Question about preserving hop aroma during bottling...

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Jan 7, 2008
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Hey all. I've been brewing for about a year and overall things have been pretty good. However, something I've noticed about my beers is that they lack a good hop aroma/hop flavor and I think the problem has to do with how I bottle the beer. I add a decent amount of hops at the end of the boiling process and the beer has a good hop aroma to it after fermentation. However, once I bottle the beer and wait around for a few weeks, when I then open a bottle, there's almost no hop aroma whatsoever. My bottling process is as follows:

Sanitize bottles (which tend to be a mix of 22oz and 12oz), tubing, and racking cane w/ bleach solution, rinsing them off with hot water
Add priming sugar to carboy and very gently stir with racking cane for a minute or two
Siphon beer from carboy into bottles
Once all beer is siphoned, I then cap the bottles with oxygen barrier caps
I then let sit in a cool dark place for a few weeks before drinking

I've got no idea why the hop aroma disappears during this process and I was hoping someone here could shed some light on the subject for me. Thanks a bunch!

Welcome to the forum!
Your bottling procedure is pretty much standard, so I don't think that's the problem. There could be several explanations: the carbon dioxide could be slightly masking the hop aroma, the malt aroma could be overpowering the hop aroma, esters, phenols and other aromatic yeast compounds might be interfering with the hop aroma, or you might not be adding as much in the hop aroma department as you think you are.
There are many other possibilities, but if you could post your recipe we might be able to narrow them down.
Whats your serving temperature? Colder = less flavor

Whats your hop schedules like for your brews? Are you adding any aroma hops near the end of the boil? Every try dry hopping?
Here's a sample recipe that I tried a month or two ago:

3lbs Extra Light dried malt extract
3lbs Light dried malt extract
2lbs Amber dried malt extract
1lb Munich Malt
1lb Maris Otter Malt
1lb Flaked Wheat

2oz Warrior (boiling)
1oz Centennial (boiling)
1oz Amarillo (boiling)
2/3oz Centennial (aroma)
2/3oz Amarillo (aroma)
2/3oz Simcoe (aroma)
1/3oz Centennial (dry hopping)
1/3oz Amarillo (dry hopping)
1/3oz Simcoe (dry hopping)

Cooper's Brewing Yeast

O.G. 1.080
F.G. 1.013

I boiled the wort with the boiling hops for something like an hour and 15 minutes. At the end of this, I threw in the aroma hops and let them steep for a few minutes. Then I transferred the wort into a bucket with a gallon or two of cold water, and transferred that to my carboy. I then cooled the wort down to around 70-75 degrees, pitched the yeast and dropped in the dry hopping hops. I let sit for about a week and then set about bottling. When I removed the rubber cork, there was a pretty intense hop aroma. I then went through the bottling procedure above and let sit for a while. Usually I drink it mildly chilled (around 60 degrees), though I've also tried it at near freezing. The batch has a decent malt character to it and a dry bitterness, but not much hop aroma or flavor. I've also noticed that it varies from bottle to bottle. I don't filter out the dry hopping hops and the bottles that contain some tend to have better hop flavor than those that don't. Perhaps there's some compound getting into the beer that destroys hop aroma?

Oh well. What do you guys do to achieve maximal hop aroma and flavor?

Well, I have a couple of suggestions right away. The first is separating your hops additions. Anything that goes in for the whole boil is giving you bittering- not flavor. So, if you add more to the end of the boil, you'll get something that will have more hops flavor. Use the "heaviest" hop for bittering, and the more flavorful for aroma and flavor hops.

So, I would do something like this, maybe:

Warrior 60 minutes
Centennial 30 minutes
Amarillo 10 minutes
centennail 5 minutes
simcoe flame out.

Then ferment out completely and rack into a clearing tank onto your dryhops. If you dry hop in the primary, you're just wasting them because the co2 will blow off the flavor and aroma. Leave a week or so on the dryhops, rack and bottle.

Take a look at my DFH 60 minute clone's hops schedule. That will give you a better idea.