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Can't get the Flavor Out of the Hops

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SONICYOUTH

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I've brewed about 6 or 7 AG batches, and I've followed quite a few different ways to get that hop flavor I crave from beers like Stone and Troegs. I've done everything from doing the standard 60, 30, 5 additions to loading all the hops in the last 20, 10 and 5 minutes. But every batch I get is missing that hop bite to it. I've done as much as three ounces of hops the last 15 minutes. Need I do more or is there something I'm missing?
 

Mcsuck

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Are you doing full or partial boils? Hop utilization is not as good in partial boils because of the concentrated wort. If this is the case, you could do late extract additions.
 

jmtwo

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A. What hops have you been using?
B. What is the total amount of hops used in a brew?
C. Have you dry-hopped?
 

stevedasleeve

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None of them are accurate - all of them are often wildly inaccurate under differing hop schedules. Pick one and get used to it is my advice.
 

Yooper

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What kind of water are you using? Tap water, spring water, distilled water, etc? A bland hops flavor makes me think of water chemistry as an issue.

Can up post a typical recipe for one of the beers, along with any water information you have, and we can see if something stands out as an issue?
 
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SONICYOUTH

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Sure, I live in Arlington so I use Arlington water, http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/EnvironmentalServices/uepd/wquality/images/file82103.pdf.

Here is an example of one recipe I used. I waited while this guy was in the keg for about 3 weeks before I drank it but it still didn't have the taste I was looking for. It wasn't supposed to be a hop explosion, but it just tasted bland:

14# 2 ROW
1# CRYSTAL 60
.25# CARAPILS

Mash at 152 for 60 minutes. Mash out and Sparge for 6 gallons (55% efficiency)

60 minute boil

.25 oz Warrior @ 60
1 oz Citra @20
1 oz Citra @ 10
1 oz Citra @ 5

Ferment with American Ale Yeast from Wyeast for one week
Rack to Secondary and add 1 oz Centennial and 1 oz Ahtanum for last 5 days.

Added gelatin solution to keg to clarify
 
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SONICYOUTH

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Bitter, flavor. I crave that grapefruit flavor but I just don't get it.
 

cjb

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With that hop schedule you posted, I'd expect quite a bit of floral/citrus aroma but very little hop "bite" - a quarter ounce of Warrior just isn't that much for bittering.

I also suspect water chemistry may be playing a role - I dont see anything in that water report about sulfate & chloride content, the ratio of which is important in enhancing either hoppy or malty flavors.
 
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SONICYOUTH

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I did forget to mention, I use 5.2 stabilizer. But how would I make the water better then?
 

kyleslattery

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You might want to try dry hopping, as well as moving some hops to 0 minutes, so you get a strong hop flavor/aroma.
 

tonyc318

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Even .5oz of warrior in a full volume boil @60 doesn't bring the IBU up into the 40's. Go with a full 1oz of that if you want an increase in bitterness. Personally, I prefer not as much bitterness and then hop burst right in the 10-0 range. Have you tried centennial with some cascade for more of that citrusy note?
 

cjb

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Agree w/ the last two as well - despite the name, in my experience Citra is more tropical fruity and less citrusy than Cascade or Centennial.
 

BunzoBrew

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Definitely try dry hopping. When I first started brewing I was seeking the same thing and the dry hop gives it that extra ooomph of flavor. You should up the bittering hops as well like stated try .5 oz of warrior.
 

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I did forget to mention, I use 5.2 stabilizer. But how would I make the water better then?
Actually, 5.2 works for very few people. But it can mess up your water and not fix it. So the first thing I'd do is get a water report. I paid $16.50 for a full report from Ward Labs. You need to know what's in your water, if you plan on using it.

Or you could try one batch with all reverse osmosis water. Add 1 teaspoon calcium chloride and 1 teaspoon gypsum to the water and see if it's better. If it is, you know it was your water.
 

Qhrumphf

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I don't know for sure about Arlington, but I know a lot of Alexandria gets it water sublet through Fairfax Water, which has data available here: http://www.fairfaxwater.org/water/imar.htm. I'd confirm with your water company if they source through Fairfax Water.

Edit: Whoops, read the Arlington report, and it's sourced elsewhere, but I'd imagine the figures should be relatively similar.
 

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Also, using gelatin can actually knock a lot of the hops out of solution. I'd suggest dry hopping, using a tea ball full of hops in the top of the keg and skipping the gelatin. If you are one of those maniac "my beer hasta be clear or somewhere someone kills a kitten" guys, I'd suggest some kettle finings e.g. Irish moss. -and still be prepared for dead kittens, because a truely huge hops bill can result in hazy beer from all those late additions.

I'm also a fan of first wort hopping... FWH tastes like a 10-minute addition, but smoother.
:edit:
try 14 days in primary... let that hops trub get a good soaking and compact your yeast cake a bit. -it might make the difference.

Well, that and the water corrections Yooper suggested.
 

dwarven_stout

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Something else that no one has mentioned- how are you chilling your wort?

