Dry hopping and vegetal flavor

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julian81

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I know there are a few threads on this already, but I just can't wrap my head around this one for my particular situation. I recently did a 10 gallon IPA batch. The best tasting IPA I've ever brewed (single hop simcoe IPA). I split it into 2 5 gallon carboys and fermented one with WLP002 (english ale) and the other with WLP051 (cali ale V). They finished at 1.013 and 1.015 respectively and taste pretty damn amazing. Simcoe might be my favorite hop!

-pitched a 1L starter of each at 59-60F
- fermentation peaked at 62F
- fermented for 1.5-2 weeks

Now, I've just finished dry hopping the english ale one because it reached FG quicker. I used 2oz simcoe and dry hopped for 3.5 days. I tried it after I kegged it, and tried it again when I got home. Obviously it's not carbed yet, but there is a distinct vegetal/plant like taste. The awesome IPA that it was pre-dry hopping is no more. I'm pretty bummed and not sure what went wrong...if anything? But it definitely doesn't taste the same, and not in a good way. It's not terrible, but it's no longer amazing and the vegetal taste is quite noticeable. The aroma isn't as bad, but still somewhat vegetal.

I didn't dry hop for nearly as long as most people recommend (7 days).

Here's what I did:

- racked to secondary on top of 2oz simcoe
- left it in my garage which is about 58-59F. It sat on the cold ground cement floor of the garage.
- I swirled it very gently after the first day of dry hopping just to get the hop debris on the surface to drop.
- after 3.5 days, kegged and started carbing in my fridge at around 45-46F.

I've dry hopped before and I feel like I've had this issue but can't remember what happened. Other times I've dry hopped I haven't had this issue at all.

So many questions...

Will this weird vegetal taste subside in the keg eventually?
Should I take the keg out of the fridge and let it carb at higher temps?
Should I have dry hopped at higher temps?

This was seriously the best IPA I've brewed (and the other half on cali ale is in fermentor is still tasting awesome) so I'm seriously bummed that 3.5 days of normal dry hopping with 2oz caused this.

Please help! And sorry for the long rambling post - just trying to be thorough for whoever reads it :)

--Julian
 

TahoeRy

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Just a dumb question here. Was your keg clean and completely sterile? You sound like you know what your doing but I can't see that flavor coming from the dry hop. If you said that you let it sit a week or more with the dry hops it would be an easy answer, but around 4 days is ideal. I'd say its in the dispensing lines or keg but I am not sure and interested to see what others say here.

Good luck.
 
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julian81

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Just a dumb question here. Was your keg clean and completely sterile? You sound like you know what your doing but I can't see that flavor coming from the dry hop. If you said that you let it sit a week or more with the dry hops it would be an easy answer, but around 4 days is ideal. I'd say its in the dispensing lines or keg but I am not sure and interested to see what others say here.

Good luck.
Keg was thoroughly cleaned by soaking overnight with PBW, rinsed, and sanitized with saniclean. The IPA was racked into the keg with a mesh/paint strainer bag to catch any hop debris and instantly sealed, pressurized and any excess O2 bled out.

I honestly can't see anything I did wrong process or sanitation wise...if there is I'd love to know what it is.
 

Cbaddad

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Give it some time.

Could it have been oxidized? Purged the keg? Is it a cardboard type flavor at all?

Otherwise, it might just be the initial carbonation bite coupled with the recent dry hop. Wait a few days and then just be stoked you have the one good keg still.
 
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julian81

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Give it some time.

Could it have been oxidized? Purged the keg? Is it a cardboard type flavor at all?

Otherwise, it might just be the initial carbonation bite coupled with the recent dry hop. Wait a few days and then just be stoked you have the one good keg still.
I don't think it's cardboard...and I doubt it was oxidized. It tasted like this just after I dry hopped it. Immediately after the carboy was empty and I sealed up the keg, purged the O2, and pressurized it at 10PSI, I tasted it.
 

stpug

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... racked into the keg with a mesh/paint strainer bag to catch any hop debris ...
Was the end of the racking hose submerged in the beer? If it was then the strainer bag as also, correct? I'm just trying to ensure that you didn't keep the hose and bag above the surface of the beer which could potentially introduce unwanted air/oxygen into the beer. Beer falling through a strainer bag hanging in the air would not be good.

