Hops Fading Too Fast on IPAs

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StopTakingMyUsername

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We made a juice bomb IPA. It was incredibly aromatic, flavorful, ridiculous amount of hop.
It's been little over a week, and we tapped the keg for a party...
No aromatics at all.
Drinks like a pale. Not much flavor.

I don't understand what happened. This is an ongoing theme with us, as well. Every time we make hoppy beers, they are great at first, and within a week, they're duds.

How can I keep the hops in the beers??

Process: very little (or no) bittering charge @ 60. Major additions at 20 or 10, whirlpool, and dry hop. We use roughly 5-6 oz in whirlpool (180 F down to about 120 F) and roughly 6-8 oz in dry hop.
We add dry hop usually on the 3rd or 4th day of fermentation. Sometimes we split the amount in half, adding half on the 3rd or 4th day, and half once fermentation is completed and the beer is transferred.

We've tried this in buckets -> keg. Also had this issue fermenting in kegs and doing closed CO2 transfer from keg to keg.


I don't know why it's happening, but these are my guesses:

- O2 pickup (but this has to be minimal, since we are doing CO2 closed transfers in stainless - purged before each transfer)

- Not enough hops (I dunno, we are using a lot)

- Oxygenating the wort (usually use an air stone and can of pure O2, I give it about 30-45 sec in the wort, post chill, pre-pitch).

- ????????????????


Please help?
this is a huge, reoccurring stumbling block, and very frustrating for us.
We LOVE our hoppy beers... and it's maddening to make one that is so incredibly juicy, aromatic, and flavorful..
then we get excited, tell our friends, and by the time they try it a week later, it's a boring, hop-less, flavor-less dud. :(
 
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That is the problem with these juicy IPAs. They have no shelf stability at all. 8 ounces in 5 gallons?

That by itself will add a lot of oxygen. Do you beers turn hazy to clear? Yeast may flocculate and takes you hops with them.
 
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StopTakingMyUsername

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Well, we should be able to get more than ONE week out of them :)
I don't expect months, but at least 2-3 weeks.

Should I blast the dry hop bag with the CO2 hose? I don't know if that'd do anything to 'purge' O2 from it and the hops?

We don't worry about hazy/clear.
The yeast we use is Giga VT ale. Gunna be hazy no matter what. Don't really cold crash or anything, either.
Not the prettiest beers, but I'll take taste > appearance
 

GHBWNY

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wait till later in the ferment is something I would try. maybe the last week and put them all in. the co2 creation carries the aromas out of the fermenter.
I agree with this, you might be dry-hopping too soon. I wait until at least day 7 --- or at least until kraussen drops (whichever comes first) --- before dry-hopping.
 

303Dan

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I don't think it's oxidation if it's happening that fast.

What's your water chemistry like?

I also think I'd wait a little longer to add your dry hop, but I've never tried that early so that's not speaking from experience.

I'm doing this style quite a bit lately and mine aren't fading that fast. They usually are at their peak for 3-4 weeks about 2-3 weeks after packaging. And you are doing more than I am to keep oxygen out, at least up until the point of carbonation.

What are your purging practices when you keg?
 

jabba11

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I considered water chemistry as well. I only dabble in it at this point but feel I read that certain ions aid in aroma and ipa flavor etc
 

Timdogg

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I heard on a podcast about to many yeast cells stripping hop aroma. Can't remember what one
 
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StopTakingMyUsername

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Thank you for the input so far.
I only add the dry hops that early because I've read recommendations from the brewer at Trillium (and others) that they get better effect from the hops adding them in while the yeast is bubbling the flavor/aromatics around in the beer.
(That's not verbatim, just what I remember off the top of my head :) )
I also like the idea of grain to glass in the shortest time possible.

I'll try adding them on day 6-7.
We also usually only keep them in 4 days or so. Sometimes 5.
Typically tie them off in a muslin bag and drop them in. This last time I forgot to weight them down, so I don't know if that matters or not, but I don't think they'd just float on the top the whole time?

As for keg purging process:
coupler on keg. hook up CO2 to gas in. Blast with CO2 for a minute or so. Use relief valve on side of coupler to let gas out. Repeat once or twice.
Remove CO2 line, hook up transfer and start moving beer in.

Water Chemistry:
Ca: 14 Mg: 2.88 Na: 1.4 Cl: 1.42 SO4: 3.42 Alk: 43.2
But the city changes water supply every so often and I never chase them around testing each and ever one... so that's 2+ years old.

