Hop Schedule for Special Bitter Wanted

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ChemE

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Okay, I'm soliciting opinions on what hops and schedule I should use for my special bitter I'm brewing tomorrow. I LOVE Honker's Ale which has 30-32 IBUs and takes advantage of hop bursting with Styrian Goldings to create an awesome spicy bitterness so I'm very tempted to use my Styrian Goldings as a late kettle addition.

Notable Stats
OG: 1.044
FG: 1.012
abv: 4.2%
IBUs: 30-32
Color: 9.4 SRM

Grist:
4lb 10oz marris otter
1lb white wheat malt
0.5# biscuit malt
0.5# crystal 10
0.25# aromatic malt
0.25# special B
10oz sucrose
3oz corn sugar (priming sugar)

The above grist pretty closely follows the recommendations in Designing Great Beers and Bob's vociferous recommendation of 80/10/10 base, crystal, sugar for 8A-8C with a little extra character malts thrown in because I love biscuit malt and I'm looking for a slightly exaggerated maltiness here.

Yeast
S-04 @ 64F to minimized ester production

Available Hops
1oz. Willamette [US](4.5%)
1oz. Fuggles [UK](4.3%)
2oz. Styrian Goldings [Slovenian](4.1%)

My plan is to FWH with the fuggles, use some more fuggles as a 90 minute bittering addition, and the hop burst with the Styrian goldings but I'm curious to see what others suggest.
 

Big10Seaner

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Here's my honker's clone I just brewed the other day:


5.25 gallon batch
7lb 2 row
1 lb wheat
0.5 lb crystal 60
0.1 lb roasted barley
1oz fuggles @FWH, 20 and 0
S-05 (didn't have any S-04)
 

Bob

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There's no real point in boiling hops for 90 minutes. Evidence strongly suggests that all isomerization has taken place by 60 minutes. In fact, you may impart off-flavors by overboiling too large a vegetative mass; pellets help avoid this.

I'd FWH and add all the late hops really late, like flameout. FWH imparts bitterness the same as a 60-minute addition as well as flavor, and proponents - including yours truly - say that the bitterness and flavor imparted are smoother and fresher than traditional additions. Fuggles is a fine choice; if Fuggles availability or expense is a problem, I have equally-fine results with Willamette. As a Fuggles cultivar, Willamette is to my palate indistinguishable from its parent.

Have fun with all the specialty grains. Me, I'd futz with mashing procedures and home-toasted pale malts rather than Aromatic and Biscuit, but that's a difference between your brewery and mine. ;) Edited to add: I fear three-quarters of a pound of highly-aromatic "ubermalty" specialty grains will easily throw this beer out of balance. I wouldn't exceed eight ounces combined.

May I ask for why the wheat? That proportion will undoubtedly cause haze issues in the finished beer, and you don't really need it for foam enhancement/retention.

Bob (the 80/10/10 guy! :D )
 
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ChemE

ChemE

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Hey Bob,

I was hoping you might show up here to contribute your input. Interesting tip on the 90 minute bittering addition, I had not heard that comment before. I can easily change it to 60 minutes w/o losing many IBUs. I'm pretty attached to the idea of hop bursting, GI does this with the Honker's and it tastes very different to me that other beers without such large late kettle additions. If I add all those hops at flameout will I get any flavor from them at all? 5 minutes after flameout my wort is already chilled below 100F. Maybe I don't understand flameout additions correctly though.

The wheat is there to add/increase maltiness and because it is part of Goose Island's publish grist for Honkers. I would like a clear beer though, do you really think 13% wheat will haze it up beyond what cold crashing can remedy? So are you saying that aromatic and biscuit will both contribute maltiness? I though only aromatic did that.
 

the_bird

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Why a 90-minute boil for this beer? No pilsner malt, DMS isn't a particularly large concern.

I brewed a special bitter last weekend, did a traditional hopping schedule; 60, 15, 5, and 1 minute additions. Used a couple clean bittering hops (Magnum and Perle, using stuff up) for the 60 minute addition and splut the others evenly between Fuggles and EKG. 15 and 5 minute additions were each a half ounce total, did a bit more with the 1 minute addition to jack up the aromatics.
 
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ChemE

ChemE

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Why a 90-minute boil for this beer? No pilsner malt, DMS isn't a particularly large concern.

