Bitter Beer

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rjester

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My first batch was been fermenting for 8 days. It is still bubbling away. I removed the airlock to take a sample to get the SG (I forgot to record the OG). Then I decided to try the sample. It was extremely bitter. Will the bitterness mellow over time?
 

todd_k

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Yes, you're beer has a long time to get better. Don't worry about it. Are you using a secondary fermenter to clarify the beer or are you bottling straight from the primary?
Most people like to use the 1-2-3 rule, 1 week in the primary, 2 weeks in the secondary, and 3 weeks in the bottle. Your beer will be fine after it's been in the bottle for a few weeks.
Don't get me wrong, it's fine to sample it along the way but don't get too worried if it doesn't taste right just yet. Hop bitterness will mellow over time.
 
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rjester

rjester

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I am using a secondary fermenter. I was planning on the 1-2-3 rule. I was just surprised at how bitter it was. I thought it would mellow. I guess I just needed someone more experienced to talk me down.

Thanks
 

the_bird

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It's still green, and green beer tends to be harsh. It's good to know what the beer tastes like at various stages, but it'll be wholly different by the time it's conditioned the proper length of time.
 
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rjester

rjester

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2 oz. Centennial hop pellets

orfy, that is what I thought. Just trying to learn as much as I can.
 

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Well, 2 ounces of centennial would sure make bitter beer. What style of beer are you making, and what was the recipe? If you post that, we can tell you if the bitterness will subside a bit. I personally love bitter beers, and make them most often. I like other beers, too, so make them as well, but a good bitter beer balanced by maltiness is heaven to me.
Anyway, the flavor and aroma hops additions are important too, as well as the malt. So, let us know the whole shebang and we can give you better tips.

Lorena
 
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rjester

rjester

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It is a Red Ale.

6 lbs. Amber DME
2 oz. Centennial hop pellets
Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast (recommended from LHBS instead of dry yeast)
 

the_bird

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2 oz Centenial IS too much for most recipes. That's about 100 IBUs. You've got to be careful making beers with that much bitterness. Where'd you get the recipe from?
 

Orfy

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rjester said:
2 oz. Centennial hop pellets

orfy, that is what I thought. Just trying to learn as much as I can.
rjester, don't mind me. I'm off to bed.

If you really want to learn then this is a cracking site that anyone wanting to go forward really should read. www.howtobrew.com

Hops for bitterness is a must have fundamental piece of knowledge if you want to make beer. If you are lacking that knowledge then you are probably lacking a lot of other knowledge that is required. It's just me...I can't get to grips with the fact people want to learn but jump in without the basics.

Everyone's different I suppose.

I'm sorry if I offended or upset youou.

I consider this forum the best of it's type on the net.
Do some reading if you have time and you'll learn one hell of a lot in a short time.
 

Desert_Sky

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rjester said:
Is the bitterness coming from the hops?
hey man, Im really not trying to be an ass......But if you are seriously going to be getting into making beer, might I suggest a couple of books to read first?

Charlie Papazian's - Complete Joy of Homebrewing v3

Dave Miller's Homebrewing guide

John Palmer's How to Brew

http://www.northernbrewer.com/beer-books.html

Knowledge is the best piece of equipment you can have
 
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rjester

rjester

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the recipe came in a kit from homebrewmart.com.

orfy, no problem I know I've got a lot to learn. It's just tough waiting on the first batch to be ready.
 

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Waiting for the first batch to be ready is absolutely the hardest part of brewing! You have to be Ghandi or Buddha to have the patience required!

Now, you have some knowledge behind you, so while you wait it's time to start deciding on your next brew! That's what most of us do- put one batch into secondary and brew again!

What do you like to drink? We have lots of different ideas to help you with. If you like stouts, we can help you make a stout. I'm an amber ale/ ESB lover so I have some good recipes for that. If you're concerned that your first batch is too bitter for you (and it may well be), think of a commercial beer you love and try to come close to that. I consider all my beer drinking and purchases as "research". I love howtobrew.com and got all of the basics from there. So, while you're waiting, read up, drink a few microbrews and relax. :mug:

Lorena
 
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rjester

rjester

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My favorite commercial beers are Guinness, Newcastle and Blue Moon. I picked up an Irish Stout kit for my next batch.