Salt additions on recent batch were to:
Ca: 139 Mg: 9 Na: 1 Cl: 150 SO4: 130

I don't think it'd be too many yeast cells, as we lean towards the 'underpitch' side of the counts.
I could see that being true, but I'm very confident we've never OVER pitched :)

Any other ideas?
Are we doing anything wrong/weird?
 

hobomoto

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Keg purging process seems suspect and/or inefficient...? could very well be the problem. Have you tried filling your keg with star san 100% then pushing it out with co2? This leaves a %100 full keg of co2 and is the most efficient way to purge. Then transfer beer to the keg by pushing with co2 if possible with a purged line. When done with transfer, purge headspace on receiving keg multiple times at 30 psi just be sure. I've had lots of success with this method and long lasting hoppiness.

When you say you are "blasting with co2 for a minute or so" what exactly do you mean? If you are simply pressurizing the keg then pulling the relief valve once or twice you are leaving behind quite a bit of o2.
 

Queequeg

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When you do large doses of hops they introduce a lot of air by themselves. It only takes a small amount of air to oxidize hop oils and resulting in a diminished of aroma that can occur quickly.

Hobomoto is spot on, purging needs to be done by forcing out liquid. The gases mix when purging to a dry chamber and this requires more gas to ensure the oxygen is removed.

Likewise adding 8oz of hops (especially if leaf) introduces a lot of air itself, so you need to purge the hop addition and the head space of the fermenter after adding them. A zip lock bag is the simplest solution abiet less complete, a recirulating hop torpedo is a more complete but expensive solution.
 

Queequeg

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I heard on a podcast about to many yeast cells stripping hop aroma. Can't remember what one
The cell walls absorb hop oils, though as I understand it the effect is finite. i.e it won't result in total scrubbing.

You can either cold crash and dry hop in a bright tank, or add more hops to counter the effect. In Op's case 8oz is a big dry hop so though there will be some loss to yeast inoculating out there should be total scubbing.
 
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StopTakingMyUsername

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Ok, so it sounds like we're purging the kegs incorrectly.
Thank you for clarifying that.

Likewise adding 8oz of hops (especially if leaf) introduces a lot of air itself, so you need to purge the hop addition and the head space of the fermenter after adding them. A zip lock bag is the simplest solution abiet less complete, a recirulating hop torpedo is a more complete but expensive solution.
Can you walk me through how you would 'purge' a hop addition?

Also how you'd do it if you were using a huge amount, say enough for a 15-20 gal batch?
 

303Dan

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Thank you for the input so far.
I only add the dry hops that early because I've read recommendations from the brewer at Trillium (and others) that they get better effect from the hops adding them in while the yeast is bubbling the flavor/aromatics around in the beer.
(That's not verbatim, just what I remember off the top of my head :) )
I also like the idea of grain to glass in the shortest time possible.

I'll try adding them on day 6-7.
We also usually only keep them in 4 days or so. Sometimes 5.
Typically tie them off in a muslin bag and drop them in. This last time I forgot to weight them down, so I don't know if that matters or not, but I don't think they'd just float on the top the whole time?

As for keg purging process:
coupler on keg. hook up CO2 to gas in. Blast with CO2 for a minute or so. Use relief valve on side of coupler to let gas out. Repeat once or twice.
Remove CO2 line, hook up transfer and start moving beer in.

Water Chemistry:
Ca: 14 Mg: 2.88 Na: 1.4 Cl: 1.42 SO4: 3.42 Alk: 43.2
But the city changes water supply every so often and I never chase them around testing each and ever one... so that's 2+ years old.

Salt additions on recent batch were to:
Ca: 139 Mg: 9 Na: 1 Cl: 150 SO4: 130

I don't think it'd be too many yeast cells, as we lean towards the 'underpitch' side of the counts.
I could see that being true, but I'm very confident we've never OVER pitched :)

Any other ideas?
Are we doing anything wrong/weird?
I have no doubt that oxygen could be playing a role, but I have a hard time believing it's your main issue. The only reason I say that is that you are doing considerably more than I am to prevent it and I am not having the issues you're having. Your hop schedule seems fine (I'm assuming 5gal batch?) and should be resulting in considerable hop flavor and aroma. Your water chemistry looks reasonable to me assuming you can trust those initial numbers and that your mash pH is coming out okay given your grain bill and mash volume, etc. One thing you could try to rule out water would be to brew a batch built up from 100% distilled.