Vegetal tastes can mellow in the keg, but could take a little time. Unfortunately, time is the enemy when it comes to an IPA.
Carbing at fridge temp is probably best unless you feel that the beer needs some conditioning time, in which case higher temps can speed that process up.
Dry hopping at cooler temperatures, in my opinion, has shown to work more slowly, therefore it would be more forgiving to excess dry hop time.
 
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julian81

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Was the end of the racking hose submerged in the beer? If it was then the strainer bag as also, correct? I'm just trying to ensure that you didn't keep the hose and bag above the surface of the beer which could potentially introduce unwanted air/oxygen into the beer. Beer falling through a strainer bag hanging in the air would not be good.

Vegetal tastes can mellow in the keg, but could take a little time. Unfortunately, time is the enemy when it comes to an IPA.
Carbing at fridge temp is probably best unless you feel that the beer needs some conditioning time, in which case higher temps can speed that process up.
Dry hopping at cooler temperatures, in my opinion, has shown to work more slowly, therefore it would be more forgiving to excess dry hop time.
I had the strainer bag dangling through the opening of my sixtel sankey keg, and the the end of the racking hose was placed into that. When I started racking off the beer, I hear it "splash" and immediately tilted the keg so that the hose/strainer were not just dropping/aerating wort into the keg, but gently dropping it along the side of the keg. I eventually tipped the keg back in the upright position as it filled and the hose became submerged. I don't think that minimal initial splashing would have caused this - I'm pretty sure that it tasted like that straight out of the carboy after dry hopping.

Thanks for helping me dig into this...
 

Dolomieu

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i always put the strainer bag at the end of my auto syphon rather than the hose, lessening the chance of aeration.

Though I have moved to dry hopping in the keg at serving temps. I find that I can leave the hops in there the whole time i have the keg tapped with out any issues, like vegetal flavor. I would answer your three questions as follows.

Will this weird vegetal taste subside in the keg eventually? Maybe
Should I take the keg out of the fridge and let it carb at higher temps? Nah
Should I have dry hopped at higher temps? Nope, I'd go lower(personally)
 
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julian81

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So this is weird and I'm not sure what to make of it. I just came home, and took 2 small sample glasses with me to the keg. I emptied what was in the picnic tap (and maybe a bit more from the keg) into the first glass, and then filled the 2nd glass up with fresh new IPA from the keg.

The first glass that had beer from the line in it smelled and tasted awesome. Very little to any vegetal taste.

The 2nd glass was way different. Same vegetal taste I describe in previous posts above.

What does everyone make of that?
 

InityBrew

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Give it a few days. it will be fine. This happens to me when i dry hop in the keg. tastes grassy / vegetal for the first week. Tastes amazing after 2 weeks.
 
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julian81

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Give it a few days. it will be fine. This happens to me when i dry hop in the keg. tastes grassy / vegetal for the first week. Tastes amazing after 2 weeks.
Seriously? Are you cold carbing it during those 2 weeks? You're the only other person that's corroborated my issue so far!
 

InityBrew

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Most recently, i brewed a DIPA - dry hopped in the fermenter for a week, racked into a keg, and then i dry hopped in the keg for 5 days at room temp. took out the hops, and cooled the keg. tasted great after 2 full weeks of cold conditioning.

Just give it some time at cold temps. the vegetal taste will go away.
 
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julian81

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Most recently, i brewed a DIPA - dry hopped in the fermenter for a week, racked into a keg, and then i dry hopped in the keg for 5 days at room temp. took out the hops, and cooled the keg. tasted great after 2 full weeks of cold conditioning.

Just give it some time at cold temps. the vegetal taste will go away.
I really hope you're right, because it's very unpleasant. I'm curious about the science around what the hell is going on...and why the beer in the picnic line tastes good but in the keg it doesn't...
 

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I have had the same problem for some time. I've attacked it from every angle. It doesn't go away with time. For me, it's not pH, water chemistry, yeast type, oxidation, or length of dry hop. I even got it on a heavy late hop pale with no dry hop. My last angle is hop type and hop age. I may have been using improperly stored hops. It even that's a shot in the dark. My next batch will use all 2012 hops. Anyway, good luck.
 

InityBrew

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Julian,

I am also assuming that your process is 100% clean and efficient. I have to imagine that if it tasted great before the dry hop that it will taste great after.

Tagz - good point on the age of the hops..

Juliain - were they 2012 hops, properly stored, etc..?
 
