will have a small amount of Crystal 15. I followed the recipe from More Beer for their SMaSH kits.
 

tagz

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Nice. You'll probably learn a good deal from the experiment. One thing to consider... Citra is typically not recommended as a bittering hop. Some people experience unpleasant flavors from a 60 min addition. I usually bitter with a neutral hop like Warrior to keep my focus on flavor and aroma components. In fact, since starting my hop experiments I have moved to something like this:

25 IBU of Warrior @ 60 min
2-3 oz. of Variable Hop @ Hopstand (180* for 20 min)
2-3 oz. of Variable Hop @ Dryhop for 3-4 days
 

thadius856

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Nice. You'll probably learn a good deal from the experiment. One thing to consider... Citra is typically not recommended as a bittering hop. Some people experience unpleasant flavors from a 60 min addition. I usually bitter with a neutral hop like Warrior to keep my focus on flavor and aroma components. In fact, since starting my hop experiments I have moved to something like this:

25 IBU of Warrior @ 60 min
2-3 oz. of Variable Hop @ Hopstand (180* for 20 min)
2-3 oz. of Variable Hop @ Dryhop for 3-4 days
This, but prefer CTZ or Bravo.
 
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jabergess

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I don't even know why they call it a SMaSH. I'm using Magnum for the bittering. Really it's a DMaDH, but that doesn't sound very sexy.
 

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Good luck!

I finally nailed my recipe, using everything I learned from doing SMaSH (and yes, DMaDH) batches. I just tapped it, and everytime I drink it, I can't help but think, "DAMN! This is good beer!"

...of course, everytime I drink it, I also think, "hmm... what would make this better?"
 

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Agree, start with smash so you've ruled out other variants and isolated to the hop and malt... All things being equal, different hops shod produce different results. Same hop used differently should produce different results. Start here and then get all crazy with the extra hop varieties and additional malts and grains.
 
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Don't take this as patronizing or insulting, OP, but how sure are you about what you are tasting? How is your sense of smell? I ask because when I'm a little stuffed or under the weather, hoppy beers tend to taste spicey to me and the citrus disappears.

Also, when I was first introduced to real beer most hoppy beers seemed spicey to me. I was used to MGD so that first Sierra Nevada damn near peeled my face off it was so bitter and spicey.

My point (without trying to be a dik) is that you may have a solid technique but if you expect something different than what is you may be chasing your tail. However, it is good to question and re-evaluate if you are unhappy with your results. If you just brewed the best beer in history but you taste it and say:"yeah, it's good BUT......."

Just throwing it out there as something to consider.
 
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jabergess

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Oh I'm not offended at all by your question, but unfortunately, yes I'm sure about what I'm tasting. I'm a certified sensory panelist at work so I have a pretty refined sense of taste. Plus I know other things can interfere with how things taste so I always taste samples in the best possible conditions (don't eat or drink anything prior to the sample, cleanse palate, etc.) And then if all else fails I also have someone else who is tasting the beer with me.
However, I like your point and it reminds me of some of the beer reviews I've read where someone says, "And of the 6 beers I tried, this one was the worst." Well duh, after 6 beers, you probably couldn't properly taste it unless it was the first or second one you had. Or even people who do reviews on a small sample. That doesn't work either. But I digress...
 

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jabergess: I just wanted to say, that You are not alone with this problem..
Most of my IPA:s taste the same and yes it's very frustrating. I have a feeling that the problem, for me, might be water ph, so I also bought ph meter. I also think it might be the amount of hops-> not enough. Still few times when I have pulled samples from the fermenter beer has been super fruity hop juice, but after a few weeks it just disappears and Im always hoping that dryhopping would to the trick, but not usually (actually worked only once). Right now Im drinking my recent IPA. Only pale-ale malt with touch of wheat and carapils, Magnum, Citra and Galaxy, with some Safale S05. And the result tastes like mudded, spicy, grassy and yeasty ale.
Just don't know what to do.
 