The only thing I do that you didn't comment about was thorough purging of the keg once you've packaged the beer. I do purge about 12-15 times at 35psi. that way I can be confident there is as little O2 in headspace as possible for my equipment/process/conditions. There's a chart floating around this forum that shows the estimated ppm left in headspace based on # of purges @ a given psi. It's a handy reference to have and can be eye opening.
 

mlafnitzegger

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Are your hops fresh. Also I stir 2 times during dryhopping and leave dry hops in during cold crash. Once kegged make sure to minimize releasing pressure from keg. Basically keep pressure constant the whole time if possible. Relieving pressure too often can remove hop aroma. just my 2 cents...
 

Queequeg

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Ok, so it sounds like we're purging the kegs incorrectly.
Thank you for clarifying that.



Can you walk me through how you would 'purge' a hop addition?

Also how you'd do it if you were using a huge amount, say enough for a 15-20 gal batch?

You need to keep the hops in a container you can purge than the connect to the carboy/fermenter without introducing significant air back.

A simple solution would be a ziplock bag, with the air squeezed out and then flushed with Co2 by placing the gas line in the corner of the bag and sealing around it. You can then squeeze out the C02 and repeat a few times.

With the bag at positive pressure it can be open over the mouth of the carboy and the hops can be drop in.

I will be using my torpedo this week, I will report back with video/photo's
 
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StopTakingMyUsername

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There's a chart floating around this forum that shows the estimated ppm left in headspace based on # of purges @ a given psi. It's a handy reference to have and can be eye opening.
Do you have a link, or a copy you can send?

Are your hops fresh. Also I stir 2 times during dryhopping and leave dry hops in during cold crash. Once kegged make sure to minimize releasing pressure from keg. Basically keep pressure constant the whole time if possible. Relieving pressure too often can remove hop aroma. just my 2 cents...
I dunno. They're as fresh as the homebrew store has em :)
That may be part of the issue... but I'd still think that it wouldn't fade that fast after being so over-the-top flavorful and aromatic in the beginning


You need to keep the hops in a container you can purge than the connect to the carboy/fermenter without introducing significant air back.

A simple solution would be a ziplock bag, with the air squeezed out and then flushed with Co2 by placing the gas line in the corner of the bag and sealing around it. You can then squeeze out the C02 and repeat a few times.
I will be using my torpedo this week, I will report back with video/photo's
We'll be switching over to our new conicals on the next batch or two.
I'm assuming the hops will end up being thrown in a large paint strainer bag and hung inside the fermenter somehow, or weighted and dropped in.

Do you know of a way I could 'purge' the hops/bag in this bigger-scale scenario?

Might be able to get a huge freezer bag and do what you mentioned, but I feel like once you open the lid of the fermenter, hang the bag, add the hops to the bag, and seal it all back up, then you've just introduced all that O2 back in.


Is O2 pickup the only issue that would make this happen?
I know some brewers who do little to nothing to avoid it and make great, hoppy, aromatic IPAs that hold up for weeks.
I feel like we have to be doing something very wrong for it to completely fall off in ONE week! Even if it's something obvious...
 

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I'm on version 6 of my house DIPA and the aroma and flavor last through the last bottle on all versions.
I hit them with about 12oz, up to 16oz, then 4 to 6 dry hop.
Version 6 got 1oz columbus at 60, then all cascade, 1oz at 15 & 10, 2oz at 5, 4oz at 0 and 4oz at 180 for about 20 minute wp.
I'll dry hop with the 7 oz I've got left, but my rule of thumb through all the extract batches and now with these all grain versions is 14 days primary, add dry hops for 7 days, then bottle. No secondary.
This basic method, sometimes skipping the 60 minute addition for a 20 or 30 minute bittering, has never failed.
All additions in 5 minute increments from 15 to 0 to big wp and dry hop after 2 weeks.
 

Desertbrewer

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I'm on version 6 of my house DIPA and the aroma and flavor last through the last bottle on all versions.

I hit them with about 12oz, up to 16oz, then 4 to 6 dry hop.

Version 6 got 1oz columbus at 60, then all cascade, 1oz at 15 & 10, 2oz at 5, 4oz at 0 and 4oz at 180 for about 20 minute wp.

I'll dry hop with the 7 oz I've got left, but my rule of thumb through all the extract batches and now with these all grain versions is 14 days primary, add dry hops for 7 days, then bottle. No secondary.

This basic method, sometimes skipping the 60 minute addition for a 20 or 30 minute bittering, has never failed.

All additions in 5 minute increments from 15 to 0 to big wp and dry hop after 2 weeks.

Just made an IPA with that exact hop schedule, except added all 9 oz cascade as a flameout addition, and only had the 7 oz dry hop in for 2 days. Tasted pretty damn hoppy when we bottled it, hoping it holds up.

As for the OP, can't speak to it since I don't keg, but The Mad Fermentationist has a lot of great info on keeping his hoppy beers from falling off. He really emphasizes doing multiple purges, as others have said.
 