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julian81

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I have had the same problem for some time. I've attacked it from every angle. It doesn't go away with time. For me, it's not pH, water chemistry, yeast type, oxidation, or length of dry hop. I even got it on a heavy late hop pale with no dry hop. My last angle is hop type and hop age. I may have been using improperly stored hops. It even that's a shot in the dark. My next batch will use all 2012 hops. Anyway, good luck.
I've never had this issue with anything but beers that I've dry hopped.

Hop age may be a factor for you, but if my beer tasted amazing before dry hopping (and I had a few late additions as well) then that can't be a hop problem. Also my Simcoe hops are 2012 crop.

Like I said, everything was AWESOME up until after the dry hopping. So it's either going to condition out, or it won't. If it doesn't, that will suck but what I'm most interested in is just understanding HOW and WHY this occured and what I can do to prevent it in the future. I know you're in the same boat...so hopefully we find some answers...or hopefully it ages out for me - I'll let you know.
 
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julian81

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Julian,

I am also assuming that your process is 100% clean and efficient. I have to imagine that if it tasted great before the dry hop that it will taste great after.

Tagz - good point on the age of the hops..

Juliain - were they 2012 hops, properly stored, etc..?
Yup, see my reply above. 2012 Simcoe crop from farmhouse brewing supply. Vacuum sealed and opened and measured on brew day. Resealed (not vacuum) and placed in the fridge (approx 48F) for 2 weeks until used again for dry hopping. I don't see an issue here do you?
 

InityBrew

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Shouldn't be.

It's weird. i have found that when I dry hop for only a couple of days (3-4) i get that taste. Usually when i dry hop longer 5-7 days it ages out. Don't ask me why.

Also, i had a habit of trying my beer every day after kegging. I have since used the set and forget method and all has been good.
 
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julian81

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Shouldn't be.

It's weird. i have found that when I dry hop for only a couple of days (3-4) i get that taste. Usually when i dry hop longer 5-7 days it ages out. Don't ask me why.

Also, i had a habit of trying my beer every day after kegging. I have since used the set and forget method and all has been good.
Man...beer science is so frustrating sometimes...I wish it was better understood. I'm going to hope this ages out. Thanks for your replies InityBrew!
 

Bock_Lesnar

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Interesting to see others are getting the same results as me (or at least did at the beginning of this year).

I've done a bit of research over the past little while to try to figure out what was going wrong with my beers and, from what I can tell it was a few things.

1. I twice dry hopped very low - I'm talking almost 0c. I'd been told this was fine and that, with a big enough charge of hops it would impart a nice clean flavour. What I figure might be happening here to give that vegetal flavour is the slow release of hop resins, not giving the beer enough time to cover that initial taste of a large vegetal mass.

2. I've twice dry hopped with a large charge of low alpha hops. I'm not sure why I did this - maybe because Wai-Iti tastes so damned good as a dry hop addition when done right. Again, more vegetative matter means more vegetal taste, and when you're not getting a whole lot of citrus (or whatever you're after from the hops) to come in over the top of that, all you taste is tannin from the veg.

3. I haven't been patient enough. I dry hop in a keg, which means I'm tasting EVERY DAY. Funny, but when I dry hop in the fermenter I don't tend to have these problems. It may just be that I'm sampling every two minutes and freaking out when it doesn't taste like Pliny. My learning has been to stop dry hopping in the keg to eliminate the chances of me getting disappointed early and ripping the hop bag out thinking that the hops have been in there too long.

As you can tell, RDWHAHB should apply to me more than most, but those are my learnings.

Next heavily hopped beer will be Tasty's Janet's Brown - here's hoping by dry hopping at fermentation temps, splitting my charges and removing before adding the next, and only using high AA hops I end up with an awesome flavour and aroma. If not? Well, luckily I brew a mean Kölsch.
 

MikeInMKE

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I recently dry hopped an APA with an ounce of mosaic, and during the first few days it was so bad I nearly dumped it.

I'd put an ounce of mosaic into a sanitized hop bag which I dropped into a keg before racking my beer onto it. It went in the fridge and on gas. A few days later I pulled a taste and was horrified at the bitter awful taste and aroma that dominated my beer. The flavor and aroma were similar to what you get when someone has ashed their cigarette into your beer bottle. While I didn't want to dump the batch, I certainly wasn't going to drink anything that tasted like that.

Fast forward a few more busy days and I filled a bottle to take to the West Allis, WI Northern Brewer store to get their assessment. Both of the people working the counter that day tried it and said it smelled and tasted good to them.

Hmm. So I try it. Sure enough, that flavor and aroma was still detectable, but was now in the background. Another week passed, and the beer is now fantastic. Go figure.
 
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