To add a little efficiency (I know I pay for it in propane) and mostly to encourage Maillard reactions. Gotta love those tasty tasty Maillard reaction products!
 

the_bird

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I'd be careful with that. You're already using a pretty tasty base malt and a lot of specialty malts, including the aromatic which includes a lot of those compounds. You'll be halfway towards making a British Bock!

The Special B, in particular, is a little unusual. You get a lot of dark fruity notes from that, but you also get a lot of fruity notes from the S-04 (too much in my failed experience - careful with ferment temps!). Your grist is much more complicated that I usually see for a special bitter; most recipes I've seen and done have been mostly Marris Otter and one or two types of crystal malt.
 
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ChemE

ChemE

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You could easily be right about the overly complicated grist with too much bock characteristics. I'm sipping on an ESB right now which is:

72% MO
9% Crystal 10
6% Biscuit
6% Carapils
3% Special B
2% DME (starter)
2% Corn sugar (bottling)

and it is nice and malty/biscuity. Maybe I can drop the aromatic and wheat. It finished a little high which I'm hoping the 10% sugar will remedy. According to Bob I can get rid of the Carapils by tweaking my mash rests. The special B in there is awesome though, you should give it a shot some time.
 

the_bird

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My understanding of Carapils is that it's mostly used by big brewers who cannot easily adjust their systems to different mash temperatures. Not sure if that's true or not (read it on the internet ;)). I've never used Carapils myself, I've always figures I'll just adjust the amount of residual dextrines by mashing high or mashing low.
 

Bob

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If I add all those hops at flameout will I get any flavor from them at all?

Absolutely. In fact, I've experimented with omitting late additions entirely and instead adding all the hops intended for flavor/aroma as dry hops. Worked a treat.

In this specific case, you're going to get a great Fuggles flavor from FWH. That's why I never advocate FWH with hops you wouldn't use for flavor/aroma additions.

The wheat is there to add/increase maltiness and because it is part of Goose Island's publish grist for Honkers. I would like a clear beer though, do you really think 13% wheat will haze it up beyond what cold crashing can remedy? So are you saying that aromatic and biscuit will both contribute maltiness? I though only aromatic did that.

Trust me. Or don't - read and compare the descriptions for Aromatic:

Aromatic is a mildly kilned malt that will add a strong malt aroma and deep color when used as a specialty malt.

and Biscuit:

This toasted malt will provide a warm bread or biscuit flavor and aroma and will lend a garnet-brown color.

Used in combination, they can be a real malt-bomb. Use of Aromatic alone gives a strong malt aroma, use of Biscuit alone gives toasty-bread flavors. Use them together and use a high diacetyl producer like Ringwood, and you can have a beer flavored like buttered toast! Not exactly what one has in mind when one reaches for a best bitter, no? ;)

Now, about that wheat. If GI use it, and you're trying to replicate that beer, by all means use it. It won't add 'maltiness' in the manner in which I think you want it. But it will decrease body (slightly) and enhance foam (a lot). If you're not concerned about clarity, don't worry about it. GI can and do filter their non-real-ale product, so clarity isn't an issue for them. But if I were you, I'd reduce it to 8 oz or so and make up the difference with pale malt.

Bob
 
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ChemE

ChemE

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So then perhaps a grist more like this which gives a perfect 80/10/10 where 5% of the 80 is character malt:

75% MO
5% Biscuit
8.33% Crystal 10
1.67% Special B
7.5% Sucrose (should I use something more interesting here?)
2.5% Corn sugar (priming)

S-04 @ 64F

1.00 oz Willamette [4.50%] (FWH)(60 minutes) 17.6IBU
1.00 oz Fuggles [4.3%](15 minutes) 7.6IBU
1.00 oz Styrian Goldings (flameout)
 

Bob

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A couple more twitches:

1. Don't count your priming sugar in your 10%. The 10% is all grist sugar. Sucrose is fine; most commercial brews use liquid invert sugar. You're not necessarily looking for flavor contribution here. You're looking for dryness enhancing nitrogen diluent. IOW, sucrose is fine. Though I prefer Demerara/Turbinado... :D

2. Check out Daniels' recommendations of BU:GU ratios for the style and put yourself in the middle. Depending on OG, you might need a bit of a boost.

