Quantcast

Can't get real hop flavor

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
This is a problem I've been struggling with for some time now. Every time I make an IPA or something else hoppy, by the time I taste the carbonated beer there is little to no hop flavor. I'm following the hop schedules with the recipes. I'm dry hopping. But when the beer is done there is very little hop flavor or aroma.

In fact I can only think of one time I got something that was actually hoppy and that was the Hop Hammer recipe from Brewing Classic Styles.

I can think of a few things that might be the culprit.

1.) I do one gallon batches. When I throw in flameout hop additions I can't leave them in there very long because the temperature of the wort drops to dangerous levels as far as sanitation goes. I strain out the hops with some pitchers and kitchen strainers. I have to rinse them out after each pour, so I can't keep them sanitized all the time. Usually I leave the flameout hops in the kettle for twenty minutes before straining them out. Maybe the hops aren't in there long enough?

2.) When I dry hop I use small hop steeping bags and I do the dry hopping in primary. Throwing the dry hops in loose causes my siphon and bottling wand to clog something fierce. Hence the baggies. Are the baggies not allowing enough contact between the hops and the wort? Is dry hopping in primary a bad idea?

3.) I bottle condition (I don't have kegging equipment and don't want to get it) so the beer is exposed to a lot of air in the bottling bucket and the empty bottles. Could the hop flavor be getting lost that way? I know that happens with the super hoppy New England IPAs but people have been bottle conditioning regular IPAs for decades, yes?

I tried getting around issue number one by immediately straining out the bittering hop charge at flameout and then tossing in the flameout additions in a hop baggie and stirring the wort as it cools in an ice bath. But the last time I did that the hops pretty much all came out of the steeping bag. I guess the pellets reverted to powder and got through the pores in the baggie.

It has been an ongoing disappointment to get a new hop and want to try it out. And then discover I can't taste the hop. All I get is the bittering and that's all. A lot of Citra and Mosaic has gone down the tubes. I usually end up just pouring out those beers.

I know this is a long post and a rather wide ranging topic. So thanks in advance.
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
For dry hopping are you using pellets or whole hops?
Pellets. I use pellets for most everything. Though I actually find it easier to strain out whole hops after a boil.
 

Tobor_8thMan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Messages
3,063
Reaction score
1,642
Location
Go 97 miles and take a right...
Hmm... from what I've read and in my own experience, whole hops are better for "dry hopping".

Why? Due to the processing of hops into pellets in regard to the loss of aroma, etc wanted.

Do you keg or bottle?

I do welcome others opinions on this matter.
 

Kickass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
649
Reaction score
273
Location
Tehachapi
What is a typical hop schedule? Quantity and duration will help identify possible issues.

Are you doing a whirlpool/rest after flame out?

When I throw in flameout hop additions I can't leave them in there very long because the temperature of the wort drops to dangerous levels as far as sanitation goes.
What do you mean by this? Your wort and everything tossed in at flame out/whirlpool is sanitized. Put a lid on your kettle if you’re worried about airborne items falling in.
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
What is a typical hop schedule? Quantity and duration will help identify possible issues.

Are you doing a whirlpool/rest after flame out?



What do you mean by this? Your wort and everything tossed in at flame out/whirlpool is sanitized. Put a lid on your kettle if you’re worried about airborne items falling in.
To get the hops out of the wort I use gallon pitchers and pour the wort through strainers into the pitchers, to catch the hops. I do this several times to get the hops out. But the pitchers and the strainers aren't sanitary. I have to rinse pitchers with water between pours. When the wort is strained I return it to the kettle and immerse it in ice water to chill.

If the wort is still very hot it will kill (I hope) kill any bugs on the surfaces it touches. It's worked for me so far as I haven't had a single infection (that I am aware of) in any beer I've brewed.

My general thinking is that if the wort comes in contact with any surface the wort must still be extremely hot or the surface must be sanitized before hand. Anything else raises the risks of infection.

I do perform a rest after flameout. Typically twenty minutes. I'm willing to try for longer if that's what it takes.

The recipes for IPAs I've run into typically have a bittering addition at 60 minutes and then a large flameout addition. Sometimes an addition at 30 minutes.

I should say that I have been wondering if it might be better to have more additions at like 20, 15, and 5 minutes. I could lower the sixty minute addition to allow for this.

