Brewed the same recipe, two different results

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urg8rb8

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I brewed the following twice, one year apart, and they both came out very different

14 lbs. Pale malt
11 oz. Caramel malt (60L)
1.2 oz. Magnum hops (60 mins)
1.0 oz. Magnum hops (5 mins)
1.0 oz. Crystal hops (5 mins)
1.0 oz. Magnum hops (dry hop)
1.0 oz. Crystal hops (dry hop)
1.0 oz. Citra hops (dry hop)

The first one came out clear, hoppy with citrus aroma. The second one came out looking like a NE IPA, less hoppy and less aroma. I am completely confused how such a simple recipe can come out completely different the second time around. The first time is what I'd expect, but the second time I was very shocked. I'm currently cold crashing in the keg to help clear it up so we'll see. But is is possible that the outcome can come out so drastically different?
 

GPP33

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It’s absolutely possible. First there’s a bunch of variables at play that you could have inadvertently done differently and second as Home Brewers we are at the mercy of Home brew stores when it comes to quality, freshness and consistency (not to mention correct product identification) of ingredients.

Enjoy that keg then brew it again and see what happens. The clarity part at least should be taken care of by cooling the keg down.
 

kevin58

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Consistency is an art unto itself. As homebrewers we are like Magpies chasing the latest shiny object and go from one beer recipe to the next without any thought of... can I make this one exactly the same again and again. Being able to do this means you really have your overall process dialed in. You know what your equipment does and you know how to use it.

Before anyone's feathers get ruffled there is nothing wrong with making something new every batch. That is the fun of homebrewing. I'm just saying that learning to make the same beer so that it tastes the same every time is a not a bad exercise and test of your skills.

https://beerandbrewing.com/lets-do-it-again-three-steps-to-consistency/
 
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carluchi

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I would say hops is the major player. Depending on how they were stored (including at the homebrew store) or how old they are or even just the conditions they were grown in, can cause flavor profiles to change.

I wouldn't expect drastic changes but if everything else being equal, this looks like the most likely culprit.

Let it carb up and see how it tastes.
 
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urg8rb8

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I would expect some changes, but it's completely different. This beer is super cloudy. I'm cold crashing in the keg now so we will see if it clears up
 

eric19312

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You did not mention yeast. You said little about dry hop process. Has your chilling or fermentation process changed. Major beer outcome variability with similar ingredients is more likely about process than subtle ingredient differences. More details please!
 

VirginiaHops1

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I agree, hops one year apart can be very different. Either it's the same batch, and one is much older, or it's a different crop. Either way there could be differences.

What do you use for water? If you're using your municipal water maybe something changed there.
 
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urg8rb8

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You did not mention yeast. You said little about dry hop process. Has your chilling or fermentation process changed. Major beer outcome variability with similar ingredients is more likely about process than subtle ingredient differences. More details please!
I used US05 both times. And I have a temp controlled chest freezer and set both to the same temp (probe on wall of fermentation bucket). I dry hopped both with 1 oz of magnum, citra, and crystal. I can completely see how variability in hops can make a difference.
 
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urg8rb8

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I agree, hops one year apart can be very different. Either it's the same batch, and one is much older, or it's a different crop. Either way there could be differences.

What do you use for water? If you're using your municipal water maybe something changed there.
I agree, the hops could make a big difference. I use RO water with salt additions.
 

eric19312

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I’m sorry but one of your batches dropped clear and other didn’t. This is not year to year hop difference. There is a process issue. Could be water related or fining technique or lots of other things but it’s not subtle.
 
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urg8rb8

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I’m sorry but one of your batches dropped clear and other didn’t. This is not year to year hop difference. There is a process issue. Could be water related or fining technique or lots of other things but it’s not subtle.
Thank you for your condolences. Lol

I did change my dry hopping technique. First time I dry hopped in the primary. This time I dry hopped in the keg. I'm very sure, at this point, this is the cause.

Cold crashing now for two days. I'll give it a couple more days and see where the beer is at.
 
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urg8rb8

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Ok... shameless update:

After cold crashing for a few days, the beer is no longer milky looking. It still is cloudy, but it has a cooper-like color to it. With all that said, this beer is very good! I thibk I like it better than the first version. It tastes more full bodied than the first one (FG was a little higher than the first version, probably accidentally mashed higher) and is so flavorful. It has a nice bitterness but I wish it was more bitter though to balance out the residual sweetness. Now..... I want to be able to duplicate this version instead and make it more bitter!!! Haha
 
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eric19312

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I’m a big fan of keg hopping too. Playing around now with no dry hops in fermenter and all my dry hops in the keg.

Glad your batch worked out!
 
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urg8rb8

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I’m a big fan of keg hopping too. Playing around now with no dry hops in fermenter and all my dry hops in the keg.

Glad your batch worked out!
Thanks! I tried it again tonight and now the beer is what I expect it to taste like: bitter, good body, nice aroma and flavor. I have no idea what happened to this beer and why it started out the way it did. It started out super milky-cloudy with no flavor, then the cloudiness cleared out to a bright orange color with a juice-bomb flavor and low-bitterness, THEN the color became cooper looking (BeerSmith estimated 8SRM) with no juice-bomb with a nice citrus flavor and good bitterness.

I've brewed a bunch of batches over the years and I have never experienced anything like this. Could be because I dry hopped in the keg? Maybe I initially overcarbed in the keg? Maybe I had way too much sediment in the keg?

Dry hopping in the keg is nice but I still got some hop material on the first few pours even with a fine mesh bag. When I opened the keg to take the hop bag out, I noticed that the bag was still floating... I was expecting to see it sunk. Maybe next time if I dry hop in the keg, I'll put something in the bag to weight the bag down.
 

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This is one of the reasons you see the fully automated systems talking about consistency and repeatable results. There are a lot of small variances throughout the process (In addition to your actual process changes) that can alter a beer. Enjoy them all!
 

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