Harsh, lingering bitterness problem that goes away with conditioning

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Homotope

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In all of my batches I have the same problem whether it is an IPA or a light beer with low IBUs: a harsh, lingering bitterness that tastes earthy or even almost ashtray like. This taste is present throughout primary and secondary fermentation, at bottling, and is still just as bad after 2 weeks in bottles. However, after about 4 weeks in bottles the taste starts to go away, and after 5-6 it is completely gone. I have spent a lot of time reading on the forums about bitterness problems and it seems the consensus is that the main culprit is water chemistry problems, followed by hop and astringency problems, so I know what I should be troubleshooting. My question is if it possible my problem is actually water chemistry if it goes away so easily with time? Or is it more likely to be hop-related and the hop matter is settling out over time?
 

TysonG

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I've had a similar problem as well with bitterness and I never thought about water. Do you know the makeup of your water? I used to use a reverse osmosis water that had no minerals in it. My last few I've used a spring water with a pretty mild water profile. It's better but it's still bitter though, especially noticeable the lighter the beer.
 

Lefou

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I'd might suspect higher alpha bittering hops are the most likely issue. Swap out with some noble hops below IPA hopping levels to see if the issue changes.
Lighter gravity, low SRM beers will have a tendency to reflect a higher bitterness-to-gravity ratio. Hops will be more perceptible and bitter early on. A dry, low ABV, light SRM young beer will be a great style to highlight your hops simply because there's less unfermented malt sugar left over to balance the hopping.
 
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