Queequeg

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Sure, here ya go....
So my question for this graph is what is acceptable level of O2 in the headspace? And what is an acceptable level of dissolved oxygen in final beer?

Also what is the curve like for atmosphere O2 ppm verse maximum dissolvable O2?
 

303Dan

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Queequeg

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Excellent research sir. This is if great importance to my purging interests
 

Queequeg

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@303Dan could you just sense check something for me.

I am running my hop torpedo in anger for the first time this week. This basically consists of a modified stainless steel pressure cooker which houses the dry hop charge and recirculates wort to/from the main fermenter via silicon tubing and peristaltic pump.

My intention is to sanitize the rig, load the hops and then purge. Open the tap and fill the torpedo until there is no headspace, before setting up the return via the pump.

My reasoning is my purge process doesn't need to get down to less than 0.1ppm because the head space will be completely vented as the torpedo is filled and the only opportunity for air to get into the beer is during the initial fill.

I can only purge at 10 psi before the safety valve triggers.

My thinking is that as the beer slowly fills the torpedo and even in an non-purged vessel the uptake of DO if in air would never be greater than a few ppm, being that even after vigerous pouring according to Chris White you only get about 4ppm DO. So a careful transfer in air would always result in less and 4ppm is far in excess of worst case.

So working on the basis of 4ppm if I did 11 purges/burps at 10psi I should get down approximately 696 ppm, then a worst case pick up of O2 (assuming a linear relationship between atmospheric oxygen and dissolved oxygen saturation point) would be 0.013ppm ((4/210000)*696) a factor of 10 less than the level of perceptible spoilage.

Does this make sense?
 

303Dan

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@303Dan could you just sense check something for me.

I am running my hop torpedo in anger for the first time this week. This basically consists of a modified stainless steel pressure cooker which houses the dry hop charge and recirculates wort to/from the main fermenter via silicon tubing and peristaltic pump.

My intention is to sanitize the rig, load the hops and then purge. Open the tap and fill the torpedo until there is no headspace, before setting up the return via the pump.

My reasoning is my purge process doesn't need to get down to less than 0.1ppm because the head space will be completely vented as the torpedo is filled and the only opportunity for air to get into the beer is during the initial fill.

I can only purge at 10 psi before the safety valve triggers.

My thinking is that as the beer slowly fills the torpedo and even in an non-purged vessel the uptake of DO if in air would never be greater than a few ppm, being that even after vigerous pouring according to Chris White you only get about 4ppm DO. So a careful transfer in air would always result in less and 4ppm is far in excess of worst case.

So working on the basis of 4ppm if I did 11 purges/burps at 10psi I should get down approximately 696 ppm, then a worst case pick up of O2 (assuming a linear relationship between atmospheric oxygen and dissolved oxygen saturation point) would be 0.013ppm ((4/210000)*696) a factor of 10 less than the level of perceptible spoilage.

Does this make sense?
If my understanding of all that you're trying to do is correct, I would agree with your logic and think that your math probably represents the worst case scenario, which should have no perceptible negative impact on your beer.

Cool idea, btw.
 

Queequeg

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Thanks I just needed to run it past with more similarity of these things
 

uwmgdman

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I had issues with IPAs losing their hop aroma far too quickly as well. After reading Vinnie Cilurzo's 2 page dry hopping section in Sam Calagione's 2006 Extreme Brewing, I determined my problem was yeast contact--I was dry hopping too soon. From the book, "..I find the more yeast I can remove from the beer before I add the dry hops, the more hop aroma my finished beer will have..."

I did 2 things and it really improved my IPA hop aroma longevity.

1) I changed my yeast selections, dropped 1056 and went to 1098 and 1335, both ferment out well and at my temperatures the ester production is low and best of all they are notably more flocculant.

2) Stopped dry hopping in the primary and actually started using a secondary for my hoppy beers (doesn't that seem backward?!). I let the yeast really finish up in the primary (generally 8-10 days), rack to a secondary, first charge of dry hops goes in a day or two after racking.

Give it a try and don't fear highly attenuating British ale strains for hoppy American IPAs.
 

btbnl

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I had issues with IPAs losing their hop aroma far too quickly as well. After reading Vinnie Cilurzo's 2 page dry hopping section in Sam Calagione's 2006 Extreme Brewing, I determined my problem was yeast contact--I was dry hopping too soon. From the book, "..I find the more yeast I can remove from the beer before I add the dry hops, the more hop aroma my finished beer will have..."

I did 2 things and it really improved my IPA hop aroma longevity.

