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Can't get real hop flavor

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Nick Z

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I’ve never had luck adding sugar directly to each bottle. First is the sanitation issue. Second is the math required and minute measurements. Anybody ever try to reload .25 caliber bullets?

Batch priming is where I’ve had the best success. You’re measuring a bigger quantity of sugar and boiling that in a small amount of water, which should solve any sanitation issues.

I’m bottling 30 at a time with mixed success depending on which priming calculator I use. And I do own a gram scale. It understandably has to be even harder at the 1 gallon level.
I'm not sure what you mean by batch priming. Unless you're mixing your beer with the priming sugar in the bottling bucket. Which is what I do now. I use the Northern Brewer priming sugar calculator and a scale. It seems to work fine.

 

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I've had plenty of luck adding sugar to individual bottles. Ask two homebrewers, and...

You need a scale capable of measuring in 0.1 gram increments. Or use sugar cubes.

Yes, batch priming is mixing the sugar in with the whole batch.
 

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Back to the original topic: Hop flavor in a really small batch of beer.

Here is another idea. A while back I made an amber kit beer, 2 gallons. It was pretty good but a bit bland. So when I made the next two gallon batch of the same amber kit I tried this. When it came time to bottle, I boiled one cup of water to melt my sugar and dropped one of those infusers with 1/4 cup of Mosaic hops into the boil for a couple of minutes before I added the sugar. Then I added the water/sugar mix to the beer. I could definitely taste the hops compared my original batch, just from that two or three minute boil in the bottling water.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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scale capable of measuring in 0.1 gram increments
Jewelry scales with .001 g accuracy are currently $15 - $20 (USD). Their strength is that they can accurately weigh small amounts (0.2 g) of things (brewing salts).
 
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Nick Z

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So... as far sugar cubes or carbonation drops go, how would I figure out what volume of carbonation I am doing?

With the bottling bucket, it's easy. Measure out the sugar for the CO2 volumes and amount of beer, boil it in a little water, throw it in the bucket.

But if I dose each bottle individually I worry about consistency. Or bottle bombs.
Unless someone has worked out how many drops/cubes to use per 12 ounce bottle for a given volume of carbonation.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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But if I dose each bottle individually I worry about consistency. Or bottle bombs.
Unless someone has worked out how many drops/cubes to use per 12 ounce bottle for a given volume of carbonation.
You could start here (follow the "link to math") and verify to your satisfaction that the math is correct.

With 12 oz bottles, the 198 count dots are the better size (link to math).
Also check out "One gallon brewers unite".
 
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Nick Z

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Quick update:

I had an extra spigot lying around so I drilled a hole in one of my fermentation buckets and installed it. I guess we'll see if it can be bottled from.
 
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Nick Z

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I brewed the recipe I shared earlier. I wanted to over my process so that folks could critique it.

After throwing in the flameout hops I took the kettle, with all the hops in it, to the ice water bath. (it also got a pinch of Irish Moss at 12 minutes in the boil) It dropped to about 160 degrees F in a few minutes. Once it hit around 100 degrees F I took it out of the ice bath and let it sit for about thirty minutes. Then I returned it to the ice bath and chilled down to 60 F. Then I poured the wort, once, through a stainless steel colander I have. It did a good job of filtering out most of the whole leaf hops. I squished the hops a bit with a spatula to get more wort (and hopefully hop flavor out). Then I pitched the yeast and closed the fermenter. I don't plan to dry hop this one.

A couple of concerns:

I had a not very tight fitting lid on it. I didn't know whether I should keep a lid on it or not. I don't really have a proper lid for this but I did put a lid on. I think I read somewhere that you don't want to keep a lid on during chilling because of DMS or something. But I figured the less air that gets into the wort, the better.

I stirred it (gently) several times through the chilling and steeping process. If I don't do that then the center of the wort remains extremely hot, while the sides cool down. Stirring helps cool the wort more evenly. But I didn't know if even that level of fiddling with the wort was a no no. I can just not stir it but it will take much longer for the temperature in the center to drop.

While the small colander did catch most of the whole leaf hops I'm sure plenty of hop matter made it through. I didn't want to strain it again because I figured I would just be replicating the same oxygen introducing stuff I was doing before.

I'm going to bottle this batch in a bottling bucket as normal. I only have one fermenter, currently, with a spigot, and I'm saving it for something with Mosaic hops in it. I'm going to order some more spigots and try bottling directly from the fermenter. I am not going to rack this batch to secondary. Just from the fermenter into the bottling bucket.