WissaBrewGuy

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jabergess: I just wanted to say, that You are not alone with this problem..
Most of my IPA:s taste the same and yes it's very frustrating. I have a feeling that the problem, for me, might be water ph, so I also bought ph meter. I also think it might be the amount of hops-> not enough. Still few times when I have pulled samples from the fermenter beer has been super fruity hop juice, but after a few weeks it just disappears and Im always hoping that dryhopping would to the trick, but not usually (actually worked only once). Right now Im drinking my recent IPA. Only pale-ale malt with touch of wheat and carapils, Magnum, Citra and Galaxy, with some Safale S05. And the result tastes like mudded, spicy, grassy and yeasty ale.
Just don't know what to do.
It sounds like you need to purge your fermenters with CO2. Hop character is lost really easily when exposed to oxygen even for a short time. Purging is key.
 

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It sounds like you need to purge your fermenters with CO2. Hop character is lost really easily when exposed to oxygen even for a short time. Purging is key.
That might be solution to try, but really don't know how it's done. I mean, what kind of equipment do I need for it and what kind of procedure is it step by step?
 

WissaBrewGuy

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Here are two ways of doing it but first the equipment: CO2 tank, gas regulator, CO2 tubing; for option two you need: a corny keg, a gas connector to the keg. Basically the people who are purging with CO2 generally have the equipment to keg their beer as well.

Method 1: Before transferring the beer to another tank or, if not transferring, when the beer is in the first fermenter, sanitize the end of the CO2 hose and stick it into the vessel. Turn the CO2 tank all the way on and the regulator all the way off. Open the regulator valve. Slowly turn the regulator up until you get a nice stream of CO2 flowing into the vessel. Keep going and feel the air escaping through the top of the fermenter. I do this for maybe 30sec and I consider that enough. Once purged, close the fermenter with an airlock and you should have displaced all O2 in the fermenter... That is the cheap but not-so-scientific way of doing it.

The better way is to rack the beer into a corny keg. When the beer is racked, connect your gas line to the "gas in" side. Turn the CO2 on and pressurize to 30psi (not a number set in stone, thats just what I do). When the keg is at 30psi (should only take a few seconds with a full keg) pull up on the pressure relief valve on the keg lid until gas stops flowing. I do this two to three times and call it good.
 

librewer

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Quite a few posts to read through so hope this wasn't covered already. I've improved my IPA's in two ways and wanted to share in hopes this may help you:

1) I've moved my late addition hops (5 - 0 mins) to a steep during cool-down. Myrcene, a major oil in American hops and supposedly responsible for some of those citrus flavors and aromas, boils off at 147 F (ref http://beersmith.com/blog/2013/01/21/late-hop-additions-and-hop-oils-in-beer-brewing/)). I cool down my wort till thermometer needle starts to drop below 150 and then shut down the water and let the hops steep for about 30 - 45 mins.

2) I only dry hop for a max of 3 days. Hop oils seemed to be extracted within the first day or two (there is a thesis paper written on this somewhere and the test results were very interesting). Anything longer is not beneficial and can extract some off flavors (some refer to as grassy). If you want even more, do an additional round of dry hopping for another 3 days.

Just some of my own observations - I've found Amarillo and Ahtanum hops provide a nice orange-citrus note to my IPA's. Centennial is citrus-like but maybe a tad more grapefruit. The other hop I like for IPA's is Columbus (great for bittering) as it seems to be citrus-like as well.
 

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1) I've moved my late addition hops (5 - 0 mins) to a steep during cool-down. Myrcene, a major oil in American hops and supposedly responsible for some of those citrus flavors and aromas, boils off at 147 F (ref http://beersmith.com/blog/2013/01/21/late-hop-additions-and-hop-oils-in-beer-brewing/)). I cool down my wort till thermometer needle starts to drop below 150 and then shut down the water and let the hops steep for about 30 - 45 mins.
I think it's part of any brewers scientific DUTY to experiment with this kind of process of post boil hop additions to determine for yourself how it affects your beers outcome. Since process plays a HUGE roll in the making of beer, one persons like/dislike should not deter you from trying it yourself.