Bob
 
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ChemE

ChemE

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...Don't count your priming sugar in your 10%. The 10% is all grist sugar. Sucrose is fine; most commercial brews use liquid invert sugar. You're not necessarily looking for flavor contribution here. You're looking for dryness enhancing nitrogen diluent. IOW, sucrose is fine. Though I prefer Demerara/Turbinado... :D

Really? I've never understood why people don't include their starter and priming in their recipes. They both contribute water (perhaps dilution perhaps not), alcohol, etc to the finished product. The neglect them might be okay but it strikes me as inexact. Turbinado can be had pretty cheaply at the grocery store so that's an easy substitution.

I was worried that it was going to be a little too sweet; I wanted a IBU/GU ratio of around 0.7. Would the Styrian Goldings @ 30 or FWH be weird/out of place? I just need like 5 more IBUs.
 

Freezeblade

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A couple more twitches:

1. Don't count your priming sugar in your 10%. The 10% is all grist sugar. Sucrose is fine; most commercial brews use liquid invert sugar. You're not necessarily looking for flavor contribution here. You're looking for dryness enhancing nitrogen diluent. IOW, sucrose is fine. Though I prefer Demerara/Turbinado... :D

2. Check out Daniels' recommendations of BU:GU ratios for the style and put yourself in the middle. Depending on OG, you might need a bit of a boost.

Bob

+1 on the use of Demerara or Turbinado, that stuff is awesome in a bitter.
 

Bob

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Really? I've never understood why people don't include their starter and priming in their recipes. They both contribute water (perhaps dilution perhaps not), alcohol, etc to the finished product. The neglect them might be okay but it strikes me as inexact.

Let's think this through, shall we? You're right: when you add more water, you dilute the beer. But guess what? The diluent has sugar in it.

:D

If you're brewing a 1-gallon batch, the liquor in which the priming sugar is boiled will have an impact. One pint in five gallons isn't going to significantly impact gravity, and if it does the priming sugar will replace it.

Further, the gravity contribution of such a small amount of sugar has a tiny impact on the beer. Someone on HBT figured it out once in my tenure. I misremember where to find it, because the impact was so insignificant that I decided I could safely ignore it. I already know how inaccurate the standard ABV formula is, and that any calculation I make is inaccurate; plus, I don't have to satisfy TTB or ATF or whatever TF they are these days, so I don't really give a damn how accurate my calculation is.

C'est la vie, non?

I was worried that it was going to be a little too sweet; I wanted a IBU/GU ratio of around 0.7. Would the Styrian Goldings @ 30 or FWH be weird/out of place? I just need like 5 more IBUs.

Nah. Styrian Goldings are, despite the name Goldings, a cultivar of Fuggles. Much closer in flavor/aroma to Fuggles than Goldings, that's fer dern tootin'.

Bob
 
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ChemE

ChemE

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Let's think this through, shall we? You're right: when you add more water, you dilute the beer. But guess what? The diluent has sugar in it.

:D

I understand that quite well; the Chemical Engineering motto is "the solution to pollution is dilution!" Certainly if your starter has the same OG as your beer it can be totally neglected but starters aren't supposed to be made over 1.040 and some beers call for a 1 gallon starter if the OG is going to be epic so clearly in those cases one can not neglect the starter. Anyway, on a special bitter it probably is splitting hairs but it turns out that very frequently engineers enjoy that pass time.

Thanks for the tip on the Styrian Goldings though. I'll mix that with my Fuggles and bask in the Fuggley goodness that is a properly bittered special bitter.
 

Bob

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I understand that quite well; the Chemical Engineering motto is "the solution to pollution is dilution!" Certainly if your starter has the same OG as your beer it can be totally neglected but starters aren't supposed to be made over 1.040 and some beers call for a 1 gallon starter if the OG is going to be epic so clearly in those cases one can not neglect the starter. Anyway, on a special bitter it probably is splitting hairs but it turns out that very frequently engineers enjoy that pass time.

Gotcha. Counting angels while they dance and all that. ;)

Pitching active starters, I'll grant you the diluent concern. That's why I always advocate fermenting the starter completely in order to pitch the resulting pure slurry.

One of the reasons I stopped worrying about the impact of the priming solutions on my beer was the hoops jumped through by the fellow who figured it all out. Quite intricate indeed, beyond my poor arithmetical skills.

Thanks for the tip on the Styrian Goldings though. I'll mix that with my Fuggles and bask in the Fuggley goodness that is a properly bittered special bitter.

Good idea. If I've got similar hops like that, I just mix 'em in equal parts and average the AA%.

Good luck!

Bob
 
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