American Amber with Centennial and Mosaic

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OKCAg2002

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I brewed up this amber a few weeks ago, and it turned out pretty good. However, it tastes more like an English Bitter to me than an amber. I'm wondering if the hops added more bitterness than I anticipated. Here's the recipe. It was inspired by the Meanbrews Youtube channel.

Any thoughts as to why it's so bitter? I was going for more of a hoppy aroma.

Grainfather G30 110V

69% efficiency
Batch Volume: 6.08 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
Mash Water: 5.37 gal
Sparge Water: 3.08 gal
Total Water: 8.45 gal
Boil Volume: 7.13 gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.052

Vitals​

Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.013
IBU (Tinseth): 38
BU/GU: 0.68
Color: 15.5 SRM


Mash​

Sacc — 152 °F60 min

Malts (13 lb 12 oz)
9 lb 8 oz
(69.1%) — Pale Malt 2-Row — Grain — 2 °L
1 lb 8 oz (10.9%) — Munich Malt — Grain — 7.2 °L
1 lb (7.3%) — Briess Caramel Malt 40L — Grain — 40 °L
11 oz (5%) — Victory Malt — Grain — 19 °L
10 oz (4.6%) — Briess Caramel Malt 60L — Grain — 60 °L
6 oz (2.7%) — Briess Caramel Malt 120L — Grain — 120 °L
1 oz (0.5%) — Briess Chocolate — Grain — 350 °L

Hops (3.1 oz)

1 oz (29 IBU) — Centennial 10% — Boil — 60 min
0.5 oz
(9 IBU) — Mosaic 12.25% — Boil — 15 min
1 oz
— Centennial 10% — Boil — 0 min
0.6 oz
— Mosaic 12.25% — Dry Hop — day 5

Miscs​

1 g — Baking Soda (NaHCO3) — Mash
2.7 g
— Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) — Mash
2.2 g
— Canning Salt (NaCl) — Mash
3.5 g
— Epsom Salt (MgSO4) — Mash
3.6 g
— Gypsum (CaSO4) — Mash

Yeast​

1 pkg — Wyeast Labs 1056 American Ale 77%

Fermentation​

Primary — 66 °F12
 

pvtpublic

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I don't know much about water, so I won't go there, but try moving that mosaic to 5 min instead of 15.
 
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Any thoughts as to why it's so bitter?
What "water profile" were you targeting? What is your source water profile?

1 g — Baking Soda (NaHCO3) — Mash
2.7 g
— Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) — Mash
2.2 g
— Canning Salt (NaCl) — Mash
3.5 g
— Epsom Salt (MgSO4) — Mash
3.6 g
— Gypsum (CaSO4) — Mash
Assuming the source water is RO/distilled, it looks like this has a lot of Na. Does your recipe software provide ppm estimates?
 
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OKCAg2002

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I start with RO water. My profile sufate/chloride ratio is pretty balanced. See the screenshot.
 

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pvtpublic

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Also, dry hops can add an astringency that can be perceived as being bitter.
 
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Any thoughts as to why it's so bitter? I was going for more of a hoppy aroma.
How long did it take to chill the wort from boiling to around 170F?

For an NEIPA-ish hoppy aroma, "whirl pool" / "hop steep" additions would be a good technique.
 

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For sulfate / chloride it's not really the ratio that is important, it's the amount of each. Low amounts of each and high amounts of each, even if equivalent, will give very different beer. That said, your #'s don't look high, so they probably aren't contributing to an English feeling.

You do however have a boat load of crystal . caramel in there. That could be part of it. Especially the 60 and 120, that doesn't say American at all to me. Meanbrews knows his stuff so maybe it works but that's far more an English thing. For American I'm not sure I'd go over 40L and even then not a ton of it.

It doesn't seem like a ton of hops overall but that AA's are pretty high for both. For an amber to get a sweeter profile you simply need to pull the hops back. Less of them early if it's a raw bitter, less of them late if it's a flavor thing.
 
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OKCAg2002

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Thanks, fellow brewers! I thought the amount of crystal was a lot, too, but I went with it. I think it will come together a bit more in the keg and hopefully some of the bitterness will mellow out. Even if it doesn't, I'll still enjoy it even though it's not really an "amber." Then again, that's such a wide ranging style.

As for my chilling process, I use a Grainfather system with the counter flow chiller. While I'm pumping into the fermenter, my hops are sitting in the hops spider for a good 30 minutes. That means that some of the AAs from the late addition hops are continually being extracted while I'm pumping and chilling. I may start removing the hops spider and see if that becomes a more controllable variable in my process.

Cheers!
 

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That's not a boat load of caramel. I mean it's on the upper end of what I'd use but even Jamil (Brewing Classic Styles) used 8.3% of 40L and 5.5% of 120L. I've brewed that recipe at least twice and they've both reminded me of the 1990's brew pub American Ambers and both times it medaled.

The 33 calculated IBU, I assume came directly from the original Meanbrews recipe. Did you compare to what your actual hops AA% was and appropriately scale the quantity?
 
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OKCAg2002

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The 33 IBUs are what Brewfather calculated. I can’t remember what the original hops were. Cascade I believed? I used what I had. I did decide to dry hop with the .6 oz of Mosaic because it had it in the freezer and thought I’d use it.

I won’t sweat it too much. It’s still a good beer. The BU/GU ratio is .68 so that might explain the bitterness?
 

pvtpublic

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Ok, so instead of posting your notes, you posted the recipe you followed, right? Because the recipe sounded good. Will you please post what you actually did/brewed. That will help the rest of us troubleshoot. It's ok that what transpired on brew day differed from your recipe. It happens to the best of us all the time. But knowing the deviations will help pinpoint issues, and facilitate corrections to process.
 
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Using a cfc wil result in more isomerisation of alphaacids from basically all your boil additions, including the flameout addition. (Compared to an immersion chiller)

Try circulating the cooled wort back into the kettle until the kettle contents get below 76°C (sorry for the metric). This should make a good difference in the perceived bitterness.
 

pvtpublic

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I'm not trying to be rude, but this is what I'm talking about:
I can’t remember what the original hops were. Cascade I believed? I used what I had. I did decide to dry hop with the .6 oz of Mosaic because it had it in the freezer and thought I’d use it.

I don’t recall any deviations from what the recipe states. 🤷‍♂️
 

Squelch

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I'd stick with cascade. Centennial to me brings a bit of harsh hop astringency in my experience. Hop you enjoyed it! Would love to taste it with mosaic hops.

-Matthew aka "Meanbrews"
 
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