Hop Utilization Issue???

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303Dan

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Hey Everyone,

A common thread in the beers I've made to this point has been that there is less hop flavor and aroma than I'm intending. This last beer I made (and American Amber), I made a concerted effort to build the recipe in a way where I was upping the overall IBU's in terms of BU:GU ratio in Beersmith, as well as trying to really up my late and flameout hop additions to increase hop flavor and aroma. Here's what I did:

Batch Size 5.15 Gal
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.017
IBU (as predicted by Beersmith): 46.5 (made sure I updated AA% according to labels on all purchased hops to make sure IBUs were as accurate as could be)

Recipe:
8 1/4 lb Marris Otter
13 oz White Wheat Malt
1/4 lb Caramunich
1.0 oz Dark Chocolate
15 oz Munich Malt 20L
6 oz Crystal 80
4 oz Crystal 40

Mash Temp: 155 (going for a little higher FG than a previous attempt at this beer which turned out too thin)

60 minute boil

Hop Additions:
0.75 oz Cascade (7.5%) @ 30 minutes - 16.2 IBUs
1.25 oz Cascade (7.5%) @ 15 minutes - 17.4 IBUs
2.00 oz Cascade (7.5%) @ 5 minutes - 11.2 IBUs
2.00 oz Willamette (5%) @ 0 minutes - 1.6 IBUs

I use a Hop Spider with a pretty large bag so the hops can have as much freedom as possible. My kettle is about 10 gallons.

I don't whirlpool, but I keep the hop spider in the kettle while I cool with an immersion chiller. That usually takes about 20 minutes to get down to 70 degrees, and I usually try to stir with the chiller itself to help that chilling happen as quickly as possible.

This beer stayed in Primary for 3 weeks, then to keg. I did NOT dry hop.

With my BU:GU ratio of about 0.86, I expected this one to be fairly hoppy, especially for the style. But I'm not getting much hop flavor or aroma.

Can anyone see anything in my recipe and/or process that might be causing this? Could it be the hop spider? Am I just not putting together a good recipe as far as hop schedule?

Thanks,
Dan
 

BrewinBromanite

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If you're going for bigger hop aroma and flavor, you need to try a hop stand/whirlpool, and/or a dry hop. I'd ditch the 5 min addition. The flameout is fine. Cool between 170-180 for a hop-stand/whirlpool addition (steep at this temp for 15-20 mins, then cool the rest of the way, and you'll retain a lot more aroma than a 5 min or flameout addition). A couple oz dry hop will help as well. Very simple. Wait for fermentation to complete. Throw in a couple oz high AA hops (your late hops are prefect for this), and let sit for 5-7 days then bottle.
 

ricshayne

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I've heard that spiders can affect utilization, also I would go and set your utilization % lower in beersmith as well
 
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303Dan

303Dan

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Thanks everyone, this gives me a couple of things to try.
 

cmoewes

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One thing that screwed me up (with using BeerSmith) was not updating the the hops in the software with the actual AA value. I've had hops that in BeerSmith (and I assume other software) that used the default value where the actual hops I had were much lower. Just another thing to be aware of.
 

catdaddy66

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One thing that screwed me up (with using BeerSmith) was not updating the the hops in the software with the actual AA value. I've had hops that in BeerSmith (and I assume other software) that used the default value where the actual hops I had were much lower. Just another thing to be aware of.

I did the same thing recently. Inputting the hop schedule I used the default AA% but later changed it after reading the package AA% was much lower (9.6% vs 6.7%). It always helps to have accurate info! Lol

Good luck!
 

m00ps

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I second the hopstand/whirlpool suggestion. When I started using +90% of my hops post flameout and let them steep it made my IPAs instantly better. Personally, I like to hopstand for an entire hour with 4-6oz going in at flameout and another 4-6oz after 30min. Id rather use my hops here than a large emphasis on dry hopping
 
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303Dan

303Dan

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I second the hopstand/whirlpool suggestion. When I started using +90% of my hops post flameout and let them steep it made my IPAs instantly better. Personally, I like to hopstand for an entire hour with 4-6oz going in at flameout and another 4-6oz after 30min. Id rather use my hops here than a large emphasis on dry hopping
Wow, I guess I am just still way to light on total amount of hops, in addition to needing to try a hop stand. The recipe I used above was by far the most hops I've used in a 5 gallon batch to date (6 oz). Plus, I felt like I loaded up on the late additions. I thought that was a lot.

Now, I wasn't trying to make an IPA, just a slightly hoppier than average Amber with good hop aroma, but it still seems like I am way light on hops.

Question: when you're using that much hops (8-12 oz) in the hop stand, do you just do a single addition @ 60 minutes or something for bittering and then not do anything else until flameout?
 

m00ps

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my protocol for any hop forward beer is like 1oz of bittering at 60min then another 1oz at 10-15min depending on whether or not I want it slightly bitter. Then everything else after flameout. But thats just to my tastes. I like commercial IPAs that are more bitter than what I make. But if I had control over it, id emphasize the flameout additions more like I make them
 

Schumed

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Ditch the hop spider ...I notice a big difference when I use the hop spider and don't use it ..if you use it I would double the amount of hops
 

pdxal

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I'll ditto what everyone is saying about whirlpool hopping.
Another thing to consider is your water. Water profile can make a huge impact on perceived bitterness and hop character.
You didn't mention water in your recipe, what water are you using and what is the mineral content?
 
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303Dan

303Dan

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I may try a batch without the hop spider and see what happens.

Good point about the water. I use Fort Collins, CO tap water with some minor adjustments using Brun Water. Here are the numbers for the water used with the recipe I listed in my original post:

Base Water Profile in PPM:
Calcium: 17.3
Magnesium: 1.6
Sodium: 3.1
Potassium: 0.7
Iron: 0
Sulfate: 12.6
Chloride: 2.9
Nitrate: 0
Nitrite: 0.2
Flouride: 0.9
Bicarbonate: 44.8
Carbonate: 0.2

To that base water, I added:
0.5 g/gal Gypsum
0.75 g/gal Calcium Chloride

So, those additions did the following:
Calcium up to 102ppm
Sulfate up to 86.3
Chloride up to 98.5
Total Hardness from 50 to 262
Alkalinity from 33 to 37
Residual Alkalinity from 24 down to -36


Does this water profile look like something that could be a negative?

Dan
 
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303Dan

303Dan

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Also, should I be loading up more on Gypsum and back off the Calcium Chloride to increase my Sulfate:Chloride ratio if I want that hop flavor to come through?
 
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