Can't get real hop flavor

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Immocles

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@Nick Z
I have ran into similar problems brewing IPAs. It took me about 4 tries before I landed a good one, and on occasion still run into a brew that is seriously lacking in hop flavor. For me, bottling off the fermenter helped. I also tweaked my processes of hopping a bit, and it helped. For example, my flameout additions were getting lost because I was tossing them in, and just chilling immediately. I've since started tossing the hops in, then covering the kettle and letting it sit for 5-10mins before chilling. I also started doing whirlpool/hop stand additions at 170-175F for 15m. It might just be me, but I have rotten luck with us05 in hoppy beers. I switched to notty for most of my ales and had better luck, which is completely assbackwards. Note, that I've only skimmed this thread over the course of multiple days, so you may well be doing these things already, but I do recall reading your whirlpool additions seemed to be at a higher temp than I would normally see.

I wish I had better input, but I havent been able to completely figure it out myself. I rattled off like 3 great tasting IPAs in a row and thought I was in the clear, only to randomly get hit with another muted brew. As bottlers, we will battle some obvious forms of oxidization, but I can generally keep flavors pretty respectable while watching the color lose its brightness.
 
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Nick Z

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I have not, to my knowledge, had a sanitation issue. I use liberal amounts of oxyclean and starsan. And the little big mouth fermenter was brand new. Not that the fermenter is the only possible source of contamination.

I tried throwing hops in at flame out immediately. Then I tried chilling down to 150 and throwing hops in. Same lack of hoppiness.

I'm considering trying both with the flame out additions. Half at flameout, let it sit until it hits 180-170 and throw in the rest.

What about using Imperial Pub (i.e. WLP002) or Imperial Barbarian for the yeast?

I'm going to do a beer using Bru-1 hops tomorrow and was thinking of using Barbarian.
 

marc1

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For the next brew, taste your beer at every step you have access to it: wort after chilling, any hydrometer samples, at packaging, etc. This may help to narrow down where a problem may be.
As you've discussed, use distilled water this time around to rule bad RO machines out.
Use gypsum to get sulfate to ~150, and CaCl2 to get Cl to ~75ish. Add acid if needed to get a good mash pH. Don't add other salts.
Take some pictures of your fermentation and bottling setup when you do it, there may be something that is being missed that will be more obvious in a picture.
 
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Nick Z

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I'll do the tasting. I am going to use Imperial Pub yeast. It flocs nicely, if nothing else.

And I have a few clear bottles. I'll use a couple of those when bottling and put them in a dark place so I can observe any color changes.

Can water adjustments make that big a difference in hop flavor?
 
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Nick Z

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Thank you.

I did a batch this morning using distilled water and used the grain bill and water profile of the Brulosophy Hop Chronicles recipe. I am using four ounces of Bru-1 hops. I want to be sure the issue isn't simply not throwing enough hops at it.

Fermenting in a Little Big Mouth fermenter with spigot using Pub (WLP002) yeast.
 
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Nick Z

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Here is a photo if the wort a few hours after yeast pitch
IMG_20210203_171212.jpg
 
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Nick Z

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My concern is that it seems darker than I would have expected for a grain bill of mostly two row and a small amount of vienna malt. Did I already oxidize the hops?
 

marc1

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Show a picture of the whole fermenter with airlock, etc.
 
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Nick Z

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At this level in the ferementer, having a blow-off tube close by would be prudent. Statistically the blow off tube may not be used (but statistics don't have to clean up after themselves :)).
Since I started using Fermcap S I haven't needed a blow off tube. Great stuff both in the boil and during fermentation. Doesn't seem to effect head retention at all.

I just opened a bottle of one of Tropical White Session IPA (a recipe by Drew Beechum). After a month in the bottle it is still nice and yellow. Hop flavor is minimal but the color held. It was bottled straight from the fermenter using carbonation drops.

My Bohemian Pilsner, which was bottled using a normal bottling bucket, is showing signs of darkening. I'm guessing I got oxidation of the saaz hops.

I forgot to do the gypsum test. Sorry. I will get on it shortly.

I threw a ton of hops in so that I could eliminate that as a possible variable. If the hop flavor doesn't come through I can be pretty sure it wasn't for lack of hops.

Even though it's pretty clear that the brewer, not is ingredients, is the culprit.

Thanks.
 
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Nick Z

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Update:

I tried the gypsum test but I couldn't get the gypsum to dissolve very well. Even so, I added some to a beer. It seemed like it made the beer taste a little more crisp and salty. But that could simply be wishful thinking.

I am about to bottle the Zombie Dust clone today, in which liberal amounts of gypsum were used. Going to bottle from the spigot with carbonation drops.
 
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Nick Z

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I just popped open a bottle of the Bell's Two Hearted clone. Bottled fifteen days ago. It has a hop addition at 30 minutes in the boil and then a dry hop. I used the pale ale water profile in Bru'N Water (so it had some mineralization), I used distilled water, I bottled straight from the fermenter, and used wine preserve gas at capping with O2 absorbing caps.

It has a small amount of hop flavor but not much. Not nearly as much as it should. If I didn't know it was Centennial I would assume it is a much less pungent hop. The hop pellets were fresh.

It doesn't taste bad. It has the proper light amber color. It doesn't taste like cardboard. It has very little hop aroma, despite the dry hopping.

This continues to vex me.
 

marc1

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I just popped open a bottle of the Bell's Two Hearted clone. Bottled fifteen days ago. It has a hop addition at 30 minutes in the boil and then a dry hop. I used the pale ale water profile in Bru'N Water (so it had some mineralization), I used distilled water, I bottled straight from the fermenter, and used wine preserve gas at capping with O2 absorbing caps.

It has a small amount of hop flavor but not much. Not nearly as much as it should. If I didn't know it was Centennial I would assume it is a much less pungent hop. The hop pellets were fresh.

It doesn't taste bad. It has the proper light amber color. It doesn't taste like cardboard. It has very little hop aroma, despite the dry hopping.

This continues to vex me.
How many oz/gallon for your hop additions?
 
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Nick Z

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About half an ounce of Centennial for a one gallon batch, in the boil. Then a 0.8 ounce dry hop charge. I punched the five gallon recipe into Beersmith and then scaled it and those are the figures it gave me.

It was 5 grams/0.17 ounces of Centennial at 45 minutes. Then 10 grams/0.3 ounces at 30 minutes.

Then 25 grams/0.8 ounces of dry hop.
 

marc1

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About half an ounce of Centennial for a one gallon batch, in the boil. Then a 0.8 ounce dry hop charge. I punched the five gallon recipe into Beersmith and then scaled it and those are the figures it gave me.

It was 5 grams/0.17 ounces of Centennial at 45 minutes. Then 10 grams/0.3 ounces at 30 minutes.

Then 25 grams/0.8 ounces of dry hop.
1) That's not going to be super hoppy, but the dry hop should give it some aroma. How did it taste and smell post boil, at dry hop, and at bottling? Could you pinpoint where it lost the flavor? If you couldn't taste hops after the boil (even though it would be masked by some sweetness of the wort) you may like your beer much more hoppy.

2) How are you bottling from the spigot? Can you walk us through that?

3) How much headspace are you leaving in the bottles? There is another thread around here where bottling with very little headspace seemed to help with oxidation.
 
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