Having problems with harsh bitterness in a lot of my beers

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SteveRohe

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Check your Alpha rating. If your bittering hop is rated more than 6 percent you may have a problem here. To start with. If your hop alpha is 14 percent, try just simply using half the amount. Some recipes are way over on the hoping. For some reason, Americans love to over hop their brews. To me, it taste like a bowl full of hops with water poured on it. The original IPA was propably made in a helmet in a trench on the battle field. ( Just joking.) The Brittish made beer for their conscripted soldiers. They did not spend a whole lot on the ingredients, including hops.
 

SteveRohe

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Another point to remember: don't burn it, just brew it. I know people will argue about flavour but when you boil, does your wort look like Corryvreckan? I don't know about others but I bring it 'just to a boil'. This also will yield a higher alcohol content. Imagine if you were a yeast cell and you were forced to consume a burnt up mess. Go easy on your heat. Over heating can actually increase an unwanted bitterness. Oh, and by the way, never sail directly into Corryvreckan.
 

couchsending

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1. Should I add all my salts in the mash water like that? I believe I want all the salts so the final beer has the right stuff and not just the mash process
2. Should I adjust the sparge water to 5.3 after adding it as well? I don’t fly sparge so I have the opportunity to adjust the water again after adding my sparge water before I run it off after 5-10 minutes.
3. Should I check and adjust my pre and post boil ph measuremens? Or if I do the mashing and sparging correctly is this not needed/excessive?

thank you for all the advice you have given me so far!
1: Add your mash salts to the mash. Add salts destined for the sparge to the kettle. If you add them all to the mash/sparge you can potentially lose 50% of the calcium in the mash. All the CL and So4 ions make it through but you leave behind Ca with the malt.

2: if you’re using RO you don’t need to adjust the pH. There’s virtually no buffering capacity to RO. For a standard 5/6 gallon batch it would literally be drops of lactic. You don’t need it. Sometimes I will add a little bit of calcium salts to the sparge water as it does seem to prevent a slight increase in pH towards the end of sparge but it’s really not critical.

3. I recommend always checking pre and post boil pH. This is a hazy IPA you’re brewing right? Lower your preboil pH to 5.0. It will prevent protein coagulation and lower the extraction of bitterness. It lets you add more hops to the boil to extract flavor without the bitterness. You don’t even need wheat or oats if you do this. It will create a permanent haze with a nice well rounded soft bitterness. If you adjust at the beginning for this beer you most likely won’t need to adjust at the end. But it’s always worth checking. Hops increase pH. Certain hops more than others (whole cone hops increase it more than pellets). If you add a lot of hops to the hotside or WP there’s a chance your pH might go up. Always worth checking. Try to get the wort to be right around 5.0 when it goes into the fermenter.
 

marc1

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Hey @Yooper i have a couple questions before I brew again this weekend. I’m using a recipe that provides a target water profile and the amount of salts they add to reach that profile in their brew in a bag system (I believe everything is added in the beginning because of the system they use). Since I do not do brew in a bag I was thinking I should add the same quantities of salts (since i use the same total water volume between mash and sparge) but all to my initial mash water, adjust to 5.3 with lactic acid, batch sparge with just RO. my questions are:

1. Should I add all my salts in the mash water like that? I believe I want all the salts so the final beer has the right stuff and not just the mash process
2. Should I adjust the sparge water to 5.3 after adding it as well? I don’t fly sparge so I have the opportunity to adjust the water again after adding my sparge water before I run it off after 5-10 minutes.
3. Should I check and adjust my pre and post boil ph measuremens? Or if I do the mashing and sparging correctly is this not needed/excessive?

thank you for all the advice you have given me so far!
Posting the recipe and salt additions here would be helpful to make sure that it is not a bad/weird recipe.
 
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Sleepy_D

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Posting the recipe and salt additions here would be helpful to make sure that it is not a bad/weird recipe.
Good call, doing a Munich helles. Was going to use the recipe based on the one by Mean Brews:


9 lbs pilsner
8 oz Munich (6*L)
5 oz carapils
3 oz melanoidin

Single infusion mash at 150 for 1 hr

1.2 oz hallertauer mittelfrueh at 60 min
0.8 oz hallertauer mittelfrueh at 5 min

Target water: Ca: 45, Mg: 7, Na: 14, SO: 67, Cl: 73. To get close to that I was going to add 2 g gypsum, 1 g NaCl, 2 g Epsom, 3 g CaCl

Should come out to OG: 10.52, FG 1.011, abv 5.37%, ibus 18.3, srm 3.92

Mean brews recommends a step mash but I was going to do single infusion to simplify.
 

marc1

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Good call, doing a Munich helles. Was going to use the recipe based on the one by Mean Brews:


9 lbs pilsner
8 oz Munich (6*L)
5 oz carapils
3 oz melanoidin

Single infusion mash at 150 for 1 hr

1.2 oz hallertauer mittelfrueh at 60 min
0.8 oz hallertauer mittelfrueh at 5 min

Target water: Ca: 45, Mg: 7, Na: 14, SO: 67, Cl: 73. To get close to that I was going to add 2 g gypsum, 1 g NaCl, 2 g Epsom, 3 g CaCl

Should come out to OG: 10.52, FG 1.011, abv 5.37%, ibus 18.3, srm 3.92

Mean brews recommends a step mash but I was going to do single infusion to simplify.
The specific water values are going to depend on the overall volumes, but it looks reasonable. I would add the salts to the total water used (mash and sparge). You can use water chemistry software to estimate mash pH if you want, to see if you might need lactic to get your mash pH where you want it.
 
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Sleepy_D

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The specific water values are going to depend on the overall volumes, but it looks reasonable. I would add the salts to the total water used (mash and sparge). You can use water chemistry software to estimate mash pH if you want, to see if you might need lactic to get your mash pH where you want it.
Ok great, that was my plan. I got a ph probe and lactic acid since my last brew day
 

marc1

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Ok great, that was my plan. I got a ph probe and lactic acid since my last brew day
Nice!

Just don't measure the mash pH and try to adjust it on the fly. Add your estimated acid (if necessary) to the mash water with your salts and then measure you mash pH mid-mash to see how accurate it was.

Boil pH is adjustable in-process. There's software to estimate how much acid to add, and you can measure and adjust as you want.
 
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Sleepy_D

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Nice!

Just don't measure the mash pH and try to adjust it on the fly. Add your estimated acid (if necessary) to the mash water with your salts and then measure you mash pH mid-mash to see how accurate it was.

Boil pH is adjustable in-process. There's software to estimate how much acid to add, and you can measure and adjust as you want.
What is the ph I want to shoot for before and after the boil?

actuslly I just looked this up and found 5.2-5.4 pre and 5.0ish post. Sound right?
 
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marc1

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What is the ph I want to shoot for before and after the boil?

actuslly I just looked this up and found 5.2-5.4 pre and 5.0ish post. Sound right?
I usually aim for 5.1 to 5.2 post boil, but @couchsending above has some interesting commentary on adjusting pre-boil to 5.0. I'll probably try that out for my next beer of this style.
 
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