what cased the cloying bitterness after dry hop

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iamninjabob

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I brewed my 5gal Mexicanish Lager recipe that I've made a few times: 6lb Maris Otter, 6lb Pilsner, 1lb flaked corn, .5lb carapils Ferments W34/70 fermented at ~60F bittered with 1oz Lemondrop @ 60 and 1oz Lemondrop @ flameout. I tasted the beer when I dry hopped, and it tasted the same as it did the last few times I've made it. Dryhopped @ day 5 when it was at 1.009 with 4oz of Falconers Flight hops, and bottled 2 days later. I tasted the beer at bottling, and it tasted terrible! As bitter as chewing on a hop pellet, and it stuck to the inside of your mouth. I had hopped it was hop particulates in suspension, but even after aging the beer for 2 weeks (including a few bottles I threw in the fridge for lagering) it's still so bitter it's still practically undrinkable however it has mellowed out a small amount.

I've never dry hopped a lager before, but I've dry-hopped a good 75% of my beers up till now and I've never had this off-flavor. Was Falconers Flight a bad choice? Did I go too heavy on the dry hop? Is it possible that the hops were old? (my local brew shop sells oz poured out of 1lb bags they keep in the freezer)

I plan on trying this again and dry-hopping 2oz of fresh/well packaged Loral to try and redeem myself, but I want to know what is causing this because I'm kind of at a loss. I'm hoping the smaller hop charge and milder hop will keep it from happening again.
 

Pappers_

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First thoughts are that yes, it could have been the dry hopping, especially if that is the difference between this batch (which you don't like) and previous batches which you liked.

That being said, its hard to imagine dry hopping taking a beer from delicious to unbearably bitter. Of course, I have a hard time imagining a beer being unbearably bitter, because I like really bitter beers LOL.

Was the alpha acid percentage on the Lemondrop similar to what you used before? And did the final gravity end up about where you were on previous batches? If either of those are significantly different, that could also impact the impression of overall bitterness.

If you're truly puzzled, you might send it in to a BJCP competition and have two judges anonymously give you their impressions. Or share with a brewing friend whose opinion you respect.

About your description - cloyingly bitter. I take this to mean that its unpleasantly bitter. But just as an fyi, as in all tasting vocabularies (wine, cheese, bbq), descriptors are often given common meanings, that we all understand and use. Cloying in the context of beer tasting means the opposite of bitter - sweet.

My brew partner and I just brewed a Dortmunder a few days ago and our next lager after that is going to be a dry hopped Pilsner. I've never dry hopped a lager before, these dry hopped Pilsners are getting popular enough commercially and within homebrewing circles that they've been given a name - Italian Pilseners. Should be an interesting experiment.
 
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iamninjabob

iamninjabob

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I'm 1000% sure it was the dry hop only because I tasted it prior to the dry hop and it tasted exactly as expected. I love a good high IBU beer, but it's not a good bitter though it's literally like chewing on a hop pellet, or drinking the dregs of a bottling bucket with all the hop bits that have settled. I've given it to a few of my friends, and none of them were able to finish the beer because it's just unenjoyable.

Yeah I just googled Cloying :D for sure not the word to use here. What I should have said was "lingering" because even 30 minutes later after drinking the beer that bitterness is still in your mouth.
 

Rob2010SS

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So, just my 2 cents....

A 4oz dry hop in 5 gallons of mexican lager seems like a VERY large dry hop in my opinion. I did a mexican lager not too long ago and it was 15 gallons and I dry hopped it at 2.5oz with Motueka.

I would suspect that your bitterness is coming from that dry hop. On top of the fact that you bottled only 2 days after adding the hops tells me that you did not cold crash to drop the hops out of suspension prior to bottling.

I would continue to lager the bottles in the fridge. If you're seeing any kind of sediment on the bottom of the bottles, make sure to leave that last little bit in the bottles when pouring. This could be some hop debris settled out. If you pour that into your glass, you could just be reintroducing the hop particulate that dropped out.
 

Pappers_

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I'm 1000% sure it was the dry hop only because I tasted it prior to the dry hop and it tasted exactly as expected. I love a good high IBU beer, but it's not a good bitter though it's literally like chewing on a hop pellet, or drinking the dregs of a bottling bucket with all the hop bits that have settled. I've given it to a few of my friends, and none of them were able to finish the beer because it's just unenjoyable.

Yeah I just googled Cloying :D for sure not the word to use here. What I should have said was "lingering" because even 30 minutes later after drinking the beer that bitterness is still in your mouth.
It could be harshness from the dry hopping, not just what we think of as traditional bitterness. I've gotten that in a few beers, both that I've brewed and tasted. Its terrifically unpleasant, to me its almost a mouthfeel thing - rough.

So for these dry hopped Italian PIlsners I mentioned, they tend to use small amounts of dry hops and they tend to be noble - like Hallertau etc. I'm going to use Lubelski hops, a Polish hop, very low alpha acids, that are supposed to give a prominent floral aroma.

So if you want to experiment with it again, you might try less hops, lower AA hops, and something in the noble category, rather than the American Falconers Flight that you used.
 

Rob2010SS

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Do like @Pappers_ said or you could even use the FF hops but drastically reduce it and cold crash to drop them out of suspension. That's a fairly high AA% hop. I would drop it to maybe 3/4oz or 1 oz and cold crash for 2 days prior to bottling.

One thing that I've adapted into my process on NEIPA's that I learned on this forum is to do a "soft crash" to drop a majority of yeast out of suspension before adding dry hops. By leaving the yeast in suspension, I was getting a lot of hop burn on my neipas. You could apply the same thing to this style if you really wanted to dry hop it heavy like that.

The good news is that I think if you let this sit and mellow out long enough, that bitterness may fade after a while.
 
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iamninjabob

iamninjabob

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Thanks for the feedback guys! I'm excited to try making an "IPL" again, and I think I'm feeling a lot more confident this time.
 

Spivey24

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This happened to me once when I dryhopped in a bag and decided to press the bag as I was transferring to squeeze out any additional hop flavor. Not necessarily a good idea as it tasted like you describe - like eating a hop pellet. It took 2 weeks to settle out in the keg cold before it was any good.
 
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