I have brewed the Centennial Blonde Ale and Haus Pale Ale several times and they seem to come out with at least a little hop flavor. But maybe Cascade is just so potent it sticks around.

I bottle. No kegs or CO2 or anything like that. It doesn't make sense to keg one gallon batches.
 

Tobor_8thMan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Messages
3,063
Reaction score
1,642
Location
Go 97 miles and take a right...
To get the hops out of the wort I use gallon pitchers and pour the wort through strainers into the pitchers, to catch the hops. I do this several times to get the hops out. But the pitchers and the strainers aren't sanitary. I have to rinse pitchers with water between pours. When the wort is strained I return it to the kettle and immerse it in ice water to chill.

If the wort is still very hot it will kill (I hope) kill any bugs on the surfaces it touches. It's worked for me so far as I haven't had a single infection (that I am aware of) in any beer I've brewed.

My general thinking is that if the wort comes in contact with any surface the wort must still be extremely hot or the surface must be sanitized before hand. Anything else raises the risks of infection.

I do perform a rest after flameout. Typically twenty minutes. I'm willing to try for longer if that's what it takes.

The recipes for IPAs I've run into typically have a bittering addition at 60 minutes and then a large flameout addition. Sometimes an addition at 30 minutes.

I should say that I have been wondering if it might be better to have more additions at like 20, 15, and 5 minutes. I could lower the sixty minute addition to allow for this.

I have brewed the Centennial Blonde Ale and Haus Pale Ale several times and they seem to come out with at least a little hop flavor. But maybe Cascade is just so potent it sticks around.

I bottle. No kegs or CO2 or anything like that. It doesn't make sense to keg one gallon batches.
Yep! Based on the description = oxygenation.

Do not add oxygen to the wort until the temp is < 78F (this is being generous)!
 

Kickass

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
649
Reaction score
273
Location
Tehachapi
You still didn’t say what quantity of hops you’re using for your late additions and dry hop. You might not be using enough, which is why I’m asking.

Pouring through a sanitized strainer after whirlpool might be the most effective. Or are you saying you’re fishing out your dry hops with a pitcher?
 

BrewnWKopperKat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
2,128
Reaction score
1,224
To get the hops out of the wort I use gallon pitchers and pour the wort through strainers into the pitchers, to catch the hops. I do this several times to get the hops out. But the pitchers and the strainers aren't sanitary. I have to rinse pitchers with water between pours. When the wort is strained I return it to the kettle and immerse it in ice water to chill.
Try brewing a batch where you don't strain the wort to remove the hop trub.
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
You still didn’t say what quantity of hops you’re using for your late additions and dry hop. You might not be using enough, which is why I’m asking.

Pouring through a sanitized strainer after whirlpool might be the most effective. Or are you saying you’re fishing out your dry hops with a pitcher?
I pulled up a recipe I just brewed (I found it, I didn't create it) called Rushmore IPA. It calls for 12 grams, or about half an ounce of flameout hops. Please bear in mind this is for a batch that is supposed to generate about one and quarter gallons of wort.

It also called for the same amount (about half an ounce) of hops at 15 minutes. And a bittering addition at sixty minutes. Then the amount amount dry hopped for about a week.

My sanitation concern is with the pitchers I pour the wort into. A lot of hops stick to the sides of the pitchers so I have to rinse them between strainings. The water, while hot water, isn't sanitized, so I worry about introducing bugs. I also have to dry the pitchers between strainings to prevent chlorinated water from getting into the wort.

It's possible I'm getting a little too hardcore in taking out the hops. I strain the wort several times. Including through a very fine mesh strainer, until I there is virtually no hop material to be seen. I was under the impression that you want to get out every scrap of spent hops, as they will add off flavors and up the IBUs.
 

maxr

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
83
Reaction score
10
Location
Davis
Sanitation concerns aside, what do you gain from the pouring back and forth business? If you have 1 gallon or wort, why not just pour it into the fermenter through a sanitized sieve set in a funnel?

I'm guessing that you are losing hop flavor due to oxidation and due to not cooling your wort fast enough to stop isomerization.

You also didn't tell us how long you're letting the beer sit in the fermenter, what kind of airlock you use, and how you're bottling. Please don't tell us that you're dumping from the fermenter into bottles or into a bottling bucket...
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
Pouring back and forth is how I get the hops out. It takes more than one straining to get all the hops out.

The beer sits in the fermenter for about 7 to 10 days. I typically use a three piece airlock. Then I rack it to a secondary one gallon glass jug and then I bottle. When bottling I rack it into the bottling bucket on top of the priming sugar and use a bottling wand to fill the bottles. Then cap it.

If it helps, I always use O2 absorbing caps. It probably doesn't.

I've tried using Brewtan B a couple a few times. Isn't that supposed to help protect hop flavor?
 

BrewnWKopperKat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
2,128
Reaction score
1,224
the problem is much more likely to be post-fermentation oxygen exposure
and generally hot side aeration isn't considered to be a factor.

To get the hops out of the wort I use gallon pitchers and pour the wort through strainers into the pitchers, to catch the hops. I do this several times to get the hops out. But the pitchers and the strainers aren't sanitary. I have to rinse pitchers with water between pours. When the wort is strained I return it to the kettle and immerse it in ice water to chill.
But generally, people don't filter hot wort three or four times (to remove trub) before cooling.
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,469
Reaction score
5,199
Location
Solway
When I throw in flameout hop additions I can't leave them in there very long because the temperature of the wort drops to dangerous levels as far as sanitation goes. I strain out the hops with some pitchers and kitchen strainers.
Don't worry so much about the dangerous levels of temperature. Your wort has no live bacteria after a boil and only a few will get into it between then and when you pitch the yeast and they won't have time enough to get well established before being overwhelmed by the billions of yeast cells you introduce.

When I dry hop I use small hop steeping bags and I do the dry hopping in primary. Throwing the dry hops in loose causes my siphon and bottling wand to clog something fierce. Hence the baggies. Are the baggies not allowing enough contact between the hops and the wort? Is dry hopping in primary a bad idea?
Instead of controlling the hops when you put them in, control when you move the beer to the bottling bucket. Put the end of your siphon into the bag that would have held the hops and hold it there with a rubber band wrapped around it. Be sure to sanitize it before it goes into the beer.

To get the hops out of the wort I use gallon pitchers and pour the wort through strainers into the pitchers, to catch the hops. I do this several times to get the hops out. But the pitchers and the strainers aren't sanitary. I have to rinse pitchers with water between pours. When the wort is strained I return it to the kettle and immerse it in ice water to chill.
Oxygen is the bane of hop flavors. This could be a major cause of your lack of flavor.

Then I rack it to a secondary one gallon glass jug
Your beer doesn't need secondary at all and by moving it from primary to secondary you are adding oxygen. Oxygen is the bane of hop flavors.
 

AMessenger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
Messages
96
Reaction score
46
Location
West Chester
The amount of hop flavor/aroma is largely a product of the amount and type of hop used. Trying different varieties with different amounts would be a good idea. You can make a good hoppy beer while bottling - just need the right recipe. This is a very good one:


The brewing of hoppy beer (with loss to hop absorption) doesn’t seem well compatible with making 1 gal batches. If I were in your situation I would prioritize moving to a 5 gal batch setup much higher than working out a process for hoppy bears in a 1 gal setup
 

OldDogBrewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2020
Messages
381
Reaction score
280
And #1 and #2, oxygen is not that aggressive in non bio transformed beers, as there are less bindings going on, it definitely affects but I've had commercial bottle condiotions dry hopped saisons, some 3 years old and there was still hop freshness, due to that lack of binding components going on. He's reducing hop extraction at whirpool by removing them earlier and he's doing the same thing with the use of bags at dry hop, I don't do Hazy IPAs but I do dry hop other beers and I had a massive change in my beers when I moved from musslim bags to a hop tube in dry hop.

So I would leave the hops until the end of the cooling, a strainer is pretty easy to sanitize so you can use it at cool temps, and move to a hop tube, it will improve a lot the hop extraction. Oxygen shouldn't be a major issue when it comes to not biotransformed beers, obviously don't leave them there to sit for months, specially out of the fridge, but they should be good during a couple months so you should be able to drink through those batches while still tasty
 

OldDogBrewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2020
Messages
381
Reaction score
280
The amount of hop flavor/aroma is largely a product of the amount and type of hop used. Trying different varieties with different amounts would be a good idea. You can make a good hoppy beer while bottling - just need the right recipe. This is a very good one:


The brewing of hoppy beer (with loss to hop absorption) doesn’t seem well compatible with making 1 gal batches. If I were in your situation I would prioritize moving to a 5 gal batch setup much higher than working out a process for hoppy bears in a 1 gal setup
I usually lose a bottle to hop absorption in 1 gallon batches (turb dependant) , which is a lot but if I made biger batches, I would probably loose around ten bottle to spoilage as I don't like to drink the same beer for too long and I try to limit myself to 1 beer daily. So it's possible to make hoppy beers in 1 gallon batches but it will really depend on each person and their priorities, it's not for everyone, if someone drinks lots of hoppy home brews, and can drink them fast, move to bigger batches
 

ScrewyBrewer

ezRecipe - Beer Recipe Design Made Easy!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
1,792
Reaction score
414
Location
New Jersey
Chlorinated brewing water is famous for muting hop flavor and aroma. Unless you enjoy the extra work try bagging all your hops, it makes retrieving them from wort much easier. Finally double up your flavor and aroma hop amounts.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
2,128
Reaction score
1,224
The brewing of hoppy beer (with loss to hop absorption) doesn’t seem well compatible with making 1 gal batches.
Depends on the size of the fermenter.

1 gal carboy is a six pack + a couple of bottles.

2 gal food grade bucket - which allows resizing the recipe to account for losses - is either 9 bottles (assuming one gal beer at packing time) or a 12 pack (if the recipe is scaled up slightly).
 

Mtrhdltd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
189
Reaction score
130
You still have not given a full hops schedule. I don't think you are using enough hops. I use 8 oz. For a 5 gallon west coast IPA. Half of this is over 12% AA, Columbus mainly. If I use 7% AA hops it's over 10 oz. Try doubling all hop additions. Also I use 5 hop additions including dry hop. Hope this helps.
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
Thanks so much to you folks for the excellent replies.

Here is the hop schedule for the Rushmore IPA. The source of which is John Palmer (I got it off of the AHA recipe website):

5 grams Nugget at 60 minutes.

4 grams each (for a total of 12) of Amarillo, Cascade, and Centennial at 15 minutes.

4 grams each (again, for a total of 12) grams of Amarillo, Cascade, and Centennial at flame out. Kept them in the kettle for twenty minutes before straining them out.

4 grams each of Amarillo, Cascade, and Centennial dry hopped in a baggie.

This is for a 1.25 gallon batch.

I do ferment in two gallon buckets (food grade, from the homebrew shop). If I put in about a gallon and a quarter to a gallon and a half of wort into the bucket I am able to rack a full, clean one gallon into secondary. Then I bottle and get about 10-11 bottles per batch.


Should I leave the hops in the wort until it is fully cooled and then strain them? And should I be less hardcore about straining out the hops (therefore minimizing the number of times the wort has to go through a strainer)?

Or should I try to keep the temp at a certain point after the flameout hops are put in? I was under the impression that the whole point of flameout additions was that hot (but not boiling) wort extracts hop flavor better than cold wort (i.e. dry hopping).

Should I not use the little nlyon hop bags for dry hopping? I don't like loose hops because of clogs but I could always sew something larger together if the hop baggies are too constricting. Or just suck it up and deal with the clogs.

I don't let chlorinated water anywhere near my beer. My tap water is quite heavily chlorinated, which is why I use RO water for the wort.

Moving to a larger setup just isn't practical. And I really like doing one gallon batches. Apologies.

I copied the Fortunate Islands recipe to Beersmith and will try to brew it. When I scaled it down it gives me about six grams of hops for the flameout additions. Is that enough?

I don't have hop extract but I should think I can sub in a high alpha hop like Warrior?
 
Last edited:

McKnuckle

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2014
Messages
3,231
Reaction score
2,656
Location
Anywhere But Here
I brew some one gallon batches too, so you have a kindred spirit here. It's so easy to handle materials with this small size, so don't mistreat your wort.

Chill your wort to 180F. Toss in the hops, either naked or in a bag. Steep for 30 minutes. Chill down completely. Then strain only once on the way to the fermenter, as you aerate the wort. If you don't have the right type of filter for this, get one. A bucket filter with 200 micron mesh is perfect, and will contain all the pellet hops.

If you bag the finishing hops, then you don't have to strain at all - just remove them.
 

Dinadan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
118
Reaction score
107
Slightly off topic: but since you are using such small quantities of hops, why not just use stainless tea infusers instead of all the straining? That is what I do. Also, I am a bit forgetful, and when I forget to add the hops to the boil until the last six or seven minutes I certainly get more hop aroma and flavor in my beer than when I boil the hops longer. Maybe a five minute addition would help?
 

Golddiggie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
12,087
Reaction score
610
Location
Living free in the 603
If you want brews with a LOT of hop flavor and aroma look up the 'hop bursting' method. In a nutshell, all your hops are added 20 minutes from end of boil forward.

Also look into getting a stainless hop filter that goes into your pot/kettle. Put all the hops into that and it will remove the need to strain post boil.

For not making large enough batches to keg, BS. They make/sell 1.5/1.6 gallon kegs now. Brew a little larger to get enough to fill and don't worry as much. Added benefit is you can add hops into the keg (in a bag, or other device to contain the matter) and get a LOT more flavor/aroma into your glass. Added benefit is you get more control over the carbonation level and your beer will actually last longer. Get one of the lids that has a tab on the underside to attach what you'll use to contain the hops and you can remove it (if you want) after a few weeks. I've never had any off flavors from adding hops into keg (before chilling/carbonating for two weeks). That's with some kegs lasting a few months before drained.

Also, be sure to use chlorine free water for brewing.
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
Slightly off topic: but since you are using such small quantities of hops, why not just use stainless tea infusers instead of all the straining? That is what I do. Also, I am a bit forgetful, and when I forget to add the hops to the boil until the last six or seven minutes I certainly get more hop aroma and flavor in my beer than when I boil the hops longer. Maybe a five minute addition would help?
I.... didn't know you could do that. I tried something like that with hop steeping bags. But the hop pellets didn't stay in the bags. The vast majority of it escaped into the wort. Would the same happen with a tea strainer?

I also figured that having hops trapped would lead to crappier hop utilization than when they were freely floating around in the wort.

Are there infusers large enough and fine enough for this? I could look into picking up three or four of them. It also be more sustainable than using hop steeping bags and tossing them.
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
What water profile are you building the water back up to?
I build whatever "balanced" profile is for the color of the beer in Bru N Water. I.e. amber balanced, black balanced, etc. I build it so that all the adjusted cells are green. Typically I add gypsum, chloride, and epsom salts. For darker beers I have to use baking soda and pickling lime to push up the mash pH.

And yes, I bought the supporters version.

I did look at the one gallon brewers thread. I liked it but there were so many posts I just couldn't read them all.

I learned to brew through books like Papazian's and Palmer's. But most of what was in there applied to five gallon batches with specific equipment.

I had hoped to join the local homebrew club (I think it's Oregon Brew Crew or the Portland one) and ask some kind souls to teach me brewing. Or at least let me observe. Then COVID hit and that idea went down the drain.
 
Last edited:

BrewnWKopperKat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
2,128
Reaction score
1,224
If it wasn't covered in one of their existing eposides, it might be interesting to email the guys over at Basic Brewing to find out how they bottle their "Hop Sampler" batches.
 
OP
N

Nick Z

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
39
Would this work as a tea infuser for the hops?


If I was to use the paint strainer thing in a bucket, how would I do this with flameout hop additions? Just leave everything in the kettle for a certain amount of time and then strain it all out at once?
 

Mtrhdltd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
189
Reaction score
130
Out of curiosity, why are you so worried about hops in your fermenter? You are removing the very thing you want more of.
 

McKnuckle

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2014
Messages
3,231
Reaction score
2,656
Location
Anywhere But Here
If I was to use the paint strainer thing in a bucket, how would I do this with flameout hop additions? Just leave everything in the kettle for a certain amount of time and then strain it all out at once?
YES. It's extremely simple. The flameout hop additions need to be steeped at below 180F or so for 20-30 minutes. Then you chill the rest of the way down.

You then use the bucket filter as a preliminary step when you transfer your cooled wort to the fermenter.

Cooled wort with all hops floating in it --> pour into bucket over filter to contain hops --> pour clear wort from bucket into fermenter --> pitch yeast
 

greywolf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2014
Messages
155
Reaction score
148
It is the oxygen. It sucks all the hops flavor out of your wort. Fix that and you will see huge improvements. You can do it as Mcknuckle says (great solution) but Hops sediment isn't the problem, Oxygen is. Transfer wort to bottling with as little disturbance as possible. I went to ferment and serve in the same keg for these styles. Instant improvement. I use a floating dip tube and don't worry about debris or sediment. I can bottle off the keg if I want to take them somewhere. You' re so close.
 
Top