Does Brew Tan B actually help retain hop flavor or act as an anti hop oxidation agent? I've heard widely differing opinions on this stuff, including how to use it.

Sorry for how long this is. And thanks again.
 

jddevinn

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I had a not very tight fitting lid on it. I didn't know whether I should keep a lid on it or not. I don't really have a proper lid for this but I did put a lid on. I think I read somewhere that you don't want to keep a lid on during chilling because of DMS or something. But I figured the less air that gets into the wort, the better.

I stirred it (gently) several times through the chilling and steeping process. If I don't do that then the center of the wort remains extremely hot, while the sides cool down. Stirring helps cool the wort more evenly. But I didn't know if even that level of fiddling with the wort was a no no. I can just not stir it but it will take much longer for the temperature in the center to drop.

While the small colander did catch most of the whole leaf hops I'm sure plenty of hop matter made it through. I didn't want to strain it again because I figured I would just be replicating the same oxygen introducing stuff I was doing before.
Lid on during cooling is good. You don't want the lid on during BOILING to allow DMS to escape.

Stirring the wort during cooling is fine, when we whirlpool we just do this stirring with a pump. Oxygen addition after cooling to pitch temperature is OK and DESIRED. The yeast want oxygen to multiply, the less oxygen the less the yeast will multiply. Once cooled, before pitching is the only time that adding O2 is good.

You don't want to add O2 while still hot, and MUCH more importantly after fermentation.

I've never bottled before, but I believe the recommendation is to go from the fermenter spout (using tubing that has no leaks) to the bottling bucket and bottle from there.
 

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I've never bottled before, but I believe the recommendation is ..
I've bottle, and ...
  1. there are good ideas on how to bottle while minimizing oxygen pickup over in "one gallon brewers unite"
  2. there are a number of recent topics on how to bottle NEIPAs that claim to provide good "shelf life".
Most Many people appear to have moved beyond using a bottling bucket for best results.

I don't use a bottling bucket. I use some of those techniques and they work.

Links available upon request.
 
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Nick Z

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Any links would be appreciated, yes. I have been skimming the 2018 posts in the 1 Gallon Brewers thread.

I also ordered the gear that people suggested from Northern Brewer. The spigots, the mesh hop bags, and one of the Little Big Mouth Bubblers. People seemed to love those things. And I miss being able to see my fermentations in action.

Perhaps someday Mr. Scott will give us the formula for transparent aluminum.
 
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Nick Z

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I got the bucket paint strainer thing and used it for the first time today. A lot of the wort backed up in it so I had to stir it for a few minutes to get most of the wort through.

This beer had no hop additions except flameout additions (Whetstone session pale ale). I tossed those in and immediately immersed it in ice water. I had to open the lid several times to stir. Then it to about 100 degrees F and I let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then chilled down.

My concern is that I exposed the wort to oxygen too much. But without some stirring the center of the wort stays much hotter than the sides of the pot. And that the process of filtering the wort through the strainer also exposes it to excess oxygen.

The wort smelled pretty awful going into the fermenter.
 

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My concern is that I exposed the wort to oxygen too much. But without some stirring the center of the wort stays much hotter than the sides of the pot. And that the process of filtering the wort through the strainer also exposes it to excess oxygen.
Prior to pitching the yeast, you want oxygen in the wort, so you're good.
 

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Correct. Stir the wort to chill it more efficiently. That's why many people have more elaborate chilling setups that involve pumps, in order to keep the wort flowing around, or through, the chiller.

Regarding the bucket filter; that's right - you have to create a bit of centrifugal force to get the liquid to drain down. Not a problem at all - the oxygenation is good. Just use a sanitized utensil for it, and be relatively gentle pressing the mesh material. I often use my finger, actually (dipped in StarSan).

Please understand, oxygen just before pitching yeast is GOOD. Oxygen after fermentation begins is BAD. Oxygen long before pitching yeast is not ideal. Timing matters.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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Please understand, oxygen just before pitching yeast is GOOD. Oxygen after fermentation begins is BAD. Oxygen long before pitching yeast is not ideal. Timing matters.
Please realize oxygen just before pitching yeast depends on the temp of the wort. Above, for example, 72F, is bad. This doesn't include boiling, but chilling.
 
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Nick Z

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How much damage does stirring the wort while it is still very hot do as far as introducing O2?

These new (to me) processes could transform my hoppy beers and I want to get it right. I feel like an idiot for not realizing sooner that I was doing something wrong when all of my hoppy beers turned out bland.

I also ordered some carbonation drops to try those out.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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How much damage does stirring the wort while it is still very hot do as far as introducing O2?

These new (to me) processes could transform my hoppy beers and I want to get it right. I feel like an idiot for not realizing sooner that I was doing something wrong when all of my hoppy beers turned out bland.

I also ordered some carbonation drops to try those out.
It's OK to gently stir without splashing or introducing oxygen into the hot wort. Once again, this is in regard to chilling and not about boiling.
 

eric19312

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How much damage does stirring the wort while it is still very hot do as far as introducing O2?
I'd say not much so long as you are not creating a lot of splashing or turbulence. Many homebrewers chill with immersion chillers and either stir or pump the hot wort during chilling or actually agitate the wort with the chiller to get faster heat exchange. It works, I did it for years made lots of hoppy beers successfully. I've recently switched to counterflow chilling where my hot wort goes from whilrpool temps (about 180F) to pitching temp in single pass in a closed system and believe I've substantially reduced kettle agitation during the chilling process. I'm liking the new system but have not noticed any changes that I could attribute to improvements due to reduced oxygen pickup during the chilling process.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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These new (to me) processes could transform my hoppy beers and I want to get it right.
You could compare your proposed cooling and bottling process changes against processes that are known to produce good results (e. g. BBRs "Hop Sampler" process).
 
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Nick Z

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Could you please provide a link to the hop sampler process? I haven't seen that in the 1 Gallon thread.

It takes about 15 minutes for it the temp to drop from boiling to around 100 degrees. If I stir more and leave the lid off it will drop faster. I don't know if chilling speed is a greater priority than oxygen minimization.

Instead of a lid I was using a splatter screen. It has a layer of charcoal in the center. I would soak it in sanitizer before use it seems to have kept contamination out. But I figured that was letting too much air in.

Should I be able to tell how hoppy the beer will be by the time the wort is chilled? I just did a Zombie Dust clone with whole Citra hops. It didn't smell super hoppy. But the recipe also calls for a dry hop addition.
 

eric19312

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Could you please provide a link to the hop sampler process? I haven't seen that in the 1 Gallon thread.

It takes about 15 minutes for it the temp to drop from boiling to around 100 degrees. If I stir more and leave the lid off it will drop faster. I don't know if chilling speed is a greater priority than oxygen minimization.

Instead of a lid I was using a splatter screen. It has a layer of charcoal in the center. I would soak it in sanitizer before use it seems to have kept contamination out. But I figured that was letting too much air in.

Should I be able to tell how hoppy the beer will be by the time the wort is chilled? I just did a Zombie Dust clone with whole Citra hops. It didn't smell super hoppy. But the recipe also calls for a dry hop addition.
FWIW I had a six pack of actual Zombie Dust this weekend. They are now distributing to New York :rock:

Excellent beer but only I'd say only moderately hoppy by current standards.
 
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Nick Z

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They don't distribute anywhere near me. Nor can we get Pliny the Elder. Which I have heard is a must try.
 
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Nick Z

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I failed. I just popped open the experimental batch I bottled a week ago. Using the hop schedule I wrote out previously. A bunch of whole leaf cascade and centennial hops.

It has bitterness but nothing else. No hop flavor. No hop aroma.

I wasn't able to bottle it from the primary fermenter because my order from Northern Brewer, with the spigots, got screwed up by UPS and sent back to them.

I don't know if the issue is primarily the bottling or whether I am still getting too much oxygen in during wort cooling. As I said, I have been stirring it a bit throughout the chilling process. It smelled fairly hoppy when it went into the fermenter, as I recall.

But obviously I'm doing something wrong. I can't blame it on the hops as they were from freshly opened packages and smelled and looked good. The fault must lie with me.
 

eric19312

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I failed. I just popped open the experimental batch I bottled a week ago. Using the hop schedule I wrote out previously. A bunch of whole leaf cascade and centennial hops.

It has bitterness but nothing else. No hop flavor. No hop aroma.

I wasn't able to bottle it from the primary fermenter because my order from Northern Brewer, with the spigots, got screwed up by UPS and sent back to them.

I don't know if the issue is primarily the bottling or whether I am still getting too much oxygen in during wort cooling. As I said, I have been stirring it a bit throughout the chilling process. It smelled fairly hoppy when it went into the fermenter, as I recall.

But obviously I'm doing something wrong. I can't blame it on the hops as they were from freshly opened packages and smelled and looked good. The fault must lie with me.
It's been a while since I visited this thread and sorry you are still having difficulty. The hop schedule you posted back in the #50s didn't include any dry hops. Dry hops are not mandatory to get hop character in beer, but they may be mandatory to get the kind of hop character you are looking for into beer if you follow my meaning. I'm understanding current hop flavor/aroma forward IPAs are getting 2-4 pounds per barrel dry hops at commercial scale. A recent homebrew scale recipe published by Other Half Brewing included 3oz whirlpool hops and 10oz dry hops in a 5 gallon batch.

One week in the bottle is not really long enough for conditioning. A lot of hop aroma comes from getting carbonation right. The carbonation pushes the hop aromatics to your both in the glass and when you swallow the beer. Maybe give it another couple weeks at room temperature to properly condition and try it again.
 

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You do not have to get all the hops out of the wort before fermenting, but it's better if you do. This is the trouble with having the homebrew Wild West on HBT answer your post. You'll get the whole gamut of personalities and degrees of refinement among brewers and you have to sort through them.
Here's my Un-refined [email protected] method from wild western PA that may work for the OP: Don't use any hop bags, toss the hops in loose, brew in the evening and then when the boil is done and all your flameout hops are added, let the wort cool for 15-20 minutes or so, then put the lid on the pot and set it outside (if its below 40F) or place in an ice bath of some sort, don't mess with it and go to bed. No stirring, straining, no nothing, just leave it alone. In the morning, it will be cool enough to dump into your fermenter and pitch your yeast. Just be careful when you are moving the pot and dumping it, the hops will all be on the bottom and you can easily avoid adding them. This is basically a variation of the no chill method and you may have to reduce your late addition hops. Also, I like to have at least 1/2 gallon extra volume after the boil so I can leave as much trub in the kettle as possible, but you can get away with less than that.
Skip the bottling bucket and use one domino dot sugar cube per 16 oz bottle. The less you handle your beer, the better. Try using Cryo hops for dry hops.
 

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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.
Oxygen. I had similar experiences when I first started brewing IPAs. Flushing with CO2 if you have the equipment will help tremendously. If you strictly bottle I would scour the web for low O2 bottlinig techniques from youtube homebrewers, other forums, magazines, books etc.
 

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Grolsch bottles, 16oz Mr Beer and if you can find 16 oz glass seem to work about right for a domino dot.

Lots of great tips in the Reddit article posted by BrewnWKopper Kat above, including tossing the dry hops in 48 hrs after the yeast.

:mug:
 
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Jako

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I recently stopped doing a 60 - 30 and flame out type of beers. i noticed missing components of hop quality to my beers. so i plan on going back to that and see if it fixes my issues. just my thoughts with my own problems recently.
 
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Nick Z

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I popped open some beers that were made using all of the improved techniques suggested here. Including bottling straight from the fermenter. I used carbonation drops. And I used wine preserve gas the purge the headspace of the beer before capping. In several cases I squirted wine preserve gas into the bottle before filling.

And, if anything, it's worse. I just tasted four different batches all made with large quantities of hops and they basically have no flavor. They are like water, really. There is a whiff of aroma when I open the bottle and then it's gone.

It seems to be an even larger problem with the newer juicy hops like Citra and Mosaic. It's still an issue with stuff like Cascade and Chinook but I could swear those come through better.

It's got to be oxygen. Either on the hot side when putting in flameout additions or the cold side when bottling.

When bottling from the fermenter I noticed that air from the outside does get sucked in through the airlock. I once tried bottling with a totally sealed lid and the beer just wouldn't come through. I think it created a vacuum.

I am at my wits' end and I am open to suggestions. It's damned strange because it has to be me doing something(s) wrong. I can't blame the gear or the ingredients.
 

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This may be a question that was answered earlier in the thread. I re- skimed this thread but did not see.

Hot side oxidation is not good, but would not have this prominent effect. If you total seal the fermenter it will create a vacuum when you try to drain, unless you can put positive pressure CO2 on it, this is good as it proves that the fermenter had a pressure seal.

In January last year you were asking some questions about volumes. Did you get that figured out? Are you measuring pre boil and post boil volume as well as original gravity? Are you still having to use water to dilute the final wort?
 

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It's got to be oxygen. Either on the hot side when putting in flameout additions or the cold side when bottling.
I just skimmed the thread so apologies if I missed some relevant information on your process and/or outcomes.

Does your beer turn out darker than you would expect? If yes, this is a clear sign of post fermentation oxidation. If not, there may be other causes to your problems, at least in part.

I read you were talking about using RO water, so you seem to have water chemistry in check. Do you also have the possibility to check pH? I ask because a tight control on pH seems to be very important for getting the maximum out of hoppy beers.
If your wort and then beer pH is too high, it could dull your hop flavors.
I also had the impression that my hoppy beers improved dramatically when I started controlling pH in a much more systematic and consistent way. In the mash, but also in the boil and beyond.
Ideally you'd want to be around 5.0 pH when your wort goes into the fermenter, and 4.3 to 4.5 when you package your beer. The huge hop additions of modern IPAs (be it west coast or NEIPA) tend to increase pH, so it is advisable to take measures to get your pH in the proper range.

IF oxidation is indeed your main problem, then it could also happen before the bottling step.
Are you cold crashing? How much headspace do you have in your fermenter? Is your fermenter sealing tightly?...
With small 1 gal batches I could imagine that you are at a higher risk of O2 exposure just due to the potentially larger surface/volume ratio, but I might be wrong here...
In any case there seem to be enough 1 gallon brewers who are successful at brewing hoppy beers.
 
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McKnuckle

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Sucks that you are still seeing no improvement...

I think your newly revised oxygen handling is fine given your equipment. O2 avoidance has gained a huge focus on HBT in the last couple of years, and rightly so. BUT... if it was truly so important to completely eliminate O2, then nobody could produce decent beer. Homebrew pioneer Charlie Papazian did not use sophisticated equipment or obsessively eliminate O2. Optimum freshness of all flavor components may require stringent oxygen avoidance, but good or acceptable flavor is easy to obtain even while being relatively careless.

One only need look across the spectrum of home brewers online - here, other fora, YouTube - and you can clearly see that people brew with all manner of care or lack thereof regarding O2. I don't think they are having the same experience as you.

Similarly, while there are lots of comments here about the kind of hop schedule you "need;" again - it is easy to get some reasonable amount of hop flavor in a pale ale. It's hard not to, to be honest. You don't need a pound of hops in a gallon of beer. You just don't.

Your issue of no hop flavor, or no flavor at all, is extreme: "...like water, really." Has anybody else tasted your beer and given you feedback?

Second, this R.O. water... where's it coming from, and have you tried brewing with any other water supply to eliminate that variable?

Another thing I'm not sure was asked: Are you tasting this beer in the fermenter at different stages, and before bottling? How's the flavor then?
 

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@McKnuckle is spot on. As a community we have become obsessed about oxygen when people have been brewing successfully for years without worrying too much about it. I'd back off on the complicated answers like purging bottle headspace with nitrogen and focus on basic principals.

Decent chlorine free water
Good cleaning and sanitation
Simple malt bills - maybe just use DME till you can make a good beer with that
Fresh properly stored hops with decent flame out and perhaps dry hop additions
Reliable neutral yeast like US-05
Careful bottling - minimize splashing


One question on bottling. Are you filling the bottles from the bottom? A bottling wand or even just a piece of tubing that extends to bottom of the bottle will help. This is to avoid splashing during bottling.

Getting a nice reasonably hoppy beer is not rocket science. Watch that basic brewing radio vid again..DME, one hop addition, 3 grams of yeast....mission accomplished and I guarantee James Spencer is not doing all sorts of crazy high tech oxygen elimination steps he and Steve are all about Basic.
 

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Getting a nice reasonably hoppy beer is not rocket science.
Rocket science? No. Fiddly and frustrating to do well? IMO, a resounding yes. At least, it is so until one develops a reliable and sound process.

To the OP - I remember very well walking in your shoes. I tried over and over again to brew an IPA to be proud of, and I had some batches that I was able to convince myself were "OK" but they never came close to meeting the standard of even a mid-range commercial example.

It got to the point where I just stopped brewing IPA on priciple, because I was tired of wasting my time (and money, on hops). Most other styles were coming out great so I decided that I would stick to those unless I could come up with some kind of meaningful change to my process to try for IPA. After all, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity, right?

I was bottling back then, by the way. I am now happy with my IPAs, but it has required me to move to kegging and to develop a process for completely closed transfers when packaging. Believe me, I am not one for making processes unnecessarily complicated or expensive, for questionable or purely academic benefit. But, to me, this benefit is not questionable or academic- it is very real, night and day better compared to my old bottled versions, and it's the only way I've been able to get satisfactory results on IPA.

I know lots of people claim that they get good results without taking the steps I did. And maybe that's true, but if I'm being brutally honest, I can't help but wonder if they're kidding themselves. Because I just could not get it to work no matter what I did.
 
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