I noticed an awesome increase in hop flavor and especially aroma when I switched from 30-40 minutes of immersion chilling to 7 minutes of plate chilling.
 

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Both of those last two posts have great points! Gelatin can strip out some particles, true, making clear beer but it can also strip out flavor. And I totally didn't think about the chilling! If you routinely take more than about 15-20 minutes to chill your wort, you're effectively not really doing late additions and instead maybe 30 minute additions if the wort stays hot past flame out.
 

gyst

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Do you know the difference between bittering, flavoring, and aroma hops? If you want to front load the bitter, you at a ton of hops at the beginning of the boil, not the end (see amandabab's hop schedule). Alpha acids in the hops are isomerized to iso-alpha acids during the boil, which is the bitter you taste, but they need time - 60-90 minutes of boiling. Now, hop flavor is added by 30-15 minute boils, and aroma by short (5min to flameout) and by dryhopping. All these things together make up what we think of as 'hop flavor' - you taste with your nose as much as your mouth, aroma is important - but for pure bitter, you need to add lots of hops at the beginning of the boil.
 

tonyc318

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Yooper said:
Both of those last two posts have great points! Gelatin can strip out some particles, true, making clear beer but it can also strip out flavor. And I totally didn't think about the chilling! If you routinely take more than about 15-20 minutes to chill your wort, you're effectively not really doing late additions and instead maybe 30 minute additions if the wort stays hot past flame out.
So, if you're not able to chill super fast with a therminator or even an IC, at what point do you suggest adding the hops post boil for the hop bursting effect?
 

dwarven_stout

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So, if you're not able to chill super fast with a therminator or even an IC, at what point do you suggest adding the hops post boil for the hop bursting effect?
You aren't going to get a hop bursting effect if you aren't chilling. Your best bet there is to toss the finishing hops in after you turn off the boil. You could also make a steeped "hop tea" and add that to the carboy, and dry hopping is always an option. These are all things that I did when "no-chill" brewing.
 

tonyc318

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dwarven_stout said:
You aren't going to get a hop bursting effect if you aren't chilling. Your best bet there is to toss the finishing hops in after you turn off the boil. You could also make a steeped "hop tea" and add that to the carboy, and dry hopping is always an option. These are all things that I did when "no-chill" brewing.
Im putting together a session style cda for my next beer and was thinking about throwing in 3 oz of hops into the wort after I take it off the burner and start with the ice bath. Wild that work ok? Sorry if I'm hijacking the OP, but I think this applies since we are exploring getting great flavor and aroma from the hops.
 

kingwood-kid

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Im putting together a session style cda for my next beer and was thinking about throwing in 3 oz of hops into the wort after I take it off the burner and start with the ice bath. Would that work ok? Sorry if I'm hijacking the OP, but I think this applies since we are exploring getting great flavor and aroma from the hops.
I lack a wort-chiller, so I tried the following for my recent brews with great results.

Boil your bittering hops for about 45 minutes. When you kill the flame, just let the wort sit until it's about 190F. You can spray the outside of the kettle with a garden hose if you want to move things along. Add your flavoring/aroma hops (I'd go about 1oz per gallon for a CDA/IPA/etc...) and let it sit about 15-20 minutes. Apply ice bath. You can dry-hop in secondary if you didn't get the aroma you wanted, although I didn't in mine, as the aroma was pretty close to sticking my head in a bag of pellet hops.
 

tonyc318

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Perfect! That's what I was hoping. Glad you have had good results.
 

29thfloor

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I lack a wort-chiller, so I tried the following for my recent brews with great results.

Boil your bittering hops for about 45 minutes. When you kill the flame, just let the wort sit until it's about 190F. You can spray the outside of the kettle with a garden hose if you want to move things along. Add your flavoring/aroma hops (I'd go about 1oz per gallon for a CDA/IPA/etc...) and let it sit about 15-20 minutes. Apply ice bath. You can dry-hop in secondary if you didn't get the aroma you wanted, although I didn't in mine, as the aroma was pretty close to sticking my head in a bag of pellet hops.
Is there some reason flavoring/aroma hops would be more effective around 190F instead of boiling? I've never heard of doing it that way before. Is boiling only necessary for the bittering additions?
 

kingwood-kid

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Boiling hops adds bitterness but boils off flavor and aroma compounds. Steeping hops around 180F allows you to extract and keep these compounds without adding much additional bitterness. Pro brewers use a variety of fancy toys to steep hops in 180F wort post-boil. Since my setup is much humbler, my temps continue to drop throughout the steeping process, so I go with 190ish.
 

duboman

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kingwood-kid said:
Boiling hops adds bitterness but boils off flavor and aroma compounds. Steeping hops around 180F allows you to extract and keep these compounds without adding much additional bitterness. Pro brewers use a variety of fancy toys to steep hops in 180F wort post-boil. Since my setup is much humbler, my temps continue to drop throughout the steeping process, so I go with 190ish.
This sounds similar to using a hop rocket?
 
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