1) I changed my yeast selections, dropped 1056 and went to 1098 and 1335, both ferment out well and at my temperatures the ester production is low and best of all they are notably more flocculant.

2) Stopped dry hopping in the primary and actually started using a secondary for my hoppy beers (doesn't that seem backward?!). I let the yeast really finish up in the primary (generally 8-10 days), rack to a secondary, first charge of dry hops goes in a day or two after racking.

Give it a try and don't fear highly attenuating British ale strains for hoppy American IPAs.
I can see why this could give you more initial hoppiness, but not why it would change the rate at which that hoppiness subsequently decays.
 

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I can see why this could give you more initial hoppiness, but not why it would change the rate at which that hoppiness subsequently decays.

Makes sense does it not? The hop and beer infusion will be more effective without the yeast.
 

uwmgdman

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Makes sense does it not? The hop and beer infusion will be more effective without the yeast.
Electrostatically the hop compounds and yeast cells have opposite charges and therefore will bind to each other. As the yeast falls out, so does the hop compounds since it is bound to the yeast. Reduce the number of yeast cells that can bind up hop compounds and more hop compounds remains in the product.
 

Queequeg

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However I can't imagine yeast cell walls are infinite sponges. Simply increasing the hop charge should negate this
 

uwmgdman

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However I can't imagine yeast cell walls are infinite sponges. Simply increasing the hop charge should negate this
I would agree. I'll just say from personal experience, this made a big difference in my hop aroma longevity. I had always thought fast as possible for a hoppy beer, fresh fresh fresh--but I've found slowing things down by a few days and allowing for clearing helped a lot.
 

Queequeg

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I would suggest a small keg charge would negate a lot of issues, being that it could potentially top up aroma throughout the life of the beer
 

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Sure, here ya go....
This is in reference to the image of purges to ppm O2 chart posted above. (I don't know how to make the image copy here.)

I think the image is flat out wrong; the decrease in O2 as a funtion of purges should be an exponential decay. If you were to set you regulator to atmospheric pressure (14 psi for most people, but it's elevation dependent), pressurize the keg and purge, 1/2 of the original O2 should be removed. A second purging would remove another 1/2 of the remaining O2. Another purging, 1/2 the O2 again.

Hence, the amount of O2 after n purges is (1/2)^n.

There are about 0.7g of O2 in 1 liter of atmospheric air. With no purging, that exposes five gallons of beer to 80 ppm O2. (5 gallons is about 8.7 kg.) You want about 11 purges to get that down to about .04 ppm O2, assuming you have just 1 liter of headspace.
 

btbnl

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This is in reference to the image of purges to ppm O2 chart posted above. (I don't know how to make the image copy here.)

I think the image is flat out wrong; the decrease in O2 as a funtion of purges should be an exponential decay. If you were to set you regulator to atmospheric pressure (14 psi for most people, but it's elevation dependent), pressurize the keg and purge, 1/2 of the original O2 should be removed. A second purging would remove another 1/2 of the remaining O2. Another purging, 1/2 the O2 again.

Hence, the amount of O2 after n purges is (1/2)^n.
That's exactly what the graph shows!

Since it's a log-linear graph (with the y-axis showing powers of 10), exponential decay is a straight line. Follow the yellow (15 psi) line, and after 10 cycles the remaining 02 has dropped by a factor of 1000 ~ 2^10.
 

btbnl

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Makes sense does it not? The hop and beer infusion will be more effective without the yeast.
Again, while this will affect the initial hoppiness the OP says that the beer is a hop-bomb to begin with and that the issue is the rate at which that hoppiness subsequently decays. I don't see how the dry-hop timing can affect that; oxygenation is the only thing I've seen suggested that can change the hoppiness post-kegging.
 

beerkench

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Again, while this will affect the initial hoppiness the OP says that the beer is a hop-bomb to begin with and that the issue is the rate at which that hoppiness subsequently decays. I don't see how the dry-hop timing can affect that; oxygenation is the only thing I've seen suggested that can change the hoppiness post-kegging.

Of course it's a hop bomb to begin with because the beer is still full of those yeast particles that have attached themselves to the hop particles. As soon as the beer starts to clear in keg, the flavour starts to disappear.
 

Queequeg

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Of course it's a hop bomb to begin with because the beer is still full of those yeast particles that have attached themselves to the hop particles. As soon as the beer starts to clear in keg, the flavour starts to disappear.
Whilst this might stand to reason for flavour it doesn't regarding aroma. If aroma is it good when yeast is in suspension the the hop oils must be free from the cell walls of the yeast in order to be volatile and contribute aroma.
 

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