First batch extremely bitter, trying to figure out why

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xumbi

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So I brewed my first batch on 12/29 with a good friend of mine who has been homebrewing for 6 years. I wanted to try for an IPA, and he helped me come up with the recipe:

Malt:
6 lbs Light DME
0.5 lbs CaraMunich
0.5 lbs American two-row

Stepped grains at 155 for 20 minutes

Hops (all pellets):
1 oz @ 60 min of Nugget
1 oz @ 10 min of Chinook
1 oz @ 0 min of Fuggles
2 oz of Fugges dry-hopped after 1 week

Safale S-04

Fermented at ~62-68 for 2 weeks.

This past weekend I bottled, after being in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks (I didn't secondary ferment).

Along the way I've been taking samples and it has been consistently extremely bitter, so bitter that it's really undrinkable. I just tried a bottle last night and had to dump the whole thing it was so nasty. The only way I can describe the taste is that nasty bitter flavor that stale coffee has, or when you leave a tea bag in tea for too long. So now I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong so that I don't repeat the same mistake for the next batch.

My first guess is that when I stepped the grains I shouldn't have squeezed out the bag. My friend suggested this, but from what I've read this can extract the unwanted "tannins" from the malt and add unpleasant bitterness.

My second guess is that keeping the beer in the primary fermenter for two weeks caused it to pull in off flavors from the trub. However, I know a lot of homebrewers only primary ferment, so I'm not sure.

Something else that I found strange is that there is basically no aroma at all from this beer. I would think all the hops I added at flame out and dry-hopping I would have some very apparent aromas, but really nothing comes through.

Is there anything that stands out in my recipe as a mistake?

Thanks!
 

bigjohnmilford

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it's just young. give it a couple of more weeks and it will taste better. give it a couple of months and you'll be surprised how good it'll be.
 

sirsloop

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Well... problem is you used chinhook at the last 10 minutes. Chinook isnt known for its great flavor... its quite harsh and is used primarily for bittering. I haven't used fuggles before so I cannot comment on its flavor and aroma... I'm a simcoe/cascade IPA man myself...

Give this brew a month to mellow out and taste it again. In the mean time if you can find warrior, simcoe and cascade i'd recommend this Interceptor IPA I just made: see sig.

-JD
 
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xumbi

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bigjohnmilford said:
it's just young. give it a couple of more weeks and it will taste better. give it a couple of months and you'll be surprised how good it'll be.
That's exactly the answer I was hoping for! :)

Of course this is my first time, so I had no idea what to expect, but almost all accounts of first time brewing I've read have something like "I just had a sample when I bottled and it tasted pretty good!"
 

sirsloop

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well... you can figure the nugget was 13-14%AA, chinook was 12-13%AA, and fuggles... 4-6%AA

Oh... also... two weeks is nothin on the cake. Did you do a full or partial boil?? More water = higher hop utilization!
 
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xumbi

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homebrewer_99 said:
Well, I'd say the majority of your problem is from squeezing the bag.
Ok good to know, I won't do that again.

homebrewer_99 said:
You didn't mention what the AA% of the hops were either.
Chinook and Nugget are 13% each, Fuggles are 4.75%
 

discgolfin

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I dont have my software to calculate but the IBU's seem high..I like my IPA's at 3 months to 4 months. I agree that you used a bitter hop at 10 min. so this will atribute less flavor and aroma and more bitter, but fuggles should have done a lot in the dry hop. I would give it time..few beers are to perfection this soon and any hi IBU beer is going to take a lot more time than 2 weeks in bottle.

Jay
 

david_42

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Chinook can be a bit nasty until aged. Try it again in two months.

I like Fuggles for many styles, but it isn't going to give you the huge nose associated with American IPAs.
 

TexLaw

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Your IBUs are high, but they're not outrageously high. I suppose you could have extracted tannins by squeezing the bag, but it's hard to tell without tasting it. Tannins can add bitterness, but they also add astringency (puckery dryness).

Right now, I also vote that the beer is just green. Give it some time and see how it mellows. I once brewed a beer that was so harshly bitter I couldn't drink it. After a while, it got better and actually got pretty good.


TL
 

HP_Lovecraft

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That IBU of around 65 is is pretty high, even for an IPA.
Most IPAs are around 50.

Though I have a recent Old Ale that bittered with Nugget for the same IBU. It was definetly VERY bitter, though it did not have a bad taste. Maybe you did not have enough DME-base to offset the IBU?

Chinook and Fuggles have relatively low beta acids,
 

BierMuncher

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Allow at least 8 weeks in the bottles.

Nugget and Chinook will have a back of the throat bitterness for at least a month or more.

Then, they'll mellow rather quickly.

What you should end up with is a nice bitter, crisp IPA with a pretty dominate pine flavor/aroma. I happen to love CHinook.
 
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