Time to grab another beer and study. Thanks for everyone's help and suggestions.
 

treehouse

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orfy said:
rjester, don't mind me. I'm off to bed.

...I can't get to grips with the fact people want to learn but jump in without the basics.

Everyone's different I suppose.

I'm sorry if I offended or upset youou.
Well that is just a little harsh Orfy. Bitter perhaps? I like bitter myself. But what no one has pointed out is that really green beer like that might taste extra bitter due to yeast bite in addition to hop bitterness. Actively fermenting, acid yeast in suspension tend to taste a little harsh on the back of the tongue and accentuate hop bitterness. I'll bet the stuff tastes just fine in the end...And the part about people just jumping in without learning the basics is what this forum is all about. Right?
 

Brewsmith

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My guess is that your kit came with a 2oz package of hops, but you weren't supposed to put it all in, or at least all in at the beginning of the boil.

2oz packages are about the standard small package for pellet hops. You can seal them up and keep the rest in the fridge for another brew.

Can you post the instructions that you did have, so that we can see exactly what they say. Kit instructions aren't necessarily known for their great clarity. Especially for a new brewer.
 

Orfy

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treehouse said:
Well that is just a little harsh Orfy. Bitter perhaps? I like bitter myself. But what no one has pointed out is that really green beer like that might taste extra bitter due to yeast bite in addition to hop bitterness. Actively fermenting, acid yeast in suspension tend to taste a little harsh on the back of the tongue and accentuate hop bitterness. I'll bet the stuff tastes just fine in the end...And the part about people just jumping in without learning the basics is what this forum is all about. Right?
I'm not saying the bitterness was from the hops, but I do say that you should know that hops cause bitterness.
If people want to jump in without learning the basics then that's up to them but it's not the way I work and I really don't think anyone can expect to make good beer with out doing a little back ground work before hand.
I wouldn't say this board is about making cheap plonk or about extract and kilo kits. Now if that's how people want to make beer then hooray for them. That is not the reason I use this forum. I just hope that people learn reall quick, it just seems the majority of the questions are asked due to total lack of basic knowledge that you should know if you are the least bit interested in making good beer.

I do try to help people gain the knowledge but there's certain things you should do for yourself.
 
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rjester

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The kit didn't come with instructions, just a recipe.

orfy, I am learning as I go. I'm sure everyone had questions that books or posts didn't answer, or just needed clarification from someone more experienced. I am use this forum, as well as, other sites and books to gain the knowledge. I apologize if I am at your level of experience. Hopefully in the future I will be, and I can chastise beginners for wanting to learn.
 

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If you post the recipe you got, we can help you with it. Some of the hops were probably bittering hops, some flavor hops, some aroma hops. No way to tell if you don't post the recipe. Did you add all two ounces all at once, or several different times, and how long did you boil? That's what we're trying to figure out. We're all glad to help- just trying to get some more information to be able to help you.

Lorena
 
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rjester

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This is all that was listed in the kit.

6 lbs. Amber DME
2 oz. Centennial hop pellets
Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast (recommended from LHBS instead of dry yeast)

I boiled 2 gallons of water and added the extract. At 15 minutes I added 1.5 oz of the hops. At 45 minutes I added the remaining hops. At 60 minutes I removed from the heat and let it cool in an ice bath. Then I poured the wort into my bucket with an additional 3 gallons of water.

I followed the procedure from a dvd (Basic Brewing: Introduction to Extract Home Brewing).

It's my first batch. If it comes out horrible I'll still drink it. :mug:
 

the_bird

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I'm wondering if you put the hops in backward. How does the recipe read with the hops additions. If should say either:

1.5oz Centenial (45)
0.5oz Centenial (15)

or

0.5oz Centenial (45)
1.5oz Centenial (15)

Just so there's no confusion, the number in the ( ) indicates the total time that the hop addition wants to be boiled, not how long into the boil you add then. If you see 1.5oz Centenial (15), that means to add those hops with fifteen minutes left in the boil, not after fifteen minutes had expired (so they would be boiled 45 minutes total).

I don't have Brewsmith installed at work (thankfully), but there is a HUGE difference in the bittering you would get if you did a 1.5oz bittering addition (and half-ounce flavor addition), versus a half-ounce bittering and 1.5 ounce flavor addition.
 
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rjester

rjester

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the_bird said:
I'm wondering if you put the hops in backward. How does the recipe read with the hops additions. If should say either:

1.5oz Centenial (45)
0.5oz Centenial (15)

or

0.5oz Centenial (45)
1.5oz Centenial (15)
It was neither. Just 2oz. Centennial Hops.
 

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Thanks for the information- that's what we were all looking for.

Your beer will NOT be horrible. It will be drinkable and flavorful. It will be a bitter beer, because your first hops addition is the "bittering hops" addition. That's what gives the beer it's bitter flavor up front. Most recipes call for a certain amount of hops at the beginning of the boil- usually 60 minutes. Then, the flavor hops are added with 15 minutes left in the boil, and then finishing hops (if using) are added at 5 minutes or at flameout. So, a recipe that uses these hops might look like this:

6LBS LDME

1 oz perle 60 mins
1/4 oz perle 30 minutes
1/4 oz perle 5 mins
1/4 oz saaz 5 mins.

Your instructions were lacking, to not tell you the amount of hops and when to add them. 1.5 ounces of centennial for bittering is kind of alot. Not bad if you like bitter beers, just more bitter than you might have been expecting.

Also, your hops additions are in the recipe for the amount of time you boil, not the amount of time left. So, the first addition (the 60 mins, for example) is actually boiled for the full 60 minutes, and the others are added to the boil with the correct amount of time left in the boil.

So, you actually added 1.5 ounces at 45 minutes, and .5 ounces at 15 minutes. That way, it makes it easier for us to understand. Your technique was good, and you did a good job with it.

No worries- you've made beer!

Lorena
 

the_bird

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rjester said:
It was neither. Just 2oz. Centennial Hops.
The recipe didn't tell you when to add them at all? That's not much of a recipe... I'd find another source for kits, that's just not acceptable.

1.5 ounces of Centenial for 45 minutes WILL be pretty bitter, so this is a beer that might need a good amount of aging. But, ultimately, it should be fine.
 
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rjester

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the_bird said:
The recipe didn't tell you when to add them at all? That's not much of a recipe... I'd find another source for kits, that's just not acceptable.

1.5 ounces of Centenial for 45 minutes WILL be pretty bitter, so this is a beer that might need a good amount of aging. But, ultimately, it should be fine.
There were no instructions at all. I got a True Brew kit at my LHBS. At least it has some instructions.

Either way I'll enjoy it with a funny look on my face.
 

treehouse

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lorenae said:
So, you actually added 1.5 ounces at 45 minutes, and .5 ounces at 15 minutes. That way, it makes it easier for us to understand. Your technique was good, and you did a good job with it.

No worries- you've made beer!

Lorena
Well written and reasoned reply Lorenae.

I might add that sometimes "mistakes" turn out to be wonderful "discoveries". That is all part of the fun. None of this stuff is written in stone. Rules (and recipes) are made to be broken.
 

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By my calculations, you should be just fine if you can drink and enjoy 30ish IBU beers.

I put the recipe into BeerSmith software. The 6lb. Amber DME puts you at about 1.053 OG. The hop schedule you used (1.5oz. Centennial [I used 10%alpha acid] for 45, .5oz for 15 mins) should put you at roughly 27IBU taking into consideration that you did boil only 2 gallons (this will probably end up 'saving you' this time if you don't like bitter beer; although it is probably going to be more bitter than your favorites).

Hop utilization decreases in more concentrated worts (smaller boil size). If you had done a full boil of the recipe, you would have gotten ~60IBU, which is definitely more bitter than what you'll have now. Even 60IBU is very drinkable, but its definitely in the IPA range...

1.053OG and ~30IBU should be fine. Follow the 1-2-3 rule and you'll be OK on this one.
 

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