With that said, I have experimented a few times with low temp hop steeps (usually ~145F) for the sole purpose of keeping as much myrcene as possible. While my findings are purely anecdotal, I have not found the results to be favorable in creating what I consider a good IPA. What I have experienced with a low-temp hop steep is inferior citrus/floral hop aroma extraction, and what was extracted was generally not favorable to an american IPA. I would say what I got from the low temp hop steeps were a woodsy, earth, subtle-grass characteristic - and this was coming from hops known for their big citrus and dank characteristics (centennial, simcoe, columbus). While their contribution was subtle and didn't necessarily ruin the beer, it didn't seem to help much either. These were all sampled directly out of the fermenter and prior to dryhopping which is why I feel confident about what I perceive their contribution was. The hop aroma/flavors I got were dull and subtle without a whole lot of the citrus/pine/dank characteristics I was hoping for. Dryhopping these low-temp hop steeped beers is what turned these beers back into a solid IPA, luckily.

One word of caution using a low-temp hop steep is using hops you feel confident are clean because the steep temperature is extremely low and may not have enough to kill any contaminants you introduce. I was using regular old commercially produced hops.

On a related note, my latest experiments of hop steeping that have proved favorable in my opinion is a fairly hot steep for a long time. I read about some hop steep experiments in For the Love of Hops and thought I'd try it myself. Their conclusion was the best hop aroma/flavor contributions came from both a hot-and-long steep/whirlpool coupled with dryhopping. For hop-forward beers, I have been cooling my wort to 175-170F and adding my steeping hops. I have been leaving them for 60-80 minutes, covered, with occasional aggitation/stirring (since I can't whirlpool); patience at the end of brewday is what has been pushing me to the 60 minute mark but the book suggests 80 minutes. I have been very pleased with the amount of remaining hop character coming out of the fermenter; of course, these beers have still needed the dryhops to firmly put them into the IPA category in my opinion.

2) I only dry hop for a max of 3 days. Hop oils seemed to be extracted within the first day or two (there is a thesis paper written on this somewhere and the test results were very interesting). Anything longer is not beneficial and can extract some off flavors (some refer to as grassy). If you want even more, do an additional round of dry hopping for another 3 days.
I think there is some definite truth in this but temperature should be considered as well. Dryhopping at 70F+ will extract oils much quicker than dryhopping at 36F. Again, developing your process and knowing how variables work within your process is key to deciding an appropriate length of time for dryhopping that's suitable to you.
 

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I feel that I didn't do the experiment justice in my previous post and that there were conclusions drawn from the experiment than I divulged. While not really ground-breaking news or anything we aren't in touch with as brewers, I'd like to provide the quote from the book, For the Love of Hops (Hieronymus:p201-202):
Code:
    Each beer received the same significant hop dose for 90 minutes and
for 30 minutes. Breweries then followed one of four procedures: 1) added
one pound of Amarillo (8.4% alpha) per barrel at the end of the boil,
with 50 minutes of post-boil residence; 2) added one pound of Amarillo
per barrel at end of boil, 80 minutes post-boil residence; 3) added one-
half pound of Amarillo per barrel at the end of boil, with 80 minutes
post-boil residence, and one-half pound of Amarillo per barrel as dry
hops; 4) dry hopped with one pound of Amarillo per barrel, with no
additional kettle addition.

    A sensory panel that included 34 experienced tasters later evaluated
the beers based on seven characteristics: perceived bitterness,
intensity of hop aroma, intensity of hop flavor, malt character, citrus
notes, fruity notes, and grassy-vegetal notes. In assessing the results
Havig cautioned that these were intensely hoppy beers and that Amarillo
is a very distinctive hop. Nonetheless, the results were statistically
significant and resulted in several conclusions:

      - Longer post-boil residence (procedure 2) resulted in more hop
        flavor, aroma, and perceived bitterness than shorter. This
        supported the initial hypothesis. "This is in contrast to a
        commonly voiced opinion among craft brewers that volatile hop
        oils are quickly driven out of hot wort, and therefore, wort
        cooling should happen as quickly as possible after the addition
        of final hops at or near the end of the boil to preserve the hop
        flavor and aroma in the wort," Havig wrote.

      - Longer post-boil residence resulted in more hop flavor than
        dry hopping, and that hop flavor is best developed in the
        kettle.

      - There was no apparent relationship between measured bitterness
        and hop flavor or hop aroma, but significant correlations
        between perceived bitterness and hop flavor or hop aroma. Havig
        wrote, "This result also brought into question the usefulness of
        using IBU as a method of measuring the hop character of very
        hoppy, IPA-style beers."

      - A combination of late hopping and dry hopping (procedure 3)
        resulted in greater hop aroma than longer late hopping. However,
        it appeared there was a diminishing return for additional
        quantities used in dry hopping.
 

Snisup

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Moar HOPS!

But seriously. I'll use 5-8 oz of hops in a regular APA depending on what I'm looking for.
I just used did a nice APA recipe with 4oz just for the dry hop.
I've also switched to 3 day dry hop time. IMHO as long as most of the hops are on the bottom, you're ready to bottle.
 

Arska

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Here are two ways of doing it but first the equipment: CO2 tank, gas regulator, CO2 tubing; for option two you need: a corny keg, a gas connector to the keg. Basically the people who are purging with CO2 generally have the equipment to keg their beer as well.

Method 1: Before transferring the beer to another tank or, if not transferring, when the beer is in the first fermenter, sanitize the end of the CO2 hose and stick it into the vessel. Turn the CO2 tank all the way on and the regulator all the way off. Open the regulator valve. Slowly turn the regulator up until you get a nice stream of CO2 flowing into the vessel. Keep going and feel the air escaping through the top of the fermenter. I do this for maybe 30sec and I consider that enough. Once purged, close the fermenter with an airlock and you should have displaced all O2 in the fermenter... That is the cheap but not-so-scientific way of doing it.

The better way is to rack the beer into a corny keg. When the beer is racked, connect your gas line to the "gas in" side. Turn the CO2 on and pressurize to 30psi (not a number set in stone, thats just what I do). When the keg is at 30psi (should only take a few seconds with a full keg) pull up on the pressure relief valve on the keg lid until gas stops flowing. I do this two to three times and call it good.
Ok. So I tried this with my recent IPA...and..no. OG 1.070 - 1.014. I used Magnum for bittering (50ebu) and tried the hopstand method also.
While fermenting there were, yet again, huge tropical fruit and citrus aromas escaping from the airlock. I added huge amount of dryhops twice, 2oz for 4days before racking to secondary and 2oz more for 4 days before bottling. I purged the fermenter with co2 for both times. Result: All I taste is huge amount of resin and pine needles.
Im very, very, frustrated now.
 

thadius856

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While fermenting there were, yet again, huge tropical fruit and citrus aromas escaping from the airlock. I added huge amount of dryhops twice, 2oz for 4days before racking to secondary and 2oz more for 4 days before bottling.
First, why were you dry hopping in primary if you knew you were transferring to secondary? Were you trying to dry hop during fermentation? That's a really good way to lose a lot of the dry hop flavor.

Second, I don't think 4 days is long enough for dry hopping. Doubly so if anywhere below 70F.

With 4 oz in the 5 gallon batch, if done properly, it should taste like you popped a fresh hop cone in your mouth and chewed on it it like a piece of gum.
 

Arska

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First, why were you dry hopping in primary if you knew you were transferring to secondary? Were you trying to dry hop during fermentation? That's a really good way to lose a lot of the dry hop flavor.

Second, I don't think 4 days is long enough for dry hopping. Doubly so if anywhere below 70F.

With 4 oz in the 5 gallon batch, if done properly, it should taste like you popped a fresh hop cone in your mouth and chewed on it it like a piece of gum.
First: I did'it after the fermentation was over (why on earth I'd do it during the active fermentation? Never). -> The idea was to dryhop it twice, so that I can get rid of the trub in the bottom of fermenter before adding more dryhops. Oh and the batch size was 3 gallons. I have tried varying timetables between three days to two weeks. Altough now purging, I might try to dryhop longer with the currently fermenting batch?
 

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Those recipes sound great. Have you tried commercial IPA's lately? You may have destroyed your tastebuds. This happened to me, go buy a bottle of your favorite citrusy IPA and does it still have the flavours your after?

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snowtires

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Oops this has already been covered. Nevermind

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First: I did'it after the fermentation was over (why on earth I'd do it during the active fermentation? Never). -> The idea was to dryhop it twice, so that I can get rid of the trub in the bottom of fermenter before adding more dryhops. Oh and the batch size was 3 gallons. I have tried varying timetables between three days to two weeks. Altough now purging, I might try to dryhop longer with the currently fermenting batch?
I will gladly try some of your IPAs to help diagnose the problem. 4oz in 3 gallons should leave you with a noticeable hop presence.
 

Arska

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Those recipes sound great. Have you tried commercial IPA's lately? You may have destroyed your tastebuds. This happened to me, go buy a bottle of your favorite citrusy IPA and does it still have the flavours your after?

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Sure, I just checked my lists. Untill today I have sampled 43 American Pale Ales, 41 Double IPA:s, 29 Black IPA:s and 92 IPA:s. Best regular IPA have been: Port Brewing Wipeout, Nøgne Ø IPA, Oakham Green Devil, Alesmith IPA and Stone IPA. I also drinked commercial IPA few days ago (Punk IPA, always nice but could have a little bit more bitterness).

boydster said:
I will gladly try some of your IPAs to help diagnose the problem. 4oz in 3 gallons should leave you with a noticeable hop presence.
You're welcome to visit:)
 

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I skimmed through everything. I'll tell you my process and let me just say that some of my beers leave me burping hops for days.
First off I do not secondary
Secondly I don't use hop bags or blockers and they don't get screened out in the kettle or whirlpooled. Every bit of hop pellet right from the 60 minute buttering ends up in the fermenter. Dry hops also go right in primary, ferment 2 weeks with us05 then dryhop for 4-7 days and RAC to a keg.
My ipas make pliney taste like Coors light.

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Just saying... Reading my post makes it look like I'm bragging but what I really meant by it was. What's your process as far as hop control. I heard many times using a bag for hopping really limits the potential

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Just saying... Reading my post makes it look like I'm bragging but what I really meant by it was. What's your process as far as hop control. I heard many times using a bag for hopping really limits the potential

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I don't use any sort of bags. I have tried both; dryhopping to secondary and primary, only difference was that the beer was a bit more cloudier after just primary.
I always screen those hops solids out after chilling (except my first batch years ago).
 
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jabergess

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I think I've tried no bag a time or two and there was so much hop material and the same non-citrusy results that I went back to a bag. I've read through this forum so many times and still can't pinpoint the exact things that work for everyone. My guess would be different things work, but finding that right combination of things is tricky.
I have the ingredients for two SMaSH type experiments as recommended by a few but have to wait on some fermentors to free up. (homebrew competition next month) My big fear on the experiments is I'll end up with two IPAs that taste exactly alike and have no clue why.
 

snowtires

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Well your first few recipes listed are pretty weak on the hops if you want that nice citrus punch. Maybe you switched to bagging when your recipes got hoppyer but was offset by hop loss from bagging.

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I skimmed through everything. I'll tell you my process and let me just say that some of my beers leave me burping hops for days.
First off I do not secondary
Secondly I don't use hop bags or blockers and they don't get screened out in the kettle or whirlpooled. Every bit of hop pellet right from the 60 minute buttering ends up in the fermenter. Dry hops also go right in primary, ferment 2 weeks with us05 then dryhop for 4-7 days and RAC to a keg.
My ipas make pliney taste like Coors light.

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What kinda recipe makes pliny taste like coors light?
 

snowtires

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The hoppy burpee one was that recipe plus an accidental 2oz of Chinook and 1oz citra at flameout

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jabergess

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How does one accidentally add hops?
 

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Mason, you are not helping the situation. Please